Before you read this post I would recommend reading the crazy true story about the Cape St. George Lighthouse that was posted back in November 2020 – you can see that one here.
This is the Point Perpendicular Lighthouse that guards the entrance to Jervis Bay. It is just a couple of hours south of central Sydney. It was built during 1898 and opened in 1899 as a direct replacement for the disaster/fiasco that was Cape St. George lighthouse (see other post). All done in a year! You don’t get that kind of response to public projects now eh?
I don’t know what it is but as buildings go there is something about lighthouses. Hard to put my finger on it. They is definitely something photogenic about them, especially the older ones.
It was built of pre-cast concrete blocks, the first time that method was used in NSW. The tender cost was – wait for it – £20,280 & 17 shillings. Just three shillings short of another pound (£1=20shillings or used to…). No idea why they didn’t just round it up (or down) but you certainly got a lot for £20k in those days. They built the lighthouse the keepers cottage, assistant keepers cottage, plus a post office, jetty, outbuildings, fuel store and stables.
The lighthouse sits on top of the cliffs at the north end of the mouth of the bay. In this corner of Jervis Bay – known as Beecroft Peninsula – there is an army firing range. The beaches that surround the peninsula have signs warning boats not to land if the army is doing firing practice. On normal (non firing) days it is possible to drive into that area as long as you keep to the marked paths.
When we visited the lighthouse it was a grey and overcast day but during our stay in the area we had enough sunny days to capture the lighthouse from other angles. Directly opposite the mouth of the bay at one of the lovely beaches, the lighthouse can be seen with the naked eye. With a little bit of zoom you can clearly make out the detail of the structure.
In 1993 the Australian Maritime Safety Authority built a steel framed tower with an automatic, unmanned, solar powered light to replace the old lighthouse. You can see that alongside the old building above.
Another angle… From the Bay
On another day we took a boat trip around the bay passing several beaches. It’s a great little trip around a fantastic part of the world with some of the best beaches you will ever see. I have said it before in this blog, and will say it again. Jervis Bay is definitely one of my favourite places.
This was all during the Easter school holidays. More to come on that area soon…
Two days ago the drummer of The Rolling Stones, Charlie Watts passed away aged 80.
Today I had my own little tribute to Charlie Watts. Like most people who like the Rolling Stones music I have been playing a lot of their songs on my iPod. – Yes! Some of us still use iPods!
The Rolling Stones are easily the biggest band the planet has ever seen. There was a huge rivalry with the Beatles during the sixties in particular. But The Stones longevity alone eclipses anything that any other band has ever been close to. And Charlie Watts was there from the start of the band’s success. He was one of only three band members to appear on every studio album they made (the others being Jagger and Richards). That’s almost 60 years of playing music and touring.
Even my seven year old son can recognise a Rolling Stones song. He likes them. I do try to point him in the direction of the great bands and their top songs.
They were still hoping to continue with yet another world tour recently until the covid thing kicked in. Only a few weeks ago the band was going to resume the tour in the USA but with a replacement drummer as Charlie was too ill.
Well it looks like the need to wear a mask outside is supposedly full on. But then it started to rain in Sydney. I mean heavy rain. So up to now there has not been much reason to be outside.
I have read two versions of the new mask rule. One says it is OK to remove it (or not wear one) while exercising. Another says a similar thing but uses the words “strenuous exercise”. So maybe they don’t think you should be mask-less when just walking. I guess that remians to be seen…
Well there is no way I am wearing a mask outside when on the move. And there is a way around it… I will just have to take a leaf out of Forrest Gump’s book eh…
Good advice from Forrest…
Come to think of it, if you saw someone running with a face mask on you would usually assume that they had just mugged someone or pulled off a robbery. Now – or at least in the near future – people are just going to think it is normal. That’s how crazy this covid crap is and that’s how crazy this mask rule is.
OK, here is a round up of what has been going on in Sydney and NSW in general the past few days. Probably nothing you haven’t read in the media but here goes…
Protests? What Protests?
The planned protest never really got going in the city centre on Saturday. About 1400 police stopped anyone entering the centre basically. What a waste of resources I say. The protests managed to take place in other states however. NSW is becoming a basket case. A banana republic. When you can’t protest you are basically living in a police state.
Meanwhile it was good to see the beaches were fairly busy yesterday. That’s a kind of protest in itself. Everyone there knew they shouldn’t be there – at least according to the advice/rules of the useless politicians. They really will have to close the beaches (again) if they want to stop people going there. Also interestingly a very low key police presence. Hardly any at all… All taking the day off from a busy day of arresting anyone trying to enter the city centre yesterday? Maybe…
In rural NSW a local council has had stray rescued dogs shot rather than allow dog rescue volunteers to come and collect them from another town. All in the name of covid!
This happened in Bourke where the dogs were held in a dog pound waiting to be collected (rescued). The volunteers are in Cobar – the next town down the road but quite a distance. Despite Cobar not having recorded any “case” of covid (for whatever that may or may not be worth) the Bourke Shire council killed the dogs anyway.
Now I am not the biggest animal lover. There will be many out there that are more angry than me about this one. However, it just shows us two things. How crazy and paranoid some people have become. But most of all it tells me how much the media is to blame for ramping up all this fear and scaremongering. They have got people in small rural towns frightened of anything or anyone from outside. I joked on this blog some weeks ago about the Monty Python bubonic plague sketch “Bring out your dead”. But the constant rolling news feeds are just propaganda deliberately to scare the public. I wonder how far off we are from a human from a big city wondering into one of these areas and being shot? You think that’s far-fetched? Well just keep reading and watching the mainstream media….
Despite there being no evidence that masks are making any difference – and enough (for me) to prove that they do nothing – we are being told that we must wear masks outdoors as of midnight tonight unless you are doing exercise. But here’s the thing. I heard (or read) that walking does not count. If walking does count as exercise I really can’t see any need to wear a mask outdoors. If you are outside you are probably walking. If you go into a shop you already have to put on a mask. Not sure how this is going to pan out but will keep an eye on it and report back.
Of course none of this is news to you if you are in the northern hemisphere. You will have gone through a year of this shit – on and off, mostly “on”! – so this is just the same covid crap finally coming to Australia. But don’t get too comfortable. Autumn is approaching and with it the next “variant” and demand for covid “booster” (although you really have to ask yourself what exactly do they think they will be “boosting”). Followed by an annual flu jab and the next covid “variant” vaccine. It will be just like these annoying news feeds full of politicians and so called “chief medical officers”: Just one little prick after another…
In case you were wondering what a real pandemic looks like… Watch this docu-drama (docu-movie?), called After Armageddon. It was first aired around the year 2000. Here is a youtube link to one of the places you can find it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IPKCYcSk5JE&t=5298s (There will be other links on youtube and similar platforms.)
This movie has come and gone since the covid scamdemic began. But now it is back up on youtube for you to watch (or at least it was the last time I looked). I first mentioned this back in April of last year when the first “waves” and first lockdowns kicked in. The initial fear-mongering campaign. Wow! Was that 16 months ago? Bloody hell! You can see what I wrote back then by clicking here. Anyway, what has happened over the past 16 months is nothing like a pandemic. And that is no thanks to lockdowns or closing borders either.
How it happens in the docu-movie…
During a real pandemic bodies would pile up quickly. Within weeks civilisation decays rapidly especially in the cities. Within a couple of months it is quite likely that many of the specialised people who operate power stations will have passed away – and when that happens the power will go off! When that happens it will probably never come back on. When power is lost the water supply will soon be lost. Your local water ring main is constantly being pumped. How will the pumps run? Never mind that; the water treatment and purification stations won’t be working. No electricity = No running water. It really is that simple. Then the thin layer of civilisation will disappear in an instant.
Tat was how it went in the docu-movie but if it was a real pandemic it is easy to see that this film is not far off the mark. Imagine what those who survive that far will do. People went crazy fighting over toilet rolls when there was never any threat of genuine shortages. Toilet roll of all things! Whatever covid is; it is not, and never was, a shitting disease. Was it?
Back to a real pandemic situation: If you did manage to find anything in the shops that hasn’t already been looted you will probably be attacked for it on your way home. Anyway, don’t get too scared. That was just a movie and despite what the politicians would have you believe this covid thing is really nothing. Seriously. Watch that docu-movie and see what a real deadly pandemic would be like.
Still think this past year is (or was ever) a real pandemic?
Something I noticed a while ago in Australia was the number of silos and water towers that have been used as an artist’s canvas. I am all in favour of using these big blank canvases to brighten up the scenery. In fact, when I now see unpainted silos I wonder why the local council or owners have not asked a painter to produce a large work of art.
It is sometimes referred to as “silo art” but we have seen it on water towers too. It is an extension of the many large mural paintings that seem very popular on town walls. It seems that local councils often ask (street) artists to do something creative with some of the silos and/or water towers in their area. I suppose it is a specialised form of painting as it is on a much larger scale than your usual artists are used to working with.
Here is a collection of some of those we have seen on our travels.
This art is the work of a guy called Khosnaran Khurelbaatar who also goes by the name of Heesco. He is responsible for lots of murals and silo art in Australia. Heesco was born in 1979 in Mongolia and moved to Australia in 1999. He studied in Sydney but has lived in Melbourne since 2010.
The Weethalle silos are part of a silo art stamp collection issued by Australia Post in 2018.
This is another work by the same Mongolian born ‘street artist’ – Heesco – who did the Weethalle silos.
He has been a busy lad in recent years doing quite a few up and down NSW as well as other states in Australia.
Hay – A Town That Went to War
We came across this one on our drive back to Sydney after our outback adventure in January. Little did I realise at the time that it had only recently been completed. It took only a few days in December 2020 to paint this magnificent tribute to the servicemen and women of Australia emerged and particularly Hay. It was painted on the towns Water Towers by Melbourne artist Matt Adante.
The thriving mining town of Gunnedah has a couple of good examples. One on silos another on old water tower – now a museum.
The old water tower was turned into a museum in 1980. On the outside of the museum are two large murals, painted by Jenny McCracken, commemorating those who served in the Vietnam War. An interesting choice I thought.
This is another fantastic work by Heesco, the Melbourne based Mongolian-Australian lad. This shows famous poet Dorothea Mackellar and an extract from her famous poem “My Country”. The ‘canvass’ is the 29 metre high, privately owned maize mill silos in Gunnedah. This artwork shows the famous second verse of Dorothea’s poem as well as the town’s early links to farming.
Walgett Water Tower
There was even a water tower painted in honour of an aboriginal musician in the remote town of Walgett. A town we only passed through on one of our journeys.
It’s Officially a ‘Big’ Thing
The phenomenal explosion of this street art on the huge curved canvases of silos and water towers has been written about in the August edition of Australian Geographic. A great article. There is even a massive mural painted on the walls of the Wellington Dam in Western Australia. It covers an area 367m long and 34m high. Western Australia is a long way from here. I doubt we will be going there any time soon, especially with this never-ending covid panic…
Even public toilets get an arty make-over in Australia. This toilet block art was painted by renowned artist John Murray in Brewarrina. Murray is based in Lightning Ridge where Dani and myself visited his gallery.
I’m going to make a bold prediction. This weekend I think they will close the beaches. Again.
They first closed the beaches (all in the eastern suburbs) back in March of 2020. I blogged about it back then – click here for that one. Quite a good read if I do say so myself. That was at the height of the initial covid panic-demic. It was the local authority’s response to Bondi beach being totally mobbed out on the Friday (20th March 2020). That particular afternoon the temperature hit 30+ and everyone just seemed to collectively say “Ah fuck it! This pandemic scare is a bit of a hoax. Let’s hit the beach.” They were quite correct of course.
At the time I wrote that closing the beaches was very “un-Australian”. That was true then and is still true now. Yet here we are some 18 months later still being scared to death by the authorities and the media.
Today the beach was busy….
Today there was a clear blue sky and a high of 23ºC. Fairly warm for mid winter. So, I went for a walk down to Bondi beach. As part of my daily exercise you understand… graciously permitted me by the wonderful authorities… The place was buzzing. Plenty in the sea pretending to surf. There were no waves to speak of, the Pacific ocean was more like a pond today. There were others pretending to do their allowed exercise by having a dip in the sea. But there were people on the beach just sunbathing. The outdoor gym-cum-monkey bar area was packed out with would-be ‘Arnies’ flexing. Generally it was very busy and no sign of any cops. Just why they are keeping such a low profile I can only guess.
But here’s the thing. If this weather stays like this then I predict at the weekend we may have a similar situation to March last year. With a heavy police presence in the western suburbs, as well as the Australian army in the area I wonder how it will play out. A quick look at the weather forecast suggests the temperatures will be a little lower this weekend. But we shall see.
The small town of Eden, like many similar places on the east coast of New South Wales, runs whale watching tours. It was not always that way however. Back in 1800s the area was part of the whale hunting trade. Here is an old article I wrote last Easter holidays… and forgot to post (tutt).
As recently as the 1920s Humpback and Right whales were hunted off the coast of Eden – a small town at the southern end of NSW. Back in those days a pack of killer whales (aka orcas) worked in partnership with the human whalers “When boats were made of wood and men were made of steel” (words from the Killer Whale Trail).
The weather wasn’t great but off we set…
Killer Whale Trail
1 – Rotary Lookout, Eden
Just past the town centre, overlooking the Twofold Bay is the Rotary lookout. In the distance across the bay you can just make out the Boyd Tower (see below).
2 – Seahorse Inn
Benjamin Boyd was born in Scotland in 1801. He was one of those larger than life characters who didn’t live to see his 51st birthday yet seems to have done more than most would do in ten lives. He was an entrepreneur who became involved in shipping and whaling. He was also a banker, grazier, politician and was even involved in the slave trade. He lost and gained his fortune at least twice during the process.
In the mid 1840s Boyd set about building a port called Boydtown across Twofold Bay from Eden. The town was never completed and most of it went to ruin. The Seahorse Inn remained and has been recently restored to its former glory.
Boyd’s idea was to use the port of Boydtown as a whaling station. By this time he had amassed a small whaling fleet of his own. The location was not without history. The indigenous Thaua people used this spot to conduct hunts and ceremonies and develop a relationship with the killer whales.
3 – Davidson’s Whaling Station
Perhaps the one disappointment on this trail. There is very little to see where this whaling station once stood. Mainly the Davidson family home I guess. Down on the sea inlet hardly anything remains of the place where the whalers hauled their huge catch onto the land to extract the meat and oils. This was the site of the longest operating whaling station in Australia for more than three generations.
Reaching this location meant travelling on unsealed roads through part of the Ben Boyd National Park.
4 – Ben Boyd Tower
This Ben Boyd certainly left his mark in this area. He had this structure built, originally meant to be a lighthouse. It never got approval for such use and was left unfinished. There was enough of a structure to be used as a lookout tower for whalers to spot passing baleen whales or to spot the killer whales that were already harassing them.
5 – Eden Killer Whale Museum
The trail ends almost where it started just up the road from the fisherman’s wharf at the Killer Whale Museum. I thought I knew a bit about whaling and whales in general but I was pleasantly surprised to learn much more. In the days before industrialised whaling with harpoon guns etc the way the men of Eden hunted whales was almost unbelievable.
A pack of killer whales regularly used to help the whale hunters by first alerting the humans that there were large baleen whales in the area. They did this by jumping and splashing in sight of the watchmen on the Boyd Tower. The men would then row out to intercept the large whales in their wooden boats – which were no longer than a killer whale.
The killer whales helped by herding the large baleen whales into or close to the bay. The men killed the large whales and left them for the killer whales to feast on their large tongues. Upon their return the men towed the giant whales back to their whaling stations to extract the meat, oils and other products.
One pack of killer whales that helped hunters in the early 1900s was led by one orca that the humans called ‘Old Tom’. The remains of Old Tom are on display at the museum.
Old Tom dies in 1929 and only one year later, in 1930, whaling ceased as an industry in the area.
The story of killer whales working with humans for the common cause of hunting large whales is not new. The trust established between the two species goes back a long time. Stories exist of indigenous peoples working with killer whales.
There is an interesting documentary (which I think is about 22 years old now) telling the full story of Old Tom and the killer whale – human interaction. As unbelievable as the human and killer whale partnership sounds, the tales are backed up by those who were there as children when it happened – now probably no longer with us. You can see that video by clicking the following link: https://vimeo.com/47822835
OK, I called it a couple of weeks ago – here – but it is actually official. The Olympic Games is dead! If you still don’t believe it then read this article in the Wall Street Journal . Even Toyota, Japan’s biggest company, had decided not to advertise during the “games”. Who can blame them? And to add to that people are just not watching around the world on the TV.
Personally I have only been watching the boxing – mainly as it is the only sport on offer that I am interested in these days. Plus many of the boxers on show will soon turn professional and be the future world champions or contenders. The standard has been very good. Plenty of competitive fights including some real tear-ups.
Meanwhile, The city of Brisbane, who have suckered themselves into “winning” the right to host the games in 2032 is currently in lockdown over a handful of so called “cases” of a virus. The same virus that has delayed the current Olympics and is still preventing spectators from attending. Truly pathetic.
Ever since the Olympic Games began my seven year old on has occasionally been heard singing the Australian national anthem, “Advance Australian Fair“. It’s a song that is heard often during an Olympic games as this country usually does quite well in winning gold medals.
He barely gets past singing the first couple of lines before he realises I am listening. These lines: Australians all let us rejoice For we are one and free
Now for anyone outside of Australia let me explain something about that second line. It used to read: ‘For we are young and free’ but the word was changed only last year (officially) because it was suggested that the country is not “young” at all. Just because Europeans settled here only 251 years ago does not mean that the country is ‘young’. In fact the indigenous population had been here for thousands of years it was said.
Is that what the ‘young’ in the song was meant to refer to? Who knows? Now of course you and I, and any sane individual reading this would not care about the exact significance and use of a word. After all, in terms of the rest of the world knowing about Australia’s existence it is indeed a relatively new country. But let’s not get into all that trivial nonsense… Because that is not even the word I want to talk about.
They have changed the wrong fucking word!
The word I want to talk about is at the end of that second line: “free”. Because one thing is clear now in Australia. This is no longer a free country. It is not alone in losing its freedom (perceived or otherwise) of course. This covid garbage has seen hard fought for freedoms taken away by useless politicians backed by their geeky “scientific advisors” in most so called ‘democratic’ countries. Is it not more important to be ‘free’ than ‘young’? (Or ‘one’ for that matter?)
In a rush to appease certain grievance-mongers* they have changed the wrong fucking word! Maybe that whole line could be re-written. here are a couple of examples: For we are now unfree For we are one not free.
I don’t know. But it does beg the question; what are kids being taught about their national anthem? and should they now be questioning the word “free”? When media and political commentators casually use the phrase “Ring of Steel” (to describe the lockdown level in Sydney) without equating that to “The Iron Curtain” around post-war Eastern Europe there is not much hope is there? Personally I find the use of that term “Ring of Steel” shocking. But then I am old enough to remember East Germany and even visited the place. It was fucking grim let me tell you! I wonder how many currently working in the media are even aware that there was an East Germany?
*Yes there are people who are being paid (probably all from the public purse) who actively go looking for this kind of shit. They are indeed professional grievance-mongers. How they have twisted that word is beyond me. But surely that is now not even relevant. That is not the word that should offend anyone. Things are very different right now…
A Final Word (on another Word)
Incidentally, the next two lines of the anthem are: We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil Our home is girt by sea
So how many people (especially the ‘young’ actually) know or care what “Girt” means? Come on, be honest! Exactly. The song was written in the 1870s for crying out loud. I give up… But please let me know what you think about the words of the anthem.