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

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Grave of a Pet

It is very common for families to bury a beloved pet in the backyard. This substantial grave is in a beautiful location with the lichen covered fence under a graceful New England Elm. The chair provides a spot to sit and remember happy and playful times.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Lost in the Washpool

The Washpool National Park is a vast thickly forested wilderness located on the Great Dividing Range between Grafton and Glen Innes. One of the most intriguing mysteries concerns the disappearance of Bill Haydon, the "Cedar King", in April 1965.
Haydon was a very experienced bushman who was searching for valuable Red Cedar that he supplied to the NSW Government. His mysterious disappearance sparked an exhaustive search but virtually no trace of him was ever found, despite the search involving hundreds of people over four weeks.
The most satisfying answer to the mystery is that he fell down an old tin mining shaft from the 19th century.
His granddaughter, Geraldine Yabsley, co-authored a biography on Haydon a few years ago.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Munsie Bridge - Salisbury Waters - Gostwyck

I hope you have enjoyed our 'drive' to Gostwyck. We are ending at a lovely picnic spot besides the delightfully named Salisbury Waters, a tributary of the Macleay River.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

All Saints Gostwyck

All Saints, Gostwyck, was contstructed in 1921 by the Dangar Family in memory of Clive Collingwood Dangar who died in 1918 in WW1. The bricks for the chapel were made and fired on Gostwyck Station. Services are held here on the first Sunday of each month.

The chapel stands at the junction of three magnificent Elm avenues. The one in the background is a private road that leads to Gostwyck Station and the home of the Dangar family.
The Chapel is covered in Virginia Creeper and in Autumn it is a popular location for photographers for the green/yellow of the elms and the scarlet of the creeper covered church.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Deeargee (Gostwyck) Woolshed

The octagonal Deeargee (Gostwyck) Woolshed is a unique structure. Constructed in 1872 by Henry Dangar, it makes extensive use of glass to illuminate the shearing shed. It is still in use 140 years later.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


We're almost to Gostwyck, in fact until 40 years ago we would be there. In the 1970's the Dangar family split the property amongst Henry Dangar's granddaughters. The eastern property was renamed Deeargee, an extension of the identifying mark branded on bales of wool from Gostwyck Station, DRG.
Tomorrow, one of  Australia's most unique woolsheds but here is a sneek peak of it in the distance.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

B is for Brown, Bare but Blue

The road from Armidale to Gostwyck is showing the effects of winter: grasslands dried and brown from severe winter frosts and the elm trees bare of their leaves, still it was a nice blue sky day.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Family Cemetery

Tucked away in the shrubbery of the Dangarsleigh War Memorial, which I blogged about yesterday, are also the graves of the Perrott Family of 'Chevy Chase'.
'Chevy Chase' was subdivided off 'Gostwyck Station' in 1905. Alfred Perrott built an imposing mansion for his family that was much closer to Armidale than his 'Enmore Station'. Alfred died in 1934 and Mabel in 1943. I like the simplicity of their graves and also the use of the same cement and rough local rock of the War Memorial.

Linking to the Taphophile Tragics meme.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Dangarsleigh War Memorial

This week we are going on a journey, the road from Armidale to Gostwyck. Our first stop is the unusual and privately built Dangarsleigh War Memorial.
It was erected by A H Perrott of 'Chevy Chase' as a  WW1 war memorial to 16 local lads, one of these being his son Alfred who died on Passchendale Ridge in 1917. There was a terrific information board at the entrance that 'brought back to life' these young men, sadly it was burnt down by vandals a little over a year ago, hopefully it can be reinstated soon.


The entrance is called 'Nirvana' and is reminiscent of an eastern temple. As you pass through the turnstile the handles are shaped like a military bugle, service rifle, Naval bosun’s whistle and a cannon. You can just see the service rifle in the shot. 'Nirvana' is a place of peace and the stone bell is symbolic of calling the souls to eternal rest. Each side of 'Nirvana' has a rosemary bush, the herb of memory and remembrance.

The actual memorial is symbolism in rock and cement. If you refer back to the first picture and the marble inscription above you can easy work out Perrott's metaphorical design.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Grafton Bridge - The Bascule Span

When the Grafton Bridge was first designed in 1915 it was conceived as a singe story rail bridge with footways. As plans were further developed in the 1920's the design was changed to accommodate growing vehicular traffic and a roadway was designed for a top level. To further complicate matters, Grafton relied on coastal steamships for transport and they had to be able to pass under or through the proposed bridge. A unique solution was designed, a two level bascule span.
The small house on the bridge was the control room. I hope you enjoy the following series of historical shots of the bascule span opened.

HMAS Inverell passing through the bascule span in the 1950's

A coastal steamship, note the wooden piers that surrounded cement piers in case of collision.

Lots of transport happening in this shot.

With the decline of the coastal shipping industry the bascule span was opened less and less. It is a legendary story in Grafton that once it was opened and they couldn't get it back down again. The span was last lifted in 1969 and now is impossible to lift due to the removal of the vital controls and the instillation of a large water main and Telstra fibre optic cables adjacent to the railway lines.
It is interesting to note that the State Railways owns Grafton Bridge and I have been told that the lease of the space to Telstra and Clarence Valley Water contains a clause that if the span needs to be lifted again they must quickly remove their infrastructure, but perhaps this is apocryphal.

Although it will never open again it is incredible that virtually all the machinery/equipment associated with the bascule span remains in situ. This is even down to the old gates on the upper level road with their yellow paint and red 'cats eyes' sign stating 'stop'. The incredible cogs and levers used to lift the span are now the roosts of pigeons and covered in thick layers of guano.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Happy 80th Birthday - Grafton Bridge

On the 19th of July 1932 the Grafton Bridge opened and the missing link between Sydney and Brisbane was completed: the mighty Clarence River had finally been bridged by rail and road.
You might be wondering what the funny little house stuck on the side was for (it hasn't been used since 1969) but you will have to wait until tomorrow for a unique engineering surprise from the past.

Friday, July 20, 2012

More Brighton Than Yamba

Recent severe storms and big seas have reduced Yamba's Main Beach to a series of mounds of shingle and a steep bank into the water; more British beach than Aussie. We need a few weeks/months of calm weather for the sand to return.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A Celebration of Lamb Chops and Mashed Spuds

Guyra is famous for it's lamb and potato industries. In 1986 they began a festival that celebrates both items. The festival is held in January and looks like fun. Here is a link to their homepage.
The impressive sculpture was unveiled in 1988 and has become something of a landmark on the New England Highway.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Guyra 2365

Guyra is a small town located between Armidale and Glen Innes. In the mid 90's it went through a slump when the abattoirs closed down but has lifted over the last few years mainly due to the establishment of a 20 hectare greenhouse the grows tomatoes. To read more about the amazing tomato growing business click here.
Even though it was a wet cold day on my visit the main street seemed busy with lots of cafes and shoppers.

Guyra is one the highest towns in Australia. Many businesses make use of the "highest" moniker in their advertisements, such as the Caravan Park.
It's winters can be fearsome with lots of severe frosts and occasional snow falls. It's summers are warm but still cool even cold nights.

Monday, July 16, 2012

The Hill of Knowledge

Iluka's 'Hill of Knowledge' provides a view of the sea for fishing folk and surfers.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Poley Bridge - Rushforth Road

Poley Bridge, which crosses the Orara River, is the site of one of the first bridges that Europeans built in the Clarence Valley. These days it's a quiet back road between South Grafton and Coutts Crossing with the delightful name of the Rushforth Road. The road is a favourite with cyclists.

A 'poley bridge' is a rough built bridge with no sides. I'm sure this is not the original bridge due to the concrete piers but it still lives up to it's original name with minimum sides and a rustic charm. The large pipe on the left side is the Grafton/Lower Clarence Water Supply from Nymbodia heading towards the nearby Grafton Reservoir.

The Orara is always a dirty brown/green. At this stage of it's interesting journey to the sea it crosses some wide plains. Even a small rise in the Orara River puts Poley Bridge underwater and out of action.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Art Deco Service Station - Casino

Hassell's Service Station in Casino is a unique building in many ways. Not only is it rare to find a Service Station from the late 1930's still in it's original condition but the building itself has some unusual features.

The exterior of the building is clad in pressed metal to resemble brick/stone and two highly unusual Juliet balconies have a shell motif, once again in pressed metal.

My post also celebrates Bastille Day.  Liberté, égalité, fraternité - Vive la France!

Friday, July 13, 2012

The Red Lion - Glencoe

Glencoe is a small village 20kms to the south of Glen Innes on the New England Highway. It is famed for it's tavern, The Red Lion.
On the day of my visit it did feel like I was in Scotland with driving rain, drizzle and swirling mists. Inside it was a warm and friendly, the perfect place to escape the weather for a few drinks and snacks.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Iluka Mermaid

The plaque reads 'In memory of Paul 'harro' Harrison - Loved Fishing Loved Iluka', the mermaid sits on the gantry wall watching the trawlers and fisherman coming and going.
Another entrant in the Clarence Valley Sculptures by the Sea has been discovered.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

South Grafton General Cemetery

It looks rural but the old South Grafton General cemetery has been surrounded by suburbia since the 1950's. It is well maintained by the council but has suffered vandalism over the years.
The oldest inscription is from 1852 and it was superseded by the Clarence Lawn Cemetery in the 1960's, however, there is still the odd burial in a family plot.

Monday, July 9, 2012

NSW Parliament Aboriginal Art Prize

Currently showing at the Grafton Regional Gallery are two really interesting but very different exhibitions linked to Indigenous Australians. Today I will show you a few pieces from the NSW Parliament Aboriginal Art Prize of 2011.
The painting in the background is by Graham 'Nudge' Blacklock and is entitled The Point, The Georges River, it was highly commended. The raffia/paper baskets in the foreground are entitled Keeping Culture by Ethel-anne Gundy.

Wendy Pawley's Australis Terra Nullius is a confronting piece of mixed media with lots to say about the history of the Land Rights Movement and events in the history of the Aboriginal People since the European invasion.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Moriarty's Wall - Iluka

I am not sure what the good folk of Iluka call this little beach. It is located just inside the river mouth of the Clarence River. In the distance is the historic Moriaty's Wall.

Moriarty's Wall was named after W.B.D Moriarty, the Public Works Department engineer who inspected the mouth of the Clarence River in 1860 and first proposed a scheme to make the river mouth safer for shipping. Work on the wall began in 1870. After completion the Yamba Pilot, Captain F Freeburn claimed that it had made the situation worse. In 1885 a new scheme proposed by Sir John Goode saw a large section of Moriarty's Wall dismantled. This is the last remaining section of Moriarty's Wall that was maintained in the Goode Scheme.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

The MV Clarence Head

The  MV Clarence Head is the oldest ferry that services the Iluka-Yamba run across the mouth of the Clarence River. The historic timber built boat was launched in 1947.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

"Stuck on Sedgers Reef"

Sedgers Reef Hotel in Iluka  is a rambling barn of a joint that has seen better days. There has been talk about a rebuild when Iluka is connected to a reticulated sewerage scheme in 2013. Although Sedgers is falling down it does have a shabby unpretentious charm.
"Stuck on Sedgers Reef" is a famous if somewhat vanishing phrase in the Lower Clarence vernacular. 
The expression refers to what men once said to their wives/girlfriends after arriving home after a fishing trip both late and drunk. In the context of the times, pre 1980's, it reflects both stereotypical male/female roles ( men out together fishing/drinking - wifey home looking after the kiddies) and the total social acceptance of driving a boat under the influence of alcohol.

Times have changed; most wives/girlfriends are now to be found in the boat or doing something for themselves rather than chained to domestic drudgery and waiting for their drunken partner to come home, and also severe penalties now apply for driving a boat under the influence of alcohol. Still it's a great expression and a great hotel.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Y is for.... Yonder is Yamba

Yamba and Iluka are so close yet so far. Both are at the mouth of the Clarence River, with Yamba on the southern side and Iluka on the north. To drive between the two towns takes about 40 mins via the Pacific Highway at Harwood. If you own a boat it is only a few minutes across the wide estuary.
A few Yamba landmarks are visible from this lookout in Iluka including the lighthouse, reservoir and the Norfolk Pine Trees.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Theme Day: Chimneys (and the Gricerazzi)

There are lots of terms/colloquialisms used to describe railway enthusiasts: trainspotters, trainophiles, anoraks, trainbuffs, gricers, foamers, Zeds, ferroequinologists, bashers and the list goes on. You may have gathered that some of these terms are somewhat derogatory.
My favourite is the Australian expression gunzel. It is derived from an American term for a hoodlum but in the Aussie context refers to a trainspotter who does dangerous or foolish things to see or photograph a rail engine/carriage/railcar etc.
Obviously our trio of steam train enthusiasts discussing the 1893 Manchester built Beyer-Peacock steam engine are not gunzels, they also don't have cameras or notepads, so they're not even trainspotters or Zeds. I think i'll call them plain ordinary railbuffs.
Is there a term for someone who photographs railbuffs? Perhaps the gricerazzi!
Is there a term for someone who photographs the chimneys of steam trains? Perhaps a stackbuff!
OK, there's my tenuous connection between the theme day and this silly post!

On the 1st day of each month the City Daily Photo Community comes together and shoots to a common theme, Click here to view thumbnails for all participants
The portal appears to be down again on CDP so here is a link to the alternative/back up posting site.
Thanks Julie from Sydney Eye for quickly getting this going again.
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