Anzac Park in Glen Innes has it all. A small brook babbles through it's middle, beautiful elms and oaks form shady green avenues and at it's centre is a graceful bandstand. It was erected by the residents of the Glen Innes district to commemorate the death of King Edward VII in 1912, it's looking very good for a 100 year old.
Otho St, Inverell is the finishing line for the Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic. The winner was Peter Herzig (not in the picture) who rode the 228kms in 6hrs 13mins and 39 secs, the 4th fastest time ever.
There were a lot of very tired cyclists after this most grueling of events. I hope you have enjoyed this short series.
The Grafton to Inverell Cycle Classic is arguably Australia's toughest road race. 228kms long with the infamous 18km climb up the Gibralter Range, the 6-8 hour ride is a test for the world's best riders.
There is a real air of nervousness before the race starts. Conditions are good but there is a large bushfire in the mountains (the road had been closed the day before) and the riders can expect very smoky conditions.
With 3 separate divisions and a staggered start lots of Police are required to keep the riders safe.
I can't show you the start as I was a 'handler' for a few riders and had to leave early to be at the first feeding station at the top of the mountains before the road was closed to traffic, more on that tomorrow.
Korora is a small ocean-side suburb to the north of Coffs Harbour that developed in the 1960's and 70's. It has a pretty beach that is often empty during the week. It's unpatrolled but is generally safe if the conditions are right (like today).
It has a lovely view of the Solitary Islands.
This post is dedicated to my Inverell correspondent. I wonder if they remember an adventure at this beach?
They were then ferried by the FP7 Pay Bus ( a converted bus that ran on the rails and was used to pay wages to isolated stations and rail maintenance gangs - this is the exact bus but i'm sure it look deal better then!) to the Coffs Harbour Railway Station. At some stage they traveled to Sealy's Lookout at Bruxner Park where as the photo shows, Betty inspected the best bananas that were grown in Coffs district. The Royals were also treated to a Surf Carnival at Park Beach.
During my research I found a blog post by Donna Webeck about her dad meeting the Queen with his arm in a sling due to an accident with a cane knife, it is a delightful piece, click here to read it.
Bruxner Park is only 10 minutes from Coffs Harbour and is a very popular State Forest Flora Reserve. The most popular location to visit is Sealy's Lookout with it's dramatic views over Coffs and the Pacific Ocean.
In early 2012 the very striking Sky Pier was opened providing even better views from the suspended walkway.
Banana growing began in the Coffs Harbour area in the 1890's. The steep fertile hills were ideally suited to the industry.
I came across the Hannaford Plantation shop on the steep, narrow and twisting road to Bruxner Park.
The owner told me that business is tough and he is gradually selling off his land into 5 acre house blocks and trying to retire. In 1970 Queen Elizabeth passed by his shop on her way to visit the said park.... but that is another story I will tell you about soon.
Araucaria heterophylla, the Norfolk Island Pine, is from an ancient family of conifers. It is endemic to (surprisingly!) Norfolk Island, a small speck in the South Pacific Ocean between Australia, New Zealand and New Caledonia. They can grow up to 60 metres tall and can survive cyclonic winds.
It is almost impossible to visit any seaside town in Northern NSW and Southern Queensland and not see their graceful and symmetrical shapes silhouetted against the sky. They are often planted in avenues and although they look very impressive, lots of people who share their front yard with the pines dislike them for the incessant dropping of their scaly leaves or the allergic reaction they receive from touching them. For these reasons I think I have to add them to my Northern NSW Hall of Fame & Shame.
The Crossroads is a well known locality in South Grafton where the Gwydir Highway, west to Glen Innes and Moree begins and the Pacific Highway from Sydney to Brisbane brushes past. It is very low land prone to deep flooding before the levee banks were built.
The Esso Roadhouse was a well known Service Station that closed a year or two ago. It has now become a terrible eyesore, boarded up and surrounded by rank weeds.
It's not often that you arrive home and find La Gioconda lying on your lawn, that most famous of portraits reduced to mere junk mail (but I'm sure Duchamp would approve). One of my favourite shots was taken in the Louvre with hundreds of people spending their 15 seconds in her presence, taking a snap, while a real living beauty is ignored.
On this very ordinary day, on my very ordinary street, it was quiet, no people, just the singular sound of one camera and then the lifting of the lid of the recycle bin, and she was gone.
There is an interesting tombstone located against the wall of St Stephen's Presbyterian Church in South Grafton. When the Reverend Miller died in 1855 he was buried at the Presbyterian Manse on nearby Wilson's Hill/Bent St. By the early 20th century the Manse had been sold into private hands and in 1929 the gravestone was moved to the church.
Miller is still buried somewhere on the hill but now his grave is unmarked.
This will be devasting for the Rock Valley and nearby communities as the tiny post office was a hub of village life. Police are still treating it as suspicious. I also see in the Australian newspaper that there has been a call to rebuild it, as besides being vital to the community it was also a tourist attraction. There is a sad but lovely story in yesterdays Northern Star about Joyce Bailey who was 3 years old when the first Rock Valley Post Office began on her verandah in 1930.