Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Swimming can include everyone

Still at Cronulla. Another of the rock pools - there are about four along this short stretch of coast. Behind me is a large, shady, green park where lots of families were having picnics and barbecues and playing games from cricket to soccer.

Swimming and learning to swim is such an important part of Australian life and culture than many traditional Muslim women are taking part by wearing a "burquini" - designed by an Australian, Ahead Zanetti. You can see a woman in this photo wearing one. They have been adopted by the Surf Life Saving Association for Muslim women members - see article here

Here's an article about Mecca Laa Laa on patrol at North Cronulla beach. (My sister taught Mecca).

Personally, I love to feel the water on my skin and would feel too restricted, but, hey, if it helps some young women learn to swim, interact with their children in the water, and feel comfortable and culturally included, more power to them.

There's lots more pictures of Shelly beach, here on my "Swimming" blog.

Tuesday, 29 January 2008

Lots of fun

The rock pool at Oak Park, South Cronulla. A great way to spend the Australia day public holiday.
There's a lot more photos from Oak Park rock pool here on my "Swimming" blog.

Monday, 28 January 2008

1997 Rockdale Citizen of The Year

Two days ago in my Australia Day post I mentioned the local Citizens of The Year. It took me a while to find the photos, but here is my mum, Alison, when she received the honour as Rockdale Citizen of the Year on 26 Jan 1997. I'm so proud of you, Mum.

Below: Kostya Tszyu - Sportsperson of the Year (he moved to the district in 1992, and he shares a birthday with mum - she's 41 years older), Rockdale Town Crier, Young Citizen of the Year - whose name I regret I don't know, June Salter, an actor who was Australia Day Ambassador, and was born in the local area, and Mayor Peter Bryant.

Postscript: Two days ago, a comment was left on my blog in response to my caption "Celebrate diversity: the faces of Australia". The comment was made by a member of a US organisation fighting for gay rights. The commenter said: "With the inclusion of the scouting movement who exclude gay people you are indeed not celebrating diversity but encouraging hatred against fellow Australians who just happen to be gay."

This is NOT the case in Australia, where the Scouting organisation does not have anti-gay rules. If you click here, you can read a transcript of an interview on our national broadcaster, the ABC, where this is made clear. In fact in Australia it is illegal to discriminate against people on the basis of sexual orientation, and the Scouts spokesperson said in no uncertain terms.

I would never want my blog to be seen to be, or indeed be, "encouraging hatred against fellow Australians who just happen to be gay." Indeed, have a look at my very first Daily Photo post from 19 April 2006.

Sunday, 27 January 2008

My first collage

Australia Day again. This is what I wanted to do yesterday but didn't know how. Thanks to Denton for pointing me in the Picasa direction :-)

Saturday, 26 January 2008

Straya Day, Carss Park on Kogarah Bay

Wandered down to Carss Park in time for the local Straya Day sarah-moanies. Australia Day commemorates the setting up of European settlement in Sydney Cove on 26 January 1788.

Started off well, with the Aboriginal didj player/MC very good. He welcomed us all to Country - the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora nation. Aboriginal dancers saw off any evil and negative thoughts, and a few brave souls got up and joined in corroboree when invited. The local sea scouts hoisted the flag and gave it a salute....and good thing they were there - they formed the core group of corroboree "volunteers".

They then went off in search of the BBQ, and I overheard one of the kids saying "it's gangsta" (that's the latest word for really, really cool, by the way) - whether he meant the dancing, the flag raising or the anticipation of a burnt snag, I know not.

A choir of smiling women sang the national anthem. Then the mayor and other local dig-er-nit-aries got hold of the mike and we became girt by speeches. The mayor made the most of his time and gave the same speech at least 3 times. The usual phalanx of pollies came and went, and the Australia Day Ambassador, a local identity, Dick Caine, a sports and swim coach told us about his days round Cullanulla in Banjo Paterson territory and introduced us to his family of multi-ethnic background - many of the kids he has taught to swim over the years. He was refreshing.

Cherie Burton, the member of state parliament for Kogarah added some laid back appeal, in her sleeveless top and thongs. She welcomed the Koori dancers to country, which was an interesting hands-across-the-sea reversal of fortunes. Poor old Robert McClelland, the local federal member - it was also his 50th b'day - attempting to keep the "dignified" in dignitary, musta been sweltering in his sports jacket and tie. But we did learn that he's best mates with Chris Evans, Minister for Immigration, who he also reckons is a real ugly bruiser.

Kevin Greene, andother state MP during his turn all but apologised for being born here and therefore never having CHOSEN citizenship.

As with all these things, it took about 12 speeches by blokes (and Cherie) to get to the moving bit - the proud new citizens swearing under God, or affirming to no God (sequentially) to be bonza Aussies. It was great seeing their smiling, proud faces. The choir sang some more.

Then they announced the local Citizens of The Year, which is nice in a parish-pump kinda way. Dick Caine also received that honour, which was a surprise to him.

The Queen's only appearance was by portrait, propped up by a nearby tree. She didn't get mentioned, and wasn't really able to be sighted, once the choir and swelling ranks of officialdom blocked her view of proceedings. I reckon sometime when we can agree on how to elect a President, we'll ease into Republicanism. Monarchy's pretty much a dead duck as far as local sarah-moany goes.

After that, on a bright beautiful, sunny 25 degree day, citizens old and new drifted off to the bbqs, camel rides and bouncy castle fun. It really was anything but a white bread affair, which is noice indeed. And the newest Australians all looked might chuffed.

Below: The Queen presided over events from the comfort of the garden, propped up by a tree:
Dance of various animals, including the emu:
Teaching volunteer participants the emu dance:
The faces of people about to become citizens:

Taking the oath or affirmation:


The faces of Australia: Celebrate diversity!

Thursday, 24 January 2008

Emma Chisett

Any non-Australians want to have a go at guessing what "Emma Chisett" means in Strine (Australian "language") ?

Tuesday, 22 January 2008

Monday, 21 January 2008

Happy 14th Birthday to Ben - of swimming and the Oz psyche

We were going to go to the water fun park at Jamberoo, with Ben and three of his mates. Unfortunately the weather turned foul - cold, gusty, and constant rain. Not great for an outdoor water play venue. Thishappened once before, on about his 10th birthday. We're doomed.

So instead we went to Homebush Aquatic Centre at Olympic Park. This is where Ian Thorpe, Susie O'Neill and others won all those medals at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. It's a terrific facility: 7wo 50m pools, one 8 lane, one 10 lane, diving pool, and freeform play pools with rapid river run, water slide etc.

There's also has gym and fitness centre, sauna, steam room, spa pools. There's swimming classes, training squads, all day lap swimming, cafes. You can book childminding, hosted kids' birthday parties, massage and a triathlon club.

I don't think people from outside Australia realise how deeply public swimming facilities penetrate the Australian psyche. To use this facility it cost us $28.80 for 3 adults and 4 kids for all day. I've paid more than that for one person for a single session at a European pool. Trying to find somewhere in Rome or new York for a swim is a bit of a challenge! We get a bit purse-lipped if pool entry gets anything beyond about $5-$6 in an indoor heated centre, $3-4 outdoors. Generally swimming pools are one of the community facilities, along with libraries, parks etc which local government maintains (they are NOT however responsible for education - that's a state government level responsibility).

More pictures of Homebush - click here.

Sunday, 20 January 2008

Frida - for Kate

Kate from St Paul is wintering in Mazatlan, and bringing her daily blog to us from there. On Jan 18, she posted this photo featuring Frida Kahlo.

Frida provides great inspiration to some of us in the Artist Trading Card community. The card on the left (Frida I) I made last year. The middle one is by a trading partner, Satu Leinonen of Finland, and the one on the right (Frida II) I made yesterday.

Saturday, 19 January 2008

Tiles and piano .... the Muse

The Muse building, Sydney Institute of TAFE (Technical and Further Education) , Ultimo

Friday, 18 January 2008

Memorial, Granville (Jan 18)

On January 18, 1977, a packed commuter train from the Blue Mountains was derailed and crashed into the bridge across the railway line at Bold St, Granville. 83 people died and scores were injured. The accident was blamed on poor rail maintenance.

On Jan 18th, 2002, twenty-five years later, a Day of Roses was held to commemorate the event. 83 roses were thrown onto the tracks by relatives and friends.

This modest memorial commemorates those who died in the disaster.

The memorial and the railway bridge in the background.

Tuesday, 15 January 2008

Heritage, Cremorne

Love the evening sun on this brings out the honey tones of the Sydney sandstone. What on earth possessed the council to approve the red brick carbuncle two doors down (see below)? It looks like a "heritage item" of the 1960s. These places have views over the harbour towards the Opera House and Bridge. I'll show that tomorow. They face the public reserve where you find the MacCallum Pool featured yesterday.

Monday, 14 January 2008

MacCallum Pool, Cremorne

A free pool on Sydney Harbour at Cremorne. It started out as a rock pool, built of local rocks, and started by an early Olympic swimmer, Fred Lane, who lived nearby. It then got taken on by Hugh MacCallum, a highly regarded local resident. In 1930 it was taken over by North Sydney Council, and renamed the Hugh J MacCallum Pool (later shortened to MacCallum Poool) . It is still maintained by North Sydney Council. It needs to be emptied, refilled and cleaned about once a week.

Not a bad view:
For more pictures visit my swimming pools blog.

Sunday, 13 January 2008

Saturday, 12 January 2008

Batemans Bay and the Clyde River

Nathaniel Bateman was the commander of the Northumberland, and as a young naval officer, Captain James Cook sailed as master under Bateman's command, charting the St Lawrence River in Canada.

In 1770, Cook sailed along this coast, past tall cliffs broken by inlets lined with white, or golden sandy beaches. In places the trees almost reached (and some still do) the waters edge. Then this bay, its entrance guarded by two small islands, and the mouth of a large river. Cook remembered his commader on the Northumberland, and named the bay after him - Bateman Bay. In time it became Batemans (no apostrophe these days, though it once did!)

The river was named the Clyde (probably after the Scottish river of that name) by another explorer, Robert Johnston, in 1821. The bridge, which opens to allow taller vessels through, was built in 1956. Before that you had to wait for a ferry to cross the river.

After a history of timber-cutting and milling, and fishing, and a small, isolated population through much of the 20th century, Batemans Bay became a popular tourist and holiday resort, at first mainly for Canberrans - this stretch of coast is sometimes called 'The Capital Coast' in reference to the number of Canberrans; and latterly more Sydney-siders (though at 4+ hours drive, it is a bit more than a weekend destination for Sydney-siders). The permanent population is 16 000, and the summer and easter hordes many times that. Yet, it's still a pretty calm and tranquil place, the crowds in the shopping centre on an overcast January day (stopping them going to one of the fabulous beaches in the area) notwithstanding.

For more pics of Batemans Bay and the surrounding area, click here.

Friday, 11 January 2008

Those mangroves again!

Yesterday when I drove past, not only was the sun out, and the Great Dividing Range visible in the background, the mangroves were up to their knees in the water - high tide. That tree next to them is a casuarina. The name casuarina is derived from the Malay “Kasuari” or “Cassowary” which refers to the likeness of the plant's thin drooping stems and leaves to the feathers of the bird.

Wednesday, 9 January 2008

Mangroves Moruya River

Bergson - especially for you!

Mangroves in Moruya River, when the tide is higher.

Tuesday, 8 January 2008


Moruya River at low tide allows you to walk amongst the mangroves. Many people search for bait worms in the mudflats at low tide. Too many mangroves have been lost to development along the Australian coast and waterways. We now understand that they are essential fish breeding grounds.

Monday, 7 January 2008

Slip! Slop! Slap! (and Wrap)

This is one of my favourite positions for summer.

'Slip-Slop-Slap' is the name for a campaign in Australia exhorting people to "slip on a shirt, slop on sunscreen, and slap on a hat" when they go out into the sun in order to prevent skin cancer. It is probably Australia's most recognisable health message

The campaign started in 1981 and its mascot is a seagull called Sid.
(See Sid here). The campaign included advertisements and a jingle and has been adopted universally as part of SunSmart campaigning. As a result the incidence of skin cancer in Australia has decreased.

The health campaign was extended in later years to encourage the use of sunglasses. That is, slip on a shirt, slop on the sunscreen, slap on a hat and wrap on some sunnies
: "Slip, Slop, Slap, Wrap". By this stage however the skin cancer aware message of the campaign had successfully been absorbed into the Australian psyche and "slip, slop slap, wrap" was neither as memorable or as necessary as its precursor. (Source: Wikipedia)

Most primary schools require hats to be worn when kids are playing outside. They have a "no hat, no play" policy.

More than all that, though, we're exhorted to stay in the shade as much as possible.

Australia still has the highest rate of skin cancer in the world. About 280,000 skin cancers are diagnosed each year in Australia including about 8,000 melanomas, the most dangerous form. Each year 1,200 Australians die from skin cancer. Here's all the facts and figures from the Cancer Council.

Some people from overseas have commented about the tops that everyone wears to swim in (see yesterday's photos, and there's one over the deck chair in this one). They're called "rash vests" (or, inevitably, "rashies" in Australianese). They were first worn by surfers, in conditions when a wetsuit isn't needed, to prevent chest rashes developing from the wax on their boards. Now they are a staple part of beachwear, in order to prevent sunburn.

Sunday, 6 January 2008

Facing the waves

There's a low pressure system off Queensland at the moment - not is cyclone season in the north. It is delivering flooding rains to southern Queensland and northern NSW, and huge seas down the NSW coast. Yesterday most of Sydney's beaches were "closed". This means that the lifesaving patrols do not put out the "swim between the flags" flags and advise people not to swim, because it is too dangerous.

Here on the coast south of Sydney, the seas are a bit higher than usual, but we're not having anything like further north, or the rain either. Just a succession of beautiful sunny days.

That's my son second from the left.

The best way to get through a wave is to dive under it. Waiting to dive: Or maybe you might prefer to just throw yourself into it after it's broken!

Whatever you decide, remember - have fun!

Here's a picture from the newspaper showing seas off Sydney. Waves have been up to 3 metres.

Saturday, 5 January 2008

An Aussie summer

At this time of year, the lazy days of January, Australians in droves decamp to the beach. So has Sydney Daily Photo. Here are some of the essential ingredients: an umbrella for shade, clothing to cover up from the ozone-hole strength sun, board shorts and rash vests, boogie boards and beach cricket. (That brown house nestling a third of the way up the cliff in the background, with the log cabins in front, belongs to Nicole Kidman and family). This is a really busy day on "my beach" !

Friday, 4 January 2008

Wulworrá-jeung (Robertson's Point) - Cremorne

This is one of my favourite spots in all of Sydney Harbour. I like to climb down the ladder in the cliff face and sit on that little bridge across to the lighthouse and watch ferries, cruise ships, kayaks, and whatever else comes into view on the harbour. Robertson's Point was called Wulworrá-jeung by local Aborigines, the Cammeraygal. It's at the very tip of Cremorne Point.

James Robertson, a Scottish watchmaker, was granted 86 acres of land here in 1832. he built a house here. PS, all the masts across the harbour (above) are of the Sydney-Hobart yacht race fleet in Rushcutters Bay.