Monday, October 30, 2006


Sandstone is tough stuff. It's the same stuff the Egyptian pyramids are made of and they've stood for yonks. It's a beautiful golden stone but it can also be cream, pale grey and even stripy.

Sandstone from the Gosford area has gone into buildings on the Central Coast, in Sydney, Canberra (national capital) and the Blue Mts just outside Sydney, to Victoria and Queensland (Australia) and also to Fiji, Norfolk and Japan.

Gosford quarry 1926

"Section of the old Gosford Quarry and works in 1926 just behind where the ...court house now stands." (Central Coast Express, 6th April 1988.)

The Courthouse is at the corner of Henry Parry Drive and Donnison Street. Henry Parry ran Gosford Quarries Ltd for 35 years or more.

Old quarry building site John Whiteway Drive Gosford

Old quarry building site John Whiteway Drive Gosford. (More 2006 photos.)

Gosford Quarries Ltd., quarrymasters and stonemasons, started in Gosford in the 1920s. The Gosford quarry was churning out 250,000 cubic feet of sandstone a year in the late 1950s and closed in 1974. The Central Coast Express said in April 1988 that “[o]perating a quarry in the heart of Gosford had become increasingly difficult for the company” hence the 1974 closing.

Gosford Township 1957 - 2005

Gosford Township 1957 - 2005. You can see a small section of the original quarry in the bottom right hand corner.

Gosford Quarries map
(Quarries circled in red, embiggulate map.)

On this map you'll notice quarries at Gosford, Wondabyne and Piles Creek/Somesby and also at Bulls Hill (middle left), Springfield and between Kincumber and Picketts Valley (top right).

There's no mention of Bulls Hill, Springfield (Redox Quarry) and Kincumber-Picketts Valley (unnamed quarry) in the 1960 and 1988 newspaper articles.

I did see "Woy Woy quarry" listed in the Gosford Library catalogue but the items were in the stack and I couldn't get at them. "Woy Woy quarry" might be the one at Bulls Hill. It's off Woy Woy Bay Road and maybe five minutes from Woy Woy as the crow flies.

"The Springfield Quarry ... was purchased by Council in 1997 as an operating quarry," says a June 2006 Gosford City Council report. That looks like the Redox quarry. I'm a bit too tired to translate the GovSpeak but it appears it is to become a rubbish tip.

Also in 1997 there was "a rare find of a large fossil of an amphibian in rocks from a local quarry at Kincumber" (more). The same site has pictures of the Kincumber-Picketts Valley quarry.

The Express Railway Electrification Souvenir of 1960 lists Gosford Quarries' sites as Gosford, Wondabyne, Piles Creek (Somersby) plus one in Maroubra (in Sydney). In 1960 there was also a sale yard in Annandale, a 19th century suburb of Sydney.

The Wondabyne site has been active again in the last couple of years. Catch the train up from Sydney. After Hawkesbury River station the train runs beside Mullet Creek. Keep an eye out on the ridge side of the tracks for Wondabyne station. It’s a tiny station with a house on one side and the quarry on the other.

The 1988 article says "[o]perations [at] Piles Creek started in 1948 [and were still going in 1988]... The Sydney-Newcastle freeway now passes directly through the Piles Creek quarry…”. Look west just before (coming from Sydney) the Kariong-Gosford off-ramp. Piles Creek runs from the end of Mooney Mooney Creek up to Somersby beside the F3. Quarry Road runs off the Pacific Highway (also parallel to the F3) on the Sydney side of the Australian Reptile Park.

Gosford Quarries sandstone on the Central Coast:

Commonwealth Bank corner Mann and Donnison Streets Gosford
Sculpture in Kibble Park Gosford
Old Sydney Town Somersby
Central Coast Leagues Club Dane Drive Gosford
Gosford City Council building Mann Street Gosford
Sydney County Council building Mann Street Gosford
Wyong Council building Anzac Avenue Wyong

In Sydney:

Mitchell Library Macquarie Street Sydney
St. Paul's Church Chatswood
Queen Victoria Building George Street Sydney
Sydney GPO George Street Sydney
Great Synagogue Elizabeth Street Sydney
St. Andrew's Cathedral George Street Sydney

Friday, October 27, 2006

The Beaumont children

No walkies yesterday or today. Too tired. Been laying about the house.

Dr Bogle & Mrs Chandler

On New Year's day in 1963 Dr Bogle & Mrs Chandler were found dead, partly naked and covered with cardboard beside Lane Cove River in Sydney. Every now and then over the years the cause of their deaths has been hashed over in the papers. There were only very slight injuries, a skin scrape on Mrs Chandler's nose or something. No puncture marks from a syringe or whatever, no wounds or bruises or strangulation marks or anything else. A complete mystery for more than 40 years.

Then a couple of weeks ago there was a doco (documentary) on the telly about it. The river was polluted in the sixties and this guy who did the doco thinks it was hydrogen sulphide, rotten egg gas, that killed them. They went down to the river from a New Year's Eve party, they were a bit pissed (drunk) and horny and didn't notice or care about the smell, and they started getting naked and keeled over from this gas. Then some prudish old guy, who the police interviewed at the time, was walking along there, found them half nekkid and covered them up.

There's more arguement about whether he's right of course, but if he's right he's cracked a 40 year old mystery.

The Beaumont children

Three of the saddest and most frightening words in Australia. They scared the shit out of me as a kid and plenty of other kids and no doubt out of all our parents.

On Australia Day in 1966 three children disappeared off Glenelg Beach in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. It was normal then for children to be allowed out on their own during the day. They were thought to be safe.

These three kids got the bus from near their house and got off at the beach. They were supposed to catch the bus back at lunchtime.

They were seen at the beach by several people, including some who saw them with a man. The postie (mailman) was the last person to see them. When he saw them they were alone and walking along a nearby street. They were never seen again.

Child murderer James Ryan O'Neill was the subject of a doco called The Fishermen on last night. A retired copper (cop) talked to this guy for three years. He thinks O'Neill killed the Beaumont children and he's probably right.

It started with a woman talking about something she saw as a kid. O'Neill was a kid she knew. One day he showed her the body of a boy with a head wound under a tarp in the back of his (O'Neill's) father's car. O'Neill told her "we're going to bury him".

Then there was the bit about the head wound. O'Neill's not the dead boy's. O'Neill had been accidently shot in the head as a young man. The bullet had gone into his frontal lobes. A psychiatrist or neurologist talked about the effect of being shot in the temporal lobes. Wiki says pretty much what he said:

"The Frontal lobes have been found to play a part in impulse control, judgment ... sexual behavior, socialization and spontaneity. ... [a person with damaged frontal lobes may persist] with one course of action or pattern of behavior when a change would be appropriate."

Essentially, he was anti-social before, due to his dodgy upbringing, then what little empathy and impulse control he had left was shot away by the bullet.

There was a summary of his conviction for the rape and murder of a child and mention that the coppers in another state had him on bail for another offence involving a child and he'd skipped on bail and that there were similar offences all over the country that he could've done, offences following the pattern of his behaviour and in places he'd been or been close to at the time.

In the late 1960s he travelled several times between Melbourne and Coober Pedy on opal buying trips. After a flash flood the body of a child was found in a tree next to a nearby river. The body had been bound to a log with barbed wire. O'Neill was in the area when the child went missing.

He worked at some cattle station (ranch) for two months in the seventies. Some said they remembered him and he was full of bullshit, everything he said turned out to be bullshit, his job qualifications, being a Vietnam vet, being shot by his mother's gangster boyfriend, working for ASIO, everything. Others said, a bit too quickly, that they didn't remember him.

He'd worked or travelled in every state in Australia and talked about his travels pretty easily. Except that he never mentioned Adelaide, where the Beaumont children went missing. All through the interviews with the ex-copper, he was pretty relaxed and polite and confident. Then when Adelaide was mentioned he went still and watchful and changed the subject as fast as he could.

It was one of the creepiest things I've ever watched. Thank fuck the bastard's sentence was life.

More about the Beaumont children and the search for them

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Talinga Avenue

(Random walkies)

Cnr Brisbane Water Drive & Talinga Avenue Point Clare

(Taken last weekend by a mate.)

These buildings or the old shops and houses in the photos below may be demolished.

Michael saw something in the Express about old buildings at Point Clare being demolished to make way for another bloody supermarket.

I got my fingers crossed it'll be just the fugly seventies building housing the takeaway and the fish shop. There's a carpark behind that one.

Cnr Brisbane Water Drive & Talinga Avenue Point Clare

(Taken last weekend by a mate.)


(Taken last year by me.)

Look for them opposite Point Clare station on Brisbane Water Drive at the Talinga Avenue lights.

Talinga Avenue Point Clare

Monday, October 23, 2006

Wells Street

(Gosford walkies #31)

Wells Street East Gosford

All morning the black clouds hung low over Gosford but there wasn't a speck of rain. As soon as I finished my walk the sky started to clear.

Wells Street East Gosford. With the sold sign on this old place I'm expecting it to be demolished next time I go past and a batch of units planned.

Wells Street Springfield

Wells Street Springfield.
This church looked derelict and had no sign up anywhere that I could find. But perhaps they still use it as a hall or as storage.

No idea what denomination. There was no sign. Looks Presbyterian or Anglican to me.

It looked 1940s in style and materials. That strange indentation low on the wall with the cross on it has got me puzzled.

Road subject to flooding Wells Street Springfield

Wells Street Springfield, near Springfield Road.

The sign reads:

"Road subject to flooding
Indicators show depth"

The deepest depth shown by the indicators was 1 metre (1,000 millimetres). The houses opposite the creek were only 500 - 750 millimetres off the ground.

Erina Creek Barralong Road Springfield

Erina Creek from Yerin Bridge on Barralong Road Springfield.

Looks like it's out the back of beyond but it's scarce a hundred yards from one of the busiest intersections on the Central Coast, The Entrance Road lights at Terrigal Drive, Erina.

Yerin Bridge Barralong Road Springfield

History plaque at Yerin Bridge.

The plaque reads:


Yerin is a powerful metaphore [sic]. It is written in the land at Erina since the Dreaming.

The picture represents the meeting of the salt water amd the fresh water in Erina Creek. The black diamonds represent the fresh water from the land. The shaded diamonds represent the salt water from the sea. The white diamonds are the lines of froth which are made where the tide of salt water rushing in from the sea comes in contact with the fresh water from the land.

But the place where this happens is on the land. It is part of the country, not part of the sea.

Yerin needs the fresh and the salt water, and the violence of their mixing to make a new kind of water, called brackish water. The brackish water cannot survive without both fresh water from the land and the salt water from the sea.

This metaphore has many meanings. Thrugh it we can learn about the difficulty of bringing opposites into creative balance."

When I started reading this my English teacher brain thought 'that second paragraph could do with some tightening up, half of it could be cut without losing the meaning'. But then I realised I was reading it wrong. It's not a standard whitefella information plaque. It's told in the way an Aboriginal elder would talk when passing knowledge and meaning onto younger members of the community. Cool.

In the pink

Grevilleas are going nuts all over the Central Coast.

The sun came out just as I finished my walk. Such is life. It was a nice plodding walk. Just one street, no deviations or map consultations. I just plodded along looking at the scenery.

The Gosford end was mixed housing. Plenty of units and plenty of houses. 1900s to 2000s with plenty of 40s and 70s. In the area subject to flooding it was mostly seventies. The suburb must've been running out of cheap land by then and, if you don't mind wading through your living room when the creek rises, a very convenient spot to live. Gosford's five minutes drive one way and Bloody Erina (Erina Fair Shopping Centre) is five minutes the other way. The Erina end of the walk was mostly forties and seventies with a bit of light industry and a couple of horse farms around Noorumba Road.

Brisbane Water Streets

Springfield is at the north-east (top right) corner of Brisbane Water, about 8 kays (4.97 miles) from Woy Woy. It's higher streets must have a view down into Caroline Bay on the east side of Longnose (Point Frederick).

Haven't finished walking the main part of Gosford yet, not by a long shot. This walk was just a brief whatsit. With the weather so hot already I might have only a few more weeks of walkies up Gosford way this year. When it gets too hot even at dawn I'll walk in Woy Woy again like I did last Christmas.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Blackwall foreshore & The Boulevard

(Random walkies)

Couldn't be buggered trekking up to Gosford. Walked in Woy Woy along the Blackwall foreshore instead. Very pleasant walk looking at some nice old houses and across the water to St Huberts Island and Mt Pleasant on Saratoga and so forth.

Huckleberry Finn's The Boulevard Woy Woy

This was a fish&chip shop most recently I think. The paint on the sign's fairly fresh but I can't remember when it shut. A Dear Old Thing who grew up just down the road gave me its history of occupation. It was an oyster merchants shop in the late 1920s.

That's the Watersedge Motel on the left of it. Eighties reno. It used to be the Super Fit Clothing Company factory from 1947 to 1965 or 66. Look at the windows just above the veranda. Those are the original factory windows.

Hard to pick the style. Due to the apparent age of the materials and the symmetry of the facade, I'm plumping for Inter-War Free Classical (circa 1915 - circa 1940).

Caprice Brick Wharf Road Woy Woy

Caprice Brick Wharf Road Woy Woy, just down the road from the pub and Huckleberry Finn's.

This place leaves me gobsmacked. Why the fuck would anyone build directly across the road from such a pleasant view of the water and be so careful to make sure the view was lost to the occupants? Barmy.

Also, I'm not loving the whole red brick slabbiness of it. It's fifties yes, but it's such a claustrophobic example of fifties architecture. It'll be gone in a few years. The Dear Old Things living out their last years in it will pop off (hopefully gently) and it'll be razed to the ground and a block of snappy white two-storey units slapped up in its place and flogged at 300,000 each.

Federation repro on Blackwall foreshore Woy Woy

Federation repro on Blackwall foreshore Woy Woy. I like this one. Plenty of the repro is half-arsed but this one looks good. Even the chimney is pretty close to the real thing. The house isn't a slavish copy of the Federation Queen Anne style (circa 1890 - circa 1915) but a slavish copy would be tricky to fit round modern building regulations and might look a bit precious anyways. This is better.

That veranda's a lot deeper and wider than it looks. Plenty of room for sitting and watching the fisherman row past.

Ducklings on Blackwall foreshore Woy Woy

Ducklings are starting to be seen along the water. They shelter in the mangroves and make short excursions into the big wide world. This lot are waiting near the Duck Feeder's house.

Stands of pine on Blackwall foreshore Woy Woy

Near Park Road I think. They sound beautiful in even the slightest wind. The Queen Anne repro is just out of sight on the left.

Not too hot today. Yesterday was back into the mid 30s (around 80F) with a nice bit of wind at lunchtime, and we'll be back up there next week.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Pretty sparks

Bloody hot here over the weekend. 38 fucking degrees (100 F). Same as that heatwave in England and Europe a couple of months back. Haven't heard about any deaths from it here though. We're used to it. The Dear Old Things shut themselves indoors with a damp cloth on the backs of their necks and the fan blowing up their jaxsie and ride it out.

I was indoors as well, fan on full blast, feet in a bucket of water. By lunchtime Friday it was too fucking hot to go anywhere. Luckily, none of the Dear Old Things nearby was carted away in an ambulance. They tend to wait until Christmas or Wednesday evenings to have a stroke or whatever.

We had plenty of bushfires. But a cool change came through Saturday night and yesterday was bliss. Cool and grey and it even rained. Barely enough to wet a lizard but it was cool and wet and helped control the fires and produced some pretty sparks on powerlines in Sydney.

Heard about Hawaii's earthquake. 6.5 or 6.6 they're saying, and one aftershock as big as 5.8. Fuck. I don't call that an aftershock, I call that a whole 'nother fucking quake. The power's still out from what I understand. Poor buggers.


The coppers (cops) are patrolling two or three beaches in Sydney this summer after the crap on Saturday. It's not certain yet but it looks like there was another racist attack. Charming.

I blame that fuckwit Howard. He's always weaseled out of condemning racism and he recently made some stupid fucking crack about Muslims. Way to go, weasel, single out the group really copping it right now and have a go at them instead of answering for your evil fucking industrial relations reform. Gutless prick.

Seriously, Howard scares the shit out of me. I'm not a very political animal but he's turning my country into a shitheap. Not happy, John.

Good news

Got a big job of work finished this morning.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Moore Street

(Gosford every street walkies #30)

Cape Street South Gosford

Cape Street South, Gosford. Fifties house hidden amongst the undergrowth in a tiny street off Pacific Highway, near the Showground Road/railway overpass roundabout.

The house looks tiny but there's a big addition out the back built in the seventies or eighties from what I could see.

Fagans Bay from the corner of Batley & Wilhemina Streets West Gosford

Fagans Bay from the corner of Batley & Wilhemina Streets West Gosford. Looking down the slope of Presidents Hill, just down from The Castle.

Moore Street West Gosford

Moore Street West Gosford. Lovely sky coloured bungalow a few metres up the road from the new flats (below).

Atrium Apartments Moore Street

Atrium Apartments Moore Street. Ten bucks says the little old streets between Presidents Hill and the Pacific Highway (West Gosford/Gosford) get filled up with flats in the next ten years.

These are pleasant enough. Can't remember the price. It was some gobsmacking amount. There was another block of flats in next street (Batley Street) which didn't look half as good.

It was bloody warm again today. 33 (86 F) I heard. The sky was clear blue and there wasn't much breeze when I set out. I cooked a bit but there was a bit of good shade here and there. Looks like we've skipped spring and gone straight to summer. Might have to walk at the arse-crack of dawn to keep cool.

Bushfire news

Bushfires rage across four states, including one an hour up the road from me, near Lake Macquarie, and one on Kangaroo Island (South Australia) where my eggs come from.

Valley Guy at Flickr has a photo of a bushfire survivor, a blue-tongue lizard and an excellent one of a water-bomber chopper from the January fires in Victoria (the state below NSW).

Peter has some photos of the Sydney fire last weekend and a fire video from last month.

Brown underpants moment

Nasty time in New York today (or yesterday, bloody time zones) with that plane crash. Saw a bit of it on the telly. Some bloke having a bit of a cry, poor thing, remembering being on the streets when the twin towers were hit. Some baseball guy and his instructor got killed and doctors all over New York will be prescribing tranquillisers for the next month.

Speaking of NYC, here's a much more cheerful article about secret rooms which I nicked from Peter.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Wind porn

It blew a bloody gale on the weekend. The trees were bowing and swaying, next door's gate was rattling like buggery and down the road someone's rubbish bin was rattling as though possessed by a demon. Great stuff for lovers of windsong.

Video won't load? Watch it at YouTube.

Neve did find out where that smell of smoke on Saurday was. Wasn't from the Sydney fire.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Boulevard of Broken Factories

(Gosford every-street walkies #29)

Fielder Street West Gosford

Behind this garage is an old fibro bungalow in very bad repair. Its front faces onto the Pacific Highway, one street down.

Fielder Street in West Gosford is a short street, once full of light industry, now almost entirely derelict.

Most of the industry has moved to Manns Road West Gosford (not Mann Street Gosford) just a few minutes down the road. Going on all the flats that've gone up in the surrounding streets, looks like Fielder Street will go the same way.

Fielder Street West Gosford

The house is still occupied. The factory in the middle not. The building on the right has an old sign saying "Auction Rooms" on the other side and latana growing on the roof. Love the door with the porthole.

Fielder Street West Gosford

Still in use as a house, going by the washing on the back line. Looking rather poorly but nice colours and proportions.

Fielder Street West Gosford

"Just Lovett Quality Meats" the sign says. Quite a pleasant old building in a once-busy street in industrial Gosford. A quick squizz in the phonebook reveals that Just Lovett is now operating a butchery at West Gosford Shopping Centre, barely a minute down the road at the West Gosford lights.

Fielder Street West Gosford

Still jaunty even under threat of bulldozing. No idea what it was used for though the window at the street side suggests it could've been a retail outlet for the ex-butchery. It's in the same block of land.

Fielder Street West Gosford

Another old house fallen on hard times. The sign says: "NSW Tai Chi and Chi Kung Centre".

Fielder Street West Gosford

Tyres & wires. An abandoned building behind Doors Plus on the Pacific Highway, just before Dead Rooster (Red Rooster).

Shit for brains

Some dickhead started a bushfire in Sydney yesterday. Thought he'd do a bit of a private burn-off. Great idea, mate, but not in the middle of a fucking Total Fire Ban and not in the teeth of a fucking 90 kay (55.9 mile) fucking wind. Jesus. Hope they throw the book at the dozy bugger.

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Old & new

(Random walkies)

Creighton's Mann Street Gosford

Remember the Art Deco funeral director's? I blogged it in May. Finally got a look at its nice old plaster ceiling (photo below).

Go along Mann Street to the corner of Georgiana Terrace and it's the pink building on the corner. If you can't see it you're legally blind.

Creighton's Mann Street Gosford

Embiggulate for ceiling detail.

Can't find any reference to the ceiling of the first floor. All the Australian Heritage Database has to say about Creighton's ceilings is that the chapel on the ground floor has "simple rendered walls and fibrous plaster ceiling" and that "the upper floor contain[s] a residence and is still occupied by Mr Craig McDonald, a member of the Creighton family."

Craig, if you're reading this, pop up a photo of yer ceiling, mate.

Mann Street Gosford

Flats finished in the last few weeks. They are just a few doors along from Jephson's Corner.

They must have a pretty clear view over Brisbane Water all the way to Lion Island and are close to all mod cons so they should sell orright.

Back to blue sky today. Warm and a nice cool breeze. Unfortunately I can smell bushfire as I type. Can't see the smoke yet but that breeze is coming from the north-east. The seaplane just went over. Maybe he'll post a photo.

We had some fires up this way a few days ago. They caught the bastard, thank christ. Hope he gets 10 years.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

The Castle

(Gosford walkies #28)

The Castle Donnison Street West, West Gosford

The challenge was to get a photo of The Castle, on Donnison Street West just inside the Gosford-West Gosford boundary.

It had a dungeon when JayJay used to live there and the guy who owned it kicked his family out so he could make it into a castle. Watched too many Disney cartoons methinks.

It's now for lease. Despite the view (scroll down) I'm thinking it might be empty for a while. Turrets ain't everyone's cuppa tea.

The Castle Donnison Street West, West Gosford

The Castle can be seen from Mann Street and puzzles many. From Mann Street the angle of view gives it quite a Gothic look. Seen up close against the backdrop of the gums on Presidents Hill it looks quite bizarre.

Brisbane Water from Donnison Street West, West Gosford

Peculiarities aside, the building has a good view down Brisbane Water to Lion Island and even Barrenjoey Head.

Despite being very short today's walk was hot. It's probably around 30 (83 F) now. I'll have to go back to Woy Woy walkies after Christmas. The hottest month will be February and January will be bloody near baking alive as well.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Mount Ettalong

(Random walkies)

Sky's pretty clear now but this morning it was as black as. Dark clouds pressing down ominously and bugger-all light. Looked like it was going to rain cats and dogs but we got just a wee sprinkle. Which is a bastard because we just went onto Level 4 water restrictions. That means no outdoor watering not even with a bucket. There's going to be a lot of dead gardens this summer. But we live in the driest fucking country on earth and the state is 90% in drought and the local dams are at around 16%. We just gotta suck it up.

Lion Island & Pittwater from Mount Ettalong

Anyways. I went up to Mount Ettalong. The light was still pretty low and most of my photos are crap but I got a few. This one is Lion Island and Pittwater from the lookout on the side of Mount Ettalong. That's Pearl Beach on the right of the frame, Barrenjoey Head is behind Lion Island and Pittwater is in the middle.

To get to the lookouts, from West Street go down Sydney Avenue and Hobart Avenue to Mount Ettalong Road. Up on Mt Ettalong there's a hairpin bend. As soon as you're round that look for the lookout sign on the left. It's not far. Park beside the water tank and follow the signs to the lookouts. There's one on the end (facing Box Head) and one on the side facing Pearl Beach and Pittwater.

Pearl Beach lagoon from Mount Ettalong

Pearl Beach lagoon and Coral Crescent. Pearl Beach is lovely. Beautiful beach and the streets are very green. It's mostly seventies houses but the trees obscure a lot of them. There's a lot of holiday rental houses, couple of them right across the road from the beach. Bliss.

More on Pearl Beach.

Up a gum tree

Lovely big pink gum. Some gums are tall and straight. This one is one of the sort with spreading undulating branches.