Friday, June 29, 2007

Freo Markets

(Freo visit, June 2007)

Fremantle Markets

The Freo Markets are Freo. No visit to Freo is complete without a wander through them. They were built in 1897 as a market and have been a market ever since. The building's a nice old bit of Federation Romanesque (circa 1890-c.1915) and is on the National Trust and Heritage list.

Up the front, near the South Terrace entrances, they're a lot more touristy than I remember them. Bright things with koalas and kangaroos on them snag the tourist's eye and wallet, hot pancakes and chicken sticks and dropped icecream perfume the air.

But up the back under the tarp it's still the same, slapdash stalls with cheap belts and ugg boots, corner stalls overflowing with farm-fresh fruit and veg, signs spelt in migrant English and Italian grandmothers weighing your zucchini and translating the price out loud. Excellent stuff.

Repro architecture on South Terrace Fremantle

Repro architecture on South Terrace Fremantle, across from the Markets and echoing the Markets' 19th century red and white.

Nicely done but definitely fake. There was a car-yard or something on this site when I was a wee thing.

Piper at Freo Markets

Busker at Freo Markets. I love a good bit of piping and this guy was not bad at all. Took his undies off and flashed us as he piped. Nice arse but it was blowing a cruel wind so there was little else to be seen.

Sword swallower at Fremantle Markets

Sword-swallower/fire-eater busking outside the Markets on the Sail & Anchor corner. He's not 20 feet tall, he's just standing on a pole.

Here here's waving the sword about and exhorting the crowd to chuck money towards his funeral fund if he stuffs it up.

Sword swallowed at Fremantle Markets

And down it goes. Nothing went wrong but he got money anyways.

The tattoo on his chest is of ribs and sternum. On his back he had a spine and shoulder blades. Looked pretty cool.

"1897" the date plaque on the Markets says and there's some Latin under the swans. Didn't translate it but such wording is usually along the lines of "as good as any in the eastern states or Pommyland".

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Thanks & no thanks

No thanks

In 2005 Simon Lindsay (AKA Doddery Old Fart of Rest Area 300m) saved the life of a truckie. But his and his fellow road-workers' rescues of other drivers in trouble on NZ's roads have gone almost entirely unreported.

The truckie had passed out from a reaction to a bee sting. Simon revived him after finding him slumped over the wheel on the roadside. He got the truckie breathing again, his fellow road-workers got onto emergency services and set up a road block to allow a rescue chopper to land on the road. A passing paramedic stopped to help and the local copper also. This was reported in the news as the paramedic and copper reviving the guy.

Simon was not enraged by the lack of mention for himself and his work-mates but it was another instance of their rescue efforts being attributed to others.

Simon and his fellow road-workers get plenty of stick and sod all acknowledgement.


There's a small notice taped to the side of the Westpac bank on Blackwall Road Woy Woy. It thanks passer-by for helping the note's author's wife when she needed medical attention there recently.


Repairing storm damage Railway Street opp. Ocean Beach Road Woy Woy

Railway or Council workers laying rows of old tyres to stabilise a dodgy bit of the bank in Woy Woy Inlet.

Without these guys the railway would end up in the bay and the Central Coast would get cut off from Sydney again.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007



Doddery Old Fart is dead. For real.

Just popped over to his blog, Rest Area 300M, to see what he's been up to since I went away and there was 83 comments on the latest post. Thought my computer was having a fit or something but it was 83 condolences.

Doddery was New Zealand's and the world's only blogging road-worker. His real name was Simon Lindsay and all I've been able to find out so far about his death is that it was "sudden".

Soubriquet of Bench says it best for my money:

"The only consolation is that I understand he died suddenly, without warning, of natural causes.
I hope there's a heaven. And a new entrant... frowning at the road surface... searching around for some tools. Muttering about potholes."

Growabrain has a photo of him here and a memorial of beautiful photos of his area of work has been set up here.

Rest in peace, mate.

Not again

Yesterday the current Australian Prime Minister (President) John Howard announced he's going to send in troops to Aboriginal communities in Australia to force health checks on Aboriginal children.

That frightens me and I'm white.

The government has the authority to remove any child from its parents if there's enough pieces of paper generated to say that child is in danger.

From there it's not that far to another Stolen Generation.

Whitefellas, think about it from your own self-interest: What would another Stolen Generation do to our international reputation?

We'd be fucking pariahs. Every time we said something reasonable even grubby little dictatorships could whisper behind their hands about us. Tourists would go somewhere else instead of bringing their money here. People in countries we visit would turn away from us in the streets.

141 days to the next election.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Whalers' Tunnel

(Freo visit, June 2007)

Whalers Tunnel under the Round House Arthur Head Fremantle

Under the Round House there's an old whalers' tunnel. It's from way back in the 19th century when Freo had a whaling station.

From the sea side, looking through at a building on High Street. The Round Hose is on top to the left of the edge of this photo. (Map includes archaeological sites)

It was built by the Freo Whaling Company in 1837 or 38 for easy access to the town. Bathers Beach was the original port part of the town so that makes sense. Otherwise they would've had to lump stuff all the way up and over the cliff or round it.

"The Whalers' Tunnel was the first underground engineering project in Western Australia," one of the little history plaques says, "and the government provided engineering expertise and convict labour to build it.

Originally the tunnel was 3.6 metres high and 64 metres long. Quarrying of the western cliff [picture above] of Arthur Head has reduced this length to 46 metres. The limestone excavated during construction was used to build the whaling station jetty."

Whalers Tunnel under the Round House Arthur Head Fremantle

Same plaque:

"The much smaller 'Secret Tunnel', which can be seen branching from this tunnel, was constructed in 1938 to provide quick access from the Gunner's Cottage on the upper level to the Whalers' Tunnel, which was used as an air raid shelter in World War II.

Wrought iron gates were installed at the ends of the tunnel in the 1930s as part of an attempt to beautify the area."

A round house on a cliff with a secret tunnel! How very Biggles!

Arthur Head c.1850-69

You can see the tunnel clearly in this circa 1850-69 photo. Above it is the wide shape of the Round House and the signal mast above it. The other buildings are listed on the map.

Whalers Tunnel under the Round House Arthur Head Fremantle

Looking across the railway tracks, through the tunnel and out to Gage Roads and the sea.

There's a mention of Australia's whaling industry in Herman Melville's 1851 novel Moby Dick:
"That great America on the other side of the sphere, Australia, was given to the enlightened world by the whaleman. After the first blunder-born discovery by a Dutchman, all other ships long shunned these shores as pestiferously barbarous; but the whale-ship touched there. The whale-ship is the true mother of that now mighty colony."

The Dutchman is either Willem Janszoon or Abel Tasman. The Dutch mapped a bit of the coastline of Australia around the 1600s-1700s, called it New Holland and buggered off home.

More history stuff:

"Arthur Head is a remnant coastal limestone cliff of wind blown sand on fossil coral reef.

For the Nyungar, it is associated with Waugal (who created the Swan River) and Walja (Eaglehawk).

Arthur Head was the landing place of the first [white] settlers of the Swan River Colony. Arthur Head is a significant heritage site where Fremantle and the Swan River Colony started and represents several post contact development themes including:
Maritime and port uses (1829-1850s, 1870s)
Whaling and boat building (1837-1860s)
Law and order (1830-1850s, 1870s)
Defence (1900s, 1930s-1940s) and
Industry (1880s-1920s).

The area was used as a maritime port, a whaling and boat building station, a centre for justice, a defence post and has had several industies.

Captain James Stirling, Henry William Reveley, Philip Snell-Chauncey, James Austin and Hilson Beasley are associated with the development of the area.

The map [below] indicates the existing sites associated with the many uses of Arthur Head Reserve."

Arthur Head

(Go back to where you came from)

1 Roundhouse, well and bakehouse (1831)
2 Whalers' Tunnel (1831)
3 Sea wall (c1873)
4 Kerosene store (1884)
5 Pilot's cottage No 9 (1904)
6 Pilot's cottage No 10 (1904)
7 Pilot's cottage No 11 (1904)
8 Pilot's cottage No 12 (1904)
9 Gunner's cottage (1904)
10 Gunner's cottage (1904)
11 Artificer's store (c1909)
12 Laboratory (c1912)
13 J Shed (c1912 - relocated from Victoria Quay c1968)
14 Secret tunnel (c1938; WWII)
15 Signal mast & timbeball (1986/88)
16 Toilet block

17 First courthouse (1835 - <1869)
18 Whalers' Jetty (c1837 - 1870s)
19 Tryworks (c1837 - 1900, 1930?)
20 Stationhouse (c1837 - >1887)
21 Cave stores (c1838 - c1887)
22 South Jetty (c1847 - 1929)
23 Scound lighthouse (1876 - 1903)
24 Magazine (c1850 - 1895)
25 Government cottage (c1850 - c1966)
26 Police Station complex (c1850 - 1895)
27 Second courthouse (1851 - 1903)
28 Mews boatshed (1856 - <1945)
29 Harbourmaster's house (<1869 - 1928)
30 Long Jetty (c1873-1921)
31 First lighthouse (c1850-c1903)
32 Lightkeeper's quarters (c1844 - 1904)
33 Mortuary (c1896 - 1922)
34 Time Ball (1900 - 1937)
35 Signal Station (c 1902 - 1929) & WWII Observation Post (c1929 - 1962/67)
36 Fruit shed (c1904 - 1974)
37 Power House (1905 - 1906)
38 Gun Emplacements (190 - 1966)
39 Gun Emplacements Base (Relocated c1967)
40 Signal Mast No.2 (c1905 - c1975)"

(Go back to where you came from)

Friday, June 22, 2007

The Round House

Freo was Manjaree, Nyoongar people's land, before it was a British settlement. The Swan River Colony started in 1829 with free settlers and the convicts started coming in 1850.

The Round House Fremantle Western Australia

But the first permanent building was a prison anyways, built in 1830 to house local white crims.

They bunged it up on Arthur Head, a knob of high ground looking out to sea, over the mouth of the river and down to Cockburn Sound (Map).

Out the back they bunged up navigation lights and signalling. Near Arthur Head they built cottages for the harbour-master, the pilots (boat pilots) and the lighthouse-keeper.

The Round House Fremantle Western Australia

The guards quarters above the entrance and office. The well in the foreground. If you look carefully through the entrance on the big version you can see a view down High Street to the pointy tower of the Town Hall.

When the convicts came in 1850 the Round House was too small to hold them and they were put to work building their own prison a couple of kilometres away. That was Fremantle Prison and it held convicts then crims until 1991.

(Go to the Ducktionary for the difference between convicts and crims.)

The Round House Fremantle Western Australia

A cell (right), stocks (wooden thing) and yards for washing and so on. In the left foreground is the well supplying the building with water. You can see them better in the big version.

Taken from the doorway of a cell and showing the width of the building minus 6-8 feet.

"...[T]he Round House was used as a police lock-up through until 1900. It then became the living quarters for the chief constable, his wife, and their ten children."

How fucking cool would it be living there as a kid? Only living in a lighthouse would top that for PCF (Playground Coolness Factor).

View west from The Round House Fremantle Western Australia

Taken from the back of the Round House, looking out to west.

Garden Island (left), Rotto (centre) with the corner of Success Harbour on the left (middle distance) and what must be the road to South Mole in the right foreground.

Garden Island is a naval base, HMAS Stirling.

Rotto is Rottnest Island, popular local tourist destination and former prison for Aboriginal prisoners. Success Harbour used to be Fishermans Harbour, before the America's Cup business way back in the eighties, and it's still a working harbour. No visit to Freo is complete without fish & chips from Cicerello's at Fishermans Harbour.

That's the Indian Ocean yer looking at, by the way. The next major landfall is South Africa.

Freo, Perth & Australia

The red dot at the mouth of the harbour is the Round House.

Round House website

Magic spray

Torchwood started here the other night. It's on Ten, home of Big Bother, so there was some wanky promo for it which pissed me off no end and was pretty irrelevant.

But it's a Dr Who spin-off so it was rather fun. Particularly when that guy uses the Alien Randy Spray(TM) on some chick at the pub and she's snogging him then her boyfriend comes after her all aggro and the guy sprays him as well and then he snogs the guy and they all go off for some three-way action.

More please!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Second storm fails to lash Woy Woy

Batten down ready for another one just like the other one, they said. Get yer candles out, they said, put on an extra blanket and tie down yer pot plants and wait.

So we did.

Nothing happened.

2nd storm fails to lash Woy Woy

Dawn dawned with a dark menacing grey sky with bugger-all wind and then the sun came out and there's still bugger-all wind.

Monday, June 18, 2007


Dune damage Ocean Beach Umina

Trotted down to Ocean Beach and took a few snaps of the dune damage. Not very dramatic is it?

The damage on the Peninsula is minor. The main suffering was had when the power was out for 3 days and no-one could get a hot cup of tea or a warm bath. Except in the few shops that didn't get a blackout.

There were no deaths on the Peninsula. The seven deaths were all further up the Coast where the damage was much worse. A falling tree, one unknown but probably a drowning and that whole family whose car plunged into the missing bit of the Old Pacific Highway, poor bastards.

Dune damage near Ettalong Beach on Ocean Beach Umina

Dune damage on Ocean Beach near the Ettalong Beach corner.

In the background there we're looking at the back of Wagstaffe and at Lobster Beach, which appears to have disappeared entirely.

Ocean Beach SLSC Trafalgar Avenue Umina

Ocean Beach SLSC (Surf Life Saving Club) Trafalgar Avenue Umina. The construction site didn't suffer much damage that I could see.

Lion Island, Barrenjoey Head & Pittwater from Ocean Beach Umina

Lion Island, Barrenjoey Head & Pittwater from Ocean Beach. Tree trunk and seaweed in foreground. There was a lot of seaweed and bits of trees washed up. It's a week now since the big storm (another possible tomorrow) and all the interesting and fun washed-up stuff is gone. The waves are still big and fierce though and half the beach is gone.

This photo is not lightened. This is how dark it is today and since I got back. There's another storm forecast and even if we don't get any more big winds, it'll piss down again.

Storm map from Friday

Umina Rampart has some nice photos of trees down on powerlines and so on. This one nicely illustrates the level of damage in most parts of the Peninsula.

The Dear Old Things and the Local Rag have caught me up on all the storm gossip:

Power blackouts from Saturday/Sunday to Monday/Tuesday, all over the Peninsula & The Bays.
No mobile phone coverage.
Minor flooding only & sand across the road on The Esplanade at Ettalong.
Plenty of roads closed, including roads to Gosford & Sydney.
Plenty of bits ripped off roofs & several shop signs & awnings down.
Tree on the line at Woy Woy & landslide at Wondabyne (Mullet Creek) brought the Sydney train to a halt & cutting the Sydney-Newcastle rail link.
Buses replaced trains between Hornsby (Sydney) and Gosford & a bus got flooded out at Gosford.
Train hit the landslide at Wondabyne but wasn't derailed.
It took 3 days to get the trains running again.
Jim Morrison of Woy Woy recorded the Peninsula's rain at 217MM for the storm period. The June average is 128MM.

* Ducktionary

Friday, June 15, 2007

Hunter Collectors

Damaged fence

This is pretty much the extent of the visible damage in Bustling Downtown Woy Woy.

The Dear Old Things, however, had hair-raising tales and Michael won't mind me dragging his comment onto this post:

the power was out in certain parts for anything up to 3 days my aunt who lives at booker bay didnt get power back until monday afternoon!!!

i was down at umina last saturday morning and the northern side of west st, all the shops were shut (from Bi Lo [near Ocean Beach Road corner] down) because they didnt have power and the other side everything was operating as normal because they had power but that was back to normal by sunday night

Shit. Must've been bloody cold with no power for that long. Hope yer aunty didn't freeze, Michael.

We're copping more storms this weekend and in the same areas hit last weekend. Gale force winds are predicted and the newsreader on Aunty just said to batten down the hatches.

Go to Hunter Collectors for photos of the beached ship at Newcastle/Nobbys Beach and other storm damage in the worst hit areas. Residents' photos of the worst damage aren't online yet due to power black-outs and shorted out computers.

Bit more


Thank you for all the nice comments.

Hard to know what to say about Mum. Takes quite a bit of adjusting for all concerned when cancer goes from survivable to terminal. Having no timeframe makes it worse. The prognosis is "perhaps as much as two years, perhaps as little as six months".

Anyways, gloomy subject. Let's keep off it.

Lady Kendall update

Listen to a podcast of a new interview with her current owner Alan Draper.

The Lady Kendall story and photos of her are here and here and that second link has links to articles and a podcast history.

Thanks to Gnoyc for the podcast link.

Thursday, June 14, 2007


And I didn't get washed away neither.

Woy Woy to Perth & back

On the right is Woy Woy (upper dot) and Sinny (AKA Sydney). On the left is Perth, capital city of Western Australia. The blue line is the airbus.

Fremantle Hospital South Terrace Fremantle

"Fremantle Hospital
Princess of Wales Wing" it says.

One of Freo Hospital's newer bits.

It's a fairly comfortable bit. Good thing too. My mother's in there dying of cancer.

She's been sick for a long time but she suddenly took a turn for the worse and it looked like she had days so all of us ships came back to the shore.

She's stable again now and as comfortable as you can be under the circs. But she's running out of time. Six months left maybe. Next I disappear suddenly that'll be why.

The Knowle
(Old photo)

The Knowle building still stands in the hospital grounds. It was built in 1852 from local limestone (sandstone) and stood on a bit of a rise. Would've had goods views out to sea then. The parts of the hospital on South Terrace still do.

Photo taken from a corridor somewhere. Your guess which corridor is as good as mine. Bloody labrynth Freo Hospital.

Alma Street from Freo Hospital

Alma Street from Freo Hospital. Quiet little street in old Freo. Or it would be quiet if ambulances didn't hurtle down it at all hours.

View from Freo Hospital

View from Freo Hospital out over South Terrace to Gage Roads. Gage Roads is the holding pen for ships waiting to come into Freo Harbour.

Storm damage

Storm damage map

Bottom arrow is Sydney, middle arrow is Woy Woy. Top arrow is Maitland & the Hunter, where the floods and the main damage was done. The fallen bit of highway that took out the car is maybe 15 kays above Woy Woy.

The pictures on the news were bloody alarming. Ships beaching themselves (Nobbys at Newcastle), bits of the Pacific Highway dropping off and a carload of peeps plummetting to their doom, ferries stopped in Sydney, flash flooding up Maitland way, and all that sort of thing.

Rang one of the Dear Old Things. She said it was a bit blowy but everyone was all right and she could see my place was all right from her window so I wasn't too fussed.

Nice big map showing major incidents on Suzanne's walkies blog. Thanks, mate.

Cold showers and crosswords by candlelight for the Maroons (Queensland Rugby). They were in town and had to bunk down at Woy Woy Leagues overnight. (Sadly this link contains no pictures of footy players showering.)

Clean up could take yonks says the SES (State Emergency Service, those peeps in orange jumpsuits). Maitland and thereabouts, particularly Hinton, has taken a terrible thrashing. Flooded up to the Khyber Pass and wading in their own shit, poor bastards.

Had a look around outside this morning when I emptied my bulging letterbox. Checked the Dear Old Things had no broken windows and missing roof tiles. Didn't talk to them yet. It's fucking freezing today and they'll be tucked up in front of the telly with the cat and their fluffy slippers on.

There's fuck all damage in my street but I got home in the wee hours and haven't been out for a look at Woy Woy yet. Tomorrow.