Tuesday, January 31, 2006


I've pasted a wee video of the lorikeets' feeding frenzy. It might take a minute to show up and load. Let me know if it won't work or goes funny. I'm trying out the free video hosts.

[Video removed 5-2-06 re bandwidth]

Long road

Steve is walking across America. He's three quarters of the way and is walking through Indiana now. Americans might've seen him last week on the Today Show.

Fucked if I know how he does it. Onya, Steve. Keep at it, mate.

Melting moments

Woke up this morning to the faint smell of vomit. Stumbled into the kitchen and the floor was wet and sticky. The smell was strong there. I'd forgotten to close the window and thought one of Downstairs's drunken mates had chundered outside. After a few bleary moments I realised the wet floor and the smell were coming from the fridge.

The bloody thing had widdled itself during the night. It was due for defrosting in about a month but had defrosted on its own and stinky sticky water had trickled out. Great. Looks like I need a new fridge pronto. The old budget will just have to withstand another rogering.

I'm particularly peeved about the mess becuase this morning was half decent walkies weather and I had to waste it cleaning up fridge juice instead.

Ah well. While the next floor-scrubbing effort is drying, I can have a fiddle with Fucckit's video hosting recommends (thanks, mate) and paste that lorikeet video in here for your listening pleasure.

Monday, January 30, 2006


Got some decent video this morning of those sodding lorikeets twittering and feeding on the flowering gum. Now all I need is a place to upload it. Anyone know of a decent (free) video site?

(Big version)

The bushfires in the Grampians in Victoria (south-east corner of mainland Australia) are still burning. Must be a week now. Poor bloody farmers and poor bloody fieries. They barely had time for a nap after the fires here then they were off to Victoria and Tassie and WA. Anyways, a guy on flickr has put up some great aerial shots of the Grampians fires. Check out the one of Elvis the tank chopper.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

George Street

Went down to Sydney today to see Brokeback Mountain. Train trip from Woy Woy to Central station then a trot up George Street to one of those massive fridge-cold cineplexes.

New Year Dragon
(Big version) Belmore Park

Chinese New Year celebrations were happening in Belmore Park as I came through from Central. Couldn't see much more than the ears of the dog above the crowd. There was a stall for the Guide Dogs Association (it's the year of the dog) and acrobats round the side of the stage. Didn't have time to linger but the celebrations will be going on for another week or so.

Parker Street
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I love this building. It's on the corner of Parker & Hay Streets between Belmore Park across the road from Central) and Chinatown.

UPDATE, 29th: No trouble picking the style on this one. It's used in the book as an example. Federation Anglo-Dutch (circa 1890 - circa 1915) and it's "Corporation Building (formerly Municipal Building ... George McRae, City Architect, c.1893". I'll be keeping an eye out for his other stuff.

City Library
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One of my favourite libraries. The shelves are built into deep niches like narrow rooms.

Redbrick Goth
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I love the wee portico. It could do with a sandblasting though. George Street near the Goulburn Street lights. I'm taking a punt and putting this one in the 19th rather than the early 20th century. Would've looked at the foundation plaques to find out but I was too tired to think.

UPDATE, 29-1-06: Don't know yet when it was built but the design is Victorian Free Gothic or Victorian Tudor (both circa 1840 - circa 1890). They're very similar styles when it comes to red brick churches.

Lucky I didn't fall asleep in Brokeback Mountain. It was excellent. Beautiful landscape shots (it's set in Wyoming I think), decent bit of cloud porn, plenty of blokey reticence. The straight reviewers said "graphic sex scenes". Realistic yes, graphic no. You saw a flash of arse when the American guy hits on Our Heath, some snogging and hugging and another flash of arse later when they went skinnydipping. Check out Cocktalia's photos for nekkid Heath and some other Brokeback photos. Hope my local cinema shows it soon. I want to see it again.

(Big version)

Went up George Street a bit further after the movie. Love the carved stone window arches on this building. It's the KFC on the corner of George & Bathurst Streets, just across from St Andrew's.

Love the carved stone window arches on this building. It's the KFC on the corner of George & Bathurst Streets, just across from St Andrew's.

UPDATE, 29th: I'm guesstimating the date on these beautiful arches at 1890 - 1900. There was a recession in the 1890s and work like this would've been cheaper to get them. The wear on the sill is hard to date. This building is on the corner of George Street and George Street has been a major thoroughfare since 1788. I can picture a lot of blokes over the years knocking their pipes out on it while they wait for the missus to come out of St Andrew's across the road and probably so horse and cart accidents taking chips off it. The walls on both sides of the corner have damage up to head height.

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Straylya Day

It's the 26th of January down here in this wide brown (and singed) land. It's the celebration of Australia's settlement by us whitefellas and the celebration of survival by the blackfellas. Half the country smells like bushfire and, from about ten this morning, the other half will smell like barbecued snags (saugages).

Feeding frenzy
(Big version)

I was wrenched from slumber at the arse-crack of dawn by the bloody lorikeets outside the window. They're having a feeding frenzy on these trees. All over the Peninsula and wherever these gums are flowering it's the same.

Offending species
(Big version) In the middle there's one and over on the left hand side. The rest are all perched on top of the flowers and can't be seen. Pity they can't be heard. Talk about raucous.

Mind you, a bit of racket is nothing compared to what's happening in other states. Down in Victoria and Tassie and over in WA the bushfires are still burning. Victoria is expecting wind and 40 degrees (104 F) today. Shit.

Weggly has a satellite photo of the Victoria fires and Mayken has several photos including close-ups of the damage.

Might wander down to hobnob and watch the fireworks tonight. Hopefully they won't set anything on fire.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


(Woy Woy Walk #73)

Beautifully cool this morning. The forecast said 23 (73.4 F) so I marched off and did a decent walk. The lanes walkies aren't always very exciting but I get to peer into people's backyards and get a better idea of how old their houses are (New house, old shed? The house is a reno, the shed gives the real age) and I just plain enjoy walking the lanes to add to my knowledge of the Peninsula.

Blooming in the lane
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There's not much to photograph in the lanes themselves but as I cross out of one lane and into the next, I look for fifties houses for my collection. There's some renovated ones but quite a few of them are in their original state. Here are the first two, both reno's but reno's of a different ilk.

McMasters Road
(Big version) McMasters Road

Welcome Street
(Big version) Welcome Street

I wanted to walk along the Blackwall foreshore after the lanes but it started raining and my brolly was hanging on the back of the bathroom door. There's a couple of houses along there I really like. Maybe next time the light will be better.

The knowledge

Been thinking about who knows the streets best. What jobs would get you well-acquainted with the streets and how would the jobs themselves colour your knowledge?

Dodderyoldfart the roadworker sees the crumbling surfaces and the dodgy corners where someone's going to come a cropper one night and mess up the nice new shoulder he's just put in.

Garbos probably see the places it's difficult to get close to the curb and remember that No12 Something Street never puts the bloody bin close enough to the curb anyways.

The postie would know which streets always have a dog running loose and whose letterbox is way too small to get their brochures into and which streets are steep enough to make the motorbike whine with effort.

Tom the ambulance bloke sees them as a road map taking him to the next customer and as being full of memories of past customers.

Police can probably drive straight round to the local serial offender's place without looking it up but they don't patrol so maybe they don't know the streets as well as all that.

So, apart from them and us every-street walkers, who else would get to know the streets?

Monday, January 23, 2006

Back from the dead

Some good news first
Race: The Power of an Illusion was on the telly last night. Fascinating stuff. All this genetics research has turned up the fact that there's no such thing as race. There's no genetic markers for race, we really are all the same.

The colour of your skin comes from how much sun your ancestors got where they lived and how much vitamin D that gave them. That is, pale peeps such a myself with ancestors who lived in a cold rainy climate needed all the vitamin D they could soak up while the Aborigines, who've lived in this sun-soaked land for 70,000 years, have dark skins because they got plenty of sun. Eye shape and hair are just geographical too. If your ancestors lived in ancient China they didn't trek off into the great unknown to find someone to marry, they just married someone in the next village and so the gene for black hair was carried on locally. You look like your parents because they're your parents not because of race.

We really are all the same :)

Three dead

Bad bushfires, worse than the New Year's Day fires here, are still burning down in Victoria and there's been some deaths.

Articles here and photos from those close by here, here and here. I hope it pisses down in Victoria and Tassie and on all the other fires big and small.

Half dead
Also watched Alone across Australia which was about a guy who walked from Adelaide to the Gulf of Carpentaria. 128 days and 2,500 kilometres (1,553.43 miles).

At the end of the film it said he'd lost a third of his body weight on the walk. Then it said "Four months later he walked to the North Pole". Fuck. I'd want a bit more than four months rest myself. More like four years.

Back from the dead

Little recap. Last year I lost my sexinthesuburbs.info URL (long tedious story). Hadn't backed up as carefully as I thought and lost #48 - 59 walkies posts for ever.

The rest of them I've rescued and bunged up on their own site called Woy Woy Walkies. Now you can catch up from my very 1st walk through to when I finished walking the Peninsula.


(Woy Woy Walk #72)

Got wet feet today wandering through the weeds. Lovely cool wet feet on a hot summer morning. Round beside the Everglades golf course, there's three streets called Everglades, Florida and Miami. They and the golf course have names suggestive of swamps because they're built on swampy ground that's been drained.

Damp Lane
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The houses are all seventies so it's a safe bet the draining was done in the seventies. The street trees are mostly paperbarks and the lanes have plenty of paperbarks in them. Lanes don't usually have trees in them but these lanes are actually just wide drains. Wide enough in fact for the Council blokes to get their ride-on mowers in there. The grass is short enough but the weeds have flourished in the rain of the last coupla weeks.

One more
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Hard to tell how old this house is. It's on Dunban Road so it could be forties or seventies or even sixties. Just the windows left to do then it will be a very pleasant Federation repro.

Slightly Wobbly house
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No53 The Boulevarde/Brick Wharf Road Woy Woy, beside what might be the former 'Roma' boarding house. The front is here. Looking at the amount of doors on the side of this place, I'm wondering if its been a boarding house too at some point.

Sunday, January 22, 2006


Another building in bustling downtown Woy Woy. Due to its position and size, this one 's a good candidate for "former boarding house, Fred Couche 'Roma', 45 The Boulevarde Woy Woy ... c.1891". For some reason I keep forgetting to ask what street number it is.

St Vinnie's
(Big version)

St Vinnie's II
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It's not hard to see where the windows have been bricked up. The ones on the other side are still there. So is half the ceiling decoration.

St Vinnie's III
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T'other side. That line just above the side windows looks like where the veranda roof went on.

St Vinnie's IV
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One half of the ceiling is still like this. The other half is smooth plaster so perhaps the building has been divided into two shops at some point and renovated separately.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Sunny day

Bit warmish for walking but I got a few snaps round the station area.

Wee brick church
(Big version

The building at back (beige brick) is dated 1973 and appears to be used as a Sunday school or Saturday school or whenever Seventh Day Adventists do that stuff.

Didn't find a foundation stone on the church itself. The windows and the roof on the portico (entrance thingy) are saying 1960s to me but such things aren't hard to replace. The design is Gothic but which period?

Wee brick church II
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The front door was rather pleasant.

Wee brick church III
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Detail of the right hand side. Those windows might be 1960s.

Front of the wee brick church
(Big version)

It's set back from the road a fair way and easy to miss. Locals, it's between KFC and the optometrist near Westpac.

J. Random Dawg
(Big version) This guy is the photo trapped in my camera the other day when the battery died. Thirty three bucks the camera shop wanted for a new one. Thirty three fucking bucks! I gotta get a recharger.

The antidote
For those suffering from a surfeit of blogger awards, here's the antidote awards, which I nicked from Dawei.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Bustling Downtown Woy Woy

Uploaded a couple more photos of Woy Woy to flickr. They're of the area around the train station. As you can see, Woy Woy is not exactly a throbbing metropolis. But we like it that way.

Railway Street
(Big version)

Railway Street from the Clock Tower walkway to the lights. I've deliberately excluded the Clock Tower building as it's a bit of an eighties building, i.e., rather smug and tacky.

Next to Noonan's (blue building on the left) is Which Bank (Commonwealth Bank, long story). There was a cinema (theater) in the same spot. It was demolished in 1924 I think. Can't find the reference. There was another cinema built in 1922 and demolished in the 70s. That was where Woolies is now, on Blackwall Road.

The pale crenellated place next to Which Bank is the butcher's that used to be F.C. Nichols Alecia Tearooms. Built in 1926, same as the Masonic Hall below.

Masonic Hall
(Big version)

The Masonic Hall (1926) and the bottle shop next to it (circa 1940?). Behind the bottle shop is Deepwater Plaza, the local shopping centre. The multi-storey carpark in the background is the tallest building in Woy Woy, apart from The Excrescence down at Ettalong.

Took a nice doggy photo today but I can't get the bastard out of my camera. Battery carked it.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006


(Woy Woy Walk #72)

It's been a dark wet week. Soft quiet rain has been falling for days. Couple of times I've had the lights on at three in the afternoon. Yesterday there was a bit of a storm and a soft cool wind. Beautiful.

It's been pretty warm and steamy despite the rain but I've got in a bit of walking. Today was a brolly (umbrella) walk through more lanes, slow rain softly tapping, the trees dripping and the distant swish of the traffic over wet roads.

Citrus Fresh
(Big version)

I love the colours of a rainy day. The endless spectrum of soft greys in the clouds and on the wooden fences, the washed-clean green of the trees, the reflected light from the puddles.

(Big version)

I love walking the lanes and seeing what people have in their backyards. Sometimes a boring garage will have something quirky on it. Sometimes a really normal-looking house with a neat garden will have a backyard crammed full useless broken odds and ends, making the occupant look downright nutty. Walking every street of the Peninsula showed me a lot. Walking every lane is showing me even more.

Old Louvres
(Big version)

The backs of houses are often much older than the front. This house had eighties weatherboard on the front but the back was forties. Love that old window. My Nana's house had a sleepout (closed-in veranda) at the back and if you angled the louvres of the windows right, the wind used to whistle and howl through them. I still love louvres.

Today's walk was a bit longer than the others I've done since Christmas. In five weeks it'll be autumn and when the cold sets in I can get back to my normal walking pace. Can't hardly wait.

Monday, January 16, 2006


(Woy Woy Walk #71)

Lorikeets I
(Big version) Got quite close to a rainbow lorikeet today. The noise of the wind in their tree masked the sound of my camera and I got a couple of decent shots. Normally they move to the back of the tree or fly off.

Lorikeet II
(Big version)

Night safe
(Big version) This is an old night-safe deposit thingy on a building in Whatsit Street. I love this shade of green in any light.

The former bank building on West Street, Umina.
(Big version) The former bank building.

Lion Island
(Big version) Lion Island & Barrenjoey Head from Umina Beach.

It was raining this morning. Beautiful cool rain. Went walkies after lunch and it got bloody muggy again. But I got a walk in and a few minutes at the beach anyways. The flags (showing the safe swimming area) were bloody close together today. Scarcely 25 yards apart. Never seen them closer.

It's going to rain again soon and the birds are twittering like mad outside my window. Hope there's a storm tonight.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Garden Island

Went to an island in Sydney Harbour today. Garden Island is a naval thingy with docks and shit and a museum as well. Doesn't look like an island now what with all the docks and shit built up from it into Woolloomooloo Bay.

(Big version) It's been a naval thingy since the First Fleet came in 1788 and Governor Phillip told the Sirius crew to set up a garden there. A couple of them left their initials (I.R. and J.M.) and the date on a rock. The plaque says "Probably the oldest marks extant of white settlement initials F.M. and I.R. with the date 1788. F.M. believed to be Frederick Meredith, a member of the crew of H.M.S. Sirius. I.R. not known." The plaque is out of date. The tour guide said the initials are I.R. and J.M..

Midget Sub
(Big version) In WWII the Kuttabul was sunk at the Garden Island dock by Japanese midget submarines. This is part of one of them. From one side to the other, the sub is no wider than my outstretched arms. Even with the remainder of the sub, that's fucking small.

HMAS Kanimbla
(Big version) The Kanimbla docked at Garden Island with the Woolloomooloo Bay docks behind it. Kanimbla's the ship we sent to Iraq.

The Coathanger & the House
(Big version)
It was another hot hazy summer day. There's a viewing platform up on top of the "ex-Main Signal Building which once controlled the movement of naval vessels in and out of the harbour". The views of the Harbour and Sydney are great. You can see right out to the Macquarie Lighthouse and over the CBD and to the Coathanger (the Harbour Bridge) and down into the naval dockyards. That's the Opera House on the left. It's on one side of Circular Quay and the Coathanger's on the other. The smudge in the middle of the bridge is the heart thingy they bunged up for New Year's Eve.

(Big version) "Hammerhead Crane. This huge crane is still the largest in Australia.--Even though it was built nearly 50 years ago. It stands 62 metres above its foundations (which extend a further 32 metres into the sea bed) and it has a lifting capacity of 275 tonnes. Construction of the Hammerhead Crane (so called because its outline looks like a household hammer) began in 1948. It involved the use of 1400 tonnes of structural steel and 250,000 rivets. It incorporates 200 tonnes of machinery and 11 kilometres of electrical cable. The crane is listed in the National Estate Register."

Museum Building
(Big version) Haven't got a date for this building yet. If it's the Gun Mounting Workshop mentioned in the brochure it's 1922. The style of arched windows is similar to the Hyde Park Barracks (1818-19) and to the Everleigh Workshops at Redfern. It's obvious something's been added onto the front of the building at some point and taken off again. No idea what.

Didn't see much of the place. There wasn't enough time before the last ferry back. There's no other way back, apart from swimming, and the Navy gets quite cross if you overstay. Probably hang you from the yardarm or summat. I'll get the early ferry next time and have a proper explore. They've got some neat shit there.

Wondabyne fire
(Big version) Taken from the train. Aftermath of the Wondabyne fire. There was a lot more burnt bits. This bit is in Mullet Creek which is between Woy Woy and Brooklyn (Hawkesbury) stations. It started New Year's Day as well as the Woy Woy fires and it was still burning the day after.

Taylor Street

Couple more pictures from yesterday's trip to The Bays. Taylor Street was swarming with mozzies (skeeters) but untouched by the fires. The bus shelters in The Bays have murals of local wildlife and so on in them. This one is in Taylor Street.

(Big version) The white bird is a sulphur-crested cockatoo. There's a couple of plump owls of some sort, a rainbow lorikeet hanging upside down to feed and a nervous-looking vole or something.

(Big version) The other end of the same bus stop. A shag drying its wings in the sun and two of the Coast's ubiquitous pelicans.

Friday, January 13, 2006


Went back to The Bays today, to see if the re-generation after the fires had started and to see for myself how much damage there was.

From Rawson Road I'd seen the fire all the way from Woy Woy Bay to Horsfield Bay and on the news I'd seen the burnt out house and the scorched fences and the fire fighters cars burnt out in front of the fire station. So I was expecting a shitload of damage and there was a shitload but heaps less than I imagined.

Colours of the fire
(Big version) Part of the burnt out ridge beside Woy Woy Bay Road. Taken from near the RFS station in Wattle Crescent.

The bus comes from Woy Woy station, along Woy Woy Bay Road, along Wattle Crescent, along the top of the ridge and down to Taylor Street in Woy Woy Bay.

There was a stretch of maybe 200 metres (218.7 yards) of uninhabited ridge along Woy Woy Bay Road, near Wattle Crescent, burnt to a crisp. It was quite beautiful in a fucked-up way. Black black ground and trees and some trees bright orange. Their outer bark had burnt off I think. There were big black streaks and patches of scorching on the grey rock and on the black ground there were patches of bright green shoots. The undergrowth is coming back already.

Rumours of their death have been greatly exaggerated
(Big version) Gum trees (eucalypts) are as tough as old boots. This one was black and leafless but here, where the bark's been knocked off, you can see the living tree.

I got off at Wattle Crescent. It was still sprinkling and the ground was wet and slippery. The smell of smoke was still as strong as if the fire was still active.

The worst of it was around Wattle Crescent like they said on the news. This house with a wee turret on it is across the road and along one house from the fire station so I expected to see its charred remains. But it was fine, not a mark on it. The house next to it had a very near miss. The tree in its side garden was scorched and the trees against the fence burnt black.

I saw the fire station on the news and knew it was fine. The sign was burnt but still standing and the box for the free local newspaper was still there too. The fire station is essentially a big tin shed on the corner of Wattle and Woy Woy Bay Road. No swish carpark or anything. Directly across the road is the little de facto carpark the fire fighters use. Trees near it were the ones that fell on the burning RFS (Rural Fire Service) peoples' cars.

RFS Station
(Big version) The RFS (Rural Fire Service) station on the corner of Wattle Crescent & Woy Woy Bay Road.

Six houses along was the house we saw burning down on the news. I couldn't see much of the house in December and there's not much to see now, just a roofless brick wall and a bend metal fence. At the front of the block there was a gazebo with a long walkway leading to it from the house. The ground below it was burnt but gazebo was untouched. Across the road was a house completely surrounded by burnt trees and black ground. On one side the fire got with two metres (6 feet) of the house. Fuck, that's close.

That house had a tree out the front of it in December, a tree overhanging the road and with a kookaburra sitting in it as I walked past. The tree is gone but the kookaburra was back and chuckling in a burnt tree nearby.

New view
(Big version) Taken from Wattle Crescent, beside the house completely surrounded by burnt trees. You can see right over the Peninsula (Woy Woy) to Daleys Point now. In December there was just a glimpse of water between the trees. The kookaburra I saw there in December has moved to that leafless tree in the middle.

Down at Taylor Street on the other side of the ridge, at Woy Woy Bay, you couldn't tell there'd been a fire. On New Year's Day it looked, from Rawson Road, like Taylor Street was burning. But Woy Woy Bay was untouched and I had to go out onto the Bassan Street jetty to see where the fire had been. (No photo, the light got very low again.)

From Taylor Street I went to down Phegans Bay Road to the bus stop at the bottom. Up near the hairpin bend into Phegans Bay Road the tops of the trees had been cut down and I could see clear out to the lighthouse on Barrenjoey Head and the sea. Couldn't see that before the fire.

On New Year's Day Phegans Bay was looking bad. Today from the hairpin bend, it looked fine. But walking down into it every twist and curve in the road showed me another burnt-out garden and singed house. The sparks and embers must've blown down the hill. There were no destroyed houses there but you could see there and around Wattle Crescent how hard the fire fighters fought. The residents were praised by a fire chief for helping save their houses on New Year's day but I've never seen so clearly how hard the fieries work.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Face in the cloud

I'm buggered if I know why some people refuse to enjoy clouds. Must be they think it's only for kids. They'll look at a nice landscape or a nice garden but not at a nice cloudscape. Weird. Anyways, these are from the storm building up outside my windows this afternoon. The face and the hand are at the end.

In the beginning
(Big version)

Twisting & turning
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Face in the cloud

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