Friday, March 30, 2007

Steyne Road

(Saratoga walkies #5-ish)

Warm as toast today. Warm autumn sun, a nice cool breeze and a blue blue sky. Lovely and nippy in the mornings and warm afternoons. Perfect.

Steyne Road from the View Street Wharf Saratoga

Steyne Road from the View Street Wharf Saratoga. Across the waterline there you can see 3 Federation (circa 1890 - c. 1915) cottages. Between the 2nd and 3rd is an eighties or nineties house. Looks eighties with those round columns on the veranda though the colour scheme is very now.

Behind that row of houses you can see a fifties house (white) ans another circa 1900 house (white, green roof) though that place could be right up to the 1940s.

On the right, lurking behind the palms and that lovely big frangipani, is a seventies place. There were dozens of 2 storey places built along the Brisbane Water foreshores in the seventies and you know how I hate seventies architecture.

In the last row of houses up the hill there's mostly seventies places again, short cul-de-sacs driven up into the bush during the seventies population boom. In between there's a fair amount of eighties reno's of forties houses and fresh builds. This area of Saratoga hasn't seen as many new houses and reno's as the area around Veterans Hall. The commuter ferry doesn't come round here.

Those circa 1900 houses were really tricky to photograph. From the road they're all but invisible. A lot of them've sold the backyard and there's another house in it. Though there was one place with its original mulberry tree, an elderly lemon tree, a pumpkin patch and the original dunny.

Steyne Road Saratoga

A small weatherboard cottage on Steyne Road soaking up the autumn sun. Love that faded red roof against the white boards. 1940s I'd say, judging from the age of the sides and that great mass of fishbone fern at the front, maybe once a holiday house now lived in full time but just as likely to be the family home built just after the war.

Steyne Road Saratoga

Another cottage on Steyne Road. I'd want to see the other side of this one before I put an age to it. I think the back's older than the front. The roof shape and the front look 1940s and so does that fence and gate. Those windows at the front are not narrow enough to be earlier than 1920 I think. I like the colours. Very cottage-y and smart.

This place and the photos above look across the water to Gosford, Longnose (Point Frederick) and East Gosford. Only the cemetery-cum-park on the tip of Longnose is visible at this angle. (Similar view, map)


Went and saw Hot Fuzz yesterday. It was bloody hilarious. Pisstake, filmed in a little village Somerset, kick-arse soundtrack, Lurch, dead-beat detectives, runaway swans, explosions, murder, nutters, a priest who says "fuck off Grasshopper", high street shoot-outs and the good guys win in the end. And that bit where the guy gets clonked by a bit of Perp Dec, very funny in a very bloody way.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The hills of Yattalunga

(Saratoga walkies #4 or thereabouts)

Christ, I'm tired. Have just spent 20 minutes staring at a blank screen wondering what I was doing. Been overdoing it with the evil work thing. Couple more days then I'm done for a bit.

Blue Moon & the hills of Yattalunga

Mystery solved. These two are the hills of Yattalunga. Previously I'd only seen them from the other side of Brisbane Water and wasn't sure. Not a huge mystery by any means but another of the small satisfying solutions this walkies business constantly delivers.

Steyne Road Saratoga

Protea tree. The flowers were very similar to the ones I got for my Gran's birthday last year. Not as bright but they might've faded in the sun.

Lovely and nippy this morning but a sleepy warm by mid morning. I wandered along in the sun gazing at all the flowers still blooming in the tail end of summer's heat. Plenty of grevillea blazing away in full colour, a few bottlebrushes quietly fading away and the purple flowering trees are going at it like mad, blazing bright against the blue sky. The flowering gums are flowering still but nothing like as much as last year so I haven't been driven berserk by the lorikeets feeding on them.

Lizard Steyne Road Saratoga
(Embiggen, massive file & not much detail)

A few blocks away from the protea tree I spot this guy just sitting there under a willow beside a storm drain. (See him? At the bottom of the post.) Hello, I thinks, someone's lost their rubber dinosaur. But no, it's a lizard siting there. I thought a lizard would be out in the sun after the overcast days we've been having. Perhaps he forgot his SPF30.

Lizard Steyne Road Saratoga

I edged round to get a closer look at him and see if he was real. He got a bit nervous with me getting closer and kept twitching. Couldn't remember which species runs up you if you stand still (they think you're a nice safe tree) so I did a bit of twitching of my own. I tried for a head-on shot but he wasn't ready for his close-up and scauttled even deeper into the shade.

Okay. I'm off for a microwave dinner and an early night.

Monday, March 26, 2007

After the rain

(Random walkies)

How good was the weekend? All that lovely wind and rain and so deliciously cool. I even had my trackies on it was that cool. It's not bad today either and we're off daylight saving as well so autumn is properly here!

Saratoga & Yattalunga from Brisbane Water Drive Koolewong

The brightest photo in a morning of iffy light. Taken by the camera itself when given a knock whilst sitting on a pigeon-shit bespattered table.

Walked halfway to Gosford this morning. Bad idea. Wanted to try out the new suspension bridge and got a bit carried away. The bridge is a footbridge and its opening has completed the walk-n-cycle path from Woy Woy to Gosford.

Took some more photos of the bridge today but they're as dark as that link above. The light was going fast. Nice bank of cumulus was coming in from the sea. Might rain again this evening.

Anyways. I was wandering along thinking happy thoughts about cool winter walkies to come and next thing I knew I was at Theroy's and hurting. Apart from the Bridge Walk I've hardly walked at all for yonks and the old legs are protesting heartily. Ah well. They'll be back on track soon with the nice cold weather coming.

Woy Woy waterfront from Brisbane Water Drive

Woy Woy waterfront from Brisbane Water Drive. Snapped months ago and lost in the terabyte that is my photos folder.

Left to right: a smidgeon of Pelican Island in the middle ground
Blackwall Mountain (background)
Woy Woy Memorial Park AKA Soldiers Park (pines)
Fish-n-chip shop (sloped roof)
Commercial wharf
CWA, Country Womens Association, the Pommyland equivalent is the WI.
St Vinne's formerly Roma (white, behind CWA)
Woy Woy Pub (yellow, 2 storey)
Ferry wharf (in front of CWA)

Bustling Downtown Woy Woy from Brisbane Water Drive Woy Woy

Bustling Downtown Woy Woy from Brisbane Water Drive Woy Woy. Snapped this morning in a brief bit of sunshine. The left hand dge of this photo joins up with the right hand edge of the one above. I'd bung them together but then they'd be too small for any detail.

Left to right:
Small park whose name I keep not finding out. The Bay to Bay Fun Run left from here last year.
Bay View Hotel. Same pub as was being menaced by a large cloud a few weeks again.
Wee 1950s arcade containing smallest hairdressing shop I've ever seen. Behind it, for the eagle-eyed, is the back of the facade of Noonan's.
The red veranda is a real estate (one of the many) one door along from Noonan's. You can't actually see the traffic lights but they're at the red veranda. At the lights the road stops being Brisbane Water Drive and starts being Railway Street.
The yellow building is on Railway Street as is the dark veranda you can see between it and the red veranda.
The two slim towers, background, one grey the other orange, are the 4-storey carpark outside Deepwater Plaza.
The clock tower is the Clocktower Building on Railway Street.

WTF is that thing?

Blackwall Road Woy Woy cnr Victoria Road

6 months back they knocked down an elderly fibro cottage, a circa 1940s Presbytery and a peculiar 1950s building at the Blackwall Road-Victoria Road roundabout in Woy Woy, opposite 1914 St John's.

This is what they're bunging up in their place. It's either a new St John's (the old one is a bit cracked) or a landing pad for lopsided helicopters.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Bradfield & the Bridge

Bradfield was a shortarse, a short bloke, and by the time the Coathanger was under construction in the 1920s, a chrome dome with half his hair gone. He had a big bulgy forehead and a stiff moustache and was never off the construction site.

He was born in Queensland in 1867. His father was labourer who fought in the Crimean War. Bradfield went to U Syd (University of Sydney) and graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in 1889.

1815 was the year a bridge was first put forward. A mere 109 years before they actually got started on the bastard. Francis Greenway it was who suggested it, a year after he'd stumbled ashore.

One of our top colonial architects, Greenway was. He got nicked for forgery and transported (sent to Australia) for 14 years. He died here in 1837 and there's nearly 50 of his buildings in the Sydney CBD. The Macquarie Lighthouse (South Head at the entrance to Sydney Harbour), Hyde Park Barracks, St. James Church and the new Government House. Not bad for an old lag (ex con).

Dawes Point to Milsons Point

The same year Greenway arrived, an ex-convict called Billy Blue started up a ferry service across the Harbour. Him and others ran passenger ferries until the 1840s. That's when the first horse-and-cart ferry started. It went from Dawes Point (Sydney side) to Milsons Point (North Shore). (The Coathanger goes from Dawes Point to Milsons Point.) The vehicle ferries were it until the Coathanger came. The Harbour got pretty bloody crowded with ferries criss-crossing but still people had to wait to get across. Business and the growth of the colony was suffering.

Eventually, at the beginning of the 20th century, concrete and steel technology had moved along a bit and new bridge designs were possible. Steel had got fairly cheap so Sydney could now afford a nice big bridge across the Harbour.

The competition for a design was opened in 1900. The construction started in 1924 and the Bridge was opened in 1932. He was 64. He had spent his entire adult life on the Bridge in one way or another.

In 1912 (same year the Titanic went down) he submitted a design for a suspension bridge to the design competition. In 1913 his idea for a cantilever bridge from Dawes Point to Milsons Point was accepted. In 1922 he went overseas to look at getting the bridge constructed (we didn't have enough steel then). Later that year he suggested the official documents for the bridge be changed to allow a cantilever or arch bridge rather than just a cantilever bridge.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

The bridge we got.

The Sydney Harbour Bridge we nearly had
(J Stewart & Co. 1903)

The Bridge we should've got. Not Bradfield's own cantilever bridge but one as near as dammit. This type of bridge looks better in this sketch than it would've been in real life. At the time pretty much every other bridge in the world looked like this. It would've just been a bridge. The Coathanger is an icon.

Bradfield is also responsible for the design of the City Circle (Sydney's underground railway), Brisbane's Story Bridge and a few dams and such like on other parts of the state. All good stuff.

But in his dotage he joined the Brigade of Nutters and wanted to turn the rivers inland.

Turning the rivers inland or even just one river is a scheme proposed by fuckwitted radio announcers with credulous listeners at every mention of drought. It is an feat of engineering on a scale that would give even God the heebies.


Bradfield's Bridge - lots of pictures & stuff about the competition & design & some lovely construction photos.

Biog page at the State Records site. They have photos also. Go there and do a search on "Bradfield".

City of - photos old & new & links down the bottom.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Powerful owls

I'm supposed to be writing a post about Bradfield the Sydney Harbour Bridge guy today. But I've got to earn some money instead so here's some reading to be going on with:


The powerful owls and their 11 hectares of bush still have a DA (Development Appilcation) hanging over their heads. Don't quote me on this but I think it's that bit of land on the corner of Hillview Street and Veron Road, right opposite the high school's sheep and across the road from the golf course.

Last year there was a fire in the bike shop on Railway Street. The bike shop moved down a few doors to number 18 but the beauty salon next to it had to shut down due to fire damage. The owner didn't have the dosh to go into a new shop and had to close for 8 months.

It's open again now. It's that place near the station lights, right next to Councillor Holstein's rather garish election office. Don't know if they do a back-crack-n-sac but you can ask.

In yer face Howard

Miner bullied at work wins second pay-out. She wouldn't sign a WorkChoices agreement (individual employment contract typically nullifying your holiday pay & safety). She got bullied and harrassed by her boss. She fought back, with the help of the union. She got awarded compo to be paid by her employer. She now works for the union.

More good news

"A REVOLUTIONARY technology that uses sunlight and sea water to produce an unlimited supply of clean, hydrogen fuel could be developed within a decade, Sydney researchers say.

Leigh Sheppard, of the University of NSW, estimated that 1.6 million of the solar devices, installed on rooftops, would be able to produce enough hydrogen gas to supply Australia's entire energy needs. ... Hydrogen was a clean and efficient fuel for powering everything from vehicles to furnaces and air conditioning. "When you burn it, it gives water, so there is no pollution of the environment," [Professor Tributsch] said." (SMH)

How cool would that be? We've got so much sun here we might end up exporting power and, exports or not, we wouldn't have to drink recycled wee after all.

Texas unlikely home of world's biggest gay church. That's right, peeps. Texas. The home of George "I can't talk proper" Bush and more fundies than you can poke a stick at has a church with a 3,500 strong mostly-queer congregational. Praise the lord!

Don't live in Texas? Try the Metropolitan Community Church or the Universal Life Church.

Toughing it out

This guy is one tough cookie. An hour after he was carjacked, stuffed in the boot and his car set on fire, he was back at work.

Can't find anything about that poor bastard found dead on the tracks on Bridge Walk day. Anyone know what happened?

Monday, March 19, 2007

Bridge Walk

You better get a cuppa tea. This is going to be a long post. There's plenty of pictures but.

Yesterday was the birthday of Our Bridge, the Coathanger, the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I booked for the Bridge Walk as soon as booking was open and walked it with a couple of mates from Sydney.

Would've been good to see the ceremony in the morning with the smoking (smudging) and the fly-overs and the marching bands but next time (2032). Had a thing on in the morning I couldn't wriggle out of but I got away at lunch time and set off.

All was fine and dandy until it came to swapping trains at Hornsby, as per instructions. About a hundred of us Bridge Walkers clambered off the train to Central and started up the stairs to the North Shore line. Halfway up them a garbled announcement came over the PA. Something about "a death on the tracks" at North Sydney. We descended on the station attendants like anxious lemmings. They had no idea what'd happened. The news had just come through. We were told the trains were running across the Bridge and to get back on the train we'd just got off.

It was gone.

We hung about on the platform waiting for the next one and speculated about the death to pass the time. A queue jumper crossing the track at North Sydney and got squished? Some Dear Old Thing who'd walked it at the 1932 opening had carked it on the way to todays' walk? An over-keen photographer had climbed up onto a pylon, forgotten to hang on and dropped onto the tracks in front of a moving train? Turns out this was going it a bit but there was a body found on the tracks. We'll find out what happened in a few days maybe.

The next train to Central came and we piled on. They laid on extra trains but the extra trains were full of extra people. I spent the trip squashed into a corner with a close-up on someone's elbow.

Dear Old Things on the train entertained us with their stories of walking the Bridge on opening day in 1932. Most of them were under escort by rellies and had those seat-onna-stick things to sit on if they needed a rest during the Walk. There was also a gaggle of Dear Old Things on their own, twittering with excitement and happy to still be alive for its 75th birthday.

With all that to listen to the trip didn't seem very long. As the train came up out of the City Circle (Sydney's underground railway) and across the Bridge, we goggled out the windows at the walkers and all the kids and Dear Old Things waved at each other.

I got out at North Sydney station and wandered about near the rows of port-a-loos until my mates showed then we followed the crowd.

Approaches to the Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Heading along the Bridge approach from North Sydney station. It was pretty light still at this point but by the time we were on the bridge proper, the clouds were getting darker and darker.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

They gave us green hats. As we came up the rise towards the Bridge there was a bloke with a microphone exhorting us to collect our free hats in nice orderly queues. We did.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Thar she blows. Our Bridge. As we came up to it we could hear How great thou art booming from the ABC's speaker stacks.

Police officers on Sydney Harbour Birdge 18th of March 2007

Our boys and girls in blue made sure there was no aggro.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Finest Pommy steel and 6 million rivets.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Volunteer taking someone's photo for them. They had megaphones and were perched on those towers every fifty yards or so.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Bridge Climbers waving at us proles walking below them. There's some crowd that does regular Bridge climbs for the hale and hearty.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

A chopper flew round and round the Bridge the whole time. No TV station logo and it was dark blue so it was probably PolAir.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Cross-brace thingy and directions for getting in the right lane.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Presumably access for the painters and rivet tighteners and the Inspector of Bridges. Dunno if there is such a post as the Inspector of Bridges but wouldn't it be a cool job?

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

More Climbers and what looked like wind chimes. Thought I heard a couple of quiet chimes over the hubbub of everyone saying "are those wind chimes?" but there was hardly a breeze. South-east (left) and south-west pylons in the background.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Looking back from between the south-west (left) and south-est pylons, at the Sydney CBD end. There's two lots of Climbers up there. See them? One lot on the left bottom corner of the span and the other up the top.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Some sort of maintenance person, possibly in charge of the spanners for the speakers. Aunty had stacks of speakers set up along the Bridge broadcasting loops of the 1932 opening day speeches, popular somgs of the day and world events happening since the Bridge was opened. It's Aunty's 75th birthday this year as well.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

South East pylon. The museum is in it and there's a viewing platform up the top. You can see the whole of the Harbour and the museum has some cool movies of the construction and stuff.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Bored volunteers and a TV crew against the Sydney CBD skyline. That thin thing with the knob on top is the Sydney Tower AKA Centrepoint Tower.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

And still they came. In fact, they were still coming after dark. They were given hats-with-lights-on when it got dark and on the midday news today there was some pretty footage of them walking across and the Bridge all lit up.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Electronic signs told us where to get off and an ancient road sign lent a hand.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

"HAPPY 75TH *heart*" hanging out the window of a narrow late 19th/early 20th century terrace house in Cumberland Street or George Street in The Rocks.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Bored coppers and ambos (cops and paramedics) near the south end toll-gate. We were a quiet and healthy crowd and they had bugger all to do all day.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Never turn your camera off. That's when they do a fly-over. The zoom kicked in as soon as they disappeared.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

National Trust building. There was a concert on there or behind it on Observatory Hill and both were swarming with people in green hats.

Sydney Harbour Bridge 18th of March 2007

Heading for the pub. The Grosvenor Street off-ramp leading to The Rocks.

It was a lovely walk. Australians are a pretty calm crowd. (Except at the footy and the cricket of course.) It was great to see the Bridge at one's leisure. Gotta go on one of those climbing tours over the top one day. The train home was not as full but people were still talking about it, asking strangers "did you do the walk?" and swapping stories about their neighbour's granddad who worked on its construction and so on.

More reading
Professor Bashir, current NSW Governor, cut the ribbon for the birthday celebrations and the guy who started the Bridge Climb crowd has the sword de Groot used to cut the ribbon at the 1932 opening. (SMH)

Dr Sue Ogle was born on the Bridge in an ambulance on the way to hospital.

The Bridge is now on the National Heritage List.

Iemma AKA Morris Dilemma, current NSW Premier, bunged up a plaque on Dawes Point (the Circular Quay side) commemorating the 16 Bridge workers killed in its construction.

"[The plaque] was warmly welcomed by Jacqueline Porter, daughter of J. Alexander Faulkner, a 40-year-old rigger who was killed on March 30, 1931, when struck by a piece of metal plating that fell from a crane working overhead...
Captain Faulkner ... had served with distinction as an engineer on the Somme, had survived the "horrors of war", only to be killed on the half-complete Harbour Bridge." (SMH)

If you missed Constructing Australia: The Bridge on the telly last night, Aunty will proably be flogging it on DVD.

Crowds praised for good behaviour

Walkers stories

Links to photos and videos here at the Herald, including 10 pages of souvineer photos to buy.

Sydney Webcam showing the Bridge.

Under the Bridge with Sydney Spy.

No workie
You couldn't comment on last week's Bridge post. Blogger was having a little lie down but it's all right now. Bung yer Bridge stories up here.

Finally answered your question about the red flowering plant at the Cockle Bay Wetland. Only took me a fortnight.

Sorrento Road
Some excellent news on Davis & Settree. Dave & Barb, the current owners, left us a note to say they're adding the townhouses behind the historic building not knocking it down. Thank yer, much appreciated.

Okay. I'm all blogged out. See you Wednesday.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The Coathanger

Sydney Harbour Bridge 1930

Our Bridge, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, under construction in 1930.

The Bridge was designed in 1916 by John Bradfield, started in 1923 or 24, finished in 1931 and opened on the 19th of March 1932. It cost £4 million and was finally paid off in 1988.

"The Sydney Harbour Bridge construction ... took 1400 men eight years to build at a cost of £4.2 million. Six million hand driven rivets and 53,000 tonnes of steel were used in its construction. It now carries eight traffic lanes and two rail lines, one in each direction, but at the time of its construction the two eastern lanes were tram tracks. They were converted to road traffic when Sydney closed down its tram system in the 1950s." (Culture and

The main names associated with the Bridge are Bradfield, Lang and de Groot. Bradfield was the architect and the road across the Bridge, the Bradfield Highway, is named after him. I'll talk more about him later.

So there they all are on opening day. It's a sunny Autumn day, right in the middle of the Great Depression. The people are hungry, angry and frightened. They don't know it yet but that great Australian racehorse Phar Lap will soon be dead and they're going to need another icon to replace him. NSW Premier Jack Lang, NSW Governor Sir Phillip Game are all there, along with all these military blokes on horseback in their shiniest uniforms and hundreds of thousands of Sydneysiders.

Lang steps forward with the scissors to cut the ribbon and declare the Bridge officially open. But before he can cut it this wanker de Groot pushes forward on his horse and slashes the ribbon with his sword, declaring the Bridge open "in the name of the decent and respectable people of New South Wales". By "decent and respectable people" he means his fellow fascists.

Lang is miffed, obviously, but the ribbon is sticky-taped back together and Lang gives it a snip for the cameras and declares it officially open. Then it's on for young and old. The Sydneysiders pour across the Bridge in their thousands and de Groot is hauled off to the copshop where they try to charge him with playing silly-buggers and going armed in public but, due to his being entitled to carry a sword whilst in military uniform at official events, they can only fine him £5 and tell him he's a naughty boy.

Would I rather de Groot hadn't stuck his oar in? Fuck no. Nuffing like a nice bit of soap opera and an arrest to liven up the proceedings and it didn't do the Coathanger any lasting harm.


The Great Depression - a time of massive unemployment, poverty and fear throughout much of the world.

Phar Lap - great Australian hero and racehorse, born in New Zealand, won the Melbourne Cup and other big races in Australia, killed (possibly) by American gansters.

Pre-Bridge traffic - "1890 ... Vehicular access to the north shore was undertaken with a series of smaller bridges located further westwards in the harbour, but this was insufficient for the traffic in the Sydney/North Sydney area."


Bradfield - designer of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Sir Phillip Game - Governor of NSW in 1932.

de Groot (wanker)

Jack Lang - the Big Fella, Premier of NSW in 1932.

Construction and History

Potted history and some photos at the Bridge Climb site.

Photos and stuff at the Australian National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour.

Rejected Bridge plans and more Bridge photos at the Museum of Sydney. They also have the Bridge in lego.

Stories about the building and opening of the bridge with construction photos from the earlier stages as well.

Great drawing on Kilts to Kangaroos showing the stages of construction. The author workeed on the Bridge and walked it the day it opened.

The City of Sydney site has some recent photos of the Bridge as well ones from the opening and construction.

Beautiful close-ups of the construction on someone's personal site. Scroll down for the photos, Bridge stats and links.

The National Library of Australia will flog you a Bridge construction photo.


"Sydney Harbour shot taken from the air. Bridge in the center of the shot with the Opera house to the side. I took this photo myself during a helicopter joy flight. Rodney Haywood." (Wiki)

I'll be walking across the Coathanger this Sunday on its 75th birthday. I got in quick and got a place. The Bridge will be closed to traffic and thousands of Sydneysiders, a couple of Woy Woyans and assorted out-of-towners will be wandering across it. The water below will be chockers with boats and gawkers and the streets of Sydney will be likewise chockers. I'll post my photos of the walk on Monday.

The birthday walk

Official Bridge Walk site - history stuff with photos.

Road closures and public transport on the Walk day.

Bridge Walk Map.

brief rundown on the Sydney Morning Herald site. The registration mentioned in that article is closed. All the places for walking the Bridge are gone.

Interactive map of Darling Harbour

131500 - bus, train and ferry info for the Walk.

Speak up

Yep, you can put your Bridge story in the comments. The more the merrier.

Update, 17th of July 2008

Olive Riley, late of Woy Woy and formerly the world's oldest blogger, was there and walked the Bridge on its opening day in 1932. Read about it on All About Olive.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Still crook.

Pop over and read All About Olive. It's the "blob" of a 107 year old Woy Woy resident, as written by Mike the Helper. It's excellent. Ta to Michael for the link.

Ron, added wog to the Ducktionary.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Sick note

I am Not Well. Got a wog from snogging some bastard the other night. Going back to bed after a nice hot vodka and lemon.

Storm building over Woy Woy

Storm building over Woy Woy. Nice bit of thunder and lightning and cool refreshing rain to follow. Just what the doctor ordered.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sorrento Road

Lovely and cool again today. Rained again last night and there's a decent breeze. Lovely Autumn weather on the 7th day of Autumn. Grey skies again however, so here's some more from last week's blue sky:

Davis & Settree Sorrento Road Empire Bay

This is Davis & Settree. It's a former shop, built around 1920. It gazes out across the foreshore park and across the water to Davistown. It's perhaps 50 yards from the war memorial and the ferry wharf.

It was bought by Arthur Davis in 1921 and the shop half was run by his daughter Olive and her husband from 1928 to around 1979. Arthur lived in the other half and built the boatshed opposite. Looks like it's still standing. It's the one at the marina where the Renown is moored.

The Davises were Benjamin, Thomas, Rock and Edward, the ship-builders after whom Davistown (just across the water) and Bensville (just up the road a bit from Empire Bay) are named.

Rock Davis is the most well-known locally. Between them, the Davis brothers built 217 vessels at Davistown, Bensville and Blackwall in the second half of the 19th century. Rock Davis is buried at St. Paul's, that wee stone church at the Avoca Drive roundabout in Kincumber.

The Settrees were also local ship-builders. Alfred W.R.M. Settree built the Day Dawn in 1869 and 6 other boats. The Day Dawn is among the photos around the atrium food court called The Hub or The Hive or The Something at Bloody Erina (Erina Fair Shopping Centre). The Sttrees are also mentioned on the Empire Bay War Memorial and the memorial in the Woy Woy War Memorial Park.

From the Gosford Library's History of Davistown:

"“Scotchie”: William (“Scotchie”) Settree, carried mail between Woy Woy and Davistown using a rowing boat for 26 years. He died in 1916, at the age of 47. “Scotchie” Settree was reputed to have never missed a mail train at Woy Woy, nor a delivery run to Davistown in all of the 26 years he operated the service.

His sons continued the mail run until 1921, when Ferries were contracted for the service."

Love that image of the post being rowed across the water in fair weather and foul. Though it may well be that rowing in foul weather is what sent Scotchie to an early grave.

Davis & Settree Sorrento Road Empire Bay

The back of Davis & Settree.


468 sqm (approx), zoned 3A
1x3 bedroom, double garage
1x2 bedroom, single garage
Majestic water views from the decks of both townhouses
Completion expected June

[estate agent's contact details]"

So this lovely old place is for the chop. Bugger.

Sorrento House Sorrento Road Empire Bay

And this one too. Could they not replace it with something a bit less generic and boring?



Good opportunity to purchase commercial space or brand new
executive style townhouses
Comercial ideal for professional [something]
3 stylish townhouses with fantastic water views from the entertaining deck

[estate agent's contact details]"

"Houses (2): former boarding house "Sorrento House" 9-11 Sorrento Rd, Empire Bay ... 1906, 1929". This is No 9. No 11 has been replaced with a large noughties house. Not ugly but not 1929 either.

This was Harry Davis's place. It's just across the road and down a few yards from Davis & Settree. Harry was Olive's brother.

My hist list has 2 Strom listings for "Sorrento House". One is the listing above for 9-11 Sorrento Road. The other is "House: former post office "Sorrento House" 7 Sorrento Rd, Empire Bay ... 1908". No 7 Sorrento Road is now occupied by a seventies building that may or may not have been a Post Office at one time but now houses a fish and chip shop. The fish and chips are good but you know how I hate the seventies architecture.

Empire Bay foreshore Sorrento Road

Houses on the Sorrento Road foreshore at Empire Bay. The boatshed and marina are just out of frame on the right.

Left to right: 'Empire House' AKA Hagan's 1908 (also for sale); 'Davis & Settree', 12 Sorrento Road, circa 1922, former shop, 14 Sorrento Road, date unknown, 16 Sorrento Road, circa 1920.

It'll wreck this part of the foreshore if Davis & Settree and Empire House get bulldozed.

Monday, March 05, 2007


Beautiful storm last night. I was up past my bedtime watching it. The first one was medium strength and just rumbled and flashed a bit. The second one was good and loud. Several whacking great crashes of thunder right overhead and the flashes of lightning were enormous.

Missed the eclipse on Saturday night. I was going to watch it but I got a bit elephant's (drunk). Have marked the August eclipse in my diary as 'total eclipse DON'T GET DRUNK'. Righto.

Didn't go to the Parade. Went to a mate's instead and we sat there on the back lawn getting slowly plastered. Mardi Gras has pretty much passed me by this year. I promised myself I'd see Swan Lake, the one with all the guy swans, but didn't get off my arse.

Watched the Kylie concert last night on Aunty. I'm not that much of a Kylie fan, musically, but she's a deadset diva and a bloody good entertainer. There's plenty of performers but not that many good entertainers.

Enough rambling. On with the photos. These are from last week. It's dark and overcast today and I'm sitting at home with a cuppa tea.

Kendall Road Empire Bay

Little old house at the end of Kendall Road Empire Bay. Could be older but it looked like 1940s. It was probably surrounded by bush back then. Now the street is full and it's surrounded by seventies houses.

Kendall Road Empire Bay

24 Kendall Road Empire Bay. Looks like I got here a day or two late for a good photo. Bugger.

It's in my hist list as "house .. 24 Kendall Rd, Empire Bay ... c. 1920". Looks like it was a small rectangular cottage with wooden interior walls.

There's nothing listed as heritage on either the Australian Heritage Council database or the NSW Heritage Office database. In the Gosford City Council notes for 2002 there's a motion to have the house in this photo and a lot of other historic buildings removed from the Heritage registers. That leaves them unprotected from development.

Renown at Empire Bay

See her? The old black and yellow ferry in the middle there. This is as close a picture as was possible with all the boats stacked up round the marina.

I can find nothing on the Renown on Google. I've never seen her out of her bay and I don't remember her name or picture in any of the library books. Speak up if you know.

Renown at Empire Bay

Her stern. To see her get the ferry (the Saratoga not the Codock) from the Woy Woy wharf to Empire Bay. Or turn off Empire Bay Drive at Greenfield Road and follow the signs to the Post Office or the wharf. She's visible from the wharf.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Cockle Bay Wetland

Empire Bay walk number something or other)

Cockle Bay Wetland Kendall Road Empire Bay

Cockle Bay Wetland Kendall Road Empire Bay.

Looks like just a bit of scrubby ground to us humans and non-botanists but it's the garden of eden to local birds and beasts:

"Cockle Bay and its surrounds is the largest example of an estuarine wetland in
Brisbane Water. It is an extremely important area for avian fauna, such as
wading birds and cormorants that utilise the wetland for feeding, breeding and
shelter sites. There are also a number of reptiles and mammals inhabiting the
area." (Gosford City Council records 2003)

Cockle Bay & Cockle Bay Wetland Empire Bay

Cockle Bay & its Wetland in red. Woy Woy on the left bottom.

Cockle Bay Wetland Kendall Road Empire Bay

We're looking south-east here, across a not-visible Bensville here and over to the Bouddi National Park (pronounced bood-eye, oo as in hood). The other side of the Bouddi is the Tasman Sea.

Cockle Bay Wetland Kendall Road Empire Bay

Pelican Island & Rileys Island are Dry Sclerophyll Forest. Cockle Bay is Swamp Sclerophyll Forest.

Swamp Sclerophyll Forest is "typically open forest, although partial clearing may have reduced the canopy to scattered trees. In some areas the tree stratum is low and dense, so that the community takes on the structure of scrub. The community also includes some areas of fernland and tall reedland or sedgeland, where trees are very sparse or absent. Typically these forests, scrubs, fernlands, reedlands and sedgelands form mosaics with other floodplain forest communities and treeless wetlands, and often they fringe treeless floodplain lagoons or wetlands with semi-permanent standing water (e.g. Pressey 1989a)."

Now you've chewed yer way through that lot, think about what Hurricane Katrina did to New Orleans. A lot of that flooding was due to the wetlands getting developed. Wetlands slow floods and tidal surges right down and take the bite out of them. The same goes here.

Swamp Sclerophyll Forest on the Central Coastal Floodplains ... is likely to be made up of these species:

Acacia irrorata - a eastern coast wattle, "Erect shrub or tree to 12 m high. Bark smooth, later rough, green, dark grey, dark brown or black. ... Young foliage-tips golden, greenish yellow or orange."
Acacia longifolia - a wattle with a long thin seed-pod.
Acmena smithii - lilly pilly tree, gets to 15 m, upright oval-shaped tree, "used as a single tree or as a hedge since the early 1900s", "fragrant white flowers in late spring, and these flowers are followed fruits—in most Lilly Pillies these are a deep purple".
Adiantum aethiopicum - Adiantum aethiopicum - Common Maidenhair fern. This stuff grows back thicker after a dose from the flame-thrower.
Allocasuarina littoralis - Black Sheoak, "easily recognised because of its very short leaves, typically only 5-8cm in length ... These branchlets are very fine, bright green, and contrast strongly with the black bark. The tree’s growth is upright, and A. littoralis will grow no wider than 4m", dark red spring flowers.
Banksia oblongifolia - Fern-leaved banksia, Banksia oblongifolia was previously known as Banksia aspleniifolia in New South Wales. Good photo there of the seed cone.
Banksia spinulosa - Hairpin Banksia, straight golden cones.
Baumea articulata - Jointed Twig-rush, Stout sedge 1 -2 m tall, large drooping flowerhead.
Baumea juncea - a thin reed plant, I've seen this everywhere on the Central Coast and in Sydney as well, along the Parramatta River I think.
Blechnum camfieldii - another reedy plant by the look of it.
Blechnum indicum - Swampwater Fern, a bush tucker plant and pretty popular as a garden plant. Bit like a hedonistic fishbone fern.
Breynia oblongifolia small shrub with little red berries.
Callistemon salignus - Willow Bottlebrush, small fat tree that went out of fashion in the eighties.
Calochlaena dubia - Common Ground Fern, Rainbow Fern, low job about knee height. I see this all over the place round Brisbane Water, on the ridges as well as in the wetlands. It's so common and visible I thought it was one of the exotic species that turned into a weed.
Carex appressa - ornamental tussocky grass, a low reedy/spiny job found round swimming pools.
Casuarina glauca - Swamp Oak, prostate job (laying down), "Casuarinas are often called “native pines” because their foliage bears a similarity to pine needles. ... [however] they are in fact true flowering plants. The Casuarinaceae family is native to Australia, southeast Asia and islands of the Pacific."
Centella asiatica - Pennywort. Creeping herb, heart or kidney shaped leaves, pink or white flowers. Think I've seen this one.
Dianella caerulea - another one of these reedy tussocky jobs, low thing with a stalk of blue or purple flowers, see in shopping centres all over as an edging in the carparks.
Dodonaea triquetra - Large Leaf Hop Bush. Erect shrub to 3 metres. Looks more like a small scrawny tree. Pretty common on bushwalks round the Peninsula.
Elaeocarpus reticulatus - Tree-ish shrub or shrub-ish tree, small white or pink fringed bell flowers and blue olive-shaped berries. The link shows it as a bonsai. Cool.
Entolasia marginata - Australian panic-grass. It's been introduced into Hawaii. I know this stuff. We used to pick bunches of it on the way home from primary school (middle school) and whack each other with it about the head. It didn't pack much of a punch but the dust flying off in all directions gave the allergic kids hell.
Entolasia stricta tall thin straggly weedy grass. Australians will know it next time they see it, the stuff's everywhere.
Eucalyptus botryoides - Bangalay, a coastal gum tree, one of the ones with small nuts out of which the flowers burst like tiny fireworks..
Eucalyptus longifolia - Woolybutt gum, one of yer classic gum trees, 15 - 25 m, white/ white and grey bark, sheds it in patches or strips, pale yellow firework flowers. This is one the lorikeets like.
Eucalyptus resinifera subsp. hemilampra - Red mahogany, one of the stringbarks, gets to 45 m high, plae yellow firework flowers again.
Eucalyptus robusta - Swamp Mahogany, another tall gum. I see this one a lot in planted parks. It makes good shade.
Ficus coronata - Sandpaper Fig, tall shrub or small tree, rough sandpapery leaves. Small dark hairy berries. Bush tucker plant, just peel the hairy skin off.
Gahnia clarkei - Tall Saw-sedge, a stiff reedy grass with "scabrous" leaves. A butterfly hotel, the butterfly being a yellow and black job. I've both plant and butterfly, though not in the last few weeks.
Gahnia sieberiana - another Saw-sedge, this one with red fruit apparently. It's a knee high job, dense and round, probably the inspiration for those hideous seventies lamps with the slowly changing coloured light in the base. Don't look at one of those when yer drunk, it'll do yer head in. Do yerself a favour and leave it in the fucking garage sale.
Glochidion ferdinandi - Cheese tree, a large shrub. I've seen one of these. They're weird. The flowers are like tiny round cheeses that're going off.
Glycine clandestina - Twining Glycine, a sparse wandering viny thing, likes to drape itself over large bushes. I've seen this one, mostly on the ridges though.
Gonocarpus tetragynus - Common Raspwort, perennial herb. Low grassy thing, likes to grow in dips in rock platforms on the ridges as well. Has tiny reddish knobbly flowers at the tip of the leaves.
Hydrocotyle peduncularis - no common name by the look of it, a straggly weedy thing, the sort you'd just yank out if you found it in the garden. Found in Antartica and the sub-antartic.
Hypolepis muelleri - Harsh Ground Fern. Seen this all over the place as well. "[C]overed with stiff dark brown hairs" and "fronds erect" says FloraOnline. Sounds like a bear I used to know.
Imperata cylindrica var. major - Satin-tail, Spear-grass, a knee-high reddy grass with short white plume flowers. "It is used for erosion control, mulch in coffee plantations, fodder, thatching, paper-making, packaging, fuel and ornamental purposes but is also a common weed in hot climatic conditions." says Ecoport.
Isachne globosa - another grass but found in Asia, Australia and the Pacific islands. Not terribly useful from what I can see.
Leptospermum polygalifolium subsp. polygalifolium Tantoon, a short-arsed (short) tea tree with tiny greenish or white flowers. Ah, tea tree, how I love thee, let me count the ways. "Heath or sclerophyll forest on deep sand or in skeletal soil, usually on sandstone, often in moist depressions or along rocky watercourses," says PlantNet. And that's a pretty good description of the Brisbane Water/Greater Gosford area right there.
Livistona australis - Fan Palm, Cabbage Palm, tall tree with a round crown of fan-shaped leaves. Wind and salt tolerant. I see one of these among the scrub every now and then and assume it's an escaped garden plant. Shows you how much I'm learning.
Lomandra longifolia Spiny-headed Mat Rush, a low reed along the edge of the water. Click that link to see the fishing baskets the Aboriginal people made (and probably still make) out of it.
Lophostemon suaveolens - Swamp Mahogany, Swamp Turpentine, Swamp Box. Small droopy tree by the look of it. Broad-ish leaves, rough brown bark and tiny waxy white floers like the tea trees.
Melaeuca ericifolia - Swamp Paperbark tree, bark comes off in patches with stringy bits between the layers. Creamy white bottle-brush type flowers.
Melaleuca linariifolia - Narrow-leaf Paperbark, 8 m tall tree. Used a lot as a street tree and garden tree.
Melaleuca quinquenervia - Broad-leaved Paperbark. They were imported into the Florida Everglades 50 years back to stabilise the banks. Bad idea. They're too good at it and have taken the place over.
Melaleuca sieberi - small Paperbark tree. Grows "in wet heath in coastal districts, north from Gosford," says PlantNet. The nuts grow along the twigs. I love that.
Melaleuca styphelioides - Prickly Paperbark, a 10 m tree, no low branches and a wide squat crown. "[A]nother plant that is currently out of fashion. Many of these Melaleucas were poorly sited when planted and the original planting stock was of extremely poor quality. Now many of these trees need to be removed, and streetscape managers are looking for alternatives," says Metro
Morinda jasminoides - Native Jasmine, a vine with dark glossy leaves and tight bunches of tiny white and yellow flowers and orange fruit. I've never seen this. I wonder if it would like to live on my wall.
Omalanthus populifolius - Native Bleeding Heart, a tall shrub with red and green heart-shaped leaves. Think I've seen that in a few gardens.
Oplismenus aemulus - no common name, looks like a weed. Very unexciting.
Parsonsia straminea - Common Silkpod, a vine that grows on trees in places like Fletcher's Glen.
Phragmites australis - Common Reed. Upright woody stems with leaves off them, bit like bamboo. Bush tucker plant, also good for basket and raft making.
Polyscias sambucifolia - Elderberry Panax. A soft cascading shrub with tiny peeled-back white and yellow flowers and blue-grey fruit in summer.
Pratia purpurascens Whiteroot. A tiny native herb, fiercely defended.
Pteridium esculentum - Austral Bracken. Pretty sure I've seen this locally as well. Though it might've been one of the ferns.
Stephania japonica var. discolor - Snake Vine. A vine, obviously, with vaguely heart-shaped leaves that go red. Heard of it but never seen it.
Themeda australis - Kangaroo Grass. Scruffy-looking grass with reddish tufts on the end of the leaves.
Villarsia exaltata - Yellow March Flower. Erect, tufted, perennial aquatic herb with bright yellow flowers with five separated leaves.
Viola banksii & Viola hederacea - Native Violet. Very low plant with small purple and white flowers. "Vigorous perennial herb," says PlantNet, "spreading with stolons." Stolons turn out to be runners, like strawberry plants get if you grow them in the ground.

(List from NSW National Parks, smartarse remarks from Spike.)

Okay. I'm pooped after that lot. Feel free to play Spot The Species while I recover.