A short break in Batemans Bay

It’s been an intense two months since returning from our six week trip to USA, Canada and Alaska. After hours of work, the neglected manuscript has been re-written and self-edited, and the current version submitted to the agent. Louisa's Legacy v.3

Now all I can do is wait for her opinion.  Time to turn my attention to other things while I wait it out.

I finished it the evening before hubbie and I drove to Batemans Bay, about a two-three hour trip south of here. He had organised a two-day golf “tournament” for about twenty fellow residents of our village.

Playing at being supportive wife, I agreed to go with him. We booked a “pay-three, stay four night” deal at a “resort”, which in reality was like a caravan park with permanent on-site self-catering cabins. I packed the laptop into my gorgeous red bag which was a parting gift from my staff in 2005, loaded it up with lots of stuff about our trip to Canada, and set off expecting to blog solidly for four days straight.

Wrong, wrong, wrong. The internet connection was so lousy I could barely receive emails, and only then if they were straight text.

On the first morning I suffered withdrawal symptoms. Seriously! Giving me new-found empathy for those poor post-millennials who have never known a world before the internet and can’t live without it.

Around mid-morning I joined another couple for a three-hour river cruise. As we putted out of Batemans Bay, their bridge over the Clyde River had to lift to allow us under. The engineering of this rare lifting span type is fascinating to watch. I was telling my companions that I had only ever seen one other, and I couldn’t quite remember the location, but thought it was up on the northern rivers somewhere, near a cute little historic town.

When the cruise arrived at Nelligen, it was the cute little historic town of my memory! So the reason the Batemans Bay Bridge looked identical to the other one in my memory was because . . . it was the same bridge. We’d been there in February 2015, and as the weather was actually better then, I’ve used a few of our photos from that day to illustrate.

Passengers are served an optional lunch of battered fish, chips and salad on the cruise up the river, so that when you arrive at Nelligen there is around 45 minutes to explore.  The settlement dates to around 1850 and many of its early buildings are gone. Interpretative boards indicate where they stood. I thought it ironic that most of the churches had been destroyed by bushfire or termite infestation.

Nelligen former Catholic Church Feb 2015At the top of the hill leading away from the wharf, stands one that did survive. This Catholic Church built in the late 1800s closed in the 1970s and became a private home. It has recently gone on the market, and you can find lots of photos of its interior, and a video about the area, here. This church survived a 1939 bushfire which took out its Anglican neighbour.

Up and down Australia you will find war memorials. Nelligan’s is a white marble statue of a World War One soldier with arms reversed. According to the NSW Register of War Memorials, “of the adult male population of Nelligen at the time of World War One, 32% enlisted.” It’s probable they would have all known each other, as the entire population of the area would have been around 500. Thinking the grey skies make a suitably sombre background, I’ve used my photos taken last week.

Nelligan War Memorial (1) (431x800)Nelligan War Memorial (2) (409x800)Nelligan War Memorial (3) (450x800)

A few buildings showcase the sleepy rural nature of this area. The courthouse operated from c1893 until 1940. Pretty, isn’t it? The Post Office, c1900-1982 is a typical Australian design of weatherboard (timber) and a corrugated iron bull-nosed roof over the verandah. I wish it was a design we stuck with. Very pleasant to sit out there on a hot summer’s night, and it’s my personal belief that no house in Australia should be built without a verandah and wide eaves. (With the popularity of McMansions requiring megawatts of electricity to cool them, clearly I am in the minority with that opinion.)

At Nelligan Wharf Feb 2015

At Nelligan Wharf Feb 2015

The weather for the remaining days of our break was superb, and our cabin DID have a little verandah, so I happily sat out there away from any wind, soaking up the sun and reading. I finished one book and started another, all the while listening to the carolling of the magpies, the rainbow lorikeets screeching and chattering, and the high-pitched whistle of the crimson rosellas. I made some recordings hoping to include them on this blog. I’ve spent about two hours trying to work out how to transfer them from my mobile phone to the PC without success. There are sites online which do have the calls if anyone is especially interested. It’s the magpies song I love especially.

Speaking of bird life, on my walk today I saw two purple-breasted swamp hens with three recently hatched chicks in tow. Tiny little bundles of black fluff, but already learning how to peck for food. Also busy pecking were two pink and grey galahs. These silly things were trying to push through a wire fence for more forage, until they remembered they have working wings, and decided to fly over it. Nearby I heard the sweetest songbird, and was surprised when a willy-wagtail took off over my head. The sound I am most familiar with is a constant chatter. In fact, one aboriginal group call them Djiti-Djiti (pronounced Chitti-chitti). So I checked it out later and possibly what I heard was its nesting call. I’ll see if I can spot a nest on my next walk. The last to get my attention were two wattle birds calling and responding. I found this video on the internet which demonstrates the sound, and it has some interesting educational content, so I decided to include it here. This video also features kookaburras, various other birds, and a brief magpie moment. Enjoy!



20 thoughts on “A short break in Batemans Bay

  1. I wonder why we always have the statues of the diggers in the reversed arms position.They’ve even got two like that at the Anzac Bridge (Glebe Island Bridge I reckon it should be named)
    There is a marvellous statue of a digger in the Museum in Canberra of a Digger in his slouch hat toting his .303 in a stance that says “I’m a digger take me if you can” , It’s the best, strongest statue I’ve ever come across of a soldier; makes me fill proud, I have a photo somewhere in my photo library.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I just realised I missed this comment, many apologies. Well, as you know, reversed arms is the traditional symbol of respect for fallen comrades, so that is why we see it so often on our war memorials.

      I’ve just checked out a photo of the statue to which you refer, and you’re right! Great statue, looks like is interpreting “stand at ease” as far as he can push it :-). Brilliant.


  2. So very good of you to support your golfing husband, but dash it – no decent Internet connection, horrors, just as well there was all that beautiful scenery and local history to get your teeth into. And, fine weather, too. Does Bill play golf in the pouring rain?

    The clip of the wattle birds made me smile – can’t think of any British birds that are so funny. Of course, around East Anglia’s coastal marsh waterways you can sometimes hear the weird, deep, booming call of the Bittern, though it’s not remotely amusing, quite melancholy actually.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve warmed him up to the idea that this will be the last year I go along for the ride. Let’s see how that works out.

      I’ve not heard of the bittern. I must keep an ear open next time I’m in England. For me, there’s nothing that tells me I have arrived more than the seagulls of the Thanet (Kent) area.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have to admit that I have only heard recordings of the bittern. It is the male that makes the loud boom and seeing as there are thought to be only about 80 males left in UK I don’t rate my chances of ever hearing one in real life. However, plenty of seagulls where I live now as not far from port and plenty of early morning screeching and squawking.


  3. Hi Gwen

    I was so inspired by your book and now your blogs, that I have started writing my life story. I am trying to be as honest as you were!

    I kept a blog site for the 2 1/2 years we travelled around Australia in the caravan, it was the best way to keep the family and friends up to date with where we were and what we were doing. Later I published edited versions in book form. (I did find that the lack of internet in places slowed me down too.)

    Good luck with the new book.




    Liked by 1 person

    • Lynne, that is a wonderful compliment – the greatest you can give a writer, I think. I’m glad the book inspired you.

      I started blogging for a similar reason. Part of the early series may form the basis for my next book. After the current one. I have my fingers crossed that it will be deemed ready for an external editor.


  4. Reminds me of the panicky feeling during the first two weeks of a safari in Africa 2016. The entire two-month trip was mostly without Internet access – a luxury along the backroads of the game reserves. Your advice to me then was “take handwritten notes” :o)… Batemans Bay Bridge looks similar to a fascinating suspension bridge in San Francisco’s SOMA China Basin. Have you ever tried golf? I was lousy at it, but enjoyed playing with my dad and the social aspect can be fun…

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wish I’d taken my own advice on the Canada trip, now I have lots of stories to reconstruct.

      We crossed the Bay Bridge at night while we were in SF. Is that the one you are thinking of? It was a massive bridge, looked great at night.

      I’ve played a little golf, but it’s not my thing (yet). I had a hole in one years ago on a little three-par holiday course. I tell everyone here, ‘I’ve been to the mount, and I can assure you, there’s nothing much there’. Must be because my husband didn’t celebrate it, in fact, he doesn’t like to talk about it, LOL.

      Liked by 1 person

      • China Basin is a smaller bridge near PacBell Park. Sometimes sailboats come into the Marina that way.

        WOW a hole in one!!! Golf is popular in the Bay Area but some of the courses were sooooo expensive and the clubs are for the rich only!

        You must feel huge satisfaction submitting the manuscript. What’s the story?

        Two weeks until departure for Berlin and preparation has been difficult this time 😦 but escape is very near now!


  5. I checked out the church/home. It has a decent sixe lot and the Clyde River is like glass! The home is to die-for!! The furnishings complement the historic history of the building too!! Magnificent!
    Did those birds have anything to do with the song, ‘Chitti-Chitti Bang-Bang’ ?
    By the way, how did the tournament go? Did I not read that part?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Nelligen is a very pretty, peaceful, somewhat isolated, area. The house price was steep, I felt, unless you were retired or had some local employment. But it does the renovators credit, that’s for sure.

      Hadn’t thought of Chitti-Chitti Bang-Bang, but no, no inspiration there, as the bird is not endemic to England, where the story originated, written by Ian Flemming, no less!

      The Willy Wagtail is very,very common in Australia, and easily spotted as it is a ground feeder and in constant movement, continuously wagging its fantail from side to side. But is also found in “New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Bismarck Archipelago and the Moluccas”. So perhaps your Dad may have come across one. They are a chatty bird. Many aboriginal legends have them as an ill-messenger, or liar or tattle-tale. I think they are cute.

      Liked by 1 person

    • I forgot to mention the golf. Hubbie had 22 in all. There were prizes for nearest the pin, best putt, best individual, best team, etc, etc. I was there for the presentations and joined everyone for dinner, but I don’t play golf (even though we live on a golf course).

      Years ago when we were on holiday on a tropical Queensland island, I played a round with him on their small golf course. On a three-par, I tee’d off with a severe hook to the left, hit a palm tree, ricocheted into a bunker, ran out the other side, continued on up onto the green, and dropped it into the hole. He was disgusted. At that stage hubbie hadn’t had a hole-in-one despite years of playing (he’s had three since). Now I tell everyone I don’t need to play golf as I’ve experienced the ultimate. As I said to Sue, ‘I’ve been to the mount, and there’s not much there’ 🙂
      Am I speaking heresy? Do you play?

      Liked by 1 person

      • I used to play, but I had to laugh at your Ultimate Feat!! I love it! It’s like when you see a guy hit a grand slam as his first professional hit – he’s got to know, it’s all downhill from here!!!
        My father hit a hole-in-one one time. He brought it home, painted it gold and hung it up on the wall behind the full wet bar we had in the basement.

        Liked by 1 person

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