I Think You Must Leave Australia to Become Fully Australian – No 36 Gunyah (Bundeena) 23 November

It’s late November and this is only the first beach of the summer. I’ve been delayed by the hopes of sticking to my rule of visiting the beaches in strictly alphabetic order. Beach number 35 is Gunyah (Brooklyn) which can only be reached from the water so I’ve been waiting for my boat-owning friend’s schedule to mesh with mine on a day with fine weather. It’s proving a challenge so I decided to break the rules and set No 35 aside to press on to No 36. There are, I think, a couple of same-name, different-location beaches to be visited …

Continue Reading

No 34: Great Mackerel – 22 June 2014

On Friday I woke to a radio program about ceremonies people create for themselves. A caller described a women’s winter solstice ceremony she had been conducting for some years. The Winter Solstice marks the moment when more light begins to fill your days. It is the beginning of a new cycle of growing then diminishing sunlight – it’s the nadir. The caller’s ceremony involved acknowledging the events of the past year and letting them go while looking ahead to future plans. It got me thinking. I’m so keen to close the door on the past year – to set aside both what was …

Continue Reading

No 33: Grand Flaneur – 9 February 2014

I have been looking forward to this: the westernmost beach in Sydney.  Grand Flaneur Beach is on Chipping Norton Lake in Liverpool.  This would be different. The day is hot and a heat shimmer dances along the tracks as I await the train to Liverpool.  What, I wonder, might I expect?  A parkland?  Yes.  Picnicking Muslims? Almost certainly.  Children swimming in a lake health officials would discourage you from swimming in?  Probably.  Beyond that I have no ideas. This is truly Sydney’s west and a mix of faces and cultures greet my arrival: a saffron-robed Cambodian monk with his mate; …

Continue Reading

No 32: Gibson’s Beach – 2 February 2014

Living in Sydney brings joy to my life.  Even when all else is shit, when plans fail, promises are broken and my mood is sour to see Sydney Harbour, the Bridge, the Opera House brings me joy.  Perhaps especially when all else is shit the magic of my own joyful response to the sheer beauty of Sydney Harbour and my endless wonderment at making my life here lifts my spirit and brightens my day. I was in a fine mood on Sunday to begin with – slightly disappointed no friends were free to join me at Gibson’s Beach but excited …

Continue Reading

No 31: Freshwater Beach – 5 January 2014

I would have posted Freshwater sooner but I got distracted by Duke Kahanamoku. Kahanamoku, a native-Hawaiian, Olympic swimming champion and sometime-movie star, is credited with introducing board surfing to Australia.  Australia without surfing is unimaginable; surfing culture is, to many, synonymous with Australian culture.  Board surfing surly would have arrived by another route but we can credit Duke for surfing starting when it did and where it did – Freshwater Beach, Christmas Eve, 1914. This from a report in The Daily Telegraph of 25 December 1914: Going out into the water some distance, the Hawaiian laid full length on the board, …

Continue Reading

No 30: Forty Baskets Beach – 28 December 2013

I’ve been to the beaches but not blogged about them.  It’s been quite a year for me.  Sundays the Beach was our project and now it is my project.  Change is hard and change is good. I’ve decided that counting the beaches with fingers is fun and worth doing when I can but failing to have sufficient numbers is no excuse for not going to the beach on a good beach day. So I’ll tell you about the latest beach, Forty Baskets, today, and fill in the missing beaches over time.  This season I will post the beaches as I …

Continue Reading

All that and a Naked German too – Beach No 29: Flint & Steel (24 November 2013)

If I were ranking the best named beaches Flint & Steel would be near the top. That I can’t find anything explaining the source of that fantastic moniker adds mystery – maks it even better. I can tell you it was already called Flint & Steel by 1832. Flint & Steel was an exciting beach for me for three four five reasons: One, it was the first beach of the 2013/2014 season. Two, it was the first beach I visited after the demise of my marriage Three, it was the first beach I was visiting with my old mate Laura whom I was grateful …

Continue Reading

A Bush Walk and Apple Strudel (No 28: Flat Rock Beach – 12 May 2013)

Here’s an interesting and unexpected story from Killarney Heights, the suburb where you’ll find Flat Rock Beach: In February 1979, a Lithuanian couple who believed they were being chased by Soviet agents were discovered in bushland adjacent to the suburb. Stepan Petrosys (81) and his 68-year old wife were discovered after having lived in a cave for 28 years. That small discover was too good to bury deep in my post. Now that is out of the way, let me tell you about Flat Rock Beach.  This is the last of the beaches I visited with Mitch and I have …

Continue Reading

Distant Memories of Fishermans Beach (No 27 – 28 April 2013)

These beaches – the ones in this gap, the ones I visited during my old life, I had to wait to do them because I didn’t need anything extra to make me sad. Now, however, it’s been so long (it’s now October 2014) I am the opposite of sad. I’m really very happy in my life and looking forward to the future. Going back to these beaches is now just sort of a pain in the ass rather than a pain in the heart. I don’t care. It doesn’t hurt to look at the pictures so much as it makes me …

Continue Reading

Ice Creams at Fairlight Beach (No 26 – 14 April 2013)

Writing about our visit to Fairlight Beach is an exercise of memory. If I wrote something at the time I’ve lost it and it’s now August 2014. April 2013 feels like a lifetime ago in so many ways but I do remember the day. It was hot. We had Mitch’s parents’ car while they were on holiday. We collected Sabra from her flat in Balmain and drove to Fairlight. We found a car park almost immediately. As we walked down to the beach Sabra’s then-fiancé-now-husband, Pietro, rang from Italy. They spoke in Italian and catching a few words I felt …

Continue Reading