Saturday, 28 February 2009

Swim Between The Flags At Bronte

Bronte is renowned for dangerous currents and rips. The designated swimming area on the beach is quite small.

This post is a bit of a cheaty fudge. Originally I posted the photo now showing for March 1 on Sat 28th, but I've swapped them around, cos I forgot March 1 was CDP Theme Day - Glass.

Thursday, 26 February 2009

Royal Exhibition Hotel, Surry Hills

Chalmers St, Surry Hills

"Hotel" is a word often used for pub in Australia, and this building is primarily a pub. Many pubs also contain(ed) accommodation upstairs....and many are no longer used for that purpose. However the Royal Exhibition, right opposite Central Station, has 14 rooms, which from their website look pretty nice.

Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Tuesday, 24 February 2009

Lifesaver at work

The red and yellow clad surf lifesavers on our beaches are volunteers. (Local councils also employ paid lifeguards in some places). Here at Maroubra, this man was working hard (with colleagues) trying to get people to stay in the safe areas to swim.

Every year people drown on Australian becahes from swimming in dangerous areas. Often the water that looks the calmest is in fact a rip which will carry a person way offshore very quickly. People often panic and lose energy trying to swim against the rip. Correct procedure is to let it carry you until it peters out, then swim to one side and attempt to catch waves back to shore. If you swim at a patrolled beach, swim between the flags in the patrolled area, and if you get into difficulties, raise one arm to attract attention from one of these dedicated band of volunteers.

Read more about surf livesavers here

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Crab hunting, Mahon Pool Maroubra

These kids were busy looking at the odd crab scuttling across the rocks around the edge of Mahon Pool at Maroubra. If you look really carefully at the photo to the left you might be able to spot one. But they're pretty well camouflaged!

Friday, 20 February 2009

Mahon Pool, Maroubra: Skywatch Friday

When I visited Mahon Pool at Maroubra, the day couldn't make up its mind whether to be overcast or bright and sunny!
Look at skies from elsewhere around the world - link here.

Thursday, 19 February 2009

Coogee 7 - Mina Wylie

Sculpture of Mina (Wilhelmina)Wylie, daughter of the founder of Wylie's Baths. Sculptor: Eileen Slarke

Mina Wylie was a woman of firsts. She and friend, Fanny (Sarah Frances) Durack, were the first women to win a silver and gold medal respectively in Olympic swimming, at the 1912 Olympic Games in Stockholm. For the first time at those Olympics, two women's races were held: 100m, and 100m relay. She was also the first woman to receive the Diploma of the Royal Life Saving Society.
In 1971, Mina was inducted into the Swimming Hall of Fame in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
Wylie was born in Coogee in 1890, and died in 1984.

Photo collage left - Top left: Fanny Durack (l) and Mina Wylie (r). Top right: Mina Wylie. Bottom left: Fanny Durack. Bottom right: Fanny Durack (l) and Mina Wylie (r) in Stockholm
After competing against each other in thw 1910-11 swimming season, Mina and Fanny persuaded swimming officials to let them compete in Stockholm. There were 27 competitors. The pool was built in an inlet of Stockholm Harbour. There were no lane ropes. Fanny's time in the 100m final was 1:22.2 and Mina's was 1:25.4.

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Coogee 6 - Wedding reception at Wylie's

Wylie's Baths can be hired for weddings. The day I was there they were setting up for one, but swimmers were still able to wander through to the toilets and change rooms until they closed at 5:30pm. Quite a juxtaposition - formal table settings, and swimwear!

Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Coogee 5 - Reading The News at Wylie's

A great way to relax on a Saturday morning - reading the papers by the sea.

This photo was taken on Saturday 7 February, the day that Victoria suffered the worst bushfires in history. However, when I took this, they were not yet underway, certainly not the night before when the paper was printed. The cartoon shows Prime Minister Kevin Rudd hosing down the fire of the global financial crisis (with his economic stimulus package), and the Leader of the Opposition, Malcolm Turnbull, telling him not to waster water, ie not to spend all the resources at once. A bit ironic.

Monday, 16 February 2009

Coogee 4 - More Wylie's Baths

I love the elevated platform, boardwalk at Wylie's. You can sunbake on the deck, sit under a canopy sipping a latte and eating cake from the cafe, just stare out to sea or on fellow swimmers, even have a massage in that small white tent near the umbrellas.

Any Australian readers catch the first episodes of the drama about 1970s organised drug crime, Underbelly, last week? One scene was a brutal fight, which was filmed from about the spot I took the photo at left.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Coogee 3 - Wylie's Baths

Just a few metres south of the Women's Pool is Wylie's Baths. Last Saturday, when the temperature was soaring, I spent the day at Wylie's. This was the day when the devastating bushfires took hold hundreds of kilometres south, in Victoria. For the next few days, dip your toes in the water, and enjoy the cool, refreshing water with me.
Below: you can see the Women's Pool in the middle distance, and Coogee Beach beyond. The Coogee Beach pool, with which this series began is around the corner tucked in to the southern end of the beach, and so hidden from view.

Wylie's dates from 1907, when it was established by Henry Alexander Wylie, a champion long sistance and underwater swimmer. His daughter, Wilhemina (Mina) and her friend Fanny Durack were the first two women to represent Australia in Olympic swimming. They won a silver and gold medal respectively. We'll see more of Mina in coming days.
The Baths were one of the first mixed gender bathing pools in Australia. In the mid 1970s they were severley damaged by storms and closed for a while. They were reopened in 1978 and renovated in 1994. They are classified as a heritage item by the National Trust.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

Coogee 2 - The Women's Pool

The Women's pool, formally known as McIvers Pool, is the sole surviving single-sex pool in NSW, if not Australia. A man took the matter to the Anti Discrimination Board, however the Council was granted an exemption to continue to operate it for women only, given that there are 2 other mixed pools within a few metres.

The pool offers a safe, popular and relatively private bathing spot for Christian and other nuns, Muslim women, lesbians, and those who like to swim in privacy, including women with disabilities and some pregnant women.

The pool has been used by women bathers since the 1860s. Mina Wylie trained in this pool before swimming her way to a silver medal in the 1912 Olympics, the first Olympics with swimming events for women.

PS One eagle-eyed reader noted yesterday that not all my photos have been taken on the days published, because it's been raining the last few days in Sydney. So true. Unfortunately, because I work full-time, my photographic excursions are mainly confined to the weekends. Bring on retirement (or that big lottery win!)

Also, to people expressing concern about the bushfires: they haven't featured on SDP because the worst have been hundreds of kilometres from Sydney...but they have certainly brought a sense of shock to everyone in the country and many overseas)

Friday, 13 February 2009

Storm brewing

A storm gathers over Sydney Airport and allied areas. Links to skies from across the world here.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Coogee - the beach pool

We're heading south again - on to Coogee. This is the Ross Jones Memorial pool at the southern end of Coogee Beach. They were built in 1947 from funds provided by the Commonwealth government to the local council as reparation for wartime damage to the beach. They were dedicated to Roscoe Samuel Jones, who was alderman for Randwick's East Ward from 1934 to 1937 and closely associated with the Coogee Surf Life Saving Club, near which the baths are located.

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Clovelly 4 - Off The Rocks

Outside the breakwaer, where the rocks are, kids were having agreat time jumping and diving off the rocks into the ocean. The rock platform extends quite a way, because they were able to stand in the water.

For more pictures in this sequence click here (link to my Swimming Blog) . There's also more pics of the pool shown two days ago.

Tuesday, 10 February 2009

Clovelly 3 - The cafe

My sincere apologies to the lovely people who are leaving comments and to whom I am not responding. Finding time at the moment is a real problem. But I do read them all, and appreciate everyone who takes the time to drop a line....I hope to get back to you as soon as I can.

Monday, 9 February 2009

Clovelly 2 - the pool

You didn't really think there's be a story about Clovelly without a pic of the pool did you? Kids' Saturday morning swimming races were on when I visited.

Sunday, 8 February 2009

Clovelly 1 - that Mediterranean feeling

We're leaving Bronte for a while now and following the coast south (the Sculpture By The Sea series in November last year covered much of the territory between Tamarama and Bondi, which are the beaches north of Bronte). Last weekend I went to Clovelly, so we'll have a look at that most "Mediterranean" of Sydney beaches for the next few days.
The reason it reminds me most closely of the Med is its calm waters and the concrete surrounds, with steps down to the water at regular intervals. Last time I swam from a concrete promenade at a beach with a great cafe overlooking the water was probably somewhere in Greece!

Clovelly does have a sand beach at one end, and a concrete sea water pool, but its main attraction is the calm, shallow waters perfect for snorkelling. The most famous residents are the blue gropers (see yesterday's entry).

I swam about 4 laps of the bay, from beach to the breakwater entrance and back - the length of the bay is about 350 metres. The day was hot, and the water cool (about 21 degrees - it's been pretty "fresh" this year)

Photos taken 31 January 2009

Saturday, 7 February 2009

Bronte 13 - Blue Gropers

In 1998 the Eastern Blue Groper was made the fish emblem of New South Wales. It is well known on waters around Sydney. They are protected from spear fishing. It has been protected since 1969 because of depletion. (Actually, they're not gropers at all, but wrasse)

Blue Gropers will swim right up to divers.

All Blue Gropers start life as females and some later change into males. So a particular blue groper could breed as a female one year and then the next year turn into a male! Little is known about the factors which trigger this sex change however it is believed that they appear to change sex when they reach a certain size and age, or if the local male is removed from the reef the next biggest female will change to a male. It is also believed that if there is an increase in the female population a female may turn into a male if the threshold between the number of males and females is exceeded.

This ends the series on Bronte, at least for now. Tomorrow we are heading south aloong the coast to the next beach, Clovelly. Cloey has a very different vibe to Bronte, but is interesing in a range of different ways. So come along while it's still hot and summery for this Sydney eastern suburbs beaches exploration!

To read more, including historical notes, on the Bronte Baths and Bogey Hole, have a look at my Swimming Blog.

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Bronte 11 - Wanda

Wanda is from the kiosk at the Surf Life Saving Club. She told me she was bored so decided to draw pictures of the fruit and vegetable types of the juices on offer. Unfortunately she didn't have a yellow marker for the pineapple picture!

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

Bronte 10 - Hugo

Meet Hugo, who works for Waverley Council, which maintains the beach and wonderful facilities (like the free stainless steel barbecues) in the extensive park behind the beach. He told me that every day he has to paint over fresh graffiti in the picnic shelters and toilets.

Yesterday, a young woman, aged 18, was convicted of writing her name (tag) on a cafe wall in Sydney with a black texta (felt tipped pen). The cafe says it was $200 worth of damage. For this forst offence, she was sentenced by the magistrate to 3 months jail!

Harsh or justified? That's the debate that's been raging today. Does sending a young woman to jail (at a cost of $30-40 000) serve any purpose? Does singling out one person ever have any deterrent effect on others? (It never did when I was a kid at school! And so far capital punishment or long jail terms haven't seem to have stopped murders occurring)

Meanwhile, a young male graffitist was placed on a good behaviour bond and wished well in his artistic future "as long as it is displayed in public galleries, not on walls." Read more here.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Bronte 8 - Reading

Did you know that Australia has the highest melanoma rate in the world? Not a world record to be at all excited about. According to the Cancer Council the incidence of melanoma in Australia and is around four times higher than in Canada, the UK and the US. However, mortality rates for melanoma in Australia are quite low compared to other countries.

I read once that its incidence is really on the rise in countries in Northern Europe, now that its fair-skinned population gets sunburned more often on Mediterranean holidays. You can always tell the British and Irish backpackers on Sydney beaches - they're the ones out in the blazing sun in the middle of the day, and often beetroot red!

The swimmers on this day were out and about early - this photo was taken about 9:20am. I can't speak for the others, but i was in the shade then inside by 10.30!

Sunday, 1 February 2009

Paths and Passages. Theme Day February 2009

A stormwater drain shouldn't be a path or passage, and this one at Maroubra Beach looked very benign when I went past last Saturday; it was being used to store surfboards while their owners were elsewhere.

Notoriously, two people died on 20 January 2008 when a sudden storm swept them along the Maroubra drain to a grilled exit further along the coast. One person managed to squeeze out of the grille and survive.

Still, stormwater drains, while in Sydney separate from the sewerage system, can still contain toxins and rubbish, and in a major storm can contain overflow sewerage. I don't think I'd be frolicking where the water emerges into the ocean as these young women were!

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants in this Theme Day.