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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hinze Dam Gardens

The Hinze Dam is the main water supply for the Gold Coast. In 2011 Stage 3 was completed and included this very interesting park on the edges of the facility.
This is my contribution to the Our World Tuesday meme.

Monday, January 30, 2012

Royal Hotel South Grafton

The Royal Hotel on Ryan St, South Grafton has been around since 1870. In the early 1920's my great-grandfather James Zadock Bellamy was the publican.
This is a post for a blogger correspondent, Joan Elizabeth, in the Blue Mountains who has a page devoted to Royal Hotels in Australia. Click here for her blog.

This is my contribution to the Mellow Yellow Monday meme.
This is my contribution to the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Fawcett's Bridge Lismore

Fawcett's Bridge opened in 1884 and linked Lismore with North Lismore over the Wilsons River. For many years the busy Lismore wharves were located to the south of the bridge.

This shot from the Lismore City Web Site shows the 'infamous' punt from Lismore to Nth Lismore. It was government run but apparently an irregular service.

This is a Sunday Bridges Post. Click here for Louis's bridge meme based in San Francisco.
This is my contribution to Dragonstar's Weekend in Black and White meme.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Is This Australia's Smallest Post Office?

Rock Valley is a very quiet hamlet about 20 minutes out of Lismore. The Post Office is claimed to be Australia's smallest. Thanks to Sandy for showing me this interesting place.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Major Flood on the Clarence River

Grafton is now experiencing a major flood as the Clarence River has continued to rise overnight, currently 5.5m's @ 7am. It is still a few metres from over topping the levee system and Grafton and South Grafton should be safe.
To see more pictures of the flood visit my Clarence Valley Floods Blog on top of the right hand column.

This is my contribution to the Skywatch Friday meme.
This is my contribution to the Weekend Reflections meme.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sign of the Times

At this stage the Clarence River will get to around 3.5m's and cause moderate flooding. It is Australia Day today but it is a gloomy washout in Grafton.
For more flood shots click on my other blog, Clarence Valley Floods, on the right hand column.

This is my contribution to Lesley's Signs meme.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Clarence River Floods Blog Reactivated

I don't think I have ever posted twice in a day but seeing it is Watery Wednesday and a Flood Warning has been called on the Clarence I have just reactivated by other blog http://clarenceriverfloods.blogspot.com/ or click on link on top right.
I will be posting on Clarence River Floods over the duration of the event. If you have any pictures or info you would like me to post please email wharfstwanderer@gmail.com.

This is my second Watery Wednesday Post

Junction of North & South Arms of Clarence River

Last Watery Wednesday I had a shot looking east along the South Arm of the Clarence River. This is in the opposite direction where the narrower South Arm splits from the main body of the river.
On the right is the western tip of Woodford Island and the village of Brushgrove. At 37sq km's Woodford Island is the largest non-delta river island in the Southern Hemisphere due to a mountain range through it's centre.
The junction of the two river arms is a popular location to park a yacht or boat and visit the excellent Brushgrove Hotel.

This is my contribution to the Outdoor Wednesday meme.
This is my contribution to the Watery Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

The Mystery of Lismore's Glowing Cross.

Last Tuesday I showed you the Nth Lismore Pioneers Cemetery, however, it is more infamous as the site of a supposed nighttime phenomena from 1914-1986.
In 1907, 29 year old William Steenson died in a shunting incident at Mullumbimby Station, was buried at said cemetery and commemorated by a monument of polished Scottish Balmoral Granite. There are some reports of the cross beginning to 'glow' during WW1, however, the crescendo of interest occurred in 1978 when the local newspaper rag, The Northern Star, ran a short story that eventually snowballed into 100's of people turning up for the nightly spectacle and a great deal of national and international interest. Most sources note that it was a mixed audience of the plain curious and very devout.

Grave in situ:  http://www.duelindeals.com/discussions/allinthecards/?m=200803
Experts were of course consulted with most emphasis of course on the piece of stone itself. Theories included possible radioactivity of the granite, it's highly polished and possibly reflective nature and even petrified glow worms!
Shot of the 'Glowing Cross' http://www.unexplainedaustralia.com/e107_plugins/content/content.php?content.59
This is the only image I can find of the cross 'glowing'. The image looks doctored and I can't believe if hundreds of people were turning up to witness the event that there are not more shots in existence.
In 1986 the cross mysteriously disappeared during a bout of renewed interest. So the cross that now sits atop the monument is not the original. There were many theories about what happened to the glowing cross but none have ever been proved.
The inscription on Steenson's memorial is interesting and also very ironic. 
Though sorrow and darkness encompass the tomb,
Thy saviour has pass'd through its darkness before thee...
And the lamp of his Love.
Is thy guide through the gloom.

Cemeteries are an ideal location for both very rational and also very irrational behaviour by human beings.There is a lot that cannot be explained by this event but the skeptic in me suggests a logical explanation and the historian also worries about a lack of real evidence available.

These days the now non-glowing cross sits on the hill overlooking the resting place of William Steenson. Obviously the cross receives very few visitors these days as the memory of those heady, fervent nights in the mid 1970's recedes into a folklore memory.

This is a Taphopile Tuesday Post. Click here for Julie's excellent meme on all things cemetery.
This is an Our World Tuesday Post. Click here for more scenes and stories from around the globe.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Kung Hei Fat Choi

Happy Chinese New Year and welcome to the Year of the Water Dragon.

This is a Mellow Yellow Monday Post. Click here for more contributions.
This is a Blue Monday Post. Click here for more contributions.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Is Lismore Really Skem?

This arresting piece of street art is by Guido van Helten and can be found on the eastern pier of the Ballina St Bridge in Lismore.
I am interested in the the word above the the ladies head, 'skem'. It is Northern UK urban slang based on the town Skelmersdale on the outskirts of Liverpool and describes a 'boring town' or 'f''ing shithole'.
I like the irony of efforts to make Lismore a visually vibrant place through public art, and the endless repetitive tagging that really does reduce our urban environments to a boring global sameness.
My new word is 'lismored': 'the ironic processes of trying to make an urban environment more interesting to see it covered in tags and reduced to the same boring shit you see all over the planet."

This is a Sunday Bridges Post. Click here for Louis's excellent meme.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Kingscliff Do We Have a Problem or Not?

Living on the North Coast for my long periods of my life I have seen beaches become very eroded and just as mysteriously the sand reappears very quickly. Planet Earth is both dynamic and seasonal and the Kingscliff beach erosion issue is both a serious event and very normal.

A couple of Kingscliff icons have been threatened by the erosion over the last year, namely, Cudgen-Kingscliff Surf Lifesaving Club( main building at front) and the Caravan Park in the distance.

Out of adversity comes strength, or so they say!
I did note in the local newspaper rag, the Tweed Shire Echo, that local shops report a sell-out of drinks, ice-creams and sundry Summer fare due to 'erosion tourism'; 'ambulance chasing' in old parlance.
As you can see by my last shot that things aren't all bad; I liked how this group of diehard Aussie's were using the newly built groin/rock wall and sheltering under the fast disappearing Pandanus Palms.

This is a Signs, Signs post. Click here for Lesley's meme.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Kingscliff 2487

Kingscliff is so close to Queensland that the phones have a 07 area code rather than 02 for NSW. It really is incredible that Tweed Heads and the endless curve of sand, sin, skyscrapers and suburbia that is the Gold Coast are so near.
The headland on the horizon is Fingal Hd and nearby Cook Island named after Captain Cook who passed this way in the Endeavour in 1770.

This is a Watery Wednesday Post. Click here for more shots of H2O.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

North Lismore Memorial Rest Park

This is the original European pioneers cemetery in Lismore located on the Nimbin Road. However not is all that it seems.
In the late 1960's the cemetery had become overgrown and unused for over fifty years. All the headstones were collected and repositioned in the top corner of the hill and a park was created.

The headstones now look down on their former resting places. Overall it is a pretty uninspiring/boring park but once again all is not what it seems.
In the mid 1970's a series of events occurred here that had 100's of people flocking to the cemetery at night and led to sensational stories across Australia and round the world, but I will tell you about that next week.

This is a Taphophile Tragics Post. Click here for Julie's meme about cemeteries.

This is an Our World Tuesday Post. Click here for more scenes from around our planet.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Brisbane: Old and New

Brisbane Square was completed in 2006 and houses the Brisbane City Council. It is a much maligned tower with many comparing it's ground floors to oversized lego blocks.

Directly across the road is one of those great colonial structures meant to physically express Brisbane's growth from penal colony and shanty town into a dynamic self-governing colonial capital.
The Treasury building was the backdrop for patriotic displays and celebrations from it's partial completion in the 1890's to the 1920's.

Time moves on and so did the State Treasury in the early 1990's. These days it houses Brisbane's Casino, so it is still money, money, money!
This is my final post on Brisbane. Some of my correspondents have noted that it is their least favourite Australian City.
For me it is the Aussie city on the Eastern Seaboard that interests me the most. Sydney is so picturesque, Melbourne so cultured but Brisbane, despite the towers and attempts at sophistication remains shabby and often ugly. The dirty river snakes through the heart of the city and I have always loved it's sub-tropical sleaze and exuberant can do personality. It is a cliche about Brisbane but I think it is still true that it remains a large country town at heart. I can't wait for my next visit to see what they have torn down next!

This a Mellow Yellow Post. Click here for other contributions on this groovy meme.
This is a Blue Monday Post. Click here for Smiling Sally's meme.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Kurilpa Bridge: Brisbane

The Kurilpa Bridge is a pedestrian and bike bridge that crosses the Brisbane River and links the northern CBD (Tank St) to Kurilpa Point in South Brisbane. The bridge is a tensegrity structure based on principles popularised by Buckminster Fuller. Indeed it is the largest tensegrity structure in the world and in 2011 was judged World Transport Building of the Year at the World Architecture festival.

At night the bridge shimmers through a rainbow of lighting effects.

By day it feels like you are walking through a 19th century shipping dock.

This is a Sunday Bridges Post. Click here for Louis's San Francisco based meme.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Brisbane City Hall & King George Square

The Brisbane City Hall was built in the 1920's, it is an iconic Italianate Style building that features on the City Council's logo. In 2009 a complete overhaul/renovation began that will not finish until the end of 2012.

The design of the imposing clock tower is based on the Campanile of St Mark's Venice, and for many decades it was the tallest structure in Brisbane.

The City Hall faces King George Square. It has been redeveloped several times since the 1930's, the most recent being in the 2009.
It was a very hot day (typical Brisbane for 8 months of the year) and the vastness of the granite block plaza was suffocating. In it's previous incantation there were lots more people amongst it's lawns, gravel paths and trees, I wondered were the punks and goths, bag people and other interesting types had moved to?
There are many more structures that crowd the space: giant cement 'bunkers' (on the lower left and right) that are entrances to a underground bus station, an enormous TV screen that no one was watching and the desultory bench in the harsh sun. It no longer feels like a spot to linger, but more to rush through to another location to escape it's bare hot stone.

This is a Weekend in Black & White post. Click here for Dragonstar's monochrome meme.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Welcome to Brisbane. Not!

The western end of George St has always been seedy. McDonald East had a great old Department Store, there were cinema's but was also dimly lit bars and and rough house pubs. The whole district has been engulfed by Law and Order and become 'Justice Precinct'. It has also become a strip of Backpacker Travel Agents, a couple of tawdry stores from the old days remain.
Overall of it all looms the black fortress that is the Brisbane Transit Centre, I wondered who designed it? Darth Vador or Albert Speer.

There wouldn't be a more soul destroying/joy killing welcome than arriving by coach at the Brisbane Transit Centre. You have just got off a 20 hour trip from Cairns or the Isa; would you feel like chancing your luck and spending your hard earned dough on one of those 'games of skill' to win a stuffed toy?
Yes, Bus Stations are crappy but Brisbane's is dire beyond belief. 

I found the abandoned counters and empty halls to be unnerving. I expected Jack Nicholson to jump out with an axe saying "Here's Johnny!"

I found this piece of art in a waiting bay. It is by Jim Finch and depicts the history of transport in Brisbane. Is the Aboriginal Man is trying to escape from the black glass clad Transit Station Hell?

This is a Signs Signs Post. Click here for Lesley's meme and more pictures of signs.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Roma St Parklands

I must admit I was blown away by the Roma St Parklands. Right in the heart of Brisbane, the extensive gardens were developed on the site of the old central railway goods yard. It was opened to the Public in 2001 and incorporated Albert Park, a much older reserve on the steep slopes of Spring Hill.

This is a Watery Wednesday Post. Click here for more Watery Scenes.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

With a Little Bit of Luck!

Queen St Mall is always busy but there is a sense of recklessness and quiet desperation in the air. The Police are very visible, numerous signs state and restate various rules, CTV cameras abound.
On a bench I met June from Coorparoo; she was hoping to 'scratch up' some money.
"What will you spend your winnings on?"
"Bills and a holiday."
I left before she finished the card.

This is a Our World Tuesday. Click here for more scenes from around Our World.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Tea for Two (Hundred)

Queen St Mall is the main shopping district of Brisbane and is no different to the malls/main streets from Abu Dahbi to Zagreb.Top shelf  Tiffanys and Chanel to 'down the stairs' basement tat!
The one good place to check out is the Brisbane Arcade, which is comparable to the Strand in Sydney or The Block in Melbourne. It has small interesting family shops in a historic setting. It was built by the Mayne Family and is now held in trust for a Foundation, with all profits going to medical research.
Here is the Tea Shop with their fantastic window display, however, not the place to take a child or a bull.

This is a Mellow Yellow Post. Click here for more yellow scenes.
This is a Blue Monday Post. Click here for more blue scenes.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Brisbane is a city close to my heart. Although I am a staunch New South Welshman, 'Brissie' is just a few hours north from the Clarence Valley. Over the last 5 decades I have seen many changes as it has moved from a rusty wooden low rise country town, sweaty and swathed in rampant vines and greenery to a busy metropolis of towers and freeways.
I still miss the old run down Brisbane, David Malouf in his semi-autobiographical novel Johnno captured beautifully the languid, conservative and suffocatingly dowdy place that Brisbane once was. It was his first book and is really worth a read if you want to know about Brisbane in the 50's and 60's.

It is almost a year since Brisbane suffered it's worst floods since 1974, I have vivid memories of that catastrophe, flying over the stricken drowned city trying to get from my Grandmother's in Toowoomba via Brisbane to Grafton. When I visited the river it was it's usual brackish colour and I saw little evidence of the 2011 disaster, although I know there are many people out there whose lives were changed forever.

This is a Weekend Reflections Post. Click here for more reflective surfaces.
This is a Sunday Bridges Post. Click here for Louis's San Francisco based meme.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Brushy Hotel

Brushgrove is a small village on the western tip of Woodford Island. The  'Brushy Hotel' is located next to the river. It recently figured in the NSW Pub Guide, the reviewers noted it's cheap local seafood lunches and cold beer.

This is a Skywatch Friday Post. Click here for more heavenly views.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Coronation St - Yamba Style

Yamba has it's own Coronation St deep in the heart of the Council owned waterfront Calypso Caravan Park. Instead of cobbles it has a bitumen, tents not terraces, bikinis and fishing rods shorts instead of flat caps and mops (definitely Corrie in the 60's), but there are also a few similarities. Just like those classic Manchester terraces people live 'cheek by jowl' and get to know lots about their neighbours, and of course there are the unforgettable characters, laughter and the odd squabble.

A campground is a friendly spot that still offers an affordable and egalitarian waterfront family summer holiday.
There is the on-going pressure/threat to replace sites with cabins (which are cheaper and make more money), however there are still some many Australians who love to pitch a tent or lug a caravan about as long as it's a classic location. The caravan park holiday is an Australian institution that is disappearing fast to rapacious developers and cash poor local government.

This is a post for Chrissy in Manchester who has a fabulous blog, Mancunian Wave, that I really enjoy checking out.

This is a Signs Signs Post. Click here for Lesley's meme and lots more signs.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Henry Searle - Australia's First World Champion

The Old Maclean Cemetery is famous for the resting place of Henry Ernest Searle, World Champion Rower from the late 1880's and infamous for the large colony of Fruit Bats which recently began roosting in it's leafy grounds, can you see them in the trees.
Henry was born in Grafton in 1866 and grew up in very poor situations. His family moved to Esk Island on the Lower Clarence River. Henry had to row his siblings to a couple of miles a day to school. He soon began to compete in local regattas and was simply outstanding.

Searle moved to Sydney and became world Champion in a famous match up with Peter Kemp on the Parramatta River which he won by 20 lengths. London called and in front of 100,000 people on the Thames he thrashed the Canadian champion William O'Connor.

Tragedy struck on what should've been a triumphant return to Australia with Henry contacting Typhoid Fever on the ship Austral and dying in Melbourne on December 10th 1889. The Colonies were plunged into hysteria with the death of the young champion and there were incredible displays of public grief. 170,000 turned out for his memorial service in Sydney. Virtually the entire population of the Lower Clarence turned up for his internment in Maclean.
There is a memorial to Henry at Henley in the Parramatta River, can you find it Jim, Julie or Ann?

What interests me most about Henry Searle is how he fits into Australian popular history: comes from poor background becomes world champion then dies tragically to the a massive outpouring of public grief, in future decades will come Boxer Les Darcy and thoroughbred horse Phar Lap.

This is a Taphophile Tragics Post. Click here for Julie's Meme on Cemeteries.
This is an Our World Tuesday Post. Click here for more Global Scenes.

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