Tag: Luna Park

671. Friday 29th to Sunday 31st March 2019. A trip to Balmain then we fly home…

No Apologies for the large volume of photos today. I took 92 photos on Sunday and narrowed them down to the 36 shown here. This was a nostalgic trip for me and a trip down my memory lane for Donnis and my wonderful sisters.  It takes time to edit those photos, research some information and caption the photos.

Friday 29th March

Today Een and Shan (Enid and Sandra) had arranged to see West Side Story presented on Sydney Harbour at The Fleet Steps, Mrs MacQuaries Point. Bev, Pete, Donnis and I spent the day at home, I was busy editing 242 wedding photos down to a final 16. Late in the afternoon we drove to visit Mitch and Sam at their house. We were given the leftover cheese wine and flowers before we headed off to see a concert in the park outside Sutherland Shire Council offices. Apart from the goodies we took, plus the extra cheese and wine we also bought some Honey Chilli chicken wings. It was a pleasant evening, not hot with just a touch of a chill in the air as we sat on camp chairs and listened to the free concert.

Saturday 30th March

Our original plan for today was to do the Clifftop Walk from Malabar Beach to Maroubra Beach and return. Overnight there was very heavy rain with thunder and lightning and some roads being flooded. It was still raining off and on. The walk location skirts a rifle range at Malabar and Maroubra and the walk is closed EVERY Saturday due to firing on the range. WHAT THE!!! We have been waiting two months for this walk and it is closed! OK lets have a plan B. Catch the train to Circular Quay and catch the ferry to Cockatoo Island the old Naval Base.

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Sydney Opera House from Circular Quay Jetty 6 as we waiting for our ferry.
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Circular Quay Railway Station seen from the busy ferry terminal s and International Cruise Ship Dock.

Oh No! Trackworks are being held on the rail line and replacement buses are being used. We caught the express bus to Central Station, as we arrived the sun was winning its battle against the overcast. There were clear patches of sky. We then caught a train to Circular Quay and found we just missed the ferry to Cockatoo Island and the next is 45 minutes away. By now the sun was showing mastery and the day looked set to be a bright blue sky day.

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The Royal Caribbean International Cruise Line Ship, Ovation of the Sea was in port for re-fueling, re-stocking and passenger excursions.
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Ovation of the Sea

OK let’s do the Parramatta River Cruise. Nope, not today!

WTF! The ferry has been cancelled due to some works on wharves and jetties. Grrr!

We could go to Luna Park, The Zoo, Manly, Watsons Bay or Balmain. I spent the first 14 years of my life in Balmain and Een was only 6 when we left. We took a vote and decided on a ferry to Balmain. I love the old houses at Balmain.300319 darling3 300319 darling2Many are terrace houses, many are made from local sandstone, many are a mix of old and new. 300319 darling1Balmain, once considered a working class suburb is now a trendy YUPPIE Community with quaint little coffee shops, delicatessens, knick knack shops and original but revamped pubs.

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The London Hotel in Darling St Balmain has been operating continuously since 1870.
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This building was burned down several years ago and nothing has happened since. I believe that because it is Heritage Listed the cost of re=building to requirements of Heritage Australia the restrictions are so severe nobody could afford or justify the cost of building. It’s a pity really as those sandstone walls are 45CM thick.

Best of all are those houses many with spectacular harbour views.

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Lovely old Balmain house in Darling St with a mix of Sandstone and brick. It has Bull Nosed Roof Capping and even a stained glass on one end of the verandah along with cast iron lacework and a tiled entry.
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A modern home using original dressed sandstone.

Once on the ferry we stopped at Luna Park where I spent many a Saturday afternoon.

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Luna Park. When I was young it was advertised as “Just Across the Bridge and Just for Fun” It was a favourite place for my mother who went there when she a girl around 1935. In fact it was opened in that year ( 3 years after the opening of Sydney Harbour Bridge) but closed in 1979 after a tragic fire in the Ghost Train where 7 people lost their lives. The park has been re-opened and closed several times in the intervening years. Thankfully the land is owned by a Trust and they want to keep the park operating although it is on prime harbourside real estate.

Kids lined up at the gates for a Free entry, a few Free tickets and some Free lollies. To get there I caught the tram to East Balmain Ferry Terminal, then a ferry across to Circular Quay where I had lots of options. Catch a ferry to Milsons Point (Luna Park) catch a train to Milsons Point and walk or walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

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Ferris Wheel at Luna Park.

It was a whole day away from home, lunch was unimportant and we got home when we got home. There were no phones so my parents just had to trust that I knew what I was doing at 9 years of age. Later I took my younger brother, Allan, with me!

Next stop on the ferry was Blues Point which looks like a delightful place to get off and explore. Sigh! Maybe next time.

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Blues Point Sydney Harbour.
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Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House seen from Luna Park.

Third stop off the ferry was East Balmain Ferry Terminal (in my day it was Darling Street Wharf). We stopped to look at the original sandstone building of J Fenwick and Co Boatstore,

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The old solid sandstone Fenwicks Building. A world class restaurant and gallery is being delayed due to the interference of a Greens Party controlled Council.
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An anchor on the Fenwick site.

built in the 1880’s and commanding stunning views across Sydney Harbour to Luna Park, The Sydney Harbour Bridge, Barangaroo,

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Barangaroo and part of the Sydney CBD.

Blues Point, Goat Island and the Sydney CBD. The plan is to open a stylish restaurant and Art Gallery but as usual Greens politicians would rather see the old building vacant and slowly decaying on the inside. All reports suggest the restaurant will open in June but it looks as though all work has been suspended. Next as we walk the steep hill from Balmain East Wharf and up Darling Street I was mesmerised by so many of the old buildings which in most cases have been tidied up but given a new old look.

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A trendy coffee shop at East Balmain near the ferry terminal. Note the OLD Shelley’s Soft Drink sign. Shelley’s has been around somewhere around the 1930’s but was absorbed by Coca Cola somewhere about 1970 and re-badged Kirks.

The median house price is around M$3.1 and rents around $900 per week. The location of these well -built houses has arguably some of the best views in Sydney.

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A nice stand out sandstone house at East Darling St.
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Part of a charming row of old terrace houses.

Most of the houses around here are over 150 years old.

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At some stage this nuilding may have been used as a professional residence but it seems the shingle was removed a long time ago. No attempt has been made to paint the front wall and indeed the wood riot in the front door, also unpainted suggest not much maintenance has been carried out for many years.
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Balmain abounds with little laneways which connect one street with another or lead to a park or in this case, the waterfront.

At the top of the narrow Darling Street we stopped at The East Village Hotel

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East Village Hotel Darling St East Balmain.

which was built around 1871 and has been variously named over the years as a Workers Club, then The Cricketers Arms, The Monkey Bar and Le Pub before becoming East Village Hotel. It calls itself a family friendly, trendy pub and is independent, that is, it sells craft beers and oh so expensive non-traditional pub food.  Interesting décor and an in your face view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge from the front door.

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View of Sydney Harbour Bridge from the front door of East Village Hotel.

We had a wonderful lunch here. I must admit the servings are generous.

The street here is so narrow, the buses and cars must pull to the side to allow a bus travelling in the opposite direction to pass. I recall as a child taking the electric tram to what was then known as Darling Street Wharf. The tram stopped at a counterweight at the top of the hill. As the tram descended using the counterweight as a brake another counterweight under the roadway rose to the top of the hill. When it was time to ascend the counterweight at the top slowly moved to the bottom which pushed the upper counterweight and the tram to the top of the hill. These days the buses travel down the hill in low gear and under brakes and have a large turning circle at the bottom.

As we walked we noticed a Street Library. Now, I must have led a sheltered life. I have never seen or heard of these before.

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What a neat idea which has thousands of similar library boxes throughout Australia.I understand the concept began in the USA where they have about 35,000 street libraries whereas it is new to Oz and at present we have about 50 libraries.

The Street Library is a huge Australia wide organisation. Simply you place a colourful glass fronted bookshelf in your front yard, stock it with books and people can borrow a book by leaving a book. Have a look at this   https://streetlibrary.org.au/

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I love these colourful gets set in a colourful wall on a duplex.
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This is what I call a knick knack shop where they sell old, re-painted, re-cycled expensive items to trendy yuppie (Young Upwardly Progressive Professionals)
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Another trendy coffee shop called Ciao Thyme

We walked along Darling Street marvelling at the sights and beautiful old buildings

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We walked up the hill from the wharf and along Darling st.
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This is the original Balmain Police Watch House from 1854 until 1920 when it become a Police residence for a local Policeman, his wife and 12 children. By 1965 it was no longer used and derelict. It was then handed to the National Trust, restored and is now open to the public and administered by the Balmain Association.

to Gladstone Park where I went to Primary school which was known as both Pigeon Ground School or Balmain Demonstration School.

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Sydney Harbour Bridge seen from the entrance to Gladstone Park and my old school.

Official records show it as the latter but locals called it the former. From the school we walked to my childhood home of 14 years.

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I spent the first 14 years of my life here. There were no trees then and certainly no cast iron lace work or security grilles or bars. My father built in the upstairs verandah so my brother and I shared the verandah as our bedroom.
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The Unity Hall Hotel on the corner of Beattie St and Darling St Balmain. Information is a little sketchy but it seems the first licence was obtained in 1876 but the building may have been built some years before that. I lived just down Beattie st about 200 metres from the pub.
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The main commercial hub in Darling St. Note the coffee shops.

We walked back to Darling Street caught a bus to Queen Victoria Building in Sydney CBD, walked to Town Hall Station, caught a train to Central Station and from there caught an express replacement bus to Gymea.

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The Anzac Bridge which is one of two bridges which connects Balmain with the Sydney CBD.

It was a long, satisfying, tiring and educational day.

Sunday 31st March

Up early again. The train lines are still being worked on so Bev and Pete drove us to the airport. Luck was on our side today and we got straight on the scheduled flight.

Soon we were in Coolangatta, collected our car and stopped at the Coolangatta Markets for a coffee and an egg and bacon roll and were home in time for lunch. While enjoying my coffee I sat and listened to the entertainer while Donnis look at the various displays. At this point I must mention the little coffee van run by a happy hippie. I thought the sign said Hot Coffee 70 cents. In fact the sign said Hot 70 degrees celsius! I then noticed all the signs spread around the van saying the coffee is hot. I fell in love with the barista. She told me every cup of coffee she serves is at 70 degrees and she has been making coffee for 20 years. Yay!!!At last a Barista who really knows coffee and the temperature at which it must be served. Oh BTW the egg and bacon roll Donnis bought, was great.

It was a great few days away spending time with family.


545. Sunday 26th March 2017. Coastal review and a cyclone comes visiting…

Monday 20th March

Well another week has rolled by without us going anywhere or being involved in anything exciting.

This week of relative inactivity can be used to show some of our coastal photos captured in our travels.

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Twelve Apostles or at least some of the eight still left. Look carefully and you can see seven.

The Twelve Apostles are located along the Great Ocean Road near Port Campbell Victoria. In living memory these limestone stacks have been called The Twelve Apostles most likely by an explorer or local identity with an overactive religious imagination. At least since the early 1800’s there were only 9 stacks with one stack collapsing in 2005. And then there were eight. In recent years, undersea explorers have found Apostle Cousins, undersea limestone stacks, in the waters nearby. Amazingly the undersea stacks are eroding at a slower rate than those poking above the water. We first saw the Apostles in late January 2006. Our first glimpse was on a stinking hot day of above 40° temps with an oven-like westerly wind. The next morning dawned bright and clear. It was such a nice sunrise we decided to climb down a steep staircase to the beach below for an in your face close-up view. Within hours the weather turned nasty with big black storm clouds rolling in from the Antarctic bringing strong icy winds, stinging cold rain and a drop in temp to around 14°. The Twelve Apostles is on our bucket list to visit again. Preferably sometime when the big ocean swells roll in from Antarctic storms where the waves crash against and rocket up the limestone cliffs.

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Gold Coast Broadwater.

The Gold Coast Broadwater Qld is one of my favourite coastal views. (actually I have so many favourite views I do not really have a “favourite”. I just enjoy coastal views) To the right in this photo is the Iconic Q1 building at Surfers Paradise. That is the building I climbed with Tyler when he was visiting from Canada in January 2017.It is easy to distinguish the Q1. It is on the far right and has a giant Lightning Rod which is visible along most of the Gold Coast and hinterland.

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Austinmer Beach

Austinmer Beach and Rock Pool NSW is a northern suburb of Wollongong located south of Sydney along the Lawrence Hargrave Drive.  We stayed in our motorhome on the beach at an inexpensive small camp ground operated by Austinmer Surf Life Saving Club. The Sydney to South Coast Railway Line runs along the narrow escarpment between the Great Diving Range and the sea. Sometimes the line disappears into tunnels at other times there is a breathtaking vista of the coast from high up in the foothills. The town really only got its beginning in 1887 when the North Illawarra Coal Company opened a new mine in the area. The famous Bulli Pass, a steep and winding road to connect to the main highway is located a short drive to the south. The less well known and less steep Bald Hill Road is a few Klms to the north. It also connects to the main highway at Helensburgh.

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Coles Bay Tasmania

Coles Bay on the south east coast of Tasmania has some awesome coastal views stretching for Klms. The bay is located on the sheltered side of the peninsular It is located on a narrow neck of land known as Freycinet Peninsular. The entire area is part of the Freycinet National Park and is home to many species of wildlife. The Swan River which begins somewhere in the wild mountain ranges to the west, drains into Moulting Lagoon, part of Coles Bay then drains into the ocean at Swanwick Bay.

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Eimeo Beach

Eimeo Beach Qld is a small tropical beach located in the Mackay North seaside suburb of umm err, Eimeo. The famous Eimeo Pacific Hotel is located atop a steep hill to the left of the photo. In the background can be seen the long stretch of Bucasia Beach to Shoal Point Headland and Little Green Island just offshore. Also visible is Blacks Reef also just  offshore.Although only a small beach it is patrolled in summer months and is used by the Sunset Bay Outrigger Canoe Club (formerly Ko Huna Outrigger Canoe Club) in its club premises shared with Mackay Catamaran Club.

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Horseshoe Beach

Horseshoe Bay is located in Bowen Qld about 200 Klms north of Mackay. The bay is a delightful safe protected little body of water, ideal for family events, boat launching and retrieval but can be a nightmare in windy conditions. It becomes absolutely frightening in a cyclone. It can also be extremely hot and humid as when it is protected from the southerly winds it gets no breeze at all and is frankly, stifling. It is also a place subject to the deadly box jellyfish, Chironex Flexerii and the tiny but even more deadly Irukangi. Saltwater crocodiles are also seen from time to time. The coral sand bottom is also littered with ancient sharp coral outcrops. It is a place which is lovely to look at but I have never entered the water here.

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Kirra Beach

Kirra Beach on the southern end of the Gold Coast Qld adjoins the other famous Coolangatta Beach. My first introduction to Kirra Beach was on a long car drive with three friends from Sydney. Arriving at the beach at 6pm with the sun sinking in the west we felt it was time for a surf after a long and tiring 1,000 Klm drive. I had never surfed in the dark before. I have not surfed in the dark since.

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Luna Park

Luna Park is strictly speaking not located on the coast. It is located on Sydney Harbour NSW. Luna Park is an amusement park located at Milsons Point, under the northern end of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It’s super easy to get to by train, ferry, bus or car. Luna Park was opened in 1935 with the advertising slogan “Just for Fun”. It ran on weekends only until 1972 when it went full time usually 10am to 6pm weekdays and until 10pm Saturday. Keeping with the “fun” theme the park offers the following safety tip…For the safety of our guests, when the weather is funny some rides and attractions may need to close at short notice. Awww. Just writing about Luna park makes me want to go again and relive my childhood. Anyone for Fairy Floss?   http://www.lunaparksydney.com/

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Noosa Beach

Noosa Beach Sunshine Coast Qld. What can I say about Noosa which I have not already written about many times before. It is another favourite beach.

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Port Fairy

Port Fairy at the end of the Great Ocean Road Vic. It is located on the Moyne River and was named by the crew of a whaling ship, The Fairy in 1828. In some respects much of Port fairy still looks like it did 100 years ago and still maintains a sort of olde worlde charm. The town had an arm wrestle with its original name. A John Griffiths established a whaling station and called the town Belfast after his home town in Ireland in 1835. The Post Office already called the town Port Fairy John Griffiths was not to outdone and agitated to the point the town was renamed Belfast in 1854. The local population, few of whom came from Ireland agitated themselves and soon the town reverted to the name Port Fairy. That name still stands today. Incidentally whaling is no longer carried out here but the cold waters around the coast are ideal for squid and calamari fishing boats.

Sunday 26th March

Tropical Cyclone Debbie formed off the tropical coast of Queensland on Friday. It is expected to cross the coast as a Category 4 or worst case scenario, Category 5 about 8am Monday. Predicted path is to cross south of Ayr and the time of arrival is expected to be at the top of a King Tide. With a two metre storm surge expected there are interesting times ahead.