Monday, 31 January 2011

First year, last year

On 2 February, 1999 my gorgeous five-year old boy set off for his first year at school. Today he left for the first day of his last year at school, having just turned 17. Where have those 12 years gone???? I remember taking that first photo as if it were yesterday (pre-digital, Pentax K1000)

Sunday, 30 January 2011

Logo blast from the past

AMPOL was an Australian owned petroleum company, which was, according to Wikipedia, established in 1936 in response to Australians' concerns about perceived inequitable petrol pricing, and allegations of transfer pricing by foreign oil companies to limit their tax liabilities in Australia.

I hadn't seen its logo for years, until I spotted this shade tent at Bexley Swimming Centre.

It merged with Caltex in 1997, but the brand apparently still exists, mainly in country areas.

Friday, 28 January 2011

North Narrabeen Ocean Pool

The distinctive boardwalk between the pools is an original feature and has been replaced many times. The decking encloses a 50-metre by 18-metre pool within a larger 70-metre by 40-metre pool, while the 60-metre by 50-metre pool reservoir acts as a wading pool.

For historical information, see the NSW Ocean Baths website.

For more photos see my Swimming blog.

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Bilgola Headland lookout - looking south

From the lookout at Bilgola Head, we can see Bilgola Beach, then Bilgola South Head, Newport Beach, Bungan Head, and in the distance, Mona Vale Headland and Turmietta Head. Magnificent! Fancy living in such a place, eh!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011

South Curl Curl Ocean Pool

South Curl Curl is a beach north of Manly in the Northern Beaches area of Sydney. In this area, a string of ocean pools stretch from Palm Beach to Manly. See them all on the NSW Ocean Baths website. Most (not all, and not South Curl Curl) were built or expanded during the 1930s as projects to employ people during the Great Depression. Sydney is blessed with rocky headlands with rock platforms at the end of the crescent shaped beaches, and the pools are generally located on these rock platforms.

I am pretty sure they would never happen nowadays - there would be much uproar and protest at changing the natural rock platforms.

I love that these pools are free, and not fenced, are fully publicly accessible. Long may that remain! One of the last bastions of the "common good" in our bean-counting, user-pays world. (OK, I know Warringah rate payers pay...but that's a great use of local taxes - the rest of us help by supporting local businesses like cafes and shops. ..)

For more photos see my Swimming Blog.

Monday, 24 January 2011


The Conservatorium of Music, in Sydney's Botanic gardens, was originally the stables of Government House. I took this view across the gardens and conservatorium, looking towards Farm Cove, the indented waterway on a recent visit to the 8th floor office of the Royal Thai Consulate in Macquarie St. Farm Cove was the site of the first farm established by the First Fleet arrivals in 1788.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Cafe Latte

A beautifully presented latte at Cafe Clover in Annandale.

The first espresso machine was imported into Australia by an Italian in the 1950s. History here.

This was the heyday of post-WW2 Italian immigration to Australia (my in-laws for example) & had a profound impact on us. US Italian immigration largely predated the modern espresso machine, invented by Gaggia, so they missed out and had to wait for Starbucks to approximate a version of espresso coffee.

Starbucks has pretty much failed in Aust due to the widespread abailability of independent cafes. Even the smallest places have espresso machines. Latte, cappuccino, macchiato, short black, long black, flat white (like a latte but a bit less milk and frothiness) are part of out language!

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Sydney or the bush?

A bucolic scene right at Thames Street ferry wharf (on Sydney Harbour) in Balmain.

Friday, 21 January 2011

Happy Birthday!

Above: Ben revels in the warmth of the early morning sun of New Years Day

Happy 17th birthday, our beautiful boy. May your life be full of joy and happiness.  Mum and Dad love you.

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Back from Bundeena

Gunnamatta Bay, Cronulla in the late afternoon / early evening light as we return from Bundeena.

Monday, 17 January 2011

Aboriginal rock carvings

Jibbon headland is home to several Aboriginal rock carvings. Please tread lightly!

Featured here are above: a law man, left: a kangaroo, and below: a stingray

Sunday, 16 January 2011

Thursday, 13 January 2011

Jibbon Beach

Just along from Bundeena is the beautiful Jibbon Beach, great for a dip on a hot day.

View Larger Map

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The Bundeena Ferry

Bundeena is a village across Port Hacking from the southern Sydney suburb of Cronulla. It's surrounded by the Royal National Park, and is a popular place for day trips. Come along for a visit over the next few days....we did recently.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Thanks to Sydney workers.

No, not uncollected garbage piling up Naples-style!

I am always very impressed at the way Sydney City Council handles major events. We arrived at Circular Quay, the epicentre of New Years Eve celebrations at about 9:15am the next morning. The streets were already lookign pristine - cleared of garbage, which was neatly stacked awaiting collection. Workers were taking down barriers and portaloos.

It's a testament to the organisation, but more especially the workers who toil behind the scenes to make these things happen. When people whinge about taxpayers' money "going up in smoke" (whilst often enjoying the spectacle) I want to remind them that it's the worker bees we pay who make it happen for their enjoyment!

Monday, 10 January 2011

Sunday, 9 January 2011

Sydney Harbour summer morning

9:13 am on New Years Day (daylight saving time, so really 8:13), and the sun was already very hot. Aaaah, summer!

Thursday, 6 January 2011

In the pink at the cricket

Thanks to John D for the photos

Yesterday, on the third day of the cricket test match between Australia and England, at Sydney Cricket Ground, it was McGrath Foundation fundraising day.

The McGrath Foundation was founded by Jane McGrath, the late wife of one of Australia's great cricketers, and her husband, bowler Glenn McGrath. Jane was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 2002, age 31. She died in 2008.

The Foundation has two main objectives:  to raise money to place breast care nurses in communities right across Australia; and to educate young women to become breast aware.

Last year I had personal contact with breast care nurses through my local hospital, when I was undergoing treatment myself. They are just great. No question was too big or too small.

Thanks Jane and Glenn McGrath!

Monday, 3 January 2011


We spent New Years Eve camping on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour. Of course the reason for this was to watch the New Years fireworks. There are two displays - one of 8 minutes duration at 9pm and one of 12 mins duration at midnight. Of course the iphone camera doesn't catch the full magnificence of what was really a spectacular display, but I hope this gives a "feel" for it. The nearest ones were let off from a barge moored right in front of us, so it was like having our own private display. The farther away ones were on and over the Harbour Bridge.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New dawn, new year

In the dawn light over Sydney Harbour on 1 Jan 2011, we see the promise of a beautiful new day.

I wish all my friends, family, fellow bloggers and colleagues all the fresh promise of this beautiful dawn. May your dreams come true!

(Tomorrow we'll go back in time to some fireworks from NY Eve viewed from this same spot)

Saturday, 1 January 2011

Photo of the Year

So, it's the beginning of a new year. City Daily Photo bloggers are displaying their "Photo of the Year".

I have chosen a relatively recent one, a self-portrait taken on my underwater camera, me swimming. It sums up lots about what 2010 has been for me, on multiple levels. It expresses what I love doing most - swimming relieves stresses and tensions, helps keep my body in working order, and is sensuous - I love the silkiness of water sliding over me as I use energy to push through. There's always a goal in sight, but I remain self-contained within the lane. It helps express my competitive side, but I am only competing against myself. Sometimes the water is really warm and enveloping, other times fresh and invigorating. And another one of the best parts is getting out and drying off by lying in the sun. Swimming is a reasonably solitary and definately silent activity, which is also me; I value private time, "time out" from obligations, chatter, noise.

To see other Photos of the Year: Click here to view thumbnails for all participants