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Past Activities

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Christmas Party

Scenes captured at our annual Christmas party - a fun day was had by all!

 (photos to come!)

 

Champagne and Christmas Lights


What a lovely evening was had by 30 odd Probus members and guests who gathered at the Motor Boat Club to board the bus to the city to enjoy the magic of the city lights from the vantage point of Mrs Macquarie’ s Chair. We set up in a perfect spot and were spoiled with a wonderful selection of nibbles to snack on and (several) glasses of Champagne to compliment. Thank you to Bonnie and Warren and all the helpers for providing the tables, eskies, drinks and food, once again a marvellous job done by all. Our bus driver, Clayton, was a marvel negotiating the pre-Christmas traffic to give us a tour of the city streets and take us over the Harbour Bridge to view the city lights reflected in the water of the harbour. Once back on the city side Clayton took us to many areas in search of Christmas lights. Unfortunately, some of the streets were never designed for a large tour bus to navigate and he was forced to drive in and reverse out but in spite of this obstacle, many “OOOHs and AHHHs were heard throughout the bus when we spotted some spectacular lights.

A very enjoyable evening shared with wonderful company.

Nielsen Park to Rose Bay

After a shaky start to the day with rain predicted, we were lucky it came very early in the morning and the rest of the day was warm and sunny. Twelve people ended up joining the walk including three visitors from our last meeting. Our walk started at Nielsen Park - the Glass and Bottle Loop track, unfortunately the Harbour views were not as good as advertised!

We stopped for a short coffee break at the kiosk before heading along the back of the beach - and what a lovely beach it is. Many of us had not ventured around this area so there were lots of surprises along the way. We found the Hermitage Foreshore Walk trail on the southern end and made our way to Rose Bay. The information on the walk dis\d not include that there were lots of steps along the way, but the timber path was excellent, The harbour and city view and magnificent homes along the way made up for the ups and downs of the steps. A bit more exertion than our normal walk!

Brigadoon at Bundanoon

It was a gorgeous sunny day, with tartans of all colours and designs. 25 pipe bands in their different tartan colours from around that state marched around the oval. There were displays of Scottish highland and country dancing for all ages, dog obedience displays, Scottish Clan stalls and of course many food stalls. The highlight of the day was the highland heavy weight championship caber toss.

More photos here.

 

Bowls

Represented by Bruce Blackshaw, Joyce Sadlier, Brian Biggs and Jeff Hegarty, our club lowered its colours to Engadine Probus (they had home ground advantage!) The game was enjoyed by all participants and Jeff had more productive results at the post match raffle!

St Patricks Day Luncheon

What a great day was had by 34 predominantly green attired members who attended the St Patrick's day luncheon at The Fiddler, Rouse Hill. We mingled with other clubs before supping on traditional Irish fare and enjoying the dancing. We clapped and sang along with the Irish tunes and laughed out loud at the Irish jokes.

Monterey to Kyeemagh Walk

16 members, a few friends and 2 dogs joined in our February afternoon walk from Monterey to Kyeemagh and return. It was a perfect afternoon for a walk, warm but a nice breeze to keep us cool.

 

Rivercat to Parramatta

Our members and guests braced the 37 degree heat to cruise on the Dawn Fraser Rivercat, up the sparkling Parramatta River. To our surprise, a cooling breeze stayed with us from Circular Quay. Lunch was at the air conditioned Port Bar and Bistro on the Wharf. Meals and service were very pleasant! A free bus trip took some of us on a sight seeing tour to the railway station for the trip home.

Vaucluse House

On a beautiful sunny day, around 26 members ventured out by Sydney public transport to Vaucluse House.

This magnificent 28 acre parkland in the middle of Sydney's Eastern suburbs has large Morton Bay fig trees, manicured green lawns and gardens that are a mix of the formal English design and native Australian flora.

Our tour consisted of being led throughout the many rooms of this beautiful sandstone building. We passed through the enclosed courtyard into the main house observing period decorated drawing and dining rooms; then up the narrow stair case into the bedrooms with four poster beds and straw stuffed mattresses. Back down the main staircase, across the courtyard into the servant's quarters and the kitchen. Along the way we were told stories giving a wonderful insight into part of Sydney colonial history.

After the tour we retired to the adjacent Tea Rooms for a delightful luncheon.

South Cronulla Walk


Thirteen people, including 2 friends from Hurstville Probus and one dog—Cleo —took part in our first walk for 2019. It was a very hot day so we were all glad to be starting our walk late in the afternoon and enjoy a lovely sea breeze along the way.
We set off from the South Cronulla Surf Club and walked south along the coast walkway. Along the way we envied all the people enjoying a late afternoon swim—there were so many people out and about and in the water. We walked as far as Bass and Flinders Point then retraced our steps back to the park for a bit of dinner from the takeaway fish and chip shop at the back of the park. The walk took us about 1 hr 45 mins and covered about 6 kms. Everyone was very busy walking, chatting and taking in the scenery and we forgot to take a group photo!

End of Year Function

 

We enjoyed a traditional Christmas lunch at St George Motor Boat Club. Ian Blakeney entertained us with songs and music. Santa visited and distributed presents of delicious Christmas cake (made by Marie Beccaris) and was hugged by some ladies for photo opportunities. Maureen provided fantastic decorations including hand made snowmen and baubles which were waved in time to Ian's music or worn as earrings! Ian's music was very danceable with some members taking to the dance floor.

 Lucky door prize tickets were drawn and certificates presented to the following members:

  • Hopelessly Devoted award for Most Probus Activities attended: Kate
  • Kogarah Khronicler award for best newsletter contribution: Maureen
  • Kogarah Krooner award for most enthusiastic singing: Ken
  • Lovely Legs award for most walking events attended: Bonnie
  • Day Tripper award for attendance at most day trips - Wendy
  • Great Gargoyle Challenge - Jenny Young

More photos here.

Town Hall Tour

A small group of 8 of us met for our very informative and fun tour of the Town Hall with our very knowledgable guide Kieran who has worked there for 68 years - straight from school! After leaving the gorgeous vestibule we went into the Centenary Hall. We then admired it from upstairs. We got up close to the magnificent organ, one of the largest in the world. Kieran took us through the Mayoress's Rooms, Council Chambers and Dining area, then downstairs to the lower hall, vaults, and finally the remnants of Sydney's third cemetery. The stained glass windows, art work and furnishings throughout the Town Hall were magnificent. Lunch at Clubb 99 on York Street was excellent!

More photos here.

Sydney Harbour Bridge

After a very dark and cloudy start to the morning, 9 people set off through The Rocks along Argyle Street to the Bridge stairs from Cumberland Street. A new elevator is now available for those not wanting to walk up all the steps. By the time we reached the path to the bridge the weather had cleared to a very pleasant sunny day with a light breeze to keep the heat away. After a leisurely walk across the Bridge with time to take in the views on such a lovely morning - cruise ship in port and the harbour glistening. We made such good time, we decided it was a bit early for lunch at Kirribilli so we opted to walk back over the Bridge, the round trip taking just over an hour. Most of the group continued on a walk around The Rocks and then on to lunch.

Centennial Park

An easy walk around the Grand Circuit. The Park was very green and our time enjoyable.  We stopped for a late morning tea at the Homestead Kitchen which had lovely wisteria framing the restaurant area. 

Cherry Blossom Festival

Photos can be found here

It was a glorious sunny day for the 21 members visiting the Auburn Botanic Japanese Gardens to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. After the strong winds of August we were delighted to see them flowering magnificently. The trees are still quite young and will only get better with age - like us! We had to split up into small groups as it was impossible to stay together because of the crowds of people, everyone stopping every few seconds to take another snapshot. The Japanese style of meandering pathways coming across a new vista around every corner was so beautiful to see as was the lake, home to some well fed geese, reflecting the trees and blossoms. When our feet were sore, we headed to the Canterbury Leagues Club for lunch. It was a lovely day shared with our wonderful Probus friends.

 

Woronora Bridge

We had 14 people take part in our walk, including new and hopefully soon-to-be members and three visitors from Hurstville Probus joining us once again. It was a very warn, sunny and cloudless winter's morning for our walk. We met at Club on East, at Sutherland and made our way along the streets of Sutherland to the Woronora Bridge. This took about 20 minutes. Everyone was in high spirits enjoying good conversation and the beautiful day. From the observation point we made our way under the bridge and found the walkway that goes along the northern side of the bridge across to the other side. Once again, as we have found with some of our walks, there was no signage or information. Such a pity, as there were steps going down before we got to the oberservaton point, however with nothing to say where they went, how far etc., we ended up not venturing down. We assumed they went down to the old bridge and river, but it looked like a big climb back up. From the other side, (again no signage) we made our way back to the club about midday and had lunch in the bistro!

 

Christmas in July at Chapel Hill

 

Forty-eight members and friends enjoyed a coach ride to Chapel Hill at Berambing on the Bells Line of Road. First stop was Bilpin where we were only supposed to be stopping for coffee, however on spying the apple pies here, many members decided they could not resist. On arrival at Chapel Hill, we first took a stroll to the little Chapel with its modern stained glass windows. Then inside the function centre we enjoyed a traditional Christmas lunch of Turkey & Ham with roast vegetables, followed by Plum Pudding and Custard. Our entertainer, Kristie Lee was a surprise package. She began with Carols, then Neil Diamond, Phantom of the Opera and followed by Yodelling. Her vocal range was simply amazing. Then she made a few costume changes on stage and became Tina Turner with "Simply the Best", followed by Elvis Presley, complete with his signature white bodysuit covered in bling—here she nearly brought the house down. On the way home our coach stopped again at the Bilpin Fruit Barn for more purchases of apples and apple pies, and our driver Ron manoeuvred the coach home by 6.00pm, avoiding major traffic hold-ups. Another enjoyable day out.

NSW Parliament House Tour

 

Twenty-eight members and friends attended the State Parliament House tour and after going through the Bag Screen and Metal Detectors at the gatehouse, we gathered in the main foyer and were shown where the old and new parts of the building join with a modern fountain in between. Originally built as a Hospital in 1816 (called the Rum Hospital), it began to be used for Government purposes in 1829. In 1974 a re-building program began and the jumble of old buildings were replaced with a 12-storey block linked by the Fountain Court to the preserved Macquarie Street buildings. We were then taken into the Legislative Assembly and given a very comprehensive description of what takes place in this Chamber. The colours of the Chambers follow the British tradition of green for the Lower House and red for the Upper House. The wallpapers are an exact reproduction of the original 1830s originals, discovered when they peeled back several layers of old paint and wallpapers. It was pointed out where our various local members sit in the room—with an enormous painting of W C Wentworth looking over their shoulders. Our President Michael was sitting in the Premier's Seat on the front bench and Bonnie was made honorary Speaker and allowed to sit in his chair (but not touch the buttons). Then we were shown into the Legislative Council wing and told how that Chamber operates and given an explanation of all the Busts around the room, the Queen's Chair and the President's Chair. There was a little door which showed us the original structure of the rooms which were made out of Packing Cases. It was fascinating. Our booking for the café was not passed on to the Dining Room. However with a 10 minute delay, we were seated in a room overlooking the Domain and enjoyed a delicious meal. Overall, it was a very instructive and interesting outing.

Wendy Whiteley's Secret Garden

 

Once again a beautiful sunny winter's day. The possible showers didn't eventuate, so once again we were lucky. There is no signage to the park or entry points. Wendy Whiteley has created an intimate and attractive space, known as Wendy's Secret Garden, on an area of railway land below Clark Park. It is currently leased to Council for public use. Wendy hired her first strong helper, Corrado Camuglia, a cheerful, pragmatic Sicilian pizza chef. She then hired Ruben Gardiol, a kind-hearted, multi-skilled house painter from Uruguay, who became a natural gardener. He and Corrado are the Secret Garden's two devoted long-term gardeners, who've seen it all, creating incrementally, one tree and shrub and object at a time, up the hill and along the flat, a joyous guerrilla garden. Part time gardeners work with them with other local volunteer gardeners (coordinated by Lavender Bay Precinct), gathering on the first Saturday of each month to lend a hand. We entered across the road from the Kirribilli Club in Harbourview Cres. Given it is a downhill walk from here this seemed to be the best option as you are walking along narrow garden paths and steps, zigzaging the area leading either up or down, depending on the way you take. It isn't a long walk to reach the bottom and you can meander along or go up and down the steps admiring the lush garden growth. Wendy's house is at the top of the hill behind a magnificent huge Morton Bay fig tree. We enjoyed beautiful Harbour and city views from the garden and along the foreshore. We decided to leave at the bottom of the garden, walk along the Harbour foreshore around Luna Park, under the Bridge and back up towards Milsons Point Station. We then had lunch at the Kirribilli Hotel before returning home.

Kokoda Memorial Walking Track

 

We had fourteen people take part in the walk on a stunning autumn day. Not a cloud in the sky and 23 degrees. Everyone made their own way around the walkway - you can enter from a couple of locations and follow the pathways. It wasn't well sign posted and there weren't any maps to give you an idea of the area and where things were. Aprart from that, we all enjoyed our time there and reading and hearing about the various locations on the Kokoda Trail. If you read and listened to every story board it would propably take a couple of hours to complete the walk.  THe Memorial Centre piece, a series of granite walls with sandblasted images from the Kokoda campaign was impressive, Along the way you walk through a rain forest area with a watercourse leading into a pond and overlooking the Parramatta River. Unfortunately the rose garden wasn't in bloom, but we were sure it would be lovely when it is.

Everyone called into the cafe for a snack or lunch before returning home.

Hydro Majestic

It was a very pleasant autumn day for 26 members and guests who took the train to Medlow Bath, then crossed the road to the the Hydro Majestic Hotel, where we were met by the concierge Jim, who gave us a brief history of this hotel. After a very extensive tour, most of the members indulged themselves with a delicious High Tea in the light-filled Wintergarden Restaurant with spectacular views of the Megalong Valley below, whilst others lunched on the gourmet local offerings in the Pavillion Cafe.

Oatley Park Tracks

 

Once again we had a beautiful sunny autumn day for our walk, albeit a bit smokey from the bush fires.  Eleven people  joined in the walk around some of the Oatley Park Tracks. We met at 9:30 at the entry to the park and made our way down to the first part of the tracks, Jew FIsh Bay, passing the "castle"and down to the baths. No information about the history of the castle was notified on the signageboards.  It has a BBQ and tables underneath the structure. We passed the Steamroller picnic area along the way. We then followed the pathway rather than the bush tracks for ease of walking around Christensen Circuit and took in a couple of viewing platforms to look across the river and have a short rest.  We completed the loop and returned to our starting point. There are many other tracks available but it would take a full day to complete! Some of us enjoyed lunch at the Oatley RSL and Community Club before returning home.

Nan Tien Temple

Nan Tien Temple Photos

Members car-pooled for this outing, travelling through the Royal National Park to Stanwell Tops for spectacular views of the coastline, then down Lawrence Hargrave Drive, and across the Sea Cliff bridge. After a brief stop for morning coffee at Stanwell Park, we continued on to the Temple. There we had a guided tour of this massive Fo Guang Shan Buddhist temple complex, the largest in the southern hemisphere - and all paid for by donations! Competed in 1995, it occupies a semi-rural site several kilometres in size just south of Woollongong on land donated by the Australian Government. The complex is set amidst landscaped gardens featuring statues and shrines. Besides the main shrine, with 10,000 small Buddhas and Great Compassion Hall, it has an 8 level Pagoda in the grounds to house the cremated remains of 7,000 people, a conference room and auditorium, a museum which we visited (fascinating artefacts including an incredibly intricate carving from very old piece of wood and minute engravings on eggshell and human hairs, viewed through powerfull magnifying glasses), meditiation halls etc. They even have a 100 room motel style facility, Pilgrim's Lodge, adjacent to the Lotus Pond for visitors staying for weekend retreats. The Nan Tien Institute, part of Woollongong Univerersity Compus, but featuring only Chinese and Buddhist teachings, has been built across the expressway and there is currently a $20 million pedestrian causeway being constructed to link the two sites. The whole complex was too much for us to take in on one visit - so we made our way to the Builders' Club in Woollongong for a delicious buffet lunch, followed by a short drive around beautiful Woollongong harbour before returning to the Motor Boat Club. Altogether a wonderful day out!

Watsons Bay/South Head Walk

We had another perfect day for our walk around Watsons Bay with 9 people joining in, including a visitor from Hurstville Probus group and a visitor from Ireland. After meeting at Circular Quay we boarded the ferry for a pleasant ride to our destination. We made our way along the shoreline, past Doyles restaurant and then a short street walk to Green Point on the western side. We did the short walk around the headland, passed Green Point Cottage then headed across Camp Cove beach to the stairs that took us on to the heritage trail. We saw where the 1480 metre long boom was placed across the harbour during WWII. There were 2 openings for ships to pass through, and the spot where, on 31 May 1942, a Japanese sub became entangled in the boom and when unable to free it, the crew blew it up. We continued on the very well laid out pathway passing Lady Bay Beach to Hornby Lighthouse (1859) and the lightkeeper's cottage at South Head. On completing the loop we returned along the same path to the Wharf Hotel and lunch before returning home on the ferry, others on the bus and train.

Seniors Lunch Cruise

Despite the miserable weather, 28 members thoroughly enjoyed the Rhythmboat Seniors' Cruise on Sydney Harbour. Morning Tea was served on arrival followed by Trivia, a Name-that-Tune segment and a delicious lunch followed by a few quick games of bingo, The very professional MCs kept everyone throughly entertained throughout the day - even Elvis made a brief appearance!  Kogarah Probus almost made a clean sweep of the prizes with the team of Jeff and Diane Farr, Esther Spokes, Wendy Hackney, Sam Mayson and Kate McCullough winning the Trivia game - then Joyce Sadlier and Georgette Dyett each winning a game of bingo!

Chinese New Year

They promised that the Lion would dance up the stairs; and dance up the stairs it did! Complete with a small group of lifters and minders, a trolley bearing a very large drum and drummers and cymbal players not missing a beat as they climbed. This was Lunar New Year celebrations in Chinatown, a crushing crowd, lots of good food and enough noise to ensure that any lurking evil spirits were well and truly seen off for another year. In the end, nine of us enjoyed the food and the atmospohere. Our lion was very personable doing an energetic dance, visiting each table, pouring tea for patrons at one, getting up and personal with others (like Jennifer, Bonnie and Warren.) After the feasting, some of us walked around to Cockle Bay for coffee. Let's do it again next year!

South Cronulla Walk

Our evening walk along the coastline of South Cronulla went ahead despite the very cloudy conditions. A pleasant breeze made our 5 pm late afternoon very enjoyable. We had 12 people plus a granddaughter and a dog meet in the park, though not all walked the full distance. Some of our original walkers joined us again and one new walker, Florence and our friends from Hurstville Probus. Caroline joined us after the walk for a fish and chip dinner in the park whilst we listened to the sounds of the Australia Day rehearsal.

State Library and Nutcote

Several members and friends met at the State Library to see the exhibition of Sydney Morning Herald photographs and the botanical illustrations of Ferdinand Bauer. Many pictures were a time-warp of items and places from the 1960s. After an early lunch we then caught the ferry to Neutral Bay followed by a short walk to Nutcote, the 1920s home of May Gibbs of gumnut baby fame. There was a very informative film on the life of May Gibbs and the origins of the characters in her books, all inspired by natural Australian flora. We then had as guided tour of her home. Of course we simply HAD to have a coffee with scones, jam and cream in the coffee shop before our ferry and train ride home. A truly delightful day.

La Perouse Walk

Another sunny day awaited the walkers at La Perouse. We commenced by crossing Congwong Beach and then continuing on the Congwong walking track through bushland with lots of sand underfoot. It was steep going for part of the way, even more so when 4 of us decided to take a little side trip, (just 280m) down to Brown's Rock. Down there we found that we were standing on the remains of a WWII gun emplacement which had magnificient views to the heads and back to La Perouse. It was all uphill back to the walking track so some of us really got a work out that day! Warren was waiting at the top, lookng so smug and relaxed whilst the rest of us needed to rest and drink plenty of water to get our breath back. We then joined the Henry Head walking track with magnificient flora everywhere, especially the banksias and flannel flowers. We disturbed many large lizards sunning themselvbes on the track and also passed several WWII bunkers along the way, most covered in graffiti. We passed the end point of the NSW golf course and continued on to Henry Head. At the end of our 3 hour walk we all stopped into Danny's Seafood Cafe for a cool drink, some lunch and a rest.

State Theatre Behind the Scenes Tour

20 members and guests met for a guided tour of the State Theatre which opened in 1929. Its architectural composition is unique in Australia. It progresses from the elaborate main lobby entrance decorated in Gothic style with references to King George V in a bronze relief of St George and the dragon. Once inside the stunning bronze and brass doors, the style changes to and Italian influence with a magnificent dome, huge chandelier, stunning statuary and grand marble staircases with Scagliola (or reproduction marble) from Italy higher up.

Jibbon Loop Track Bundeena

Eight walkers set out on the Bundeena ferry from the Cronulla wharf for an enjoyable ride across to Bundeena. It was another picutre perfect day for our walk. We headed along the streets to the beach entry and then made our way to the end of the beach to join the Jibbon loop track. Some of us enjoyed a paddle in the water as we made our way along the beach. We had a little rest stop for a drink and snack, taking in the crystal clear water and shore line of Bundeena. We made our way around the track, reading story boards along the way telling us about the dreaming of the Dharawal people. Signs directed us to the engravings on the long rock platform of a stingray, law man, turtle, kangaroo and whales. The track meanders through the bush and along the rocky edge (rather close to the drop to the rocks and water below), all mostly even terrain, but some patches over small rocks and tree roots. Lovely coastal spots along the way to enjoy the scenery across to Cronulla and the city skyline. We returned to the shopping area after about two and a quarter hours and headed to one of the cafes for a light lunch before a return trip on the ferry.

Astronomy Open Night Green Point Observatory

15 members and family enjoyed the open night at Green Point Observatory. We were able to look through the fantastic 41cm Selby and 35 cm Napier telescopes at the moon, and at Saturn with its rings. There were 2 talks; one from a teacher who attended Space Camp in the USA and another from a physicist who talked about Pluto. Whilst 99% of it went over most of our heads we were amazed at the number of such very clever people there are in the world to be able to carry out these feats. There were many displays and photographs of stars, moons and planets. This certainly was a different and exciting outing.

Chinese Friendship Gardens - Darling Harbour

On another glorious sunny day, a lucky 13 members enjoyed a beautiful walk through the Chinese Gardens in Darling Harbour.  Just at the entrance is the majestic "Dragon Wall" a gift from Guangdong province in China to New South Wales.  We gazed across the lake with its sacred lotus flowers, limestone rocks and colourful koi, surrounded by graceful weeping willows.  We followed the winding paths and at every turn dicovered surprises; maybe another pavilion, traditional carvings and even lurking water dragons. We climbed up to the Clear View Pavilion and marvelled at the cascading waterfalls, clipped azaleas in full flower and simply the beauty of the place - so peaceful - amid all the high rise of a noisy city.  After such a strenuous walk we relaxed in the tea house and enjoyed some refreshments. Some members continued on to enjoy a further stroll through Darling Harbour which has changed a lot since most of us were there last - we decided for the better.  A few of us stayed for lunch in Cockle Bay and partook of the Daily Specials before heading home by train.  This was probably the easiest walk (stroll) that we have done so far!

Photos can be found here.

Hawkesbury Heritage Tour

On Tuesday 5th September 40 lucky members visited the Macquarie townships of Windsor, Ebenezer,  Richmond, Wilberforce & Pitt Town.  We set off a little late on a beautiful sunny day, picked up our very knowledgeable Local Guide at Windsor, then the first stop Australia’s oldest church at Ebenezer.  The area settled in 1802 by mainly Presbyterian Scots emigrants.  Here we enjoyed a delicious Morning Tea of scones with jam & cream that were freshly baked & served by volunteers. We then had a brief talk on the history of the church completed in 1809;  just a plain, unadorned stone structure, before browsing the Schoolmaster’s Cottage where home-made jams, honey etc were available for purchase.  Warren even found a headstone in the grave-yard of a Greentree relative.  The coach travelled through Wilberforce before stopping for lunch at the Richmond RSL.  We then travelled through Pitt Town with lovely old historic cottages before finishing in Windsor where we stopped for a tour of St Matthews Anglican Church designed by architect Francis Greenway and built in 1821.  The brickwork on this building is outstanding – a trademark of Greenway’s - the interior also quite outstanding for its time with beautiful stained glass windows.  Reading some of the headstones was quite moving, noting the age that most people died.  It was such an enjoyable day and the drive home past new suburbs that we never knew existed was much easier than we anticipated.

Photos can be found here.

E.G. Waterhouse National Camellia Gardens

On Tuesday 8th August, twenty members were privileged to hear an expert Horticulturalist and Camellia expert, Jim Powell give us a guided talk and walk through these magnificient gardens right on our doorstep - where the camellias were in full bloom.  Waren's father was one of the men from the St George Camellia Society who was instrumental in getting this garden established. As a camellia hybridist, he donated many camellias and azaleas, including a magnificent retulata that he raised himself "Winter's Own" which is placed directly opposite the entrance to the Rose Garden. A glorious sunny day made it even more enjoyable, followed by our light lunch in the Tearooms.

Photos can be found here.

Cooks River Walk

Five people and one small dog enjoyed a brisk and partly sunny morning for our walk around the Cooks River. From Tempe station we made our way west on the northern side of the river. There are very good pathways all the way and some seats if one felt like a rest. Quite a few cyclists on the path and other walkers but the most unusual scene was the man cycling along with a Shetland pony trotting by his side! Obviously an easy way for him to exercise the pony! We also saw an interesting bird but didn’t know what it was. About halfway into the distance we intended to go we came across a lovely little Café with delicious hand-made chocolates! Now that was going to be a sure stop for us with some stopping for a coffee on the way and others on the way back. From this point we went across to the southern side of the river and made our way passing the Marrickville Golf Course for about another ½ km. We returned via the Café and completed the walk (loaded up with chocolates) on the southern side of the river with a photo stop at Gough Whitlam Park before arriving back at Tempe station. Total walk was about 5.5–6 kms

Christmas in July

43 members enjoyed a delightful day the 4th at “GARDENS ON FOREST” Peakhurst  with a Traditional Christmas lunch and a 1 Hour Show with the fabulous Nikkie Bennett singing songs from the 50s, 60s & 80s which was loved by all.  One lucky gentleman from our group even managed to go up on stage and sing with her (which made his day!).

Click for photos.

Lunch at Doyle's Watson's Bay

Twenty members enjoyed a delicious lunch at Doyle’s last week – a very reasonably priced “Seniors Lunch” of Seafood Chowder and Fish & Chips and glass of wine. The day commenced with brilliant sunshine which made the ferry ride to Watsons Bay extremely pleasant. This is the second time we have enjoyed this outing and one we will repeat each year.

Click for photos.

Sunset Dinner Cruise on the Hacking River

There may not have been a sunset but luckily the rain held off for most of the night. 14 people enjoyed a delightful cruise along the river, gazing at some of the glorious homes along the riverbank all the way up to the Royal National Park, as well as a delicious meal with everything freshly cooked on board. The staff were particularly attentive to all our needs so this is a cruise we can highly recommend.

Photos can be found here.

Winterfest

Only three people finally went to Winterfest but an interesting day followed. There were lots of mediaeval-inspired crafts such as leatherwork, weaving, woodwork, armour making, and some minstrels playing Celtic bagpipes, harps, etc. There were lots of blokes whose hobby is dressing up in armour of various periods and fighting and jousting. Some were quite obviously weighed down by all the chain mail and metal helmet, gauntlets and armour. Fights didn’t last for prolonged periods, and once felled, most brave knights took some time to get to their feet again. Much the same as their real mediaeval counterparts, I suspect. Some showed us horseback skills with swords and lances and slicing the tops off melons. We were able to feel the weight of pieces or armour and if we had wished, could have purchased a full suit.
We thought the best exhibition was the birds of prey from little kestrels to the magnificent wedge-tailed eagle.

Photos