Friday, April 24, 2009

Lone Pine

(Random walkies)

Woy Woy Memorial Park 24th April 2009

Australia and New Zealand hold memorial services for the war dead on ANZAC Day. It's like Memorial Day in America or Poppy Day in the UK. ANZAC stands for Australian & New Zealand Armed Corps.

In World War I the Anzacs fought a series of terrible battles in appalling conditions against Turkey at Anzac Cove in Gallipoli. Many of our boys died there and still lie there in Turkish soil. The Turks look after them for us along with their boys.

(To my mate currently serving in the Middle East: Don't get shot at, pet, and enjoy all that khaki crumpet.)

Rosemary in Woy Woy Memorial Park

Rosemary is for remembrance.

Pinus halepensis AKA Lone Pine

It says:

"Pinus halepensis

Lone Pine or Plateau 400 was the scene of a major diversionary offensive launched by the 1st Australian Infantry Division on 6 August 1915. The Turks had cut down all but one of the trees that covered the ridge to clothe thrie trenches. The ridge dominated by the single Allepo Pine (Pinus halepensis) became known as Lone Pine. In three days of fighting the Australians lost more than 2000 men and the Turks losses were estimated at 7000. Seven Victoria Crosses were awarded.

As far as we know two Australian soldiers souvenired pinecones from the ridge that found their way back to Australia.

Lance Corporal Benjamin Smith of the 3rd Battalion, whose brother was killed in the battle for Lone Pine, sent a come home to his mother, Mrs McMullen at Inverall New South Wales. Mrs McMullen kept the cone for 13 years before planting the seeds in 1928. She grew two seedlings, one of which she presented to the town of Inverall and the other to the Parks and Gardens section of the Department of the Interior in Canberra. The Duke of Gloucester planted this second tree at the Australia War Memorial in October 1934. Today iot stands over 20 metres in height.

SGT Keith McDowell of the 24th Battalion carried a pinecone in his haversack until the end of the war. Upon returning home to Australia he gave it to his aunt, Mrs Emma Gray, who lived at Grassmere near Warmambool, Victoria. A decade or so later Mrs Gray planted the seeds and [unknown word] seedlings were grown. One was planted in May 1933 at Wattle Park, Melbourne. Another at the Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne and another at the Soldiers Memorial Hall at The [unknown word]. The last was planted in the Warmambool Gardens.

In 1990 two trees were taken back to Gallipoli with war veterans who attended the memorial service to mark the anniversary of the battle of Lone Pine.

Since the 1980s many trees have been grown by seed and grafting techniques from the tree at the Australian War Memorial. This tree is one of those trees."

Lone pine, Woy Woy War Memorial Park

The photo above is of the marker under this tree. "This tree is one of those trees."

More on Anzac Day at the Ducktionary

The Woy Woy Dawn Service will be at the memorial park on Brick Wharf Road next to the blue fish and chip shop. The march starts at 10.30am from the carpark of Deepwater Plaza, George Street near Railway Street in yer street directory.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Pelican Island

If you live in Woy Woy you can't not know Pelican Island. It's right there opposite the ferry wharf, about as far across the water as a seagull can spit, barely a hundred yards from the train station and Bustling Downtown Woy Woy.

But hardly anyone ever goes there. It's uninhabited, except by pelicans and trees. And mozzies (mosquitoes). Fucking squadrons of the bastards! We were eaten alive, even with the bloody repellant slathered on like cream on cake.

Pelican Island

As you can see in the in-set map, Pelican Island is actually two islands with a narrow channel running between them. Another narrow channel, a dead end, runs into the interior of the larger island. (In-set map borrowed and modified from the local ferry crowd.)

Mangroves on Pelican Island Woy Woy

There's a few tiny wee beaches for landing on the island. The biggest is maybe ten metres long. That's about 33 feet in American. Give or take.

Mangroves, Pelican Island Woy Woy

The rest of the shore is thick with mangroves. Those white lumps on the mangroves roots are rock oysters.

Casuarinas & mangroves Pelican Island Woy Woy

A few feet from the shore and the casuarina trees (left) start. The other name for them is she-oaks. They have needles instead of leaves, not smooth but with tiny segments like bamboo. (Close-up of needles) When the wind whispers through them it gives a soft whispery howl.

Pelican Island Woy Woy

The island is made of sand and can't be more than a metre (about 3 feet) above sea level at high tide. We could see where big waves or king tides had swept sea grass and floating stuff up over the wee beach and several metres inland.

Pelican Island Woy Woy

Going into the interior of the island it was surpisingly open. There were lots of casuarina but a few dozen banksia trees as well and grasses I didn't recognise. That's a banksia there in the middle ground.

Lady Kendall II passing North Burge Road Woy Woy

Once you're into the trees it's easy to forget how close you are to town. This is looking from the north-east end of the island across Woy Woy Channel to Lions Park at the end of North Burge Road (red cross on map.)

That's the Lady Kendall II of the Gosford ferries passing the park. She does the tours.

Rileys Island from Pelican I. Woy Woy Channel

Then you look away to the east and there's Rileys, the other uninhabited island near Woy Woy. (There's also half a dozen wee islets barely wide enough to spit across.)

Pelican Island stats 'n' stuff

Rileys Island stats 'n' stuff

Wee islets nearby: Unnamed Isles, Oyster & Retention Islets at St. Huberts, Islets of Fagans Bay & the one people think is Pelican Island but isn't

Then there's Lion Island, which is in the mouth of Broken Bay not in the Brisbane Water estuary itself. But, just so yer good and confused, the estuary is in Broken Bay. (Maps)

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Easter Bilby

Easter Bilby, Easter Wombat & their child conceived with a turkey baster & a lesbian

The Easter Bilby (right) and his longtime companion the Easter Wombat (left) with their child made with a turkey baster and a lesbian.

For Suzanne's kids. (Vengaman, bilbies and wombats are on the shelf in Woolies in Blackwall Road and in Kmart in Deepwater.)

Have a good Easter, peeps. Maybe by next week I'll have My Humps out of my head.

(But wait there's more: Always Argyll & the Scottionary, another translation thingy.)

Always Argyll

Been listening to an old CD of my grandmother's. She and my grandfather were Scottish. They migrated to Australia long before I was born.

They landed in Perth, the capital of Western Australia, along with a stack of other Scottish migrants. Perth is named after a town in Scotland.

They hung out with a lot of migrant Scots but they also put themselves about with Australian-born people and generally made an effort to fit in. That was partly because some of the Scots they knew missed Scotland terribly and talked about it constantly and my grandparents didn't want to fall into that trap.

My grandfather had a good voice and he used to hum quietly for a bit then burst into singing out loud. But there were a couple of songs he wasn't allowed to sing. He'd start absentmindedly humming them and my grandmother would tell him to stop in this really tense voice and he'd say "Oh aye" and abruptly start singing 'Donald where's your troosers?' out loud. A couple of times I asked about it and he'd say "It's nothing, it upsets your grandmother" or just shake his head.

'Donald where's your troosers?' is a funny song and a good distraction and over time he hummed the forbidden songs less and less and I forgot about it.

But now I'm listening to this old CD I recognise the start of the forbidden songs and I know why he wasn't allowed to sing them. The songs were 'Always Argyll' and the 'Skye Boat Song'. Songs of the homesick. Now I know my Gran was stopping him from torturing himself with missing Scotland.

Always Argyll


I've seen the red sunset glow gold on Loch Fyne
Have I seen these strange wonders for the very last time?
The bright lights of Tarbert are beckoning bright
In the shivering coldness of a dark winter's night.
The Kyles in their glory are spread out below
The high hills of Aran are white-capped with snow
I'll soon have to think of Australia as home
But the truth will be always Argyll.

Always Argyll, always Argyll
Long will the memory linger
I'll soon have to think of Australia as home
But the truth will be always Argyll

High above Tignabruch I look out to sea
It will soon be no more than a memory to me
So I'll shed these few tears as my heart will allow
And maybe in time, I'll be happy somehow.
The thoughts of my childhood spin round in my mind
As I think of the beauty I'm leaving behind
When they ask where I come from, Australia I'll say
But the truth will be always Argyll.

Skye Boat Song

MP3 (Different lyrics, right tune)

The islands are calling
Me back home again
And I long for the skyline of Skye

A lassie is waiting
My girl of the glen
‘Neath the beautiful skyline of Skye

I left her on springtime
Though I loved her so
The blue mountains whispered,
You’re foolish to go

As I sailed with the tide
Something died here inside
How I cried for the skyline of Skye

Speed bonny boat
Like a bird on the wing
Onward! the sailors cry
Carry the lad
That’s born to be king
Over the sea to Skye

In memory I’m hearing
A ghost of a tune
It keeps haunting my heart with a sigh

It tells of our parting
That sad afternoon
It’s the song of the skyline of Skye

The road to the mountains
Leads down to the sea
And that’s where my love
Will be waiting for me

And together we’ll stay
‘Til we’re both old and grey
‘Neath the beautiful skyline of Skye

Yes together we’ll stay
‘Til we’re both old and grey
‘Neath the beautiful skyline of Skye

Donald where's your troosers?

(Whilst listening to this song, picture a braw young lad who's a wee bit shy but good enough to eat.)


I've just come down from the Isle of Skye
I'm no' very big and I'm awful shy
The lassies shout when I go by
Donald, where's your troosers?

Let the wind blow high
And the wind blow low
Through the streets in my kilt I go
All the lassies say Hello!
Donald, where's your troosers?

To wear the kilt is my delight
It isna wrong and I know it's right
And all the folks would get a fright
If they saw me with no clooses!

Let the wind blow high
And the wind blow low
Through the streets in my kilt I go
All the lassies say Hello!
Donald, where's your troosers?

A lassie took me to a ball
And it was slippery in the hall
And I was feared that I would fall
For I had no' me troosers!

Let the wind blow high
And the wind blow low
Through the streets in my kilt I go
All the lassies say Hello!
Donald, where's your troosers?

I once went down to London town
I had some fun in the Underground
A lassie turned her head around, saying
Donald! Where's your troosers?

Let the wind blow high
And the wind blow low
Through the streets in my kilt I go
All the lassies say Hello!
Donald, where's your troosers?

The lassies want me, every one
Just let them catch me if they can
You canna take the breeks off a Highland man
For I don't wear no troosers!

Let the wind blow high
And the wind blow low
Through the streets in my kilt I go
All the lassies say Hello!
Donald, where's your troosers?

Let the wind blow high
And the wind blow low
Through the streets in my kilt I go
All the lassies say Hello!
Donald, where's your troosers?

Donald, where's your troosers?


These definitions are known to me through my grandfather who left Scotland in the 1950s.

(Those getting email delivery of this blog (see sidebar) will get this post in their inbox every time I update it.)

beast, animal

A wee beastie is a small animal. A tiny wee beastie is a very small animal or an insect.

good, beautiful

A bonny day is a beautiful day. A bonny child is good or good-looking.

big, strong, fine

A braw fine lad is someone you would want to chat up.

can't, cannot


didn't, did not

film, movie

isn't, is not

laddy, laddie
boy or young man

lassy, lassie
girl or young woman

not, none



small, tiny

May be used in conjunction with "tiny" to indicate extreme smallness or youth, i.e., "a tiny wee lad" is a very young boy.

Spiketionary (Spike-speak)

Ducktionary (Translates Australian into American)

Chatspeak (Pre-txtspk but still good for a giggle)

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Wyoming walkies

Bustling Downtown Wyoming

Bustling Downtown Wyoming. Glamorous, isn't it? Went there last week, before all this rain, and had a random stroll. There's not much to note in the main part, other than traffic whizzing past on its way up the Coast.

Wyoming has no sheep needing to be taken up the mountain and watched by horny blokes. It's a suburb about twenty minutes north of Woy Woy and forms the nominal northern border of my Flickr group Woy Woy to Wyoming.

It has a small industrial area around Brooks Avenue, just to the left of this photo, and other than that is mostly houses.

Wyoming was Kur-ring-gai country before it was settled by whitefellas. In 1824 Fred Hely (after whom Point Frederick is named) called bought farmland there and in 1954 the first major building went up: the pub.

Wyoming is named after some American poem. ""Wyoming" is believed to be a Delaware Indian term for "wide, grassed valley"", says the library, and "By 1930, the Gosford network had a grand total of six telephone subscribers in Wyoming." Probably got more phones than that now.

Pacific Highway Wyoming

From Wyoming I walked back into Gosford enjoying the mild autumn sunshine. This nice old place was on the Pacific Highway, in sandstone and boards and fibro. Bit worse for wear but still looked solid.

Leadlight windows Pacific Hwy North Gosford

It still had a leadlight window at the front too. Very pleasant.

Art Deco Pacific Hwy Gosford

Art Deco shops on the highway, further down towards Gosford.

Graffitti Pacific Highway Gosford

Saddle-sore and trail-weary graffitto near the end of my walk. This is better than the usual fare. Lift yer game, taggers!

Local linkage

1930s aerial photo of Umina Beach

S Daggar's Woy Woy photos

Lion Island from Blackwall Mountain

Our Olive

Our Olive lives on in song and legend across the world:

Sugar Water Love and Death


And there has been an even older blogger discovered after Olive's death.

109-year old Ruth Hamilton of Florida died shortly before for 110th birthday in January and had been blogging on a site called

Bloody but unbowed

My blog's been lacklustre lately. I admit it. Been feeling unenthused for blogging and walkies. Offline life is keeping me on my toes. In a good way but it distracts from blogging. But I'm getting a bit of non-walkies exercise since my sex drive came back so it ain't all bad.

Anyways, I ain't quitting blogging yet. It and walkies got my health back on track and they'll keep it on track so I'm sticking with both.