Thursday, January 31, 2008

Rum Rebellion

No walkies today. It is too bloody hot and too bloody sticky. I am sitting on a wet towel praying for rain and learning about history.

I learnt about the Rum Rebellion at school and somehow came away with the idea it was connected to Slim Dusty's Pub with no beer.

It wasn't. The song's about a NSW pub drunk dry by American forces during World War II. The Rum Rebellion was essentially teething troubles in the young colony of New South Wales.

In 1808 the colony of New South Wales had been going for 20 years. And going badly. The whitefellas had few supply ships, not enough food and too many mouths to feed. The economy was in a nosedive and too many bigwigs were throwing their weight around.

Then Bligh gets sent out to be the next Governor*.

William Bligh

That's William Bligh. The same Bligh from the mutiny on the Bounty, arrived in August 1806. On the way from England he had a tiff with the captain of the other ship on the journey and relieved him of his duties.

When he arrived it was chaos. No-one was happy, everyone was miserable, the Corps (soldiers/prison-wardens), the convicts, the free settlers and of course the blackfellas.

Bligh was a bloke with a short fuse. The colony was already well supplied with blokes with short fuses and some of them were armed. 20 years to the day after the colony was founded (26th January 1788), some of those armed fuses decided to bung Governor Bligh under house arrest and run the colony themselves. So they did. Then they had a party.

It was Australia's only military coup. Plenty of people had hissy fits but not a shot was fired, not a drop of blood was spilled. Though Bligh's daughter apparently tried to fight off the whole NSW Corps (the arresting officers) with her brolly.

Bligh at Australian Dictionary of Biography

That is it from me today, peeps. I am hot, tired and buggered. If there's a storm tonight I can walk tomorrow.

* American readers, a Governor (in Australia) is the King's/Queen's Representative and a cross between a coach and an assistant manager. (Back)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Straylya Day

Went into Woy Woy on Australia Day, for the fireworks. There was a fair crowd round Anderson Park, the wee park opposite the ferry wharf.

Bird lanterns Australia Day 2008 Woy Woy

There was a parade of lanterns before the fireworks and some decent live music and belly dancers. Didn't see that belly dancer chick who wears the green outfit. Pity, she's good.

These two lanterns looked very serene floating over the crowd.

Heart lantern Australia Day 2008 Woy Woy

Paper hands glued on, some sort of bird trapped in the centre there and pretty rainbow colours like Mardi Gras. (Parade's March the 1st this year, peeps, you got a month to polish that tiara.)

Phoenix lantern Australia Day 2008 Woy Woy

Phoenix. That mythical bird that rises from the ashes. Good symbolic thingy for bushfire season. Let's be hoping we don't need it this year.

Fire lantern Australia Day 2008 Woy Woy

Fire for summer's heat? Just for pretty? Dunno. The paper just said "parade of lanterns" not why. It had a certain low-key coolness about it and the sprogs clearly enjoyed it and there were some chicks with pink fans. No idea what they were about.

The parade went from the Memorial Park to Anderson Park. A distance of maybe 100 feet. It's a small town.

Fireworks Australia Day 2008 Woy Woy

It was a still night and the fireworks reflected in the water in the channel. They set them off from the commercial wharf I think. The one next to the ferry wharf. Wasn't close enough to see.

To the left of the fireworks there's half a dozen kayakers in the water with wee star-shaped lanterns in their boats. I liked those better than the fireworks to tell you the truth.

Some excellent news over the Australia Day long weekend: our new PM is promising to say sorry to the Aborigines.

More on Australia Day

Clean up in lane two

F3's a carpark apparently and could be until dinner time. Some truck caught fire. Diesel tanker or diesel-fueled I don't know. You know what news reports are like. Big black smear of burnt stone on the cut. Looked like it's near Mount White. There's some sort of prang there every other day. I like the train. The view's good and you can work or read or whatever.

Blazing truck causes F3 chaos - has a video as well

Thursday, January 24, 2008


(Yattalunga walkies #1, Map)

Foreshore at Centennial Avenue Saratoga

Rush hour at Centennial Avenue foreshore, Saratoga.

Someone was taking their dog for a swim, several giggly teenagers on an inflatable raft were being towed very slowly through the shallows, a few speedboat droned slowly from Gosford to Woy Woy.

Tascott from Centennial Avenue Saratoga

Looking across from Centennial Avenue Saratoga to Tascott.

Plenty of nice views to be had today but the bastard light was dodgy as hell for photos.

Saratoga & Tascott from Centennial Avenue Saratoga

Steyne Road Saratoga (middle distance) and Tascott from Centennial Avenue Saratoga.

Hung around for a bit hoping the light would improve then set off down a side street, along a public access path and over the hill into Yattalunga.

Yattalunga Tidal Pool

Yattalunga Tidal Pool. That's it at the end of the jetty, that bit of water surrounded by a fence. There was a happy family out there with their fishing rods and the kid in a life jacket. I glared at them moodily and stamped off again to enjoy my misery. I was already hot and cross and I'd only been walking ten minutes.

Strangle vine at Yattalunga foreshore

Knotty bits on some sort of strangle vine taking over a gum on the foreshore.

Mangrove grove Yattalunga foreshore

Mangrove root bleaching in the sun in front of a wee grove of mangroves near the tidal pool.

Decaying house Mundoora Avenue Yattalunga

Decaying house Mundoora Avenue Yattalunga. Big empty backyard behind this one. Some developer person will snap it up and there'll be a dozen aggressively modern units on it before you can say demolition order. Though it's true the house may fall down of its own accord before then.

Tinny & mangrove grove Yattalunga foreshore

A tinny and Brisbane Water right across from yer front door. You wouldn't be dead fer quids.


The red circled bit is Yattalunga. Right above Saratoga and Davistown.

Feeling bloody sorry for myself today. Up half the night talking to God on the big white phone then a hot sweaty walk with the light coming and going like a punter on a 5 minute voucher. Dragged myself out of bed at morning tea time, tottered onto the ferry and stamped along my walkies route muttering about how hard done by I was and how evil the light was for coming out then going back on the second the camera was fired up. Back at home now with me feet in a nice cool foot bath and the delightful prospect of no work tomorrow followed by the Australia Day long weekend.

Our Heath

Our Heath & Doe Eyes in Brokeback Mountain
Our Heath & Doe Eyes in Brokeback Mountain

Shit. That was out of the blue. Hope the family unplugs their telly for a month and pays no attention to the wild speculation and general bollocks that follows a celebrity death. My sympathies to them.

Sydney Morning Herald articles, photo links & obituary

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

King tide

(Davistown walkies)

High tide this morning was bloody high. It's full moon and and the tide had swallowed all the wee beaches round the estuary and submerged half the private jetties and dozens of dingies.

The public jetties are made of sterner stuff but the Dear Old Things and I needed sherpas to get up the steep slope of the gangplank onto the Saratoga. They were off to the Davo for a steak sanger and a shandy and I was off to finish off the last few streets of Davistown.

King tide creek Lillipilli Street Davistown

King tide creek Lillipilli Street Davistown. Edge of the wetland beside the road under water.

Lillipilli is a native plant, "a bush" says the Dear Old Thing downstairs, "excellent for hedges". There's some good close-ups of lillipilli flowers and inhabitants here.

Wetland Lillipilli Street Davistown

Wetland between Lillipilli Street and Murna Road. Looking down through the shallow water I could see the cracked earth of the drought years slowly swelling with moisture and little water critters playing about.

The wetlands are "Swamp Sclerophyll Forest", as I rabbitted on about a while back when I did Cockle Bay Wetland. This swamp is not far from Cockle Bay, a bare 200 metres.

Tidal Waters Davis Avenue Davistown

Tidal Waters villas on a canal, end of Davis Avenue Davistown.

If you'd asked me what I expected to find lurking at the end of an ordinary-looking street in Davistown I would not have said a canal, but a canal there was. It led out past the Davo and into Kincumber Broadwater. The villas each had their own little stone steps leading down to a miniscule landing and a nice ring to tie their dingy up. It looked rather fun.

Murna Road canal off Davis Avenue Davistown

Canal running beside Murna Road Davistown. The canal leading off the Davis Avenue canal and out past the Davo and into Kincumber Broadwater. You can't see it from Murna Road unless you poke your head through the trees beside the road.

Davistown Store c.1920 McCauley Street Davistown

Davistown Store c.1920 McCauley Street Davistown

Not sure what this building does now. Seems to be some sort of office out the back and the front seems uninhabited.

Circa 1920 says my hist list, and it looks it. Nice inter-war bungalow. Right next to the public wharf too so handy for the boating trade in its days as a shop.

Lovely cool east wind again today. Yesterday I sat on the balcony for hours just watching it gusting in the old gum next door. Over at Davistown I sat today on the foreshore and listened to it roar soft and cool through the needle-leaf pines and the water slap and splash against the tied-up boats.

Walkies map January 2008

Updated my walkies progress map at last.

Saratoga and Davistown are at 1 o'clock and 2 o'clock from Woy Woy.

Walkies finished marked in solid orange. Walkies unfinished marked in orange stripes.

Still got a bit to go of Saratoga and Hardys Bay etc. Gosford I've done a bit of but not much. Bradys Gully cemetery was a North Gosford walk.

Walks I have finished since I started

The Peninsula: Woy Woy, Blackwall, Umina, Ettalong, Booker Bay, Pearl Beach & Patonga
Correa, Horsfield, Phegans & Woy Woy Bays
Parks Bay
Koolewong/Murphys Bay
Point Clare
Longnose (Point Frederick)
Empire Bay
St Huberts Island
Daleys Point
Fishermans Bay

Walks I've done bits of since I started

West Gosford (might've finished this but can't be buggered looking it up)
East Gosford & Springfield
Hardys Bay
Pretty Beach

(There's a better list somewhere in my archives. If anyone's got the URL for it, pop it in the comments there's a dear, I've spent half an hour looking for the bastard.)

Friday, January 18, 2008

La Nina

It just stopped raining. No, wait, it's starting again. Been raining all night and all day. No danger of flash floods I hasten to add. Even it pissed down for forty nights and forty nights here it'd drain off toot sweet into the estuary.

This La Nina business is very nice what with the rain and everything after the drought and the relevant gods should note that I am not complaining about the rain but it is crap weather for walkies and photography.

Thus we are looking at some old photos today and a couple that are just for pretty.

Woy Woy Bay

Historic photo of some blokes and a dingy at Woy Woy Bay about 100 years ago. Why the bloke in the 3 piece suit is wearing a 3 piece suit on a dingy expedition is beyond me. I s'pose they did that sorta thing back then.

Ocean Beach postcard 1924

Ocean Beach (Umina) postcard from 1924. Flogging the unsophisticated charms of Woy Woy's Ocean Beach to Sydneysiders. Nothing remains of those 2 boarding houses or the bus and the Umina Post Office now ekes out an existence in the back of a chemist.

Woy Woy 1930s

1930s Woy Woy from Woy Woy Bay. Notice how many houses there aren't. Now the Peninsula's covered in houses. Here they're pretty much all clustered around the station.

The station is the wee white building at the end of that long jetty sticking out onto the low-tide mud flats, this side of the tracks.

The biggest building, pale roof, on the left of the road, is the old 200-seat cinema where the Woolworths supermarket is now.

The road heading towards the back of the photo from about a third of the way across from the left, is Blackwall Road on its way to Blackwall Mountain.

The Bouddi from Mount Ettalong

Umina Beach (lower left) and the Bouddi Peninsula (right) from Mount Ettalong.

Follow the beach up from the left bottom corner until it gets to a sharp bend. Follow the sand bar out to the right from that sharp bend. That's the big sandbar the ferries have to avoid as they come across from Palm Beach.

Daleys Point

We're looking here across from Daleys Point to Blackwall Point (left, houses on Orange Grove Road) and Blackwall foreshore. That flat-topped pine tree is at the end of McMasters Road and Blackwall Road runs parallel to and behind the foreshore.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008


How was your Chrissy?

Mine was bloody nice. Spent most of it laying about in the altogether at a mate's place in Tumbi. Lovely spot out the back. Nice flat paddock going down into a valley and a capacious beer fridge on the veranda. What more could a person want in a mate?

Brisbane Water Drive Koolewong

Derelict old cottage squeezed in between the railway and the road on Brisbane Water Drive at Murphys Bay (Koolewong), just opposite Sheathers. It might've been there before the railway.

It's gone now. Demolished recently.

Derelict houses cnr of Ocean Beach Road & Pioneer Road

Gone now. Demolished recently. Ten bucks says there's a dozen villas on there before you can say development approval.


The UFO AKA St John's Blackwall Road Woy Woy

The UFO AKA St John's Blackwall Road Woy Woy. Rumour has it late arrivals to services are locked out and have to buzz to be let in. Seems a bizarre way of dealing with worshippers in these times of shrinking congregations.

Rumour also has it this church is a Pope-lure. Il Papa is visiting this wide brown land later this year and is holding some sort of shindig at Randwick Racecourse. Gosford's racegoers have successfully had him banned from their racecourse.

Old St John's Blackwall Road Woy Woy

Old St John's Blackwall Road Woy Woy. It's a bastard to photograph due to being on a busy intersection.

The large building is the old 1914 St John's church. To the right of it are the villas built about a year ago. They are in a very sympathetic style, using an almost identical brick colour and even have flat arches (bricks arranged vertically on across the top of the windows).

They replaced the eccentric collection of old school buildings and sheds that were on the church grounds.

Yacht moored off Ettalong Beach

Yacht moored off Ettalong Beach on a warm day. Looking out between Wagstaffe (left) and the knob of Ettalong (right) to Lion Island (behind yacht), Barrenjoey Head and Pittwater. Taken a dozen yards from the house above.

Ocean View Road Ettalong

Ocean View Road Ettalong. Lovely old place with a large tangled backyard. From the veranda it's perhaps 50 steps to the water. I am suffering terribly from envy.

Messing about in boats at Ettalong Beach

Messing about in boats at Ettalong Beach. Looking out between Wagstaffe (left) and the knob of Ettalong (right) to Lion Island, Barrenjoey Head and Pittwater. Taken a dozen yards from the house above.

Odds and sods

Lisa and Derrick's Wobbly Pole House at Umina

Jack Randall's email wants to know "how did you find out all that infomation also where all the heratage houses are." I take photos on my walkies and look them up in architecture books, online and in old local photos. I'm just another keen amateur.

The comments on Palm Beach again are a rich seam of local info, including more support for wooden boats, a Freo connection, a flash flooding report and news of "a gateway to the fabled lost Egyptian civilisation at Kariong". Thank yer and a belated Merry Hogswatch to all who participated.

On other posts Woy Woy Steve reveals himself as a fellow map geek and Greg avails himself of Dr Spike's Woy Wegian Family History & Ferry Tours Service.

And Dr Annona Pearse of the Uni of Newcastle wants you.

She's after info on and photos of the old Ocean Beach Aquarium. "The Aquarium, owned by the late Eric Worrell, operated in the late 1940s and early 1950s on the corner of West and Augusta Streets Umina ... Many Peninsula residents may have memories of visiting the aquarium or supplying Eric Worrell with funnel web spiders for his early work in the supply of venom."

Read the rest of the article at the local rag or ring Dr Pearse on (02) 4382 6514.