Friday, September 29, 2006

Dark Corner

(Random walkies)

Dark Corner Patonga

At Patonga, just across the water from Barrenejoey Head, there's a small headland at the east end of the beach. That end of the beach is known as Dark Corner. A Heritage website has a history of Orcades , one of the old houses there with a couple of early photos as well. The houses at Dark Corner have been occupied since around the 1920s. There's some more photos & a couple of maps and a post from when I walked the streets there.

Barrenjoey Head from Dark Corner Patonga

Taken a bit further round the tip of the headland. That's Barrenjoey Head in the middle and if you look closely on its right you can see the dark line that is Palm Beach.

Dark Corner Patonga

Tiny rock pools in the rock ledge with little barnacle thingies growing in them.

Dark Corner Patonga

Big stripy rock sitting on the rock ledge. Have a gander at it in the big size.

Dark Corner Patonga

Overhang at the bottom of the headland. Look at those stripes and swirls and golden colours.

Patonga from Dark Corner

Patonga from the rock ledge at the tip of the Dark Corner headland. The road comes round the ridge and down behind the highest houses (right of centre).

Dark Corner Patonga

It got overcast and the tide was coming in. We went back.


The results of the East Harbour redevelopment re-naming thingy are in. And "[an] historic stretch of Sydney's waterfront has been renamed The Hungry Mile in recognition of the struggle of waterside workers during the Great Depression.

Fucking excellent.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Abandoned house

(Gosford walkies #27)

Cool again this morning. Overcast and grey. Went up to Gosford Hospital. Nothing wrong with me this time (for a fucking change). I was there for moral support. We sat in a slightly scruffy waiting room for an eternity then my mate was made to change into one of those evil bum-displaying gowns and led off to be probed. It was going to be a long wait so I wandered about the hospital grounds for a bit.

Gosford Hospital Gosford

Quiet spot in a 1970s part of the hospital.

Didn't find any pre-1940s buildings. The 1940s ones were fairly large (3 and 4 stories) then there were more large buildings in the seventies, including a hideous Pizza Hut style one down the back. Then a couple of eighties buildings and more in the nineties and noughties. The tallest building was the multistorey carpark down the back.

There were staff education buildings and the like down the back and nurses and so on standing about having a fag and a bloke in a blue and white golf cart rattling about carrying packages from one building to another.


Blooming in the spring warmth beside Showground Road above the railway station. Detailed size.

After the probing we wandered round for a bit. There was an orange tree blossoming in someone's front garden. A warm smell, a lot like orange jessamine but sharper. The jessamine is starting to blossom too and there's some golden wattle still going. The bottlebrushes and Gymea lillies are blooming. Gymea lillies are not common but I've seen a few around. Bradys Gully has a few, there were a couple somewhere near the hospital and there's one at the lights at Woy Woy station.

Derelict house Gosford

This afternoon it's back to blue sky and sun. It's s'posed to be clear until Monday.

This old place was once a home kids would love to grow up in. Big sloping backyard, that nice deep veranda to play on in the hot afternoons. That's a warning notice on the railing, not a development application notice. The windows down the side were broken and there's a fence around it but it was a nice old house once.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Much ado about nothing

Just got word back about the
heart monitor test. There's nothing wrong. I'm still ticking over and doing so at the right rate and so on.

So. All that fuss and nonsense for nothing. Jesus.

Monday, September 25, 2006

The Rampart

(Random walkies)

Look up on the ridge! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a water tank! Head for that weird green ball on the ridge above Umina and up The Rampart. The weird green ball is at the corner of The Rampart and Castle Circuit. Park and go up behind the weird green ball and find the track through the bush. Head uphill until you get to the big rock platform. On the way up there's strips of plastic tied to the trees here and there. Fieries' (firefighters') markers perhaps, tracing the fire back to its source? Can't think of any other reason, apart from leading bowerbirds astray, why anyone would tie blue stuff to trees.

Woy Woy from The Rampart

Umina in the foreground and Ettalong around The Excrescence. Blackwall Mountain on the left, Wagstaffe on the right across the water. Between them the ridges of Fishermans Bay, Rileys Bay and Hardys Bay.

Woy Woy & Brisbane Water from The Rampart

In the foreground is Australia Avenue and (on the ridge) The Palisade and Kingsview Drive. The other part of the Peninsula is Blackwalll and Woy Woy. Across the water are the two umnamed islets, Rileys and St Huberts Islands behind them and the hill of Davistown behind them. Mount Pleasant, the hill of Saratoga is behind The Palisade. Behind Saratoga and Davistown is Kincumba Mountain.

Umina Beach from The Rampart

Part of the suburb of Umina Beach and the tip of Mount Ettalong from part way up the ridge.

Lion Island from The Rampart Umina

Lion Island and Barrenjoey Head behind it, just visible from the top. The strange green fuzziness on the trees is the post-bushfire growth. Leaves sprout directly from the bark of the trunk. When the branches have recovered or new ones grown, leaves grow on the branches as normal.

Gum tree revival The Rampart Umina

Life & death on The Rampart Umina

Life and death in miniature. Bushfire damage and regrowth on the rock platform on top of The Rampart.

There were dozens of these depressions in the rock. Some had small trees growing in them, some had bushes. Some hadn't yet filled up.

Here's a pair of crappy photos of the ridge showing the bushfire damage in January. There were about four fires in the Woy Woy area on New Year's Day 2006. The one up on The Rampart, the one at
The Bays, one at Wondabyne behind the Woy Woy ridges and one at Kariong near Gosford.

Human Stilton

Been watching that Worst Jobs in History programme on the telly. It's a history thingy. The bloke who was Baldrick in Blackadder goes about visiting historians who show him how to do the really shit jobs from various periods in English history.

Excellent stuff, though I'm glad it's Tony Robinson doing it not me. Particularly the stale piss thing where he did the fuller's job. To take the lanolin (natural grease) out of the wool cloth urine was collected and kept for a couple of weeks. Then it was poured into a tub with the cloth and the wool scourer climbed in and started treading like they were treading grapes. And got the full whiff of the stale piss. That's been my least favourite so far, though wiping Henry VIII's bum in Tudor times was a close second.

Bushfire season

Hot and dry yesterday and windy as hell. Perfect bushfire weather. Seven houses destroyed by bushfire in NSW (New South Wales, the state I'm in) and the wind killed some poor bastard. He was hit by a falling branch on his motorbike.

The dust on the wind made me cough a fair bit but I'm not feeling too bad. No test results yet.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Spike Milligan

Spike Milligan in 2002
Spike Milligan in 2002

My father had an old reel-to-reel tape recorder and several reels full of The Goon Show he'd recorded off the radio. We used to listen to them of a winter evening. Milligan playing Eccles and Moriarty, the booming tones of Harry Secombe as Neddy Seagoon and Peter Sellers as Bluebottle. My favourite bit was Eccles being asked if someone was dead. He says, 'Wait a minute' and there's a bang and he comes back and says 'He is now'.

My favourite of his poems is the one about rain:

There are holes in the sky where the rain gets in
But they're ever so small
That's why rain is thin.

Haven't read any of his books yet except Adolf Hitler: My Part in his Downfall which was about his time as a gunner in World War II and was hilarious.

Wiki has a list of what looks like all his works and says:

"During most of the 1930s and early 1940s he performed as an amateur jazz vocalist and trumpeter both before and after being called up for military service, but even then he wrote and performed comedy sketches as part of concerts to entertain troops."


"Milligan and Harry Secombe became friends while serving in the armed forces during World War II ... Famously, Milligan first encountered Secombe after Gunner Milligan's artillery unit accidentally allowed a large howitzer to roll off a cliff - under which Secombe was sitting in a small wireless truck : "Suddenly there was a terrible noise as some monstrous object fell from the sky quite close to us. There was considerable confusion, and in the middle of it all the flap of the truck was pushed open and a young, helmeted idiot asked 'Anybody see a gun?' It was Milligan..." "

The Goon Show was first broadcast in May 1951, 6 years after the war finished.

The BBC obituary says he died in Sussex (England) on 23 February 2002 at 83 years old and was born in Poona, India in 1918. He was the "son of an Irish sergeant-major in the Royal Artillery ... Milligan also served with that regiment during World War II."

The thing that struck me when he died was that he was probably pretty old for someone with bipolar disorder, which used to be called manic depression and is known to up your risk of suicide considerably.

Orange Grove Road Blackwall

This is the former Milligan family home on Orange Grove Road Blackwall. Spike's parents and his brother Desmond migrated from the UK to Woy Woy in 1951 (Spike stayed in England and did The Goon Show) the same year as my grandparents and thousands of other Poms migrated to Australia. I don't know if they were ten pound Poms or not. You had to be fairly hard up to qualify for that.

Spike Milligan was a patron of Woy Woy Little Theatre and his mum used to represent him at the theatre's knees-ups. He used to come here for holidays and wrote most of Puckoon here.

Milligan's younger brother Desmond also served in WWII, right at the tail end of it.

Spike Milligan's dad's marker in Woy Woy War Memorial Park

Embiggulate the picture and you can read Spike's dad Leo Milligan's plaque on the wall of the Woy Woy Memorial Park. If you're down there at the park, it's to the left and a few feet forward of the big stone block saying 'Lest we forget'.

The plaque reads:
1 . 2 . 69"

Which part of that means sergeant-major in the Royal Artillery I don't know. "RET." probably means retired and "R.A." Royal Army.

Hugh Garsden of a Goon Show fan group quotes a July 1990 edition of "Hello Folks! ... the newsletter of the Goon Appreciation Society of Perth" as saying:

MOTHER DIES: Comedian Spike Milligan has been kept from his
elderly mother's death bed by work commitments. Florence Milligan,
96, who had lived in Australia for almost 46 years, died in
hospital on the NSW central coast yesterday. Spike, the eldest of
her two sons, had secretly visited her before returning to London
a week ago. "Spike spent every day with her for the two weeks he
was out here," his brother Desmond said.

(Dunno how kosher this Hugh Garsden is. His email adress's domain is Oz means Australia, .au means Australia and the University of Sydney's domain is

Anyways, that's a brief version of the life and times of Woy Woy's biggest claim to fame and the bloke who declared Woy Woy to be "the only above-ground cemetery in the world".

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Railway Street

(Woy Woy walkies)

No Gosford today. Just couldn't be fucked going that far. Wandered gently down Railway Street instead to have a sticky at the building site. They've bunged in the sewerage and pipes and are now spreading the concrete. Not very exciting visually and I forgot my camera anyways. I'll go back in a month and see how far they've got.

Railway Street Woy Woy

This lovely old cottage is a bugger to photograph. Every time I go near Railway Street I nip across and try for a clear photo. This one I got a few weeks ago. It's a circa 1912 house on my hist list. Federation Filigree (circa 1890 - circa 1915) in style.

In the Federation period iron lace went out of fashion and wooden filigree came in to replace it. Partly due to wooden decoration becoming popular in the UK and America and partly due to technology. Steam and then electric lathes meant faster cheaper production of turned timber. The classic example of Federation Filigree is your veranda'd Ausralian country pub.

Railway Street Woy Woy

Same house from the side. All those trees in front are why it's hard to get a decent photo of this place. Usually the photos are too dark. It's a charming old place and I wouldn't mind moving in there.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


Fuck a fucking firetruck. Gotta wait until next week for the doctor to tell me I'm still ticking over. Bastards.

Went back just now to have the heart monitor thingy peeled off. When they bung it on they make you strip to the waist and cover you with round flat sticky things, attach them to wires then hang a little box round your neck. Sleeping with that lot on is okay as long as you lay on your back like a starfish and don't move for eight hours.

Taking it off again is just a matter of them peering intently at the box for a while and making notes then peeling off the round sticky things and telling you to go away. I was all set to trot straight round to the doc with the printout.

"That'll be ready next week some time," say them, breezily.


Nervously, "Your doctor will let you know when he wants to see you."

I considered laying one of Inexplicable Device's General Hexes on them but if they broke out in boils before I was out the door they might bung my printout at the back of the queue.

So here I am with a week to wait and no booze in the house. Must remedy.


Dwyer Avenue Woy Woy

No proper walk today (wasn't allowed) but snapped one pleasant fifties place in Dwyer Avenue, just round the corner from the hospital. It's a warm day. 28 Celcuis (83 F) blue sky and only the slightest breeze. A taste of summer.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Soap opera land

I'm beginning to suspect my doctor is a closet drama queen. He's always sending me off hither and thither for bloody tests. I've got very good at weeing in jars and having blood samples taken. Went off for another few today. I was at the doctor on Friday for another lot of flu meds to chase off any lingering germs and the bugger hands me a sheaf of test thingies.

"Oi. What's this?" says I.

"Just a test," he says airily.

"Just my aunt Fanny. 'Heart monitor' it says on this one. What's that in aid of?"

He waves his hand. "Just checking up on things."

Pig's arse. Ten bucks says he's got a bet on with his mate down the corridor to see how many tests they can run on one poor guinea pig without Medicare (NHS) getting suss. Either that or he thinks I'm dead and is trying to break it to me gently. Lot of bollocks and melodrama.

So anyways, the upshot is I'm not allowed to go walkies or have a shower for 24 hours. Bastard. I'm back to the doctor tomorrow so he can read the pathology report and tell me there's bugger-all wrong with me ticker. Which I could've told him for free.


Will do the comments replies here again. Haven't got the energy for any extra clicking quite frankly.

Piggy & Tazzy - Welcome. I expect some of the Dear Old Things did piss their knickers. Some of them do it without much provocation, poor dears, judging from the occasional whiff on the bus.

Jen - I never did get the paper to see if anyone was charged. It was a surprisingly blood-free accident. But only because the woman who got hit didn't get the chance to rip the other guy's head off.

Flu shots are allotted sparingly on the Central Coast. We've got so many Dear Old Things that they tend to get dibs.

Device dear - Dried Frog Pills would've been very handy. Nowhere is sacred.

Dolf & Di - Thank yer kindly.

Pattie - I'm back to the doctor again tomorrow. I should start charging him to see me, the bastard.

I'm off to update my Ducktionary then have a nice long sulk. Will keep you posted.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Completely Bursar*

Been going mental cooped up inside all this time so I tottered slowly off to the chemist to get another lot of meds. Had a little rest at the bus station and saw an interesting accident. No photos. Didn't have my camera and would've been too scared of the scary chick to take any photos anyways.

Didn't see the accident. There was a screech of brakes and a loud bang and everyone looked over. A white car was coming out of The Boulevard beside the pub, about 50 yards from the station, and a grey car turning into The Boulevard from Brisbane Water Drive had misjudged the corner.

There was a pause then this woman thrust the top half of her body out of the driver's side window of the white car and started screaming at the grey car. The grey car had pulled up outside the pub. She was really doing her nut. She scrambled out the window and ran for the grey car. I was thinking she was going to rip the driver asunder but enough people were pulling over as well as pouring out of the pub to prevent actual murder.

The cop shop (police station) is just round the corner so the uniforms started showing up pretty quick, a couple of tow trucks came, the fire brigade came to see if they needed to cut anyone's car open and the ambos came screaming down from Point Clare to see if everyone was okay.

When the ambos came it was clear why the woman had gone mental. She had a couple of small kids strapped into those kiddy seats in the back and the driver at fault had caved in the driver's door and the door behind at least six inches. When the ambos had extracted the kids from the back seat you could see the front and back seats had been pushed way out of position by the impact.

The kids were screaming their heads off pretty much from the point of impact so we knew they weren't dead. They looked okay but of course the ambos wanted to take them off to Gosford Hospital for a closer look.

It's a busy corner there at the pub. There's the overflow from the pub carpark, the other pub, the day trippers' cars, the TAB (betting shop) and half a dozen other reasons to be parked there. Plus it's just a few yards from the lights at the station. The traffic was starting to pile up and a small crowd of gawkers had gathered.

Sirens and accidents tend to unnerve the more fragile Dear Old Things and one of them kept asking if the pub was on fire. No amount of pointing at the cars involved would convince her it wasn't and I noticed an ambo take a good look at her to see if she was about to become another customer. Don't know if they ended up popping her in the back of the ambulance. I was too feeble to walk home and had to get on the bus. Bit of excitment on a Wednesday morning. Bloody glad I wasn't the driver of the grey car though. That woman was fierce.

Comments catch-up

Don Chipp has also dropped off the twig and as Belongum points out, so has Colin Thiele, beloved author of Storm Boy. That makes four inside a fortnight. Bloody hell. At least Chipp and Thiele had a good innings. Both in their eighties.

Casade wants to know what I think of what happened to Steve Irwin. I keep thinking about him pulling the stinger out of his heart. He must've known he was going, poor bastard. Hope it was quick.

* Completely Bursar. Nuts. Barmy. Off yer nut. The usual mental state of the Bursar of the Unseen University in Terry Pratchett's Discworld books.

Monday, September 11, 2006



Jesus. Five years since September the 11th. Seems like only yesterday. I won't be watching it on the telly. 1. because it's too fucking depressing and 2. my telly's on the fucking blink.

Death stalks famous Australians

Fuck. First Steve Irwin gets it from a stingray then Brockie pops off.

For my non-Australian readers, Brockie is way more famous in his home country than Irwin. Brockie was a racing car champion. Very butch.

Irwin we knew was more famous outside Australia but we had no idea how famous until he kicked it. Took over where Hoges left off by all accounts.

It's that man again

Off to the doctor again today. Jesus, I'm sick of that bugger's face. I was better and now I'm going down for the third time with this fucking flu crap. Very pissed off.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Gloria in Excelsis Metero

It's a beautiful day here in Woy Woy. Last night I opened the curtains wide and watched a storm rumble round the sky. The rain fell steadily and, when the storm finished, the sound of it pattering on next door's garbage bin sent me off into deep and dreamless sleep.

It was still raining this morning. I laid there under my quilt for a few minutes listening to the wind pushing the rain across the rooftops and spattering it against my windows. It's still dark and raining now at 9AM, the bucket on my balcony is half full and my plants have all lifted their faces up to the heavens to be washed clean of the drought's dust.

It's too wet to walk. I'm staying home to enjoy the weather properly. Meanwhile, here's a pub in Gosford I photographed a while back.

Hotel Gosford from Baker Street Gosford

Hotel Gosford on Mann Street, taken from the Baker Street carpark. That's Mann Street in front of the pub and Erina Street going up to its right. The hill behind is Rumbalara Reserve. You can also see a bit of Henry Parry Drive there in the upper right corner. (Annotated photo.)

Built in 1926. Nice solid pub in the centre of Gosford. Just across the road from the train, a short stagger from the teller machine and two blocks from Kibble Park. (Map.)

There's some decent interior photos on the pub's own site. The restored twenties decor in the bedrooms looks pleasant. I've got the names of the original licensee and the builder somewhere but I'm buggered if I can find them.

Hotel Gosford from Erina Street Gosford

Taken from Imperial Arcade on the corner of Mann Street and Erina Street. Erina Street in the foreground, Mann Street at the lights. The hospital (across the railway on the hill) and the railway station are obscured by the roof of the pub. The trees to the right of the roof are in the wee drunkard's park in front of the railway station. Kibble Park is two blocks to the left of this photo and back one block. (Annotated photo.)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Showground Road & Pacific Highway

(Gosford walkies #26)

Overcast now, high cover and 20 degrees (78 F). This morning it was warm and sunny. Went wanderingly about Gosford pretty much at random and snapped a few houses before my battery carked it. Hayfever right after the flu shits me something cruel but I love the march of the seasons, watching the flowers bloom and the young spring leaves growing crisp and bright on the bare European trees.

Showground Road Gosford

Showground Road Gosford, opposite the railway station back entrance.

Federation Bungalow (circa 1890 - c. 1915). The awning on the right is not Federation and ten bob says that vent was central, bigger and up in the peak of the roof originally. The windows night be original under those flyscreens. They looked it.

The green on white slats business looks added or replaced. It's too crisp to be original. Nice colours with the dark brick and not un-original from what I've seen locally.

Pacific Highway Gosford

Pleasant old bungalow on the main road. Probably a rental judging by the temporary-looking curtain in the glassed-in veranda. Looked in fairly good nick though. It's right next door to the one below.

Pacific Highway Gosford

The veranda on this one looks like it was always glassed-in. Unusual for a Federation Bungalow from what I've learned so far.

Both are Federation Bungalow (circa 1890 - c. 1915) and side by side over on Pacific Highway between Dwyer Street and Lindsey Street. Opposite the Showgrounds though you can't actually see the Showgrounds from just there due to houses on the railway side of the street.

I like that brick teeth business. Can't find the techo name for it in the book. We're all friends here so we'll just call it brick teeth for now. These are the only houses I've noticed it on so far. It's not uncommon on low brick fences though, thusly just along the road a few blocks in Etna Street.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Etna Street

(Gosford walkies #25)

Etna Street North Gosford

Nice nineties or noughties terraces at the back end of Etna Street on the North Gosford side. Go up Etna from Pacific Highway/Mann Street, over the hill and across Henry Parry Drive.

I like the colours, cream and grey and that orange jessamine along the front wall will make a lovely fragrant hedge when it grows up.

Dwyer Street North Gosford

These terraces were nice as well. Dwyer Street North Gosford, across the road from Bradys Gully Cemetery on Henry Parry Drive.

Those dark square patches on the front walls of the terraces are wooden lattice and behind them there's a wee courtyard, small enough for easy maintenance but plenty big enough for outdoor life. Very pleasant.

Etna Street Gosford

Former house, now a doctors' surgery in Etna Street on the Gosford side of the street. (The other side is North Gosford.) Etna Street is down the hill and across the railway from Gosford Hospital and there's three or four doctors' surgeries in it.

Jarrett Street North Gosford

Don't see many of these old garden animal statues round the area. This is the first one I've seen I think.

There was a garden full of animal statues near my school when I was a kid. It fascinated us so much we always missed the bus-stop.

22 degrees (73 F) here this afternoon and a nice strong cool breeze. It turned nice and chilly again about five this morning. S'posed to rain this afternoon but there's not a cloud in the sky.

Thanks everyone for your cheering comments while I was sick. It was very nice. And thanks Michael for the emailed local photos link.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Back on deck

(Gosford walkies #24)

Have shaken the flu at last. Thanks to taking several million pills and potions. Went for a gentle stroll round Gosford with hayfever spray rammed up one nostril and cotton-wool rammed up the other. Warm day for a walk. It was about 25 (75 F) in the sun. Summer's here and it's only the 4th day of spring.

Jasmine in Gosford

Jasmine lolling over an old wooden fence in Gosford somewhere. Makes my hayfever go berserk but it's lovely to look at.

Pacific Highway Gosford

Grevillea (or whatever) blazing in the sun on the wall of a Gosford restaurant.


Azaleas are blooming all over the Peninsula. The favourite colours are pinks and white. I like the palest pink ones.

Blackwall Road Woy Woy

Hidden treasure in bustling downtown Woy Woy. Didn't notice it last spring though it must've been there for years.

It's on Blackwall Road Woy Woy, behind Chambers Real Estate opposite Oval Avenue. Seen from the footpath beside Chambers.

Most of the magnolias seem to have finished flowering. The wind of the last few days has stripped their fragile blooms off. The daisies are still going berserk. They'll last all summer. And the frangipanni are coming into leaf and the golden wattle are still going full steam ahead.

Friday, September 01, 2006


First day of spring here in Australia. And your faithful correspondent is still on the sick list. And bored rigid and desperate for a walk. Barely been outside the bloody house for yonks. Should be back on the road by Monday but.

Flu be gone