Thursday, December 28, 2006

Illoura Reserve

Shepherds washed their socks by night

Snow fell on Christmas Day in Australia and rain put out half the busfires, Warnie's hanging up his shin pads (though probably not his texting thumbs) and if I never see ham again it'll be too soon.

Ta very much for all the nice Christmas wishes. How was your Chrissy?

Illoura Reserve

Had a nice gentle walk this morning. Got the ferry over to Lintern Street Wharf and did the Illoura Walk along the foreshore round the horn of Davistown to Central Wharf then came back again on the ferry. Very pleasant. Birds chirped and twittered, tourists wandered to and fro and asked each other what that island out there was called, dogs bounded and splashed at the water's edge and sniffed each other's bums. The sun was a bit warm but nothing like the fucking sauna it was this time last year.

Illoura Reserve Walk Indigenous Habitation

Get the ferry from Woy Woy Wharf to Lintern Channel between Rileys Island and the Saratoga-Davistown peninsula, get off at Lintern Street Wharf. There's a foreshore park on your right. That's the start of walk. (Map of walk)

The thingy reads:

"This area if the Illoura Reserve was the location of the largest Aboriginal camp in the district during the days of early white settlement.

It was home to a coastal Aboriginal people, whose country stretched from the north side of Sydney Harbour,
through Pittwater and Brisbane Water to the southern end of Lake Macquarie.

There customs and beliefs were etched into the local sandstone surfaces. There are well over 7 thousand rock carvings
and 2 thousand rock art sites in this region. They believed in the Great Creator, Baiyami and there remains totemship with the
land and all its creatures including the Sky world and the sea. It is from these beliefs that the Dreamtime stories evolved.

The women provided most of the food, using lines to catch fish and gathering shellfish, fruit, tubers, insect larvae, snakes, lizards and small animals.
The men hunted kangaroos with spears, boomerang, shields and stone axes and speared fish with
multi-pronged fish spears tipped with fish teeth or bones. They wore possum hair belts to carry their possession.

Shellfish middens were so large that they were later excavated for a local lime burning industry that supplied lime for building works in Sydney.

Whale Dreaming Totem of the Darkinjung people
by local indigenous artist,KEVIN DUNCAN of the
Gomilaroi Darkinjung."

"Shellfish middens ... were later excavated for a local lime burning industry". Bet that made archeologists scream with rage when they found out.

The Darkinjung link says there's only about 320 words of the Darkinjung/Central Coast language left. Haven't yet done enough reseach to identify them in their original forms. Some local placenames are of Aboriginal origin but suffered in translation when originally recorded by whitefellas. They often don't sound right or recognisable in the original language.

Illoura Reserve Walk (2) Brisbane Water Ferry Services

The thingy reads:

"Illoura Reserve Walk
Brisbane Water Ferry Services

Ferry services were relied upon by the small communities around
Brisbane Water to get them to Woy Woy and Gosford prior to the opening of the Rip Bridge in 1974.

The Ferries provided more than just transport!
Along with the cargo of daily newspapers, mail and produce, crews and passengers passed on the social news.
The Ferry also took bodies of the deceased to Gosford for burial!

Every second Thursday was Market Day in Gosford.
The Ferries would take shoppers and stop off at the same scenic locations as they still do today!

The Kincumber ferry Grower was a familiar sight to
Davistown locals and holidaymakers.
(Dundon Collection, Gosford City Library)"

Those "same scenic locations" are Veterans Hall at Henderson Road Saratoga, just round the corner from the old cemetery, Lintern Street Davistown, Central Wharf at the end of Davistown Road Davistown, Pine Avenue just a few hundred yards along from Central Wharf and Empire Bay.

Illoura Reserve Walk Riley's Island & Illoura Peninsula

The thingy reads:

"Illoura Reserve Walk
Riley's Island & Illoura Peninsula

Look to your right, across the channel and you can see Riley's Island.

Originally known as Shell Island, it was bought by John Riley in 1855 for 140 pounds, 17 shillings and sixpence!

Riley first used the island as a farm, running a few cattle before establishing a banana plantation that used seaweed for fertilizer!

At least two ships, possibly three were built on Riley's Island in the 1860s.

The island is low lying with a large expanse of mangrove swamp at its edges and its' interior containing dry sclerophyll forest,
There are two species of mangrove Grey Mangrove (Avicennia marina)
and River Mangrove (Aegiceras corniculatum) providing a valuable habitat for marine and terrestrial creatures.

In the 1960's, there were plans to develop canal divisions on both
Riley's and St Hubert's Islands
. Following a major environmental battle supported by the
famous comedian Spike Milligan, Riley's Island was saved and is now a santuary for local fish and bird life.

Shell Island was sold by the Crown
to John Riley for £140, 17 shillings and sixpence in 1855
(Gosford City Library)"

Extraneous punctuation is theirs not mine. I go in more for typos.

In the drawing Rileys is the island on the right. The left one is St Huberts. "Illoura Peninsula" presumably refers to the Saratoga-Davistown peninsula.

Illoura Reserve Walk Yow Yow - the favourite of Woy Woy

The thingy reads:

"Illoura Reserve Walk
Yow Yow Estate - "the favourite of Woy Woy"

The Yow Yow Estate land subdivision was described as the
"favourite of Woy Woy" in advertisements in 1908.
The prospectus for the estate said
"...every lot is a prize; surrounded by wooded hills;
the best bathing facilities;
Yow Yow will always improve in value, beautiful and varied scenery;
the biggest catches of fish; refreshing helathful breezes."

This are is in the vicinty of Yow Yow Wharf,
named after the 100 hectares that became the Yow Yow estate.
It was originally owned by the son of convicts,
Robert Henderson who with his wife Catherine Geary came to Brisbane Water in 1824.
He was the District Constable.

Henderson was known as a shrewd and enterprising man,
but was also implicated in rum smuggling around Broken Bay and Lower Hawkesbury.
He is best remembered for his connections to his ajoining porperty, Veteran Hall,
where his remains rest in a private cemetery.

Yow-Yow Subdivision map 1908.
(Gosford City Library)"

The waterfront on that map on the thingy shows most of the Illoura Walk. The Yow Yow estate is the area now bounded by Pyang and Emora Avenues in the north, Restella Avenue in the east, Paringa Avenue/Illoura Reserve in the south-east and Lenora Avenue, Malinya Road and Illoura Reserve in the west.

The Dear Old Things sometimes ask for "Yow Yow Wharf thank you young man" on the ferry. The young fella looks bewildered and says do they want the Davo.

Illoura Reserve Walk Exploration of Governor Arthur Phillip

The thingy reads:

"Illoura Reserve Walk
Exploration by Governor Arthur Phillip

In March 1788, Governor Arthur Phillip lead a small party of officers and marines on an exploratory voyage along the coast north of Sydney Harbour
when it was made clear that reliable supplies of waters and food must be found if the First Fleet settlement were to survive.

In an eight day trip, Phillip's party made a brief exploration of both sides of Broken Bay, including a tributary which was originally known as the
"north arm", then the "north east arm" and is known today as Brisbane Water.

This first voyage passed the site of Davistown and rowed towards the modern Bensville but found little of immediate use to the Sydney Cove settlement.

Phillip's observed "the land was much higher than that at Port Jackson, more rocky and equally covered with timber;
large trees which grow on the summits of mountains."

The local Aboriginal people were apparently impressed by Phillip's missing front tooth - as this was an
Aboriginal initiation rite to knock out the front tooth of young Aboriginal men.

A more thorough investigation of Brisbane Water (north west arm) up to Green Point was undertaken in June 1789.
The rugged nature of the area ruled out its use for agricultural purposes.

The explorers then discovered the Hawkesbury River and this area was considered much more suitable for farming.

James Webb was the first white settler on Brisbane Water, who took up land at The Rip (the entrance to Brisbane Water) in 1823.

Governor Arthur Phillip passed the future site of
Davistown several times while exploring local waterways
in 1788 and 1789.
(Dundon Collection, Gosford City Library)"

Map of Broken Bay/Brisbane Water

Illoura Reserve Walk Central Wharf

The thingy reads:

"Illoura Reserve Walk
Central Wharf

Tragedy struck this place on 29th March,
1936 when two cars drove down Davistown Rd and
plunged off the wharf straight into Cockle Channel!

The driver of the first car had mistaken the wharf for a bridge.

This terrible error resulted in all but two of the
cars' eight occupants drowning in the Channel.

Locals rushed to the rescue in their rowing boats.
Survivors were cared for nearby at the Glenorie boarding house.

Putt-Putt Boasts have long had a
place in Davistown history.
Many lovingly restored examples
still ply the waterways.
(Gosford City Library)"

Cockle Channel runs between Davistown and mpire Bay not, as I've previously asserted, between Davistown and Kincumber South.

Illoura Reserve Walk Origins of Brisbane Water Shipbuilding

The thingy reads:

"Illoura Reserve Walk
Origins of Brisbane Water Shipbuilding

James Marks, one of the first settlers of the area named his 60-acre grant which lies to east of Davistown Road "Burramun".

It was purchased by shipwright Benjamin Davis in 1851, who later sold portions of his land to his brothers Thomas, Rock and Edward.

The area was home to the Davis families resulting in the place being known by locals firstly jokingly and now officially as Davistown.
Benjamin also lent his name to the adjoining area, now known as Bensville!

Between 1869 and 1879, Ben built an estimated 34 vessels at Davistown and a further 15 at Bensville.

Rock built 8 vessels at Davistown between 1854 and 1862.
He later moved to Blackwall (near Woy Woy) where he built at least
160 vessels between 1863 and 1904.

Other local shipbuilders include Alfred W.R.M. Settree
who built 7 vessels at Davistown, including day Dawn,
Edith Keep and Dewdrop, between 1869 and 1879 and Giles Jenkins built
10 vessels, mostly ketches between 1876 and 1889.

The ketch Day Dawn was built at
Davistown by A.W.M. Settree in 1869.
(Dundon Collection, Gosford City Library)

For locations see map of the area.

It's taken me half the bloody day to bung that lot up. My brain's on holiday.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Coomal Avenue

Another low light day today. Haven't got time for walkies anyways. Doing an edit. Turning someone else's tortured text into reader-friendly prose. It and its little hairy author are giving me the shits. Just as well there's a fat fee. These Davistown photos are from Monday.

Coomal Avenue Davistown

East end of Coomal Avenue. There's a couple of houses off the end of it, out of frame on the right. Other than that it's just used as the start of an unofficial BMX track and shortcut.

Off Coomal Avenue Davistown

What lies between. Between the west and east ends of Coomal Avenue. It's a mangrove swamp, all dried out in the drought. Prime excuse for development.

Can't find anything on its development online but there's no way some entrepeneur isn't going to leap all over it.

Coomal Avenue Davistown

Western end of a street that's going to be developed. The local kids are using it at the moment as a BMX track.

Took this photo a few weeks back on a day with dodgy light. But I sorta like the gloom anyways. The contrast between the blue of the sky and the dark trees and the grunge of the dried mud.


The 2 red dots are Coomal Avenue west and east. Bet yer fifty bucks there's a retirement village between them inside two years.

The Fat Man

Not sure if I can squeeze another walk in before Christmas. You lot have a good one and come back around the 29th.

Monday, December 18, 2006


(Saratoga walkies #3)

Blue sky today. Haven't seen that much in the last couole of months. Warmish but a good breeze. Zotted up to Gosford this morning then down to Saratoga for lunch with a mate. Had grilled fish, a gasbag about who's shagging who and a nice wander along the water. Perfect day.

Saratoga and Davistown form a roughly pickaxe-shaped peninsula near the Woy Woy peninsula. Today's visit was to the pickaxe's handle. (Photo, map)

Centennial Avenue Reserve Saratoga

Centennial Avenue Reserve Saratoga. Nice spot for a picnic. It looks west-nor'-west across Brisbane Water to Point Clare, Longnose (Point Frederick) and East Gosford.

Public Wharf Mimosa Avenue Saratoga

Standing in the Centennial Avenue Reserve looking across the public wharf to Steyne Road and Mount Pleasant. Tascott in the right background.

Mimosa Avenue Saratoga

An old shop in Mimosa Avenue Saratoga, just a few metres from the water end of Jirramba Avenue. It now sells "arts and crafts".

It's style is Art Deco, an inter-war style running from circa 1915 to circa 1940. Can't find it in my hist list. There's a circa 1914 shop listed at No 91 in nearby Steyne Road and another two in other streets but nothing listed for Mimosa Avenue.

Jirramba Avenue Saratoga

Last house on Jirramba Avenue. Very symmetrical Inter War California Bungalow (circa 1915 - c. 1940).

It faces nor'-nor'-west to Point Clare, Longnose (Point Frederick) and East Gosford. There's nothing between it and the view except the Cennetennial Avenue reserve and some yachts.

Point Clare, Longnose & East Gosford from Centennial Avenue Saratoga

Point Clare, Longnose & East Gosford from Centennial Avenue Saratoga. (Embiggulate)

You can see the faint haze in this photo. Bushfire smoke I think. Smelt it faintly last night. Come across from the Blue Mountains fire maybe or all the way up from Vic. Doubt if it'd be up from Tassie. Some of the Kiwi firefighters injured helping out and a couple of people have been killed in the fires, not sure yet if it's one or two. Poor bastards.

Steyne Road Saratoga from Cenntenial Avenue Saratoga

Looking west-sou'-west towards Mount Pleasant and Steyne Road Saratoga.

Notice the rash of 1980s houses. There's a couple of little old places left though. Have a look in the big version.


Saratoga circled in red. Woy Woy in the middle bottom.

Take the ferry from Woy Woy Wharf or turn off Avoca Drive down Davistown Drive, at the roundabout between the Green Point Baptist Church and Dunlop Hill.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The Joyce

(Random walkies)

Lovely storm the other night. Storms rather. They crashed, rattled and rolled overhead all evening and brought some nice cool wet rain. Magic.

Point Clare Cemetery Coolarn Avenue Point Clare

Popped up to Point Clare Cemetery this morning. This is the entrance. It's a pleasant little cemetery near Gosford. Turn off Brisbane Water Drive at the Point Clare ambo station (beige green 70s building, ambulance in the window). You'll see the cemetery almost immediately after the turn on your right.

Joyce Memorial Point Clare Cemetery Coolarn Avenue Point Clare

Memorial for seven men from the old Nielsen Slipper Factory in Woy Woy. The factory's gone now but was where the Deepwater Plaza extension is now on Railway Street.

In May 1948 they went out for a weekend fishing trip on the Joyce, a 22 foot cabin launch. On the Sunday a strong wind came up. It was described as possibly the strongest wind in 10 years.

On the Monday morning two launches were missing, the Joyce and the Syd, carrying a total of 11 people. Neither boat was ever found and there were no survivors. A memorial to the factory men was erected outside the factory in Railway Street Woy Woy. It was moved from there around the 1960s and ended up at Point Clare a few years later.

More detail at the Library website.

The memorial reads:

"This memorial
is erected to the
memory of
the 7 employees
who lost their lives
in the launch "Joyce"
15th May 1948
C.P. & R. Nielsen Pty. Ltd.
Employees & Relatives
Arthur Bowler
Robert Hayes
Norman John Tolley
Peter Proudfoot
Cyril Law
Norman Eric Lester
Brian Morris Parsons."

Point Clare Cemetery Coolarn Avenue Point Clare

Looking east-south-east from near the front end to the back. It's about twice as wide as what you can see here. Not a huge cemetery, rather nice though.

Kariong is on the other side of that ridge.

Point Clare Cemetery Coolarn Avenue Point Clare

Location Map for the whole cemetery. The brown section on the left is the most active area now. Most or all of the other graves spots are full.

I've been getting bugger-all walkies down this last couple of months. Had a rush of work. Hideous stuff work.


Those fires in Vic joined up. The front is now around 250 kays (155.34 miles) long. Very bad. Plus the Blue Mountains fires are still going and there's bad ones in Tassie (Tasmania) and some evil prick lit one on the outskirts of Perth in Western Australia. There's also been some fires started by the storms around Sydney and one up near Wyong further up the NSW Central Coast.

No fires near me since New Year's Day. I got me fingers crossed there won't be all summer.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Alecia Tearooms

Alecia Tearooms Blackwall Road Woy Woy

Alecia Tearooms Blackwall Road Woy Woy, built in 1926 according to my hist list. One of very favourite buildings on the Peninsula. It's so nutty.

It faces the railway (50 yards to left of frame) and was designed to catch the eye of passengers as they disembarked, drawing them in with the promise of a nice hot cuppa tea and cream cakes.

This is only half the original building. It used to go right across to Noonan's. To see the whole building go to Gosford & District in Pictures and search "Shops, Blackwall Road, Woy Woy".

That's the (now defunct) Commonwealth Bank on Alecia's left and the lane is a shortcut to the internet cafe and the bottleshop (liquor store).

Albert Hamlyn Warner built the Tearooms and that turretted building opposite Wyong Station and his house Strathavon in Boyce Avenue, Wyong.

Waiting for a storm this afternoon. It's bloody muggy and a nice bit of thunder and lightning would go down a treat.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Drip drip drip

Sitting here waiting for the bloody plumber. The pipes and shit in this place are a good 35 years old. They need ripping out and replacing but "replace plumbing" is the sort of phrase landlords can't hear so I ain't holding my breath. Except today, when some bloke is s'posed to show and work his magic on the loo.

Humid here this morning. But nothing like as warm as it must be in the Blue Mountains and Victoria.

The fires in the Blue Mountains (on the outskirts of Sydney) are bad. But the fires in Victoria (south-easternmost state of mainland Australia) are worse. Last night the fire chiefs were talking about how bad it would be if all the fires in the north-east of Vic came together in one massive fucking fire. And now it looks like it's going to happen.

In this morning's SMH:
"[F]orecast hot and windy weekend conditions threaten to combine [the Victorian] bushfires into a single conflagration.

Firefighters from New Zealand were due in Melbourne last night as the state prepared for its most difficult bushfire weekend on record. Up to 50 fires had ripped through more than 87,000 hectares of state forest and the Alpine National Park, raising fears they could fuse into a 600,000-hectare fire when winds and temperatures rise tomorrow."

Shit. Firefighters flying in from another country to help. Not often it gets bad enough for that. Thanks, Kiwis, we owe yer.

BotheredByBees lives quite close to one of the Vic fires and has some good photos, including one of a water-bomber in action. He's posted no new photos for a week. Might've evacuated.

Can't get any accurate updates on the telly. Those fuckheaded newstainment shows on 7, 9 and 10 are twittering about the frocks at some awards night. When the fucking apocalypse comes they'll be handing out advice on what to wear to it.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Henderson Road Saratoga

Henderson Road Saratoga

The style of the house is Victorian Regency, circa 1840 - c. 1890.

You can see which bit is the original house. Look at the main roof (the biggest part of the roof), the chimney and the veranda under the main roof. Those bits are the original cottage. The rest is add-ons in the 1980s-90s (gazebo & right wing) and earlier, perhaps in the 1940s (the foremost part, right hand side).

Go to annotated photo.

Henderson Road Saratoga

1950s fibro (asbestos sheeting) house on the left, Victorian Regency circa 1840 - circa 1890 on the right (see above). The houses behind are 1970s and in Treeview Place.

1950s, the Victorian period and the 1970s are three of the most common styles in the Brisbane Water/Greater Gosford area. Though if I had my way there'd be less seventies and more Victorian. You know how much I hate seventies houses.

These two are on Henderson Road Saratoga, a few minutes walk from the Veterans Hall ferry stop and just across the road from the old Veterans Hall Cemetery.

This part of Saratoga looks across Lintern Channel and Rileys Island to Blackwall Mountain straight ahead and as far as Woy Woy Bay to the right and Hardys Bay and the ocean to the left.

Get the ferry from Woy Woy Wharf. It's a lovely 10 minutes ride to Veterans Hall Wharf. Pop it on yer list of Must Sees for Woy Woy.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


Got off my arse at last and set up one of them online shops. Flogging mugs and cards with some of my best photos on them.

"In Stock, will ship in 2 business days" it says for both the cards and the mugs. That's pretty swift. They take Visa, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and check cards and you can send stuff back if you don't like it.
Card & mug
Link to shop.

I'm particularly pleased with how these two turned out and am figuring out how to get this one onto a mug.

Still wrangling with the tee shirt and hoodie image template thingies so you'll get them in a bit. Meantime, pop over for a gander.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Merritts Wharf

Thirty three degrees and blue sky forecast for today (86 F). It's warming up but overcast. No walkies, got to work. Ugh. Dug up a couple of extra photos from Empire Bay for your viewing pleasure.

Merritts Road Empire Bay

Private jetty on Merritts Road, a few metres from Merritts Wharf, Empire Bay. Rileys Island in the middle distance, Koolewong & Tascott in the background.

Turn off Empire Bay Road at Greenfield Road, go to the end of Greenfield and turn left into Rickard Road. Merritts Road is the narrow bit right at the end of Rickard.

The wharf's still there. Blue and white job right at the end of the street, a public wharf. The name is familiar from my research as either a once-private wharf used to deliver punters into the waiting jaws of real estate agents or as a public ferry wharf, both in the 19th century and possibly in the early 20th century. It's been a while since I've had time for walkies research, bugger it.

Merritts Road Empire Bay

Taken a bit further up the road. St Huberts Island in the middle distance, Woy Woy Bay in the distance.

Have a gander at an old auction notice for a land sale on "Anniversary Day" (Australia Day) 1912 at Merritts Wharf Estate. The estate goes from Rickard Road to close to Empire Bay Road. The streets within it are not all on my 2006 street directory. Crudge Road (love that name) and Greenacre Road seem to be part of Empire Bay Road now. Appian Way is missing but if you join the two ends of Hillcrest Road you can se where it was. Myrtle Road is still Myrtle Road, as are Greenfield Road and Kendall Road. Boronia Road is now Echuca Road and Gosford Road is now part of Rickard Road and all of Rosella Road.

That won't mean much to those who don't live there. Suffice it to say the Merritts Wharf Estate took up half of Empire Bay and I'm expecting to be able to see it still, in the age of the houses, when I walk those streets.

And there's good boating maps for Broken Bay/Brisbane Water at NSW Waterways site. Enjoy.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Weird weather in Woy Woy

(Random walkies)

Hot and sweaty this morning. By 8AM the cicadas were at it but the forecast was for 24 (67 F). Weird. But I thought fuck it and set off on my walkies.

It got weirder. The sky was blue and there was a cloud front on the southern horizon. That'll come over by this afternoon, my fellow bus-riders were saying. But 10 minutes later the whole bloody sky was overcast. The front came in fast as fuck and with it a hard gusting wind. Dear Old Things were being blown off the pavement, dogs were yelping, shop signs were crashing and sliding about everywhere.

Brisbane Water Drive & Parks Bay from Woy Woy Wharf Woy Woy

Dunno if the cloud was just low cloud or if it was sea mist. This is it laying low over Parks Bay at 9.30. The road is Brisbane Water Drive.

Koolewong & Point Clare from Woy Woy 29th November 2006


Took these photos 15 seconds apart (at 9.30). The cloud was coming in so fast and low it obscured Point Clare (background) in fifeteen fucking seconds.

It's still gusting fairly hard this afternoon and I'm loving it.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Empire Bay strikes back

Well, okay, it doesn't strike back. I was just stuck for a title. It's a beautifully cool day today, overcast and a cool breeze, same as yesterday. But like all bar three days this month, a crap day for photos. So, once again, here's some I made earlier.

Empire Bay foreshore

Empire Bay foreshore. Looking east towards what looked like a nice storm brewing but turned out to be nowt. That's Kincumber South/Bensville on the left, on the eastern shore of the bit before the Kincumber Broadwater.

It was quiet. A couple of seagulls came to inspect us, a dog dragging its owner chased the seagulls off and cocked its leg on our seat, a couple of boats putted slowly down the channel.

Empire Bay foreshore

Looking north-west to Saratoga (the hill) and Davistown (to its right). In the distance between them, Gosford can be glimpsed.

Empire Bay foreshore

Oyster boat at tied up near the ferry wharf. Brisbane Water is chockers with oyster and mussel farms. How'd you be working on an oyster farm? Out on the water instead of cooped up in an office. Brilliant.

There's a storm forecast for today. Doesn't look like it's coming. It's just overcast. Been overcast for weeks and fuck all rain.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Empire Bay

Today's was mostly clouds and a wee bit of sun. Crappy photo day. Dug these up instead. Took them a couple of weeks back on a pub crawl.

Empire Bay & War Memorial Kendall Road Empire Bay

Empire Bay in the background, the ferry wharf behind the flagpole and the War Memorial in the foreground is in Kendall Road Empire Bay.

Get the ferry from Woy Woy wharf. Sit and gaze out the window as it quietly motors along between the Woy Woy Memorial Park and Pelican Island. Enjoy the view from the water as it cruises past Saratoga and Davistown, past Rileys Island and St Huberts and stops at a few tiny wharfs in Lintern Channel and Cockle Channel. Get off at Empire Bay, where the ferry driver gets off for his lunch.

Empire Bay is not a big town. It's got twenty three streets and the population is probably five thousand. It's rather pleasant and peaceful, like most places on the Central Coast. There's a nice park along the waterfront and a decent fish-and-chip shop fifty metres back from the wharf.

The memorial reads:


C.W.ADAMS x ? 40 24
W. SETTREE x ? ? ?


The question marks are bits I can't make out. They look like dates but have an x in front of them.

Empire Bay War Memorial Kendall Road Empire Bay

Bustling downtown Empire Bay. This is half the shops. The other half are just out of the frame on the right.

The plaque on the memorial reads:



Empire Bay's a small town. Losing that many, and so many from the same families, must've ripped the guts out of the place.

Empire Bay & War Memorial Kendall Road Empire Bay

One of the two small memorials within the fence. That insignia at the top is either the army's or the armed forces one. Can't remember.

The plaque reads:

"1914 - 1918
1939 - 1945

Unusually, this memorial has roses (left edge of photo) as well as the usual rosemary.

Empire Bay & War Memorial Kendall Road Empire Bay

The other small memorial. It reads:


[3 insignia I don't recognise]



As always, it's a relief to see Vietnam acknowledged.

On the way back to my place we hit the Davo (the RSL at Davistown) and the Woy Woy pub. Then we had a little lie down.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Blue hills

Gum blossoms, buds & gumnuts

Gum blossoms, buds & gumnuts. Snapped somewhere in Woy Woy a few days ago.

Woke up this morning to the smell of smoke. Bushfire smoke blown across from the Blue Mountains on Sydney's outskirts. There's been a fire going there since last Monday. The fieries can't be getting much sleep, poor bastards. Half the bloody country's alight. Again.

Here in Woy Woy, the light is bushfire yellow and the hills are blue with haze. At 6AM it was 29 degrees (84 F) and the forecast is for 38 (100 F). Not ideal walkies weather, I stayed home with a cold drink and the fan.

On a happier note

There's some great photos of the hinterland behind the Central Coast (where I live) on Hunter Collectors at Flickr.

Long time coming

So, Thorpie hung up his swimming goggles for good. Doesn't know what he's going to do next. Try coming out of the closet already, mate.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Welcome to Woy Woy

(Random walkies)

Woy Woy Railway Station Railway Street Woy Woy

"Welcome to Woy Woy" it says in the middle.

A mural (or muriel, for Pratchett fans) at the southern end of the station, near the lift. The bus station is behind the wall and those faint chimneys belong to the Masonic Hall across Railway Street.

The train on the left is older and has yank-open doors. It's rather fun to watch tourists yanking at them open before the train has fully stopped and the master release released them.

The train on the right is the oft-loathed Tangara, a Sydney commuter train. Just as well the doors were painted yellow. They're flush with the sides of the carriages and Dear Old Things couldn't find them by sight or feel.

A ride in the Tangara is akin to a ride in a plastic box with someone else's cheese and pickle sandwiches. They have a stale plasticky feel to them and you feel a bit doomed when you see the notice on the door that says not to attempt to get out if there's a fire.

Warm and sticky this morning. Good thing when one is engaged in rumpy pumpy, not so good for walkies. Went up to Gosford but didn't walk there. Wandered about in Woy Woy for a few minutes after that, had a coffee in a cafe and came home with a large apple turnover for my lunch. I'm livin' la vida loca.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Daleys Point

(Daleys Point walkies #1)

Got bored with trekking up to Gosford. Bloody weather up and down like a fucking yoyo on speed isn't helping. Though I like the cool bits. Bloody cool Wednesday and yesterday. More on that later.

Fishermans Bay & Hardys Bay from The Rip Bridge

Morning sun sparkling off the water at Fishermans Bay. Taken from The Rip Bridge (below). Hardys Bay in the background.

Lovely day for walkies today. Twenty degrees (64F), blue blue sky, warm sun and a cool breeze to keep me cool. I walked from home, down Blackwall Road, over The Rip Bridge to Daleys Point and down to the water. A nice slow walk but plenty of uphill work on Daley Avenue. (Map)

Plenty of balconied houses to be seen. Up on the crest of the point overlooking the bridge there's houses that look both ways, down into the water to the north-west, between Blackwall and St Huberts Island and probably across to Koolewong and Tascott and down into Fishermans Bay and Booker Bay (below) on the other side. Perhaps even across Killcare peninsula to the sea.

The Rip Bridge from Daley Avenue Daleys Point

The Rip Bridge. Looking back to the Woy Woy Peninsula. Booker Bay is on the left and Orange Grove on the right.

The Rip Bridge went up in 1974 and provided easy road access to Daleys Point and St Huberts Island. More.

Pelican fishing off Daleys Point

Stood there for a bit looking out over the water. This pelican was cruising about close to shore looking for his breakfast. He poked his beak into the seaweed every now and then but didn't seem to have much luck. Eventually he floated off to the other side of the water.

Taken from Daley Avenue Daleys Point, under The Rip Bridge.

Booker Bay from Daley Avenue Daleys Point

Booker Bay with the hills of Pretty Beach and Wagstaffe in the background.

Booker Bay is the money suburb of the woy Woy Peninsula. There's money wherever there's a view but apparently there's more of it in Booker Bay. The boats certainly back that up.

But, as with everywhere I've been on the Central Coast, in between the swanky houses there's still plenty of little workmans' cottages someone's grandma still lives in.

Have a gander at The Rip Bridge from Guyra Street Booker Bay.

St Huberts Island from Tulani Avenue Daleys Point

St Huberts Island ramp from Tulani Avenue Daleys Point. The house where that boat was tied up had a car in the driveway. What the hell were they doing indoors on such a fine boating day?

Snow in Queensland

On the telly on Wednesday night we watched the fieries battling bushfires in the Blue Mountains (outskirts of Sydney). Then they showed the snow falling in Bathurst. A kid was building a snowman. It hasn't snowed there in November (late Spring) for fuck knows how long.

Yesterday it was delightfully cold in Woy Woy. Wore a jumper and a jacket and my beanie pulled down over my ears and nearly got caught in the hail. and it snowed in Queensland. Which never happens. Today I went walkies in shirt sleeves.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Early this year the old wooden buildings around St John the Baptist church in Blackwall Road Woy Woy were demolished. There's now some housing units in their place and the church itself is unmolested. (Photo of the units when the builders' fence comes down.)

A couple of weeks ago the buildings below, on Blackwall Road opposite the church, were also demolished. There's a nice big block of land there now and presumably they'll build matching units on it.

St John the Baptist building

Weird little building that appeared to be a fifties extension to the old wooden classroom buildings (see top of post). It sat alone in a small sea of ashphalt facing the roundabout on the corner of Blackwall Road and Victoria Road.

St John the Baptist Presbytery

St John the Baptist Presbytery. It sat on Blackwall Road opposite the church, between the fifties classroom and the old house below. It was nothing out of the ordinary but a pleasant enough building of its type.

St John the Baptist building

This old house sat to the left of the Presbytery on Blackwall Road. There's no reference to it in my notes or online. I think it was or is used as a homeless shelter and called Mary McKillop House.

The Mary McKillop connection is through the Josephite Sisters who run the Catholic Primary School at Woy Woy South. McKillop was their founder. MacKillop was also responsible for the Holy Cross church and St Joseph's Orphanage at Kincumber South.

The windows on this building are narrow enough to put the style in Federation Bungalow (circa 1890 - c. 1915) but the angle of its roofs are more Inter War California Bungalow (c. 1915 - c. 1940). I'm putting it down as 1915-1940. Windows have been recycled before.

For a gander at the building progress, go down Blackwall Road from the station to the roundabout at Victoria Road. For all the recent Woy Woy demolitions go here.

A lump

Belinda Emmett died a couple of days ago. I knew of her vaguely as an Australian TV actor. Her obituary today and a couple of Dear Old Things this morning said she was a local girl.

From the SMH obit:

"Born in Gosford to Michael and Laraine Emmett, Belinda grew up at Umina, on the NSW Central Coast, and was educated at St John's in Woy Woy, St Joseph's, Gosford, and Corpus Christi, Tuggerah. Her family called her Belle.

At school she performed in musical theatre and fronted the pop band Big Baby Jam. She worked in a record store and, after leaving school, with Coast FM radio station. She made her professional debut in 1993, at 19, in the Gosford Musical Society's production of The Gingerbread Man. She also sang with two jazz duos."

She survived one bout of cancer in the nineties then it came back for a second go and got her, poor bugger.

Our Kylie was back onstage the other night. She had a breast cancer scare a couple of years ago but got treatment immediately.

"[Belinda] had first noticed a lump in her breast about two years earlier [than her diagnosis] but had not had it checked."

Had my lump checked out this morning. Doctor says it's an ingrown hair and to eat more carrots.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Piles Creek

(Random walkies)

Piles Creek Girrakool

Piles Creek Girrakool. Near one of the old quarries I blogged the other week.

Turn off the Pacific Highway at Quarry Road and go under the F3 Motorway (Sydney to Newcastle) to the picnic area carpark. Or turn left off the Great North Walk at the appropriate sign. Follow the signs for the creek lookout.

Piles Creek Girrakool

The Piles Creek gully from a bit further along the track. There's a couple of lookouts, one right beside the waterfall.

It's a beautiful spot. The trees block the sound of the F3 and it looks like you're in the middle of nowhere. There's just the sounds of the bush and the waterfall falling into its pool below. We stood at the lookout and just zoned out watching it for a while.

We didn't go much further along the track. The heat had the flies out in droves and it was getting bloody muggy.

It started out blue sky this morning. By the time we were back in Woy Woy it was overcast and a storm had come over. The thunder was cracking right above our heads. It rained a bit and then the hail came. We shot in under the Post Office roof. The stuff was coming down hard and fast as buckshot. It was bouncing on the road and everyone was standing under the shop verandas watching it. It got so loud even the text-happy teenager looked up open-mouthed from his mobile (phone). There was a bolt of lightning somewhere very close by and the wind gusted harder. Then it and the hail died away and the storm moved on. And now it's blue sky again.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Mangrove forest

(Gosford walkies #32)

Mangrove forest walk West Gosford

There's a boardwalk through the mangroves beside Adcock Park. It's a short walk but a pleasant one. The ducks stared out at us from the dappled shade and a couple of teenage ducklings quacked. The mangroves are just starting to flower. The flowers are tiny creamy white things with a faint perfume. It's sunny again today and the tide was half out. Small patches of seaweed around the shore started to steam and stink in the sun. We hurried round to the pub for a nice cold one.

The walk is opposite the corner of Moore Street and the Pacific Highway, between the overpass into Gosford and the bridge over Narara Creek. Park in Moore Street.

On the way home we saw ninety eight flowering jacarandas. I counted them. They'd make a lovely forest.