Saturday, December 20, 2008

Berry Island

New bit of Wollstonecraft naval base

HMAS Waterhen AKA "the Chook" in Wollstonecraft Bay Sydney Harbour. (Spot the top of the Coathanger in the background.) The Chook is all about mine warfare and is home to our spiffiest mine countermeasures gear.

The Chook was originally an actual ship before she became a base but was sunk in WWII. "Waterhen, with her sister ships Stuart, Vendetta, Vampire and Voyager became famous as the 'Scrap Iron Flotilla' in the Mediterranean. She was lost at sea 30 June 1941" says the Navy.

Crashed at a mate's last weekend just up the road from Waterhen. We strolled down in the morning to see if we could see any nice sailor boys but they'd all gone home for Christmas.

Wee beach at Wollstonecraft Bay Sydney Harbour

Wee beach at Wollstonecraft Bay

Nice spot Wollstonecraft. It's three bays west of the Coathanger, a quiet suburb of leafy streets and gorgeous 19th century houses.

It was named after a bloke who was the nephew of Mary Wollstonecraft, one of them suffragette chicks. She was around in the 18th century writing stuff, being in France during the French Revolution and giving birth to Mary Shelley who wrote Frankenstein when she was 19. She started it sitting close by the fire in the summer of 1816. It was a year of "volcanic winter", a year without a summer.

Three big volcanoes went off in 1812 (La Soufrière in the Caribbean), 1814 (Mayon in the Philippines) and 1815 (Mount Tambora in Indonesia). The volcanic ash in the atmosphere build up and up and up and blocked a lot of the sun's light. Temperatures dropped all over the world.

Brown and red snow fell in parts of Europe and the rivers rose. The Napoleonic Wars between France and England had only just finished and food was already in short supply. When there was no summer and no crops there was even less food and the people rioted in the streets just to keep warm.

In America the New Englanders set off to settle the Midwest, also in search of warmth. In Asia China was devastated by crop failure and famine and the rest of Asia didn't exactly do well either.

Ausbruch des Vesuvs, 1817 by Turner

Art and velocipedes were pretty much the only thing that did any good out of 1816. Some bloke called Turner got all excited by the glorious sunsets the volcanic ash made and got famous as a painter.

Horses starved for lack of oats in 1816 and in Germany in 1817 Karl Drais invented a horse-less form of transport, the ancestor of the bicycle. Which eventually led to the Straylyan poet Banjo Paterson writing Mulga Bill's Bicycle about a bloke who can't ride for shit and goes hurtling down the awful slope towards the Dead Man's Creek.

Native flowers at Berry Island Sydney Harbour

Balls. Tiny ball-shaped flowers smaller than the tip if yer little finger. No idea what the plant is called, looks like a native though. Growing in the park across from the Chook.

Down here in sunny Straylya in 1816, Macquarie was governor of New South Wales, there was a flood of convicts and free settlers following the Napoleonic Wars and the whitefella population reached a whopping 35,000. Macquarie set up convict Greenway as Sydney's architect, ordered people to get married and named practically everything after himself. Except Australia, which he formally named Australia.

The Year Without a Summer (worldwide info)

Eighteen Hundred and Froze To Death (detailed stuff from North America)

Paintings of striking sunsets show effect of huge volcanic eruptions on climate

Brimstones and Bicycles

Local news

Kitesurfer 'peels off half his face'. Juicy headline no? It's that kite-surfer what slammed into Ettalong last week.

Woy Woy Steve has scary water.

Local photos

Flickerite Bivoir, who appears to be a guinea pig (hamster), has some nice Central Coast photos, particularly this one.

Amusement Park

Homemade lightning

Merry Xmas to all and to all a good night

This is the last Saturday before Christmas so have a good one and I'll see yer in January. May it not piss on yer barbie.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

All the leaves are green and the sky is grey

I have been working my arse off this last couple of months. Have not even walked for a whole month. Hideous state of affairs. Must remedy. Holidays coming up and I'm trying to wangle a whole month off in which to have rest and walkies and rest and stuff and rest. Meanwhile, Woy Woy is blooming with summer flowers.

Hakea & Jacaranda Woy Woy

Jacaranda and Hakea

Jacarandas are an exotic species (imported and not native to Australia). Gorgeous trees. Currently looking fabulous against the Woy Woy skies. An aerial photo of a town when these are flowering will instantly tell you where the older areas of the town are.

Hakea (or possibly grevillea) is a native species and a popular garden bush. Couple more looking spiffy on a black background here.

Christmas bush

Christmas bush

Ceratopetalum gummiferum. Native species. Coming into full flower now, hence the name Christams bush.


Lillipilli hedge

Lillipilli hedge. A native species, Syzygium smithii. Not flowering but leafing. The leaves on top go red in spring and summer.

The flowering gums (native species) have finished flowering and those noisy lorikeet bastards have buggered off to greener pastures. The giant cacti are budding (exotic species).

Woy Woyan flowers both native & exotic

All the native flowers posted since I started tagging plus Winter floraland for added seasonal confusion.

Local linkage

The duck problem (Ta for the link, Ian.)

Excellent mappage and link to war stories from Steve. Had no idea the war came so close to the NSW coast.

Kite-surfer airlifted from Ettalong Beach. Looks like he came ashore at the end of Barrenjoey Road near those 60s flats. Poor bastard. Sorry I missed the chopper landing at Ettalong but.

Girl priest raises Woy Woy's PCF (Playground Coolness Factor).

Buy one get one free ferry tickets on the Codock II AKA Cockatoo ferry from the 27th.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Give me the Southerly or give me death

Jetty building platforms near Woy Woy Public Wharf

Jetty building platform boats at Woy Woy Wharf a few weeks ago.

It is bloody hot and bloody sticky. Got to 34 and about 300% humidity. I am irritable and miserable. We were promised a nice cool Southerly and so far there's been fuck all.

Have you seen this dog?

Have you seen this dog

These signs and others are still up all around Woy Woy.

Sanji has been missing since the 9th of November. She is part of the husky team that pulls Santa's sleigh to shopping centres and old people's homes.

Reward for her safe return. Phone 4341 2684/040 504 3306.

Full text of notice

Local Linkage

Tascott is now on facebook. It has photos and a cocky video. That's a video of a cockatoo not a video with an excess of self-confidence.

Right. I'm off. It is my intention to climb into a bath of icy cold beer armed only with a straw.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Smiley face in the sky

Bonus post. Once in a lifetime event. Next appearing in Southern skies in 2036 or something.

Smiley face conjunction 1st Dec 2008

Taken by a mate in Sydney.

Saw it here too but it didn't show up on my pissy camera. Here it was clearly visible through a light mist of cloud. A big cosmic smiley face up there in the sky. Glorious.

"[O]n Monday (1 December 2008) there will be a spectacular conjunction between the two planets Venus and Jupiter and the crescent Moon. Though the conjunction will be impressive from anywhere in the world, it will only smile on Australia and Australian longitudes almost in the form of a “smiley” emoticon. From the USA, for instance, the conjunction will be in the form of an upside down sad face."

Venus, Jupiter and the Moon: a smiley face in the sky (has photos)

December 2008 night sky guide and podcast

Another Sydney photo


Caitlyn says my RSS feed doesn't work. Ta for letting me know. Will fix the bastard as soon as I work out how.

Make link in Blogger

Linkage to my site can be had in the "Compose" tab of Blogger. Click the wee button of a green disc and link.
I link therefore I am
Or just copy this text link.

Okay, I'd better piss off. I officially started work an hour ago.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

A few of my favourite things

These are my favourites of my own photos. Been meaning to show you these for a bit. Hold yer pointer over a photo to see its title.

Gymea Lilly

Dingy at Rawson Road jetty

Cedar Crescent Woy Woy

Dingy at Wagstaffe Wharf Mulhall Street Wagstaffe

Blackwall Point jetty Woy Woy

Box Head Blue

Whalers Tunnel under the Round House Arthur Head Fremantle

Entrance of St Paul's Avoca Drive Kincumber

Paperbark Forest Kerrawah Blvd Woy Woy

1951 Morris J Van

The Rip Bridge from Daley Avenue Daleys Point

Beach Steps

Took yonks to trim that lot down from 30 to 13 pictures. I've taken heaps more good pictures than I realised.

Rumour has it

Apparently some tool wants to build a 7-storey building in Peaceful Downtown Hardys Bay.

That would be fugly.

Local linkage

Some interesting local photos at Blu Ocean Imagery

Onya Stevo

Woy Woy Steve has got himself in the local rag again. Full page article on the hieroglypics up at Kariong. Read all about it.

There's also a snippet from him about the gateway to the lost Egyptian civilisation at Kariong and an older post about the hieroglyphs and other local strangeness.

Saturday, November 22, 2008



Wiki Creative Commons image

Kookaburra, Laughing Kookaburra, Dacelo novaeguineae.

Lots more kookaburras on the Peninsula lately. Maybe the La Nina was a good breeding season for them.

They are shy but live in the suburbs quite happily. The closest I've ever got to one was about 3 metres and that was prety unusual. Usually they get twitchy as soon as you look at them and then a few seconds later they're off.

They hang out in gum trees in gangs of three or four or half a dozen. As the sun gets low they give a few brief chuckles then they start up their chorus of full-on laughing. Other than the didgeridoo, you don't get a sound much more Straylyan.

MP3 of kookas laughing

(Device dear, you might consider the Blue-winged Kookaburra (D. leachii) as a replacement for Mrs Beaky as it specialises in maniacal cackling.

Kookaburra nest at Umina Beach

Kookaburra nest in a dead gum tree at Umina Beach. Can you see it?

Umina Beach

The entrance to the nest is the small dark hole in the brown section. (Hur hur.)

Kookaburra factoids

* Breeding males have blue bums, "Breeding male: Centre of rump bright blue" says the library book

* They are silent gliders when they come in to land in a tree or on a fence

* They land with their tails up then lower them slowly

* They sit on a branch and wait for the menu to wander past

* They eat meat, rats, small lizards and birds, large insects and snakes

* They are biggish compared to something like yer crow and come in 28-42 cm (11-17 inches in the old money)

* Families groups are 4 to 8 birds

* Teenage kookas often sit alone on a fence or in a tree

Kookaburra distribution map

Distributon map. Where kookas live in Australia. Red dot is Woy Woy.

Kookaburras in Powerhouse Collection

An old photo of kookas found on the Powerhouse's Flickr.

"General information about the Powerhouse Museum Collection is available at"

(The internets has made it possible for museum's to show off the shitloads of fabulous old photos they've have stashed away. I *heart* the internets.)

More kooka photos

Families that laugh together stick together

So whats for Lunch?

Head shot

Kookaburra Sits in the Old Gum Tree (pool of photos)

Wiki has heaps of good photos

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Um, yeah

Missed another Tuesday blog. Work is piled high. Brain is numb.

Might be a couple of months before I can manage Tuesday posts again so let's go with just Saturdays for a bit.

P.S. Promise I'm not going to stop altogether. I still like doing it.

Stick yer thingy in the slot and I'll ping yer inbox.

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Our Steve

Woy Woy Steve, commenter and local blogger, got himself in the local rag. Read all about it.

I read yer article, Stevo, over someone's shoulder in the train. Very good. Couldn't get my own copy but everyone was talking about it. Onya!


A few links and stuff from the back of the cupboard.

Freo Boys High at the Lock Family's Ramblings (Yes, that is my photo)

Native flowers fact sheets with pictures

Marvellously lethal (a cautionary tale)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

South Lobster

Moon over sandstone cliffs Pretty Beach
Embiggened version

The Brisbane Water/Great Gosford area is chockers with cliffs like these. They are a magnet for rock climbers.

Not that I'm a rock climber. I ain't that intrepid. I'm more yer supervisory sort. Very good at standing at the bottom of the cliff with a beer, waiting until they get to a hard bit then saying "Nah, see, yer doing it all wrong, you shoulda turn left twenty feet back". And no doubt I'd show up in the morgue a bit later with a crampon rammed up the clacker.

But they fascinate me. They show up in searches I do for posts and I love their secret climbers' language. Don't understand a bloody word of it but I love it anyways.

An example of ClimbSpeak:
"Reach up around the lip for a large jug then crank out onto the main face... Crux move up thin face to the juggy lip."


Rock Climbing Sites of Brisbane Water

The red blobs are local rock climbing sites. The orange blob on Box Head is a look-out you can bushwalk to.

Bear in mind this map marks only the sites I could find online. Doubtless there's more mapped and to be mapped.

Rock linkage

Links have got maps and stuff and more examples of ClimbSpeak.

Blackwall Mountain

Phegans Bay, cliffs visible from Woy Woy station/Railway Street

Reeves Street/Fountain Creek, Narara which is just up past Gosford. Gosford is at the mouth of the Narara valley.

Wards Hill is a "...surprisngly impressive crag located right beside Ward's Hill Rd, Empire Bay.
The crag has two distinct walls - the first is a nice looking 10m high grey wall with 5 or 6 mainly bolted routes (old carrots plus some rather mangled fixed hangers). The main wall is a bit further on, and reaches about 20m in height, with superb orange rock at the base. There look to be about another half dozen routes or so on this wall, with a variety of carrots and fixed hangers for protection."

The Bouddi has the South Lobster climb and a lot of others and some interesting info about the terrain there in the national park.

Good Bouddi pictures

Good Barrenjoey pictures

Coupla cliffy photos

Dark Corner Patonga

Sandstone boulder fallen off the cliff at Dark Corner (Patonga).

Dark Corner Patonga

The cliff it fell off.

Patonga walkies

Path to Pearl Beach

Cliff face on path to Pearl Beach

These cliffs are dangerous bastards. I'd rather just take a
nice walk myself.

Gotta be in it to win it

You Americans and the Kiwis as well, yer funny buggers. I still don't get non-compulsory voting. Anxious bulletins about polling day weather, all this talk about how many voters have got off their arse and registered or might feel like voting on the day.

We got compulsory voting. You turn 18, yer registered to vote. Only way out is to cark it when yer 17.

And it's not like it's a big deal. You just show up at the local primary school on the day, collect yer forms, traipse over to the cardboard booths, tick a few boxes and give the forms back.

No-one knows how you voted and it's not kosher to ask. You vote with your conscience or, if yer a goose, with someone else's, and it's over for another 3 years. It's a communal experience and you don't even miss the cricket.

Mind you, non-compulsory voting is nothing like as scary as some of the voting systems in undeveloped nations. I've seen on the telly how they do it up in PNG (Papua New Guinea) and some places in Africa where they put a different coloured piece of paper in the box depending on who they vote for and everyone in the room can see the box. Couple of heavies standing near the door watching and their mates outside waiting to beat you up if you didn't vote for their guy. Bugger me! I'm very glad I live in Straylya where we got the secret ballot.

"One of the most common forms in the modern world provides for pre-printed ballot papers with the name of the candidates or questions and respective checkboxes. Provisions are made at the polling place for the voter to record their preferences in secret. The ballots are specifically designed to eliminate bias and to prevent anyone from linking voter to ballot. This system is also known as the Australian ballot, because it originated in Australia during the 1850s. In the United States, it is also known as the Massachusetts ballot since Massachusetts was the first U.S. state to use the secret ballot." (Wiki)

Compulsory Voting (Australian Electoral Commission PDF)

International IDEA - Compulsory Voting (International Institute for Democracy & Electoral Assistance)

Compulsory Voting (Wiki)

Secret Ballot (Wiki)

The Australian ballot - born 1855 and still going strong

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Venice Road

(Pretty Beach walkies #2)

Finished Pretty Beach in two walkies. One in May last year and one in October this year (2008). Pretty Beach is not a big town. It's barely a town at all. Doesn't even have its own pub. Or even a corner shop with pies and newspapers. Just seven streets, two private schools and a public wharf.

Rock Oysters Araluen Drive Hardys Bay

Rock Oysters abound on the Brisbane Water. Every wet rock, every jetty, every old bit of wharf is covered in them.

Pretty Beach is just across the water from the Woy Woy Peninsula. Go down to the Ettalong ferry wharf (in Ferry Road) and look across to Wagstaffe and Hardys and it's in between them. (Map)

Hardys Bay

No trailer needed

To get to Pretty Beach, get the Cockatoo ferry from Woy Woy in the school holidays, or get onto Wards Hill Road off Empire Bay Drive opposite Palmers Lane and follow the signs to Hardys Bay. Then go down into Hardys and onto Heath Road and yer in Pretty Beach when you see the primary school.

Pretty Beach

Native flowers on a small native tree on the waterfront. The tree looked like a tea tree except for these flowers.

Venice Road Pretty Beach

The house on the right is yer average house as seen around Brisbane Water. The one on the left is not. Looks very stylish in a rather sixties way. Can't find a precise style for it in my architecture book so we'll just say 1960s. It's in Venice Road Pretty Beach behind the tennis courts.

Venice Road Pretty Beach

Hakea or grevillea. I'm back to forgetting which. Venice Road Pretty Beach.

Michael's bits

Michael's got some nice local photos over on his Flickr. I particularly like these three views from Killcare.

And there's a lovely sunny picture of the Codock punting past Wagstaffe on some stranger's Flickr.

How cool is America now?

Onya, 'Mericans! You voted in the black guy. Now yer cool enough to play with the cool kids.

Australia's cool because our Prime Minister officially apologised for being evil to the blackfellas.

So did Canada's so they're cool.

New Zealand is cool because they got a girl Prime Minister.

England's cool because they had a girl Prime Minister, even if she was pretty scary.

And we're going to be even cooler when we vote in either the rock star, the redhead, the chick (same person as the redhead) or the poofter.

Peter Garrett Julia Gillard Bob Brown
(Wiki Creative Commons)

......Peter Garrett..................Julia Gillard.......................Bob Browne

Monday, November 03, 2008

Cultivars & the Cup

Grevillea lanigera cultivar

Grevillea lanigera cultivar

A purely picture post today. I am buggered. Lovely holiday followed by a day of very hard yakka. No fair!

Cultivars of native plants are getting popular. The sundae one is my favourite.

Garden Express will not mind my blogging their stuff in exchange for the link.

Grevillea hybrid 'Strawberry Sundae' cultivar

Grevillea hybrid 'Strawberry Sundae' cultivar

Callistemon Pink Champagne

Callistemon Pink Champagne

Bottlebrush close-up

The flowers of the Callistemon are very similar to the spines of this bottlebrush flower.

Grevillea hybrid 'Fireworks' cultivar

Grevillea hybrid 'Fireworks' cultivar

For non-cultivar grevilleas, pop over to my photos looking great on the black of Device dear's blog.

Wollemi christmas tree

Wollemi christmas tree

The Wollemi (Wollemia nobilis) is the Jurassic tree found in the Blue Mountains in 1994.

Wollemi bonsai

Leucospermum cultivar
Embiggen, high res

Leucospermum cultivar (Wiki Creative Commons)

Looks like a waratah but is in fact a Leucospermum glabrum x L. tottum ‘Scarlet Ribbon’ cultivar in Tasmania.


Pop over to Steve's for Haunted Woy Woy

Welcome to the Bustling Woy Woy blogosphere (population 3), Grumpy Old Journo.

1st Tuesday in November

Tomorrow is Melbourne Cup day.

Form Guide & stuff

The Birdcage (hats, celebs & champers)