Thursday, February 21, 2008

The frog remains the same

(Random walkies in Woy Woy)

Tuesday and Wednesday I spent on the sofa with a blanket feeling sorry for myself. The guts had a brief relapse but they and I are back on deck. Bit of sun this morning and it was over 25 degrees as well, so I wandered down to the hardware via the beach.

Barrenjoey Head & Lion Island from Umina Beach

Barrenjoey Head & Lion Island from Umina Beach. The clouds piled up over Pittwater and Lion Island this morning.

Box Head from Umina Beach

Box Head from Umina Beach. Beach walkers taking advantage of the sun. It's gone again now and was barely out when I took these.

Going down Trafalgar Avenue to the beach I noticed the old wall rock-and-cement fountain has been taken off the front of that block of 1960s flats called Westcourt. The faded green cement frog is still there though and continues to make a handy whatsit on which to dry a bathmat in the sun.

Sophy's place to Webb's Flat to Woy Woy

I acknowledge that I am blogging from Guringai/Darkinjung land and that the Guringai/Darkinjung are the traditional owners of Woy Woy*.

Michael and Steve commented about the age of the oldest buildings on the Woy Woy Peninsula. (Thanks for the info on those shops, guys.) I haven't blogged much about the beginning of whitefella Woy Woy so here it is.

In March 1788, just a couple of months after the First Fleet arrived in Sydney, Governor Philip and a few of his men came up from Sydney cove for a decko at Broken Bay. They made brief contact with the local people, decided Brisbane Water was of no use to them and went back to Sydney.

Woy Woy was James Webb's farm in the beginning of white inhabitation. Webb arrived in 1823 and by 1834 had bought the land Bustling Downtown Woy Woy stands mostly on.

Webb and Sophy, a Guringai woman, had a daughter. Her name was Charlotte. She was born around 1828, died in 1913 and is buried at Bradys Gully.

For a long time Woy Woy wasn't developed much, just a few houses and ship-yards. Going to the shops meant a vigorous row or a gentle ferry ride up to Gosford. From what I can make out, shops and pubs only started appearing in Woy Woy when the railway came in 1888.

After the railway came there was a population boom then another in the 1940s-1950s, again the 1970s and again now. With populations booms you get building booms and of course those buildings are what forms the visual character of a town.

The Woy Woy pub is 1897 but most of the oldest commercial buildings seem to be long gone, having been wooden and having vanished by the 1940s.

Noonan's is 1914. Looks older but the date is on the front and is confirmed in Strom (excellent local historian).

Ettalong was founded in 1830 according to the sign in Picnic Parade (end of the treed traffic island, facing Blackwall Mountain). I'm hoping to get a firmer date for that pair of old shops in Ettlaong but it's looks like it'll be a tough nut to crack. Haven't found any references yet or seen them in any old photos.

Anyone with old photos of or info about Woy Woy and the Brisbane Water area is more than welcome to post them and it in the comments.

Darkinjung Nation

More local history at the library.

* Hope I got that right. It's part of my post-Sorry efforts. So far I haven't found a lot of info about pre-1788 in the local histories, not even which is the correct name for the Woy Woy people. It's very frustrating.


Woy Woy Steve said...

Great read Spike and timing ! I was halfway finished my new story on the local Guringai tribe when I dropped in for a gander, I've compiled a history of the local Aborigines from a few different sources and put them into an easy to read timeframe story , some of this info is not available online anywhere so it's worth a read - so if you are interested browse on over to
Also you are all invited to join the Woy Woy Area Message board for those who have lots to type , it's just been upgraded and has over 100 members already but suffers from a lack of regular posters , I'm willing to upgrade it to no ads if we get some regulars and you can moderate your own thread or suggest new threads once members - check the link from the above site or go to
Check it out hope to see some of you soon :)

Inexplicable DeVice said...

I find those clouds somewhat comforting - Reminds me that Straylya isn't all blue skies and sun. It still looks nicer than here, though.

Although, a cloudless sky means I can't fly in the daytime - Nowhere to hide!

michael said...

where abouts in trafalgar ave is the westcourt units? I have never noticed it before

Julie said...

Spike, I have followed suit with the "welcome to country" acknowledgement. Thank you for the concept. I love the depth of the photograph out toward Lion Island.

Woy Woy Steve said...

Sorry to those who read my story since Sunday , due to some very inaccurate information in one of my sources and a general glossing over by government records I had to majorly change some parts of the article , good thing is I found extra info ! ( pays to catch that extra wave when youré surfing :0 )

Spike said...

Device dear, have you tried painting yerself blue?

(P.S. Typoed yer name up as Crevice dear. Freudian or what!)

Michael, halfway down to the beach after you leave West Street, opposite the podiatrist. Red brick place, white metal railings.

Julie, yer welcome. I nicked it off Rudd's parlimentary opening. I saw your acknowledgement up the top of your blog. Good spot for it.

Thank yer re photo.

Steve, thank yer. Haven't caught up on the new articles yet. New forum thingy looks good though.

Love yer Woy Woy Bay photo BTW. Very atmospheric. But where the hell did you take it from?

Woy Woy Steve said...

I took that pic from the balcony of a house I was working on in Woy Woy Bay , one of the perks of my job is that I get to see some of the coasts most expensive and scenic homes , usually pack the cam along in the lunch box

Spike said...

You lucky bastard!

michael said...

thanks spike I will look out for that house next time I am in that part of trafalgar ave - dont get to that bit much

Anonymous said...

You are talking about the traditional lands of the Guringai, Darkinjung is a made up name for a local land council and are not tradional people of this area.