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

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Maclean Awning & Thanks

This is a vintage canvas awning in Maclean. 'Towells tender meats' no longer exists, behind the awning is a beautician.
The Clarence River is still experiencing a major flood and many peoples lives have been turned upside down. Many thanks to everyone who left messages of care and concern, it was greatly appreciated. Time to try and get life back to normal for me and my family.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

C is for Catastrophe on the Clarence

The Clarence River has recorded a record flood over the last four days. The remnants of Tropical Cyclone Oswald saw the four major tributaries each flood at the same time, a very rare event, and wreck havoc across the valley. Grafton's levee system was over-topped in a small number of locations but overwhelmingly it saved the city from a disaster that can not even be conceived of.
This is the 4th major flood in 3 years: the mental, physical and monetary damage it has done to farmers the length and breath of one of eastern Australia's breadbaskets is incalculable.
If you want to see more shots go to my other blog Clarence River Floods

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Clarence in Flood @ 4am

Grafton is experiencing it's worst flood in living memory. At 5.00am the Prince St Gauge was 7.8m and rising. The Bureau has predicted 7.9m at 9.00am, our levee system is around 8.1m high: it's going to be close.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Flowers in the Rain

The driving rain and wind from ex -tropical cyclone Oswald has resulted in some beauty. Here the footpath in front of Grafton Courthouse is bedecked with frangipani flowers.

My other blog Clarence River Floods will activate today, with at least a moderate flood expected for the Clarence River system.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Ex-Cyclone Oswald Heads South

The bad weather has begun in Northern NSW, time to batten down the hatches.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

B is for Band

Sakswatch is a nine piece band from Melbourne who have being playing a few gigs in Yamba. In the daytime they have played a few impromptu sets in the main street and their hi energy soul has been an infectious sound in the streets.

They are playing at the Sydney Town Hall on Thursday night as part of the Sydney Festival. To visit their website, click here.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Craigmore Rocks - The Wedge

Craigmore Rocks is a rock platform that stretches from Main to Convent Beach, Yamba. I presume it takes it's name from the legendary Craigmore Guest House that was demolished in the late 1960's.

It's a great spot for fishing, walking, snorkeling and body boarding. The body boarders love 'the Wedge', an underwater rock platform where the swell rises very quickly. The highlight of this spot is that sometimes the waves refract and 'collide' giving the surfers an opportunity of performing aerial stunts.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Kwong Sing - Glen Innes

The Kwong Sing Emporium is Glen Innes's oldest surviving business, established in 1886. For many years it was ran by Percy Puck Sing Young (Kwan Hong Kee) the first of his clan to emigrate to Australia from China in 1876.

The grand late-Victorian Italianate department store was built in successive stages between 1886 and 1915. These days sections of the store have been subdivided into other businesses but Kwong Sing still sells clothing and footwear: oh for the days when it sold hay, sugar by the loaf, Indian Root Pills and dynamite.

To read more about the incredible story of Percy Young and the retail dynasty he spawned/nurtured across Northern NSW  click here.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Wingfield Bridge - Brushgrove to Cowper

The Wingfield Bridge recently celebrated it's 50th birthday. It links the villages of Brushgrove and Cowper across the South Arm of the Clarence River.

The new Cowper pontoon has hosted lots of boats over the summer season. In the background from left to right is: the old Catholic Church Presbytery, Mary Immaculate Cowper Catholic Church and the Cowper Hall.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Trawling in Lake Wooloweyah

Lake Wooloweyah is a vast tidal lake to the south of Yamba. It is extremely shallow and always brownish. School prawns and mullet are the main catch for the trawlers.

These grey skies have been a welcome respite from the searing hot days we have experienced over the last few weeks.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Patrick Budgen VC Memorial - Alstonville

Patrick (Paddy) Budgen is Alstonville's most famous son, renowned for his heroism on the Western Front in World War 1.

Patrick was born in Tatham, an old riverport on the Richmond River near Casino, on the 17/3/1897. His family moved to Alstonville and took over the license of the Federal Hotel (see yesterdays post). At 19, he enlisted in the the 31st Battalion in Brisbane. He arrived in Plymouth in late 1916 and his service record shows the ubiquitous medical issues of influenza.

In September 1917, the 31st Battlion was involved in the notorious and shocking Battle of Passchendaele in the Ypres sector, Belgium. On the 9th of May he wrote a letter to his beloved mother Annie, " We are going into the firing line tomorrow. If by chance anything happens I feel that I shall gain a place of happiness, for I have never done a deed I feel ashamed of SO I FEAR NOTHING.
A classic shot of the conditions in the Battle of Passchendaele
The remnants of Polygon Wood
Between the 26th and 28th of September at Polygon Wood, Zonnebeke, Belgium, the Allied forces fighting in this sector were held by two heavily defended German concrete pillboxes. Budgen twice led parties in the assault on the pillboxes under heavy machine gun fire. Both attacks were successful with Budgen capturing the Germans with the point of his bayonet. On five occasions Budgen rescued wounded men under terrible machine gun and shell fire. On the last of these courageous missions he was killed. He was awarded a Victoria Cross, the highest award for gallantry in the Australian/British Armies.

Budgen's grave is located in the Hooge Crater Cemetery near Ypres, Belgium. His memorial in Alstonville was built by the Rotary Club and unveiled by the Governor of Queensland on 28th of September 1997, the 80th anniversary of Budgen's death. ANZAC day marches in Alstonville begin at the memorial. One of Alstonville's main throughfares has been renamed in his honour.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

A is for Alstonville - 2477

Alstonville was once called Duck Creek Mountain (Thanks Rod for this bit of historical information). The social hub of the community is the classically styled and popular Federal Hotel.

The town has a lovely main street, a mix of old and new, usual and eclectic. It's a very upmarket town and real estate is quite expensive.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Glen Innes Post Office

The Queen Anne styled Glen Innes Post office was built in 1896 to a design by the famous colonial architect Walter Vernon.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Christmas Bells

Blandfordia nobilis, commonly known Christmas Bells, is a spectacular flowering plant of the coastal heaths of New South Wales. It usually flowers from December to January, hence the common name.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Wellingrove Creek Bridge

The Gywdir Highway crosses Wellingrove Creek in the long vanished village of Matheson. The creek is a popular spot for fossickers searching for elusive New England sapphires.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Alstonville - Now & Then

Situated between Lismore and Ballina, Alstonville has grown from a village into a substantial town.

The towns classic old Post Office (here is a shot from 1909) has been reinvented into Quattro Country Italian restaurant.

The deep shady verandahs are a great spot for lunch or a coffee.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Hillgrove's Historic Signs

Up until WW1 there were over 50 stores and businesses operating in Hillgrove's main street, today there is not one! (that's if you don't count the controversial antimony mine).  Today there are a large number of signs and information panels which locate and given detailed information about the shops and their owners.

This historic picture of a Labour march shows the extensive nature of the main street, today it's mostly paddocks with the odd house.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Z is for Zinc

Zinc coated iron, or corrugated iron, is/was a staple and iconic building product in Australia. It was mostly used for roofing and water tanks but sometimes entire buildings were constructed from this versatile material ( click here to see some examples I found in Emmaville) . This old abandoned cottage in Hillgrove was part of Robert Sharp's blacksmith yard. Sharp came to Hillgrove from Ballarat in the mid 1880's and eventually became the mayor in the early 1900's. Sharp's blacksmith yard operated until the 1920's.

Hillgrove's mining boom ended in the 1920's and it's population rapidly declined. Some of the buildings were dismantled and moved into nearby Armidale. In the Great Depression, with building materials expensive or scarce, this process speeded up. It was a similar story in many of the declining mining towns of New South Wales, like Hill End in the Central West. I wonder if this process will occur again when the great mining boom of the early 21st century comes to an end and all those 'new' towns in Western Australia and Queensland begin to loose their populations?

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hillgrove Museum

The excellent Hillgrove Museum is situated in the old public school building. It's focus is on daily life in the once bustling town and the industry of the area. It has an excellent mining display and in it's grounds contain an extensive collection of rural machinery and pre-automotive transport.

Monday, January 7, 2013


Hillgrove is a small village 30kms to the east of Armidale, it sits 1000m above the Bakers Creek Gorge. It owes it existence to mining, particulrly antimony, which is still conterversially extracted today. At it's height around 1900 Hillgrove had a population of around 3,000 with numerous hotels, shops and associated community buildings and industry. Today it's population is barely 100 with virtually all the commercial buildings long gone.
The beautiful old Post & Telegraph Office ( 1901-1947) is the last substantial building left on the main street.
There is still lots to see in Hillgrove and for the rest of the week I'll be showing you the sights of interest.

There is an interesting memorial to two citizens of Hillgrove who fought and died in the Boer War attached to the front of the post office. Below is a patriotic gathering in support of the Boer War.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Matheson Presbyterian Church

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
Psalm 23 KJV 

All that is left in Matheson is the Presbyterian Church, I am unsure if it is still being used but it seems to have a  new roof since I last passed by.

Linking to the Psalm Challenge on Robert's Daily Athens Photo

Saturday, January 5, 2013


The view west from Waterloo Range, overlooking the locality of Matheson and Waterloo Station.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Stationers Hall - Glen Innes

The main street of Glen Innes contains many handsome buildings. The Stationers Hall Chambers is a beautiful example of a late Edwardian two storey shop.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Danthonia Community and Signs

Danthonia is a Christian commune to the east of Inverell that has built up an incredible business in three dimensional handcrafted signs. Their very beautiful signs are found all over Northern NSW and now Australia.

The community is part of the Bruderhof movement which was founded by Eberhard Arnold in Germany in 1920: expelled by Hitler in 1937, exiled to Paraguay in 1941 (the only nation that would accept them), moving to the USA in the 1950's, establishing in Britain in the 1980's, the Inverell community in 1999 and returning to Germany in 2002. Although they have their own beliefs, they are theologically linked to Hutterite, Mennonite and Anabaptist denominations. Many Inverell locals mistakenly link them to the Amish.

The Danthonia community tries to follow the practices of the very early Christian Church in Jerusalem with a strong focus on Acts of the Apostles. Individuals hold no private property with income pooled for the common good, they are pacifists and their members do not join the armed forces. 

To visit the official Bruderhof web site, click here.

An typical example of a Danthonia sign, exquisite carved lettering and extensive use of gold paint.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Y is for Yarrowyck

Yarrowyck was once a village but is now a rural locality of scattered beef and sheep farms, these days it is most famous for the Mount Yarrowyck Nature Reserve. The reserve is open eucalypt woodland with granite outcrops and boulders. Traditionally it is the territory Anaiwan people who left reminders of their presence with rock art.


Sadly we did not have time to walk to the rock overhang that contains the art work. Thanks to Armidale Tourism and the CMA for the images.

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