BBQ Brekky, Bowls & Cricket – Not a Beach: 30 October 2011

It began inauspiciously but developed into a nearly perfect Sydney Spring Sunday.  Rain was falling at the appointed hour of departure but in the nature of plans made for Sunday morning by the time we rolled away on our bicycles it was more like midday.  By then the sun was shining.  Its heat had a summer bite but in the shade it was still jumper-cool. When Mitch, Mac and I arrived at St Leonards Park we found Erin threatening to mobilise her Twitterverse behind an #OccupyBarbeque movement.  A gaggle of parents and costumed toddlers had commandeered the only public barbecue in the …

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No 12: Clontarf Beach – 5 February 2011

Per Wikipedia the suburb of Clontarf is named after a district in Dublin, Ireland. But far more interestingly this beach, in 1868, was site of Australia’s first attempted political assassination. Henry James O’Farrell, an alcoholic recently released from a lunatic asylum, shot Prince Alfred, Duke of Edinburgh – second son of Queen Victoria – in the back. The Prince survived, most colonists were embarrassed and outraged (and took it out on the Irish as expected). A hospital was opened to memorialise the drama. Thus: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. One hundred and forty-three years later there seems to be some drama around dog poo. Clean up after …

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No 11: Clareville Beach – 30 January 2011

And with No 11: Clareville Beach, enter Mitch with ten more digits. Per Wikipedia the area’s non-indigenous history began with a land grant to Father John Joseph Therry in the 1830. In the first half of the 20th century it became a holiday destination and with the arrival of mass-automobile ownership a well-to-do leafy residential area. This was the first beach visit this year where the water was warm enough that I didn’t need to get used to it. Probably about 25C (77F). Clareville Beach is a flat, sheltered harbour beach found after a drive through winding, hilly suburban streets. …

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No 10: Chinaman’s Beach – 1 January 2011

Yes, that’s right: Chinaman’s Beach.  It’s on the Middle Harbour in Mosman. The name comes from the Chinese market gardens which operated in the area beginning 120 years ago — first operated by Cho Hi Tick from around 1890. Chinaman’s Beach is 16.4 kilometres from home (10 miles).  We took the train from Petersham to Wynard and a bus nearly to the Spit. We walked down stairs and roads though a leafy well-to-do neighbourhood to reach the beach. We found a narrow stretch of slightly pebbly sand hedged in by scrub and facing the narrow neck of the Middle Harbour. …

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No 9: Bungan Beach – 21 November 2010

First beach of the “summer” — sunny and pretty warm but with a bite in the wind that sometimes whipped up sand. I decided this season that our visits should be less fleeting and more day-trips. Bungan Beach is 39 kilometres (24 miles) from home in the suburb of Newport on the Northern Beaches.  We took a bus, a train and another bus to get there.  It took a while but was actually relaxing and enjoyable. We spent about three hours at Bungan — laying in the shade of our umbrella, reading the paper and testing the water. Bungan is …

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No 6: Bondi Beach – 18 April 2010

Bondi, baby, Bondi — THE Sydney beach.  The one everyone has heard of. When you look at it from the esplanade you think — jeez it’s crowded that doesn’t look like much fun but down on the sand the people-watching and people-listening makes the day.  Its a mini UN of sunbathers; we must have heard half a dozen languages. Bondi is 16 kilometres (10 miles) from home. Not surprisingly Wikipedia has a lot to say about Bondi but here’s a few key things — ‘bondi’ is an aboriginal word meaning either “water breaking over rocks” or “the noise of water breaking over …

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