A Semi -Regular Photo Blog about Life in Northern New South Wales, Australia.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vale Yamba Shop of Many Things

Sometimes I worry that I am too nostalgic and should move with the times but when I started this blog I did want it to be a record of change. I can't but help comment on a funny old shop that has closed its doors in Yamba after many years.

We never really had a name for this place but it was one of those stores that sold lots of things you really need at the beach when you are on holidays; postcards (some saucy), mullet gut, tea towels, snorkels, footballs, t-shirts, frozen prawns, snow scenes, thongs, white zinc, crab pots, stickers, surfboards, green weed (for fishing not smoking), glass figurines etc etc etc.
I suppose it will become another hairdresser or cafe but I know next time I am on holidays and I need something practical to ensure a successful day at the beach I won't be able to pop into the shop that had no name but sold many things.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Taller or Shorter?

I like these unusual landscaping items from a private campground in Lennox Heads. They remind me of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

"She stretched herself up on tiptoe, and peeped over the edge of the mushroom, and her eyes immediately met those of a large blue caterpillar, that was sitting on the top, with its arms folded, quietly smoking a long hookah, and taking not the smallest notice of her or of anything else."

Monday, August 29, 2011

Noisy Friarbird

 The Bottlebrushes are coming into flower and bringing many birds to feed on their rich nectar. The Noisy Friarbird is not the most attractive bird but I do like its very distinctive and raucous call.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Footprints in the Cement

Where were you in 1968? The Vietnam War was at its height with the Tet Offensive and the Battle of Khe Sanh, Hair opened on Broadway, the Beatles released the White Album, Kylie Minogue and Thom Yorke were born, Martin Luther King Jnr &  Marcel Duchamp died. I was four years old and attending Mrs Hodgson's pre-school in South Grafton.
I don't know who Fred was but he placed his feet in wet cement on the seawall of an old fishing cottage next to Oyster Channel, I suppose he was the fisherman's son and probably around my age.
The empty cottage burnt down a few years ago and this, and the crumbling seawall, is all that's left.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Maclean Courthouse

Maclean Courthouse was probably designed by the prodigious colonial architect James Barnet and built in 1891-3. The verandah cast iron lace bears the initials of the then Queen, Victoria Regina.  The first case tried under her name concerned Henry Twyford who had absconded from his apprenticeship, a very common crime of the Victorian era.

It sits on a lovely spot overlooking the river to Ashby.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Maclean Supermarket Saga

One of the longest running sagas in the Clarence Valley is the Maclean Supermarket. This is the only supermarket in town and is in a lovely heritage building that proclaims to have been in business since 1883. There have been numerous proposals to build another supermarket and of course many people don't want an edge of town mall that will significantly impact of the main street with its its locally owned shops.
Now the Council have voted to sell the airspace above a car park adjacent to the CBD for the development of an IGA store. However, it looks like that could be going to the courts.
Something I did notice while I was snapping away was the red shirted staff from the pictured establishment carrying customers groceries to their cars! Gee now that's old fashioned service.

Friday, August 19, 2011

8 Months On

The January flood reeked terrible damage in the Valley and if you look around there are still signs of this disaster. I found this old Netball hoop on the riverbank and liked the very sculptural, and now weathered, debris it had collected.

This is a Friday Skywatch post and today is dedicated to Klaus Peter the owner and maintainer of the Skywatch meme who recently passed away . Click here for more views of the heavens.

To view Klaus's brilliant wildlife shots please Click here.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Dion & Woody Saving Lives

This is Dion and Woody from the Tumut Transplant Team; entrants in the Kidney Kar Rally.
The Rally goes from Wagga Wagga to Cowra in Southern NSW a distance of about 200kms.
What the hell are they doing in Grafton then? Well they travel via Port Macquarie, Grafton and Boggabri. I estimate that's about 2500kms!They are raising awareness (and money) for kidney disease in rural Australia and also organ donation programs.
Some people are just so selfless and when you meet them, your faith in human goodness and generosity is restored.(Are you hearing me London!)
If you want to find out  more click here.

I found the dog on the roof with its glowing eyes a bit freaky. If this car passed you on a dark stretch of the road you might well wonder what the hell was going on.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tingha Tin Two Storey/Story

I love this old corrugated iron building. This type of Australian architecture is so unique and very worthy of preservation! It captures a quintessential aspect of life 100 years ago, making do!
This is the house/barn at the rear of Wing Hing Long Department Store in Tingha (see Saturdays post). Upstairs was the home of Jack Joe Lowe, and later on his daughter Mavis Pratt. Downstairs was agricultural storage and also sleeping quarters for the Chinese employees.
An interesting aspect of this photo is the later addition of a bathroom that has was constructed by infilling the verandah with a small fibro (another fantastic Australian building product) room. Underneath the water tank is the outside toilet (dunny), also in glorious corrugated iron. I suspect however, that the 'throne' is Doulton!

Its not quite a barn but its also more than just a house. To see other Barns at Trish's fantastic meme please click here.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Tingha Stone Woman

Before the European Invasion, Aboriginal society and culture was both complex, intricate and very highly developed to survive in the harsh conditions of Australia. Stories/law contained many levels of meaning depending upon the knowledge that you yourself were privileged to hear and own, and depended upon age, sex and totem.
The Tingha Stone Woman story suggests severe punishment for breaking the rules of kinship and totem by marrying someone that the family group did not approve of for various reasons.

The story goes that a young girl went against her family and ran off to marry a man who she was deeply infatuated with and the family sent a warrior after her. He caught up with her as she was bending over and taking a drink in a creek. He whacked her over the head/neck and she fell into the creek and turned into stone, forever upside down with her head in the water..

I decided not to photograph the Stone Woman for a number of reasons. She is not very big and is behind the centre boulder.
I was totally horrified to find out that a few years ago she suffered a terrible attack with paint and hammers by mindless vandals, she has since been restored.Gee if only the warrior had reappeared to whack these vandals on the head and turn them into stone!!! That would be a lesson for the modern age.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Chinese Emporiums

Tingha is another old tin mining town of the Northern Tablelands. I have passed through it many times and have always wanted to stop at the Wing Hing Long & Co Museum.
The history of the Chinese in Northern NSW is of great interest to me. Thousands were involved in mining but one aspect of their remarkable story was retailing and the building of very popular general merchandise stores.
The Kwong Sing chain of stores stretched across many towns and cities and there is still the original branch that is going strong in Glen Innes. In Inverell,  Hong Yuens is no longer a department store, but now a very modern and successful hardware shop with the old building now a new IGA Supermarket.
This was my 3rd or 4th attempt at visiting Wing Hing Long and guess what, it was closed again! Oh well another visit to Tingha must be organised in the not so distant future.
To read more about Wing Hing Long & Co and its proprietor Jack Joe Lowe and his daughter Mavis Pratt, Click Here.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Yesterday I posted on the old flour mill in Inverell which was gutted by fire but rebuilt and reused. I wonder what fate awaits the Byron Arcade that also suffered a terrible fire over a year and a half ago ago. It now stands as an empty shell, home to a flock of pigeons.

The facade seems to be in good order and it would be great to see it reused as this block of the street scape contains a fantastic row of shops from the 1900's to the 1930's.
This is a Friday Skywatch post. Click here to see other views of the heavens from around our globe.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Old Mill

This is the old Inverell Flour Mill. It was gutted by a fire in 1948 and then became an agricultural produce store. It contains a number of elements I love in a building; red rose brick, corrugated iron, rust, old power lines and wires.
It was easy to imagine a Victorian scene of belching smoke and noisy machinery. I really enjoyed photographing this remarkable old building.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Inverell must be one of the most attractive cities in Northern New South Wales. Just off the New England Tableland at the start of the North West Slopes, it has an incredible stock of historic buildings. One of my favourites is the Court House. The dawn light is perfect on its pink and cream Italianate facade.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


The 100,000+ acres of Strathboogie Station was squatted (stolen from the Aboriginal people/taken from the British Crown) in 1839/40 by Hugh Gordon. His wife Emily died giving birth to twins and then he married her sister who had come to the remote station to help raise the 6 children. To read more about this fascinating tragedy/romance and other historic pictures of the station  click here.
This shot is of the shearing sheds and barns. The white/green colour scheme is used on all the outbuildings and is very attractive.

Thanks to winter and the bare trees we had glimpses of the historic pink granite homestead and gardens.

This is a Barn Charm Post. Click here for Tricia's fantastic meme

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Emmaville Panther

If you are a cryptozoolologist (student of unproven animals) then Emmaville is the place for you. ABC's (Alien Big Cat) stories have been doing the rounds for a longtime. Click here, or here, or here if you want to know more about this phenomena or mass delusion depending upon your perspective.
What I like most is that wherever you go in town the Emmaville Panther (and a good laugh) is never very far away!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Rememberances of Things Past

Like many small rural communities in Australia, Emmaville is struggling to maintain services as the population rapidly declines. Tourism is seen as part of the solution and Emmaville has a very interesting history to draw on. This is the old Foley's Department Store that has been turned into a very large museum.

Although the main section of the museum contains a vast collection of crystals, ores and rocks, I found the collection of Chinese artifacts and photos of the long gone Chinese presence to be the most intriguing. 

The walls of photos were somewhat depressing: pictures of busy shops, parades with brass bands, church picnics, Rugby League grand finals. It was a stark reminder of how much community has declined everywhere in these forgotten country towns and how it was unlikely that it will ever come back.

However everywhere we went in Emmaville I found the same pair of piercing blue eyes staring at us and a black shadow following us around! Tomorrow the famed and feared Emmaville Panther.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Bok Choi Beginnings

The local hospital is virtually the only remnant of the significant impact of the Chinese in the development of the town of Emmaville. The tin mining boom happened on Strathboogie Station (a squatted cattle and sheep run) and although thousands of Chinese were involved in mining, other entrepreneurial types began to cultivate vegetables to sell to the miners. This was the beginning of a location known as 'Vegetable Creek'. The local hospital holds the whisper of this long forgotten name, however, the sign now takes the jargonistic approach and calls itself a 'Health Service'.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Tin Town

Emmaville, an isolated village on the New England Tablelands, was founded on a tin mining boom in the 1870's so it is fitting that many buildings in the town are made from corrugated iron. This architectural style is unusual and admired for its uniqueness in Australia but I don't think many people would actually like to live in a corrugated iron house.

This is an old hall or church.  More corrugated iron houses when we visit another mining village called Tingha in a few days.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

From Mainline to Flatline

Over the next few days we are going on a short journey out of the Clarence Valley to the region directly to the west; the New England Tablelands. It is an area rich in history and varied landscapes (but all a bit brown due to winter at present).
My first stop was the nearly vanished village of Dundee and the search for the old rail station.
This is a shot of the now dis-used Main North Line. It was once the only rail route from Sydney to Brisbane and was constructed in the mid 1880's. Dundee Station closed in 1976 and the line between Armidale and the Queensland border closed in 1989.
I was trying to find a spectacular and very historic wooden viaduct over the Severn River but it is located on private property, so no luck. To see this National Heritage listed item click here.
Sadly I doubt whether this rail line will ever re-open. Tomorrow the mining town of Emmaville.

There are very few buildings left in Dundee. A few houses, the Hall (pictured) and a small Anglican Church. The Severn River, which flows through Dundee, is just beginning a nearly 3000km journey west to South Australia.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wuthering Heights @ Bald Nob

Bald Nob is one of the most desolate locations in the whole Clarence Valley, indeed it only makes it into the valley by a km or two. Beyond the ruin a small hill marks the watershed between the easterly flowing rivers and the westerly  flowing rivers that eventually merge into the Murray Darling system.
You will find the Bald Nob Cobb & Co (Coaching) station on the Gwydir Highway. It has been falling down for a very long time and is a ghostly place with its broken pine trees and rusty roof. It always seems cold and windy when we drive past and I always think of Emily Bronte's dark, passionate and tortured tale.

"pure, bracing ventilation they must have up there, at all times, indeed : one may guess the power of the north wind, blowing over the edge, by the excessive slant of a few, stunted firs at the end of the house; and by a range of gaunt thorns all stretching their limbs one way, as if craving alms of the sun."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Maclean Facade

Maclean has some lovely old buildings. I particularly like this one with its brick arches and faded signs on the pediment.

Click here to see more My World Tuesday Posts.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...