EDEN , Wonboyne and the Navy Wharf.



It was my intention to bring you a sequential orderly blogging of the trip South. That’s not happening due to internet speeds so it will be my usual grasshopper effect. Back and forth in time. Here and there in space. After the 4 day Taree stay, the Kombi, as you know brought us successfully South. To EDEN near the Victorian  Border.   For the weekend, we had my little one with us. She is 9 and for one of the days we had our 14 year old as well. Family is the primary reason for our trip – so far anyways. Some people thought the medical reasons were the most important but I think not and the broken down Kombi avoided the appointment I did not wish to keep.

Yesterday, we almost made it to Victoria but instead we stopped in at Wonboyne, a tiny village in Myrtle Cove and found a series of wooden jetties and oyster leases and pelicans.

We then turned back to take a look at the NAVY WHARF A rather strange thing is the Navy Wharf.

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Another interesting day on the Manning. We took the wee Suzuki for a drive but I don’t think it quite won either of our hearts. Late afternoon, we got the Kombi back. They couldn’t locate the fault but they did tinker so we will see how we go tomorrow by heading South again.

I had a meeting today at St Mary’s Church Hall and that has helped A LOT.

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hail octo

Yesterday saw hail back in Bellingen at Kate’s and an octopus down in Eden.

Once again, I awaken in a motel room in Taree. This morning it was pre-dawn to the sound of overseas travellers preparing to leave early. Overseas travellers and the geese from across the road. DSC01083

I’ve not seen a flock of geese living in a picnic area before. Not like these ones. The pelicans walk amongst them and 100s of seagulls. Today is the day I was meant to be at Liverpool Hospital seeing a Hep C specialist. I am glad I am not doing that.

But I would like to be heading further South now. That is going to depend upon the news from the mechanic.


The rain is misting back over and the rowers are coming off the water and storing their boats in the Rowing Club. I guess most of them will be heading to work.  Thunder is rolling about. The river’s grey and still. Here we go again.

Yesterday we had lunch at the TROPICAL COFFEE Co. Taree has some good eateries. Today we are going to take a look at a Suzuki APV van. $17.900.


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We set off yesterday after a bright red sunrise. Stopped in at Hickeys garage for fuel and travel provisions and headed South. I began to the relent a little in my resentment  towards VWs and KOMBIS. She flew along and we were fully packed with mattresses , fishing gear, gifts and all manner of other things. First night was to be at the Niece in Newcastle.

First up we met the traffic queue at Macksville where some dumb truck had overturned. Then a massive oversized concrete load clogged up the new Kempsey bypass. Not to worry . Off we flew at 110 kph on the next phase. Phone plugged into charger. 40 degree heat. We were TRAVELLIN’.

Next thing the Iz casts me a LOOK and slews off the highway with no power, no brakes, no steering, no acceleration.

So we call NRMA and along they come and we limp into TAREE. Auto Elec man can find nothing wrong so we located an excellent eatery in town BEAN BAR. Had lunch. Thought for bit and headed South once more – cautiously.

About 11kms down the road – no power. Slewed to another powerless halt in a no stopping land under the Hallidays Point Bridge and despaired.

So – here we are in Taree. Surprisingly happy considering all plans are now in disarray.

We are also on land that was once my GGGrandmothers – apparently. We just found the Taree Biccentennial Gardens and its Wynter territory. There is a flock of mad geese out the front and the Manning River and pelicans. We have eaten at several fine eateries and are well delighted with the experience so far.

The rains are here after yesterday’s staggering heat. I hadn’t expected to sit for an hour or so on our new folding chairs under a highway bypass but – we did. Now we are tucked in for one more night at the MIDLANDS MOTEL. Fast wifi internet and cosy as. Tomorrow – well that’s tomorrow.

We had lunch at the SICILIAN and dinner at the ROYAL HOTEL. Good people. Good food.


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The Ulmarra House featured a disused outside loo. I have several memories of outside loos. Some are from my childhood and some from living in the country as an adult.

I do recall an incident in Blacktown when a turkey would chase us from the Loo to the house and back.

I have also had pit toilets. My first school as a young teacher was at Rosewood, down near Tumbarumba, and we had fine pit toilets for the handful of children and the 2 teachers. At some stage – possibly just after the water diviner located water – the powers that be in Sydney determined that flush toilets were needed. They then built a brick ablutions block with almost more toilets that children and separate male and female for the staff of two.

My memories, which might be a little exaggerated, are of a toilet block almost larger than the wooden two teacher school building.

Leaving Ulmarra means leaving the Village Life of which I was very fond. Sundays, I lunched at the WIDE RIVER CAFE and Lizzy baked the best Vegie Pies on the Nprth Coast. Izzy and Andrew and Tony Rendell played music from 10-2 and I yarned with Debbie and Leanne and sundry others.

I believe Mum is having her knee done this weekend in Coffs Hospital.

The pixie in the photo comes from JACK A DANDY across Coldstream Street. Paul from  Jack a Dandy told me it was a Devon Pixie. Devon is the homeplace of the Sanders Side of my family. They came as “assisted immigrants”.



Its been a couple of years since Izzy and I took on the Telstra fight in Bilambil. And won. This year, I took it into my mind to open a wee Facebook Page about the Bellingen Hospital. It went straight to 1000 fans in one week and now its has 3000+.

We might or might not win this time but I have found it very moving to see the support coming in and read the anecdotes.

There is a great pride in Being a Bello Baby.

We even made the newspapers with my sister’s picture of possums as profile pic.

March 2010 also saw Snew and Stewart on their Norther Tour. Like me, they had taken  a liking to GURU FOODS in Bellingen. They were booked to perform in early April and our well-coordinated Southern Trip brought us back down the mountain from Armidale just in time for their gig.



WINDSOR NSW.  I was looking for evidence of OLD GOVERNMENT HOUSE where my ancestor Johannah Ready was Housekeeper in the early 1800s. I didn’t find it.



The brolgas flew over each evening and each morning, near touching the roof of the house.



It was June before we were able to begin exploring the new Community into which we had moved . We hadn’t even been in the house. Took it on an outside look and internet images.

Ulmarra has one hotel. It had more than that years ago as did many Australian villages and towns. Now it has one. With a very good eaterie – THE CAFE CLARENCE. The beer garden is on the banks of the river and with smoking all ousted from buildings – the Ulmarra Pub has provided the wooden seats to sit with some dignity, leisure and pleasure.

Not that I smoke nowadays, but when the banning first came in I was one of the lepers who was condemned to strange corners of strange places where I tried to look Confident and non leprous. You can do that at Ulmarra Pub.


A few kilometres down the road from here, along what I think is the Coldstream, now apparently flowing frontwards, is ULMARRA CEMETERY. Iz and I ‘do’ a lot of cemeteries and this is a dandy. Fully divided into two with a virtual paddock separating the Catholics and Us. I’m a Methodist – lapsed – although I think ‘once a Methodist always a Methodist’ is a possible.

The floods had been through on the first of our visits and that was a little uncanny. Iz and I went to the Tumbulgum Historical Cemetery on our first ‘ date’, thereby recognising   the common madness in each other.  It was before I discovered that the early Scottish side of my family was buried there. The McLeods and their connections. I had gone there following my mother’s passing in 2001 and sat on the bench at the top of the hill with wee bush creatures and one tiny shiny black bird.

We has taken the Poppy to Armidale cemetery and out to Uralla to see the grave of Thunderbolt. She shows an inclination towards graveyards as well. She says she saw a scarecrow in one of the graves. Could be skeleton and suggests to her aunt that a walk througha graveyard would be a good place to find names for the new baby.

Ulmarra Cemetery – take a look. MUCH better cared for than TOOWONG.


Back on the Western Side of the Pacific Highway, where the CBD is situated – all 10 or so shops – is the playground and the swimming pool . I didn’t know whether or not  it would be enough to sustain me in a new life.  It does when my kids are here. It does – most days.  It is GENTLE.

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I also found the WIDE RIVER CAFE which now is a second home to us.

I remain in a non-writing mood with no glimpses of intelligence in these fingertips so I am simply putting some links up and waiting.

BRIERFIELD 003 The houses and land gradually dried out. It took a while before cattle returned to the paddocks and months before the Ulmarra Tennis Courts were operating again.

A strange malodorous flavour came to the area and blue skies with puffed white clouds became the norm once more.

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Brolgas again. I thought they would be here forever. 4ft tall.


The Brolgas went and the black cattle came – together with the Egrets. There are ‘issues’ with ‘farming’ . I have no intention of even thinking about them let alone commenting – but I do enjoy being away from the tourism and development of the Tweed. I prefer to see a street of cottages being restored under heritage listing to seeing the top of a hill lopped off as they did on Scenic Drive, Bilambil and lego houses squished and squashed on top behind a sign saying “ The View “.


Readjusting – adjusting – whatever – involved driving about . getting to know the towns and the river. Garage Sales became a successful method of coming to know the streets and areas and culture of the town. Grafton is THE BEST town for garage sales that I have lived in. We came from the tiny Cottage to a large old house which Iz calls FOREALTY TOWERS with a goo deal of accuracy and the Garage Sales have provided much of the furnishings.

The image on the left shows CORCORAN PARK – with boat ramps and picnic areas. It was still trashed when  I first went there from the usual Villain – the Flood but is coming good now.

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With a new fridge and washing machine courtesy the Department of Community Services, and the acquired furniture we began befriending this neglected house.

2009 is the year that my daughter became pregnant. So, Celebration begins to emerge as one of the themes of the year. The move had brought me within 1 1/2 hours of her home and 2 1/2 hours of the MOB.  That’s a big improvement over 5-7 hours or more.

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One other them is The Village. Andrew from Wide River Cafe says – VISIT ULMARRA – IT WON’T TAKE YOU LONG.

It takes me quite a long time. Just to go round the Village. The bookshop with Russell and Pam – a favourite.

STANDING just in front of the children’s section, overlooking the classics, you’ll find the guardian of the newest second-hand bookshop in the Valley.

Russell Brownlee has opened Ulmarra’s latest shop of treasures, Ulmarra Books and Collectables.

The self-confessed bookworm has been working in books since 1972.

Until recently Russell ran a small bookshop on the highway at Broadwater.

“I knew Ulmarra would be a better place for the business because people are used to stopping here,” he said.

Unlike most book stores, Russell keeps his computer at home.

“I have to rely on my memory and other people’s patience,” he said.

But it’s all part of Russell’s desire to start a dialogue with his customers.

He enjoys it when customers come in asking for a book and describes the search as a quest.

Thousands of books line the shelves upstairs and down, covering every genre imaginable.

From the obscure to the collectable, the popular to the specific, Russell has quite an assortment for sale.

“The core of the collection is stuff I’ve been collecting for over 30 years,” he said.


West of Grafton is COPMANHURST. So far we have only done once overs on the little towns and locales. Copmanhurst featured this table and benches as well as an hotel with a fine view of the river and a general store with a very helfpul young man who filled us in on some of the history.


It has been a time evocative of the 1970s and  if I am honest – of most of my life. I was going to say it was a flashback  because that sounds more appealing than owning to a lifetime in which I have never materially gone beyond the bed being delivered on the back of a ute from the secondhand shop in town. I find Grafton to be a comfortable place in which to be not materially successful.  A few weeks of sleeping on a mattress on the floor was enough for me and so the bed arrived  on the back of the ute.


Down the end of the street, a small flock of sheep keep a backyard neat and tidy. They also , on occasion, take off to greener paddocks.  I snaffled them in here one day when they were on the move and closed the gate behind them in the hope that they would do some serious munching before their owner came looking.

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Izzy had concerns about his musical life when we moved South. Following a 2 1/2 year contract at the University of Queensland Campus at St Lucia for the Australian Literature database AUSTLIT, he had found academic doors very narrow and it was the music of his youth which began to thrive.

It wasn’t long on the Clarence before opportunities came his way including some MC roles which was a new thing for him.

He also encountered North Coast hardwoods and the stories with which I have been familiar for years but which are new to him with a Sydney and Illawarra background.


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Coming back down to the Mid North Coast combined many factors for me most of which I have written about during the year and won’t re-hash now. I did know that if I were to handle being back on the mid north coast, I would need to develop some HOW – Honesty, OpenMindedness and Willingness.  At times I feel as if I have walked back into a trap and at other times I am glad to be almost Home. Some things are familiar and others are different – usually subtly so I truly need to be seeing in pastels which is not a forte of mine.

Ulmarra is a place of mists. Low lying foggy mists.


We bought a silver bell from JACK A DANDY. Jack a Dandy is in Coldstream Street. I bought a gift from there today. Strange and exotic gifts. Paul tells me that he and his wife, Jill, have been there for 4 1/2 years. Its the place to go for a Fez – or  Moroccan cookwear and silver bells of course. Paul has a little set up out the front – small table, 2 wooden chairs and he sits there and reads and engages in conversations with passers-by.

Jack A Dandy
8 Coldstream Street, Ulmarra 2462
Phone: (02) 6644 5881
Introducing a cultural infusion of quality giftware, clothing, jewellery
and homewares. If its something exotic and different you’re seeking,
a wander through Jack A Dandy is sure to delight the senses.
Standard Hours: Wed. to Sun. 10am to 5pm (or by


Behind the Coldstream Art Gallery is the OPSHOP. I LOVE opshops and the Rathgar Lodge one is a ripper.  This bassinet was only $20. Today we went in and they offered us the Santa Hat for free. The monies go to the Old Person’s Village just a bit along the street to the South. Lynhaven Crescent.

We bought our lounge there. Its a strange one of a kind ( probably) click-clack day n night.



One of the visions I had in the relocation and in taking this big house – was HOUSE GUESTS. Sure enough, that’s been working. We have a Guest Register and Kati B is just one of the family members who has been to visit. That meant Yahtzee and shopping and the excitement of a new baby coming.


Down the Highway at Moonee is a shopping mall.  Moonee was just a seaside village when I was living here in the 1990s and now it has a shopping mall. Rather a nice little shopping mall but curiously unnerving to me. 

When we took Kati B back down to meet her IMM, we arranged to meet at Moonee and out front was a Car Boot Sale. I like car boot sales. I have only known what they were for a few years but having found that out, I rather like them.

I did end up with such things as a pair of gumboots with mud on and 2 sizes too big for me but that’s how Car Boot Sales affect me.

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I have been out to the Clarence  Coast only twice. As a Urunga native, I am accustomed to the sea being within easy reach and a 40km drive along narrow roads has intimidated me. I didn’t fancy Wooli or Digger’s Camp when I went there. Wasn’t crazy on Minnie Water either. Now that time is passing and the weather is warming, I am prepared to look once more and maybe even twice more. The Family from Wide River spend Sundays out there with Nippers. Long Sundays at Minnie Water with the Shade tent and friends. My friends from Lismore have a cottage at Diggers Camp.

There is a chance that my attitude might have been a little negative.  Influenced by other places and other times.


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How good is the  Internet ? A few years and a few tears back, I could no more have accessed a public forum for journals, images, music, videos, genealogy than I could have knitted new clothes for my coming grandchild. My father, Bruce Sanders, wanted his 2/3 Pioneer Battalion Story published but we simply didn’t have the resources. Now – here it is! How good is that ? This Particular Blog  of mine is about to hit 10,00 and I thank you all.

The mutual sharing is another dimension that works for me. I am not always able to travel and sometimes I don’t get out much at all. I also have a tendency to be overcome by what I like to call Acedia – in various forms – and NOW – I am no longer locked in at home alone. This is truly the Global Village for me.

Now – as we come into an Australian Summertime. and the closing of 2009 – I shall take a look at 2009- as it has been.

It was the year in which Izzy and I both turned 60 – 1949 children. I think I had best rephrase that. We were born in 1949.  2009 was the year in which we moved from the Tweed to the Clarence, in which my daughter newly turned 30 became pregnant with her first child. My granddaughters  turned 5 and 10. A most interesting time it has been.


Last Christmas, we, as a family,  were to meet in  Kalang on Boxing Day for Kati B’s 30th birthday and Christmas Day, Izzy and I were to spend alone at Bilambil Cottage where we were living.

We were out and about in the morning and received an impromptu invite to Lorraine’s for lunch with a dozen or so guests. Plenty of good foods and good company. A sober affair so it was and I enjoyed it up behind Scenic Drive in Tweed Heads  West.

Spent the rest of the day at home with our swimming pool and tennis court. 


The next home for us was already starting to be listed on  I didn’t realise then that it would become a place of rather deep emotional and mental impact. 2009 is the last year of my 50s and time seems to have wrapped itself around me and curled into the core of me. Memories of 20 years of Addiction and 20 years of Recovery were waiting for in this 100 year old house as well as the history of my family and my childhood.  I intended entering my 60s  consciously and cautiously, knowing this – IT WILL BE DIFFERENT. And it has been a gentle, explorative time with a good deal of ‘ thinking’ going on.



Briefly this is my locational history.

2009 – ULMARRA.



In January of 2009, the Armidale Mob came to Bilambil Cottage for a Summer Holiday. That was a ‘ classic’ summer holiday. I must have had some sweet stars shining on me this year because, despite the transitional turmoil and my own inclination to distress, I have had a goodly share of Sweet Moments, Classically Good Experiences and of events turning out just as I had planned and hoped for.

The Summer holiday was one of them as was the 30th birthday of Kati B.


We took the Poppy to the beach at Pottsville. They have been living in Armidale for years now and she hasn’t been beaching since she was a baby. We also continued our cafe experience which is rather extensive . The EATZ CAFE at Pottsville featured real Beach Food. None of which I can now recall but they had tropical names and strange drinks – a 60s flashback which I enjoyed after one too many trendoid, generic eateries such as the infamous Blue Frog in Toowong, Brisbane.


I lived in Bilambil Cottage for 4 years and in deciding to leave, we took our time in choosing where we wanted to go and when and why and how etc. The Cottage was tiny but exquisite with a view over the Bilambil Valley and out to the Coral Sea, During the Mob’s Holiday, we sat outside of an evening and watched the bats fly over and the long nose come out to feed from the long grasses.  The Poppy learned to swim and discovered the wonder of being a Mermaid.


We also visited the beach at Kingscliff. The Mob had lived at Kingscliff before going up the mountain. I thought that when we moved south we might miss the exotic birds and plants of the Tweed. Tweed is on the NSW/ QUEENSLAND border.

Are these baobab trees ? I like the word and haven’t checked to see whether these are baobabs or not.


One thing I knew I wouldn’t miss was the BILAMBIL SPORTS CLUB.

I enjoyed it for a goodly length of time but things went amiss and the decor was never a good look. The Club is set in the Valley. A lovely setting with a creek beside it and playing fields, paddocks with horses and the hills rising on either side.

The Bilambil Village is tiny and part of a loop drive enjoyed by Many. However, the Club doesn’t open till  3pm, serves food only a couple of nights a week, doesnt cater for vegetarians AT ALL and is decorated as you can see on the left. The music scene which thrived there has shrivelled to nothing. Lots of potential going unused.

SOUTH GOLDEN BEACH 001 Leaving blue skies and palm trees took some serious decision making.


Life remains hectic for me on the Clarence.  I yearn at time for more Eremitic days and on others I simply gather in the breadth and depth of these experiences.


The expectation this morning was that Phil the Sax Player would be coming for  rehearsals in the music room. Didn’t  best please me because I had visions of SQUATTER’S REST Markets at TUCABIA on my mind and the 3 garage sales I know are on there today. A Sunday at that. One of them is at Eileen’s Place opp the Tucabia Store. I don’t know who Eileen is but I still want to go to the garage Sale. The Clarence is the Home of the Garage sale.


After some calm negotiation, Phill was relocated to a slightly later time slot and we headed East to Tucabia and SQUATTERS REST. I had not been there before. Izzy has done two music nights there and as part of my habitual information gathering, I knew a good deal about it. Weather is perfect. Springtime on the North Coast. Tucabia is app 10 kms from Ulmarra along a winding back road through paddocks and alongside wetlands. The Rest Markets – well, precisely what I was hoping for. Under gum trees. I scored a $100 pair of Dianna Ferrari shoes, new for $7. I bought home made soaps – made from goats milk and perfumed with essential oils. For $20, add a chopping table with knives for the kitchen and I am well pleased.


Then throw in a little gem of a museum and the day is fulfilling all the promise of a country Sunday. Squatters has a wee village of Collecteds. I am struggling to find the words for it. It was if I could almost smell and touch the eagle’s wings of Uncle Jim in Laurieton in some barely recalled childhood time.



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I am sitting here today in the Attic with smoke from the timber mill and the cattle up close to the back fence. The transitional effect of the moved from Tweed to Clarence is beginning to ease like the May floods receding after the inundation. Last week, I was out at Minnie Water where the debris is still piled and a little mouldering as it is on many of the North Coast beaches.

For me, a quietness is returning and I continue with reflective  imaging.


I have lived close by beaches for much of my life. North Coast beaches at that. Its a 40km drive out to Wooli from here. That seems to me a long drive, along a narrow road which is rather hectic.

I lived much of my adult life in Urunga which is also known at the town WHERE THE RIVERS MEET THE SEA and I am accustomed to the beach being closer than this.

The MOB lived for a few years at Kingscliff. Also right on the beach. That’s the Armidale mob in the foto, touching sand in mid winter near the Queensland border at Kingscliff.


I put this shot in because it sums up some of the things which troubled me up North. This is the ‘planned resort’ up the back of Carool. It didn’t come to anything, so far as I know. Scattered through the Tweed and the Gold Coast are abandoned ‘resorts’ and derelict ‘dreams’.

I heard a Professor speaking on the radio one evening and he spoke of the Great Dreaming , the Greed of the last however many years. And he referred to some of the things we would find when we ‘woke up’.

What I know, is that I greatly prefer being amongst buildings which STAND. Made of stone or bricks or wood rather than the fabric of temporary dreams.

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The lady on the left is my Great Grandmother, Julia Ready nee Jackson.
I have some info to write up about Julia. It was given to me by PHIL READY who put years of work with his good lady wife into gathering  family information together and putting it together in READY OR NOT. This year I asked Phil whether I could write it up and put it on the Net and he sent me an email saying – PERMISSION GRANTED,.



These are simply images and thoughts arising from the imagery.

This is the price of petrol in  Ulmarra on the last day of July 2009. coast 002

Each day I take my lunch at the Wide River Cafe. Not on Mondays due to its being closed on Mondays. I take the Cold Remedy , read the newspapers, chat with the Andrew and the girls and generally enjoy a daily routine which I don’t recall having before. Its not hectic in Ulmarra at lunchtimes although the BUSHFIRE BRIGADE REGIONAL HEADQUARTERS are there and were doing an “exercise’ yesterday to make sure that we were all firesafe.

Last weekend, two girls rode past on their horses and each girl carried a red rose. KATE VISIT 1 073

While I am in the Village, I spend some time in ULMARRA BOOKS and BRIC A BRAC, chat for a while with our GentleMan BookMan and, in general, just indulge in the sheer pleasure of a book shop of this size and nature. This one is a treasure trove. I always enjoy being in the hands of an Expert, no matter what field it is in. In this shop I am guaranteed EXPERTISE in its most agreeable form.

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I have lived for four years in a tiny cottage. Exquisite with wonderful views of the Bilambil Valley – but tiny. Now I live in a HOUSE. A house which my family come to visit.  Last weekend, my daughter, Kati B and I spent the evening at the card table from Dolores, playing YAHTZEE. A ruthless game night it was.





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I am familiar with the last blast of cold in a North Coast Winter. It ‘should’ arrive in a week or two and, as usual, we will all be surprised by it because of the present warm golden weather. Nevertheless, this IS a weekend of the warm golden weather and I am enjoying it. Sunlight in the kitchen and mown grass in the yard.

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Took a drive today along OLD POST OFFICE LANE. That led on a labyrinthine adventure through cane fields and paddocks and alongside oxbowlakes and creeks and the COLDSTREAM RIVER itself. There is still a lot of rubble from the floods , piled and stacked beside the roads and the water, even in the river, is thick and dark. Brown at best and in places an evil sludgey black.

30 days of Labyrinth Love and Wisdom

Dedicated to spiritual pilgrims everywhere

By Rev. Dr. Sandra Bochonok

an ancient meditation tool

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The labyrinth is not a maze. The roads here all seem to lead back out and back home. Narrow byways and twisting tracks. Today we reached Tucabia by Lower Coldstream Road and then over the white one lane bridge.


Exploring a new town is really an adventure. For me there is something elusively attractive about exploring a town only 100kms or so from where I have lived most of my adult life. Today we took a look at another section of South Grafton. It wasn’t as uniquely ‘old’ as Skinner Street and environs and yet we enjoyed it. We enjoyed the small details. The storage sheds on Lilypool Road where 2 washing machines sat outside Bob’s shed.

We chatted with the Appliance repair man who is also the agent for WESTNET internet. He gave us a sliver of hope for brighter times ahead. He also berated the other providers for their service to this area. Told us of a satellite connection needed right there in town due to no other service being able to connect. Reassured me that we were not simply paranoid. How insane is this country? Meanwhile on the brighter side, we then walked into the general store next door. Thats on the Armidale Road. It was a fine general store. I LOVE GENERAL STORES. Then on to the Little shopping centre next to it . it houses a hotel called the GOOD INTENT. Great Name for a pub. It also houses the RIVERSIDE CARE OPSHOP which had a desk for sale for $75. What a beautiful desk it is !!!!

Bargain prices. Clean. Really helpful.  Lunched at the takeaways. Home made vegie patties and REAL Scallops and my favourite pineapple fritter.  The bakery looks good as well and opens at 4.30am.

We crossed the BENDY BRIDGE into town and shopped at Woolies wonderworld in the new SHOPPINGWORLD and home we came. Not bad. Not bad at all.





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I drove this driveway for four years. Its the drive from Bilambil Cottage up to the Main House of Linden Lea. When the rains turned it slippery and sloppy, the DOS had this load of rocks put in so that our vehicles would not slip and slide. He is a true Gentleman is Mr Douglas Bulpitt.


AT the back of Ulmarra, we have a SHED. Its a fine shed and VERY old. We have now discovered that the house was built in 1908 by W.B. HAFFENDEN. Out past the shed is the wetland area which fills with birds and where I watched the brolgas dance.


The attic appears in early photographs of the house. I didn’t expect that. I thought it were a recent addition but that doesn’t appear to be the case. Its from the attic that I look above the sheds to the wetlands and this first month in residence, they have been wet in the extreme.


In SOUTH GRAFTON is the EMPORIUM. It was once the CITY STORES. I am finding some tales from South Grafton in earlier times.

I eat at the EMPORIUM and go to the MUSIC CAFE. This weekend, The Emporium hosted harp and vocal workshops. They do a fine curry as well as being open long hours 6 days a week.


I thought, after my early investigative visits to Grafton, that our usual Cafe Way of Life might be extremely limited on the Clarence but that was a needless worry. I have far more variety and far more pleasant venues here than I did on the Tweed and certainly on the Gold Coast. I am simply not your GC Woman.

Give me the EMPORIUM any day !


Or our WIDE RIVER CAFE just down the road in COLDSTREAM STREET. Lizzy and Mum make the pies. Andrew turns out a wicked COLD REMEDY juice and Sundays there will be music in the courtyard (as soon as the water dries up and the pavers can be laid). Next door Robin and the girls have their artwork and miscellaneous etceteras including beautiful ceramics.


One effect of so much wet is that I have become very familiar with the view from the back windows. Coldstream Street features some fine old fences. The Recreation ground is just beyond the one in the picture. Its been too inundated here to find out what happens at the Recreation ground in SMALL PARK. The park is not SMALL. Small was one of the first settlers on the Clarence and his name is on the Park.


The fence on the left is part of the COLDSTREAM STREET fencing network. I feel that I ought to know the name of this type of fencing. My father who was a carpenter of integrity would most certainly have explained it to me in years gone by. All I know is that I like the old wood and the shadows cast. This fence leads to home for me.


The first Frosty morning. I shall look back and consider matters. The order will bear little chronology or obvious purpose.


This week I went South to Bellingen. I do believe we encountered the first winter snap. Kati B was minding a house. Bellingen was one of the North Coast towns invaded by the hippies on the hippy trail in the 1970s. I was amongst them – in my own way. Over the years, more incomers have arrived and all manner of habitations and ways of life have evolved. This one at Brierfield is an example of a family home built on experiences and time. It still requires a fire to heat the water but it also has a wood fire of grand proportions . The family are of Belgian descent and finishing touches feature quirks and exotic influences. One wee bird comes to the verandah rail to feed.


Back in Ulmarra, I have located the swing park down on the riversedge. It features a flying fox and all the basic necessities. The gardens in the park are signed with pithy sayings and edible sections. I don’t know who takes care of the park. Someone mysterious methinks because its not a generic computerised one size fits all place. The wee signs appear to be handmade and the flowers remind me of Nana Bell’s house in Rosebery in the 1950s and 1960s.

knox girls 4 008

I have lived, since 2001, on the Tweed.  That included RAINBOW BAY and COOLANGATTA as well as TUMBULGUM and BILAMBIL. It was there that I discovered a good deal about the BELL FAMILY, my maternal grandfather’s Scottish people.

It was there that my granddaughter was born in 2004. TWEED HEADS HOSPITAL.

I am now glad to be South again watching NSW TV. Even with frost on the grass, I am at this stage glad to be here.


I AM looking for the big birds this morning but they are not there. The waters are still there a little but that’s splendid. Wetlands it is. Traffic is back on Coldstream Street. I rather liked the boats and the young newspaper boy delivering on his pushbike through axle deep water.

Time for some reflection.

MADDY 5 030

Its less than a month ago that the Quinns from ILNAM ESTATE WINERY were in the garage of LINDEN LEA helping us to load the ALPHA TRUCK for the move. Lachlan and Mark proved to be as good at packing as they are at being friends and that’s rather good.

The rain is back this morning. I seem to be suffering from post flood traumatic stressed syndrome.  Overreacting to the slightest drop of water. The empty cattle trucks are heading east this morning. I don’t know whether they are planning to bring the cattle back down onto this grazing land or not – as yet. Flocks of birds are flying over. Hundreds of water birds. 

MADDY 5 062

Soon as we had moved in here, I was off to Armidale. This is part of our intention to embrace this area. The autumn trees were in full colour up there and the nights were cold.

Armidale also has a drug and alcohol rehabilitation centre which seems to work very effectively. I think that by the time people find themselves in that situation, they begin to take it very seriously indeed.  Cold and Detoxing are not easy companions.

MADDY 5 092

Fortunately, I was there for celebration – not for detoxification.

MADDY 5 264

Celebration did mean KidsWorld. That was an experience. It did keep the Kids busy for 2 1/2 hours.

MADDY 5 420
MADDY 5 413

Driving back down the Mountain was somewhat more intimidating even than Kids World. At the time we didn’t know that we were driving into the prelude to the next flood. The roads were mist and rain obscured. It was cold and bleak. Within the week, the Dorrigo Mountain Road was again closed due to flooding and landslides. A few years back I drove through the Tallimoble Fires not knowing that just behind me the Highway was being closed and this was similar.

MADDY 5 429

We wrapped that trip up with lunch at URUNGA before I caught the train back to Grafton. URUNGA is our HOMETOWN. We eat at the cafe in the arcade and IT IS GOOD.

MADDY 5 427  



Woke to a sunny day. and blue skies. AND a LAKE of our very own. I did want a house right on the river and I have it – for this week anyways.

flooding 001

Its been a most interesting week. They call it a weather event. A long event says I. The road is today a waterway. The hairy dog enjoyed it and so do the Kids. i continue listening to ABC Radio and the bizarre reporting of this Event.  ABC Mid North Coast Radio isn’t specially bizarre but Officialdom remains ODD in the extreme.

flooding 004 

I am putting Photos up for the MOB in Armidale who were coming down this weekend. They didn’t come ! Deterred by Water and landslides –so it seems. Kati B and IMM had offered to do a rescue mission but they are also flooded in. Bertha, our fridge, is now defunct. She is floating under the house where we had left her till we had muscle enough to bring her up the steps – so now we do not have a functioning fridge. She is tied to one of the Stilts under the House.

flooding 012

Its dark now. That seems to be when I sit still and give up for the night. The water is rising again. Each day has its own flavour and this one had kayaks, boats and walkers as well as some 4WDs passing by on Coldstream Street.

flooding 007 

I haven’t seen one official person or vehicle all day despite the seeming efficiency imaged on the radio. We are OK here but I am not sure what help we would have had had we not been. No matter. Its dark now. The water rises seepingly and we have power and warmth and an attic. We have watched the community at play today and I like that.

flooding and boats 001 

We have internet too. I also like that, with Facebook People contacting us and family in touch and able to send images to them. Iz has a Coca Cola Can over his mobile net modem. IMM said that Bello people were trying it so Iz does it too. We knew we would have slow net here due to it being GPRS.

flooding and boats 016

I think the Village gathered at the Local Pub but I am short and the water is deep so I wasn’t able to wade out today. The lads were out on quad bikes. I am impressed by the bikes. They just ploughed through the waters undeterred.

flooding and boats 007 

This is the Blue Bear which was washed down the Road from Under the House and rescued by Doug who lives next door. Bravo Blue Bear! A narrow escape.

flooding and boats 070  flooding and boats 050

Sunset over the floods. Looking west towards the Highway and Village.

Family with baby in Mother’s arms.
flooding and boats 022 FLOODS MORE 041
2 shots of hair in progress. Flood Shocked Whitening of the Hair.

FLOODS DAY 3 or is it DAY 4 ?

(From the Clarence and Richmond Examiner, April 5. 1864)

Rain, rain, nothing but rain, rendering the
noble and useful Clarence into a most formidable
sheet of water-overflowing its boundaries, and
converting immense areas of land into large
lagoons, destroying the crops and sweeping all

before it.  Such has been the Clarence River of late.

FLOODS 4 026 FLOODS 4 009

INTO another day. I woke with the yard water free. Now, as the day passes, it comes  at us from the South and has just crossed the road. An inland sea of water.

FLOODS 4 023

Thank God for next door neighbours and local villagers, once again. I watch their faces and their actions.  They tell us about 2001 and I tell them about Bellingen and Iz watches and learns. Water has been one of his “things” he tells me. Today he is the one down there in cold water and getting provisions in.  He has a large stick to flick off the power if the water rises that high.

Iz replaced the letterbox on the fence post. No mail today due to its being Saturday. Yesterday a wee lad on a pushbike delivered the papers. Undeterred was he. After the Iz fixed the letterbox which we found underwater yesterday, he took a walk down to the Village to see what was happening and to check on the Charade.

FLOODS 4 002 FLOODS 4 003

The house above is just over the road and to the left. Morning of May 23 2009.

Morning May 23 2009.
FLOODS 4 012 

5.08pm. Dark and flooded. Fire Brigade went by a moment ago in the big truck. The road is under and it is eerily silent. Piles of cow dung are floating by.  The power has stayed on and there are lights , dim spots of light here and there in the houses which are standing in this inland sea.

FLOODS MAY 23 057 
Should have bought the gumboots at Bunnings. Or even better the Classy Gumboots in South Grafton.

The cars are still in their parking places at Swan Creek and at the Firies. The levee didn’t breach during last  night but now the water rises silently and steadily across the paddocks.

I have found records of other floods in the NATIONAL DIGITISED NEWSPAPERS of the NLA.  See Below. Old Floods from other times. 

Kati B is again trapped in at Valery and one elderly gentleman was found dead in his submerged car at Raleigh.

7.19pm Dark now with waters lapping. They don’t seem to have risen much since dark. Still lapping 8 steps down – back and front.  Winds have risen and it is eerie. We thought for a moment we would be sleeping and retreating to the Attic.

These are the front steps earlier in the day. The water is a lot dirtier now.   

Wonder whether there will be live Music at the Wide River Cafe in Ulmarra tomorrow?




Started at 22/05/09 6:55am

UPDATED 10:39am



Initial report

Lanes closed:
Both directions – All

RTA advice:
Exercise caution

Other advice:
The highway is closed between Ballina and Grafton and at Frederickton, north of Kempsey.


Started at 21/05/09 10:36am

UPDATED 7:18am



Initial report

Lanes closed:
Both directions – All

RTA advice:
Avoid the area, Use alternative route

Other advice:
The road is currently closed between Bellingen and Raleigh. There is no access from the Pacific Highway.

Started at 21/05/09 6:35pm

UPDATED 6:48pm




Lanes closed:
Both directions – All


RTA advice:
Use alternative route



article1257850-3-001 1864 flood

The Brisbane Courier Wednesday 13 April 1864,

Courier (Brisbane, Qld.) Thursday 12 March 1863,



Tub Clarence and Richmond Examiner,


The Brisbane Courier Wednesday 9 February 1887, page 6

The Brisbane Courier Saturday 29 January 1887

Further news from Grafton respecting the  
floods in the Clarence River is to the effect that several houses were swept away at Ulmarra
and Copmanhurst.

The Brisbane Courier Tuesday 18 March 1890

The Presbyterian Church at Ulmarra was shifted bodily and placed in an unsafe condition, necessitating rebuilding

The Brisbane Courier Friday 16 June 1893

On Saturday a resident of
Ulmarra lost seventeen head of fat cattle by one stroke of lightning.

Northern Territory Times Friday 24 February 1928

A third flood in the Clarence within a
week occurred and our huge pastoral
and agricultural lands again covered
by floodwaters. Boats under police
supervision and manned by voluntary
crews have been out daily removing
families from flooded homes and
taking food to people who are isolated.


Argus (Melbourne, Vic.) Friday 24 February 1928, page 16. News 458 words

The Canberra Times Wednesday 31 March 1954

MACLEAN, Tuesday. I

"Floods can be prevented on
the Clarence River," Federal
Minister for Health, Sir Earle
Page, said to-day.

Sir Earle was addressing a
meeting of the Clarence Valley

women’s flood-control committee.

He said a dam could be built
at the Clarence Gorge to hold
any flood likely to sweep down
the river. ‘

"The dam proposed by experts is a dual purpose dam,"
Sir Earle told the meeting.

It would prevent floods, and
the water stored in it could be
used for power production.

The continual run of water down the river would tend to keep the channel clear and lessen dredging operations.

"With the completion of the northern breakwater and other port works at Iluka, expert opinion is that many of the present shallows will be permanently deepened," he said.

The Canberra Times Tuesday 27 June 1950,

Frederick Ayres, 35, -was drowned at Ulmarra



BELOW: 1948.

FLOODSarticle2751325-3-001 (1)



Issued at 4:05 PM on Saturday the 23rd of May 2009
Flood Warning Number: 15

The Clarence River at Grafton peaked near 7.4 metres around 5:30 am this morning
[23/05/09] with major flooding. The Clarence River at Ulmarra peaked near 5.8
metres around 10:30 am [23/06/09].  Major flood peaks will occur at Maclean
later today.  


Predicted River Heights/Flows:

Maclean   - peak near 3.3 metres around 7:30 pm (23/05/09) with             
major flooding coinciding with the high tide.
FloodSafe advice is available at
For emergency assistance call the SES on telephone number 132 500. 
For life threatening emergencies, call 000 immediately.

Weather Forecast:

For the latest weather forecast see

Next Issue:

The next warning will be issued by 7:30 pm (23/05/09).

Latest River Heights:

Nymboida R at Nymboida            8.51m rising   03:30 PM SAT 23/05/09
Boyd R at Broadmeadows            4.72m falling  03:30 PM SAT 23/05/09
Clarence R at Tabulam             5.85m steady   03:30 PM SAT 23/05/09
Clarence R at Baryulgil           7.39m falling  03:30 PM SAT 23/05/09
Mann R at Jackadgery              7.76m falling  03:30 PM SAT 23/05/09
Clarence R at Lilydale            14.04m falling 03:30 PM SAT 23/05/09
Orara R at Glenreagh              9m falling     03:30 PM SAT 23/05/09
Clarence R at Grafton (Prince St) 7.24m falling  12:15 PM SAT 23/05/09
Clarence R at Ulmarra             5.68m falling  03:30 PM SAT 23/05/09
Clarence R at Maclean             3.04m steady   03:30 PM SAT 23/05/09


449 millimetres of rain fell last night at Dorrigo last night.

floods ulmarra 017 floods ulmarra 027

Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology
New South Wales
Issued at 9:44 AM on Friday the 22nd of May 2009
Flood Warning Number: 6
Up to 330 millimetres of rain has fallen in the Clarence Valley during the past
2 days to 9 am today [22/05/09]. Very heavy rain has fallen over the central
valley with up to 112 millimetres being recorded in the 6 hours to 3 am
Rain has eased in the past 6 hours to 9 am [22/05/09], however
further heavy rainfall is forecasted over the next 12-24 hours which is expected
to produce further river level rises. The situation is being closely monitored.
At this stage it is not possible to predict the flood peak because of
uncertainty over how much more rain will fall.
Predicted River Heights/Flows:
Grafton – reach 7.8 metres around midnight(22/05/09) with major flooding
Ulmarra – reach 6.1 metres around 1 am (23/05/09) with major flooding
Maclean – reach 3.3 metres around 6 pm (23/05/09) with major flooding


ilnamscrub 024

I will miss Scrubby Pete and Mark Quinn and days at ILNAM ESTATE WINERY.

jarrarumba 046

I could well miss my driveway. It, however, has been sprayed with roundup and covered with rocks to avoid bogging so I shan’t miss it as I once might have.

jarrarumba 059

I shall miss my Gentleman – the discerning owner who has been a true friend to me.


I am unlikely to miss the Murwillumbah Community Centre which is grubby and neglected.

knox girls 4 001 

I might miss the NSW/QLD border games and the crazed months of daylight saving.


I do not think I will miss Friday Nights at Luffley Cafe. I do not know why I won’t but I don’t think I will.

DOUGS DINNER LOSJAM 008 I think I will miss the elegancies and dignities of Main House Life.
bagels 003 

I won’t miss bagel making because we will actually have a kitchen and perhaps a stove and therefore be baking more. The Kidz gave Iz finances for a kitchen appliance so we will be a –cooking.


I am NOT going to miss the BILAMBIL BLUES CLUB at all.




Re-locating in all its dimensions remains an interesting process. The house is now chosen. The details are to be attended  to.


Heading South in search of Home, we stopped in at NEW ITALY for lunch and coffee. There was a residence there for $160 a week and that appealed. Izzy could have sat with hat at feet and guitar in hand to supplement our income.


We stayed with the original plan and proceeded down the Pacific Highway. NSW No 1 Road. Through the Cane to the Clarence.


After some scruffling and confusion we chose the house.



A week of flooding rains. We started up the driveway on Monday morning after a night’s rain and the Starwagon bogged before we reached the top. After a second attempt, we sat on the lounge on the Porch and sank into despair. Iz approached our DOS; and they tried a couple of bush remedies and ended with the tractor towing the Starwagon out and onto the  top gravelled area.  Then we were off down the Pacific Highway heading for the Clarence for an investigative few days. It rained all the way.

We are back now and very well pleased with the trip. We met and spent hours and hours speaking to Simon and Robin. Sat up till 1a.m. and  slept in a solar powered house with our water heated by wood fire. Wallabies and possums were up near the residence and despite the rain – which led to major flooding a little further south in Coffs and Bellingen, the Clarence worked its usual seductive charm on us as well as adding two companions of the human variety who treated us like family members. 

THE EMPORIUM CAFEWe were also introduced to the EMPORIUM in SKINNER STREET, SOUTH GRAFTON. The Cafe there has a bedouin tent and we ate curries and vegie bowls. Its open long hours and is planning to bring music in in the near future.  The Emporium reminded me of the ANTIQUE SUPERMARKET in SURRY HILLS way back in the 70s but the Emporium is not restricted to antiques and has THE CLARENCE ENVIRONMENT CENTRE

tucked away at the back. The CEC as well as Environmental Issues is THE CHEAPEST OP SHOP in town and has masses of books and clothes , candles, incenses etc. 



I have just spent a few days on the Clarence. Before we went we did a BEECHMONT TRIP and Izzy did a gig there on the Saturday night. 

It seems years since I slept in a house outside the electricity grid and it was a beautiful experience. 


p3205754In recovering from Centrelink and JObSeeker Shock, I shall take a look at the weekend newly passed. Lennox Head Weekend was indeed a pleasure. I have been there only once before other than a quick swoop through a few years back. Lennox has good eating and smiling people.  p3205756The 7 mile beach was as impressive as I had hoped. So was the Lake and the LAKE AINSWORTH CARAVAN PARK was HUGE! We were allocated a Cabin which was a half kilometre from the entrance. It was tucked in amongst Trees and Birds.  The park was immaculate and reminiscent of childhood dreams of summer holidays. THREE amenities Blocks.  I loved it. If I am taking this North Coast Path, and I am, then I shall also embrace THE CARAVAN PARK. I had thought them dead and dying. Long Live LAKE AINSWORTH. In fact the Byron Bay one whose name seems to have been obliterated by the trauma of it, is the only dud we have struck. Happened to be the most expensive as well and the rudest and the most security conscious with minimal success. Apologies to all the GOOD Byron Resorts and if I can recall the DUD I shall list it here. 

Grafton has been accommodation friendly as was CASINO. Cheap. Clean. Friendly with character and personalities of their own.  p3215796p3205764Izzy likes the LENNOX HEAD BAKERY and I like the salad and fruit shop. Yesterday we ate at CAFE BELLA. The Pub  is a little raunchy of a night for my taste but thats where the banditz Play and this time we met up with Lynne Komidar and her family as well as other Convention Friends. Social Experiences for a loner like me.  That’s 


the Cabin. No 4. Top Marks the more I think about it. White Linen and cooking gear. Even a DVD player and internet wireless access. We coulnd’t get it but we tried. The surrounding cabins housed fellow conventioneers and we shared brekkie and late night capuccinos and tales of this and that. p3215781Sitting at breakfast on our own porch, we heard a sound which soon 

translated into the rising of  a balloon over the trees.  I’ve not been near enough to actually see the flames before. Off they sailed and we were into the day. The ti-tree lake was precisely the correct colour. I met old friends and initiated the elements of some new relationships. Next week we begin the mud map exploration of our potential new home. CLARENCE.  p3225833


Took the chance to DO Bangalow today. byron-na-conv-014

I finally made it to ABRACADABRA. Now that’s not something you will understand unless you have raised flocks of small children during the 80s to the TV advertisement – THE BIGGEST BUNCH OF BASKETS UNDER THE SUN and had said children leaping and singing in a strange Northern Rivers Manner along with the ABRACADABRIANs on the Ad.  I didn’t look at the baskets but they had some nice stuff there. Floaty clothes. I almost bought one of the floating garments for next week’s wedding of Izzy’s nephew at Nerang but erred on the side of sophistication. The Wedding is a wedding planner job so methinks the yellow silk pants and other Chez Elegans 2ndhand garments are more in order. Joanne’s mother mostly provides me with that section of my wardrobe. I think I would be less uncomfortable in the yellow silk up there at Nerang than in the slightly faded hippy floater. Mostly I am black on black with a tinge of purple or faded black. I have a pair of blundstones which I have had since 2001. I almost renewed them last year in Dorrigo but was hesitant. a) because I am really NOT a new clothes buyer except the Blundstones. and b) because I heard that Bludnstones had sent their business to China – and despite the Rose’s delight in having all her clothes come from overseas, namely China( she is only 9) I don’t fancy my Aussie Boots being made there then sailed across oceans wide for me to pay for them to travel more  and further than I have travelled in 60 years.


I have been to Bangalow only a handful of adult times. One was as I returned from my mother’s funeral. I turned off the highway and into this small town where she had spent a lot of time in her youth.40-13-bangalow-1947

When I was standing behind the A and I hall today I glanced up and felt a flash of recognition. I think its the same place as the shot above. Mum used to stay in Bangalow with her cousin Maisie. Johnston as was and became Beckinsale. We had a fine time today and lunched with Jo and Sherif at the cafe on the corner. Then headed north. Got off the freeway and took the leisurely Burringbar Ranges. I was wearing my Casino MooCow shorts which I thought a daring move in Cool Society. I believe it was very hot today because people were wilting en masse. That sort of weather suits me well. We stopped in Mooball where they now have one of the Automatic Door closing toilets which play Muzak while one is in there.  I didn’t enter it at all but Izzy informs that the tune was WHAT THE WORLD NEEDS NOW IS LOVE SWEET LOVE – but hurry up says he because the door’s about to open.

We moved on to the VICTORY HOTEL where we heard a stompbox rhythm and caught a few minutes of SLIM PICKENS which was a real treat. Slim gave us a CD . The new one he has done with Dr Baz. NEXT TIME its called.

A truly hot day. I took a swim when I came home and here on The Hill its not too bad at all. I shall be looking out for the crescent moon right there beside Venus shortly. byron-na-conv-032

Before I return to work on my NORTHERN BELLES Calendar of DAILY READINGS

I add and leave you with this split slab construction at CRABBE’S CREEK. CRABBE’s is another tiny village up here in the North. Between Mooball and Burringbar. The Store was manned bya beautiful young Englishwoman who loved the heat and loves the country. Next door was this very interesting construction. Along with wheelbarrows of bottled wine and lots of local vegies and fruit.  We do not have anything like this in Bilambil as far as I know. Then again, I have not yet made it to Ray and Norma’s Slab Hut just down the road and across the street.   






BELLINGEN BRIDGE which is way under water today. It has a side rail which can be dropped allowing the debris to float over the top with minimised destruction.

MAY HOLS 08 013

I LIVE ON the QLD NSW border and almost all the news we receive is QUEENSLAND news. So – early this morning, when my COASTFM Brekkie News Reader mentioned BELLINGEN, it caught my attention immediately. Bellingen often doesn’t reach the news even in NSW and even in midst of BIG events. The Daughter, Kati B, contacted me by SMS a few seconds later. Yes! BELLINGEN IS FLOODED. Wooyung was NOT flooded yesterday despite the road blocks and the signs. We contacted the WOOYUNG CARAVAN PARK and they reaffirmed their NON FLOODED status. BELLINGEN, however, IS FLOODED. 7.32 metres at BELLO bridge and heading for 8.2.

Kati B and IMM had headed in from Hyde’s Creek to work in town but on reaching North Bellingen were faced with the flooded BRIDGE which separates  the two halves of town. I have experienced many Flood Events in Bello over many years. I have not as yet determined the precise nature of TWEED Flooding but I know the Bellinger very well.

Most of those experiences were without mobile phones. Today, Kati B was able to ring me from the outside the Providore in North Bellingen where IMM and her were topping up provisions but lots of guesswork used to go into flood assessment in my previous experiences. Still has my adrenalin on the drip and a strange excitement. Memories of children and floating VWs and calculated estimations of how high the waters would come.

I have very few images of those times. Certainly I have none to hand, but I have some fine mental images of days flooded in and floodboats bringing supplies across.

1974, the Cyclone came down off the coast and URUNGA was flooded in with the rarely seen flooding of RALEIGH BRIDGE and Urunga Caravan Park.

MAY HOLS 08 020

The loos near the River and the Bridge will most likely be under water. At times when they have accommodated temporary residents, there have been concerns about said residents being caught unawares but I don’t think we have actually lost anyone as yet.

I just checked my FACEBOOK friends and several of them are flooded in and most of them seem to be enjoying it. No work today! That indicates that Urunga is also flooded in. That’s dramatic.

armidale 08 may 030

One of the Kalang Road bridges west of  Bellingen. I lived on Kalang when the Kids were little. The School Bus used to pick the children up from the schools when waters began to rise. The driver then honked the horn to let families know the Kids were on their way home.

COAST FM at 12.01pm NSW time – says that water is across the road at URUNGA and north of Frederickton. That’s dramatic too.

Lifted this from the RTA site.



Initial report

Lanes closed:
Both directions – All

RTA advice:
Exercise caution

Other advice:
There is no access to Bellingen.
Motorists are advised to delay their journey.

Emergency service(s)


THE WALKWAY AT THE END OF THE FOOTBRIDGE OVER URUNGA LAGOON. Most likely flooded today. (That’s my academic analysis. )


The West Australian

Saturday 29 March 1890







SYDNEY, March 28. 1890

Walcha, a township 300 miles north of Sydney, is under water. The inhabitants have removed their things to a place of safety. Great damage has been done. The river at Walcha fell considerably yesterday. It is raining in torrents at Armidale, where the floods are the greatest ever experienced. Several houses on the low land at Armidale are flooded. The gasworks also are flooded, and the fires have been put out. The damage on tbe Bellinger river is estimated at between £35,000 and £40,000. The river is again rising. Thirty three inches of rain have fallen at Fernmount up to date, and nearly three inches fell last night. At Inverell the river rose 20 feet, overflowing its banks in many places. Families, in many instances, have deserted their homes. The people in the Kempsey district are preparing for another flood. The largest flood since 1878 has been experienced at Tenterfield. Several residents have left their homes, and one house is in water 4 feet deep.




The Canberra Times ; Monday 15 February 1937




SYDNEY, Sunday.

Flood danger on the North Coast is rapidly passing as the flood waters are being carried swiftly away, and although some townships are still isolated by water; the worst appears to be over.

The severest local floods for 40 years were experienced at Gleniffer, on the Bellinger River,which had 32 inches of rain in 48 hours; Much damage has been caused to property, maize crops being washed away, and fencing swept out to sea while heavy losses of stock are expected to be revealed when farmers can inspect their flooded lands.
At Gienreagh, the Orara River which had risen more than 30 feet: dropped 9 ft last night and rain ceased altogether this morning.

Gangs of men are out repairing bridges, filling in washaways and clearing railway lines. The falling, of the river has made it posslble to reach Glenreagh by rail, though roads are still impassable. At East Bellingen, residents were forced to evacuate their homes.

Occupants of Gleniffer stocked their houses with provisions to withstand a flood seige, and have received no mail or food yet. Their only available means of communication waa the telephone.


Here in  the North, its tropically wet and lush.  I don’t have words for Victoria and will stay silent. These few days are days to stand silent before. The Container that will hold the Sorrows of this dimension will need to be vast.