My kayaking Experience
My wife and I moved into Breakfast Point in 2002 and joined our Probus club in 2017. I loved the fact that we are being surrounded by water ways and wanted to buy a runabout.
I attended a number of boat-shows and finally thought of something simpler, which could be easily towed to the water. I met up with some people from the Kayaking group over coffee and rushed out to buy a kayak. What I bought was more suited for a professional and not for a beginner.
That beautiful ocean going kayak toppled on my first day out and filled with water! The silver lining was that I found a guru (in Mick), who with Chris helped me learn the ropes and find the right kayak for me.
Along the way I was helped by Trish, Shirley and others and I am now enjoying kayaking so much!
A person paddling on the river can observe closely the beautiful and breath-taking landscape (or should I say waterscape) around Breakfast Point. Appreciate the beautiful houses, gardens, small bush areas along the river banks in serene bays like Morrison Bay, Glades Bay, Five Dock Bay and Hen & Chicken Bay.
One sees a different perspective of the riverbank from water level compared to the road side.
Aren’t we blessed to be living in this beautiful part of Sydney and be part of a friendly community made possible by our Probus Club with so many Interest groups?
My answer is – I, truly, feel blessed.
The Picnic by the river in Cabarita Park
Friday 13 November 2020
The weather forecast for our picnic was not encouraging but about 20 Probians braved the strong winds and possibility of rain and were fortunate enough to have sanctuary in the shelter of the shed overlooking the river.
As the afternoon progressed the windy weather eased and after lunch we enjoyed coffee and drinks down at the marina kiosk.
This was a great opportunity to meet new friends in Probus (although a certain lady decided she would like to remain anonymous and wore her badge back to front so we had to guess who she was ) and we decided that regular picnics in our lovely park would be very welcome addition to our list of activities.
Hopefully after COVID restrictions ease even more we can gather more frequently… we live in a beautiful area so we should make the most of it with very little effort.
Parramatta Park – Monuments & Sites – Review
A self-guided walking tour
On Friday, the 6th November a group of 13 members met at Cabarita Wharf for a walk of interest to Parramatta Park. I was a little doubtful on Thursday if we would be able to go ahead as the weather was not looking good. Friday was a little cloudy, but the group remained optimistic and it turned out a lovely day for a walk.
We caught the ferry upstream, a pleasant 40-minute trip to Parramatta wharf. We arrived with calls for a coffee break to be heard. We walked 15 minutes along the river to the George Street Gatehouse one of six gatehouses to the park and they date from as far back as the 1870’s and are intact today. The Tudor-style George St gatehouse was built on the site of Governor Macquarie’s small stone lodge in 1885 and is now a local landmark.
After our morning tea break, we set off with maps in hand to casually walk around the other monuments and sites the park had to offer. Among the monuments we saw were the Bath House completed in 1823 for Governor Brisbane. It contains the archaeological remains of a pumping system, which was developed to bring water to the building and heat water as well. This convict build heating and pumping system made the Bath House significant in heritage terms. In 1886 the Trustees converted the Bath House to a pavilion, which survives today.
Government House Parramatta was used by the early Governor’s and its standing as a focal point for colonial society make Government House significant. The building was restored by the Government Architect in 1908. It has been managed by the National Trust since 1967.
The Crescent is a natural amphitheatre formed by a small billabong on the bank of the Parramatta river known as “Little Coogee” a popular swimming spot in the 20th century. Visitors can see important buildings and landmarks from this vantage point, including Parramatta River, Old King’s School, and the spires of St Patrick’s and St John’s Cathedrals.
The Dairy Cottage was constructed between 1796 and 1805. It is one of the oldest surviving intact cottages in Australia. Here they have planted a vegetable & herb garden for the café’s on site to use. We all enjoyed the array of smells from the herbs and guessing the vegetables.
Everyone in the group commented how nice it was to be out in the open space enjoying the day and the company of each other after limited outings due to lockdown. Due to COVID19 restrictions we were not able to have lunch in the tea house on site. Some members had brought their own lunch, which they enjoyed in the park whilst the rest of us enjoyed our lunch at Parramatta RSL. We headed home around 2:30 pm on the ferry back to Cabarita Wharf. An enjoyable walking tour in a beautiful park that takes in some of the significant features from a farming settlement to a Park for everyone to use.
Rookwood Cemetery Tour
On Friday 2 October, 9 members attended the above tour convened by Judy Mitchell.
The tour had to be done slightly differently to comply with COVID19 restrictions but this in no way took away from the tour. We had great weather, perfect for such a tour which lasted three hours… just not enough time to absorb the surroundings.
Our tour guide, Mark, was a wealth of information. He has been employed at Rookwood for 28 years so his knowledge of the history, the workings of the cemetery, the many burial practices, the monuments, chapels and the many tales made for an interesting tour with some funny anecdotes thrown in.
We learnt that Rookwood, established in 1868, is the largest necropolis and most multicultural working cemetery in the southern hemisphere. It is heritage listed and has 1 million interments within its 286 hectares. Each year over 1,900 interments and commemorations are performed, representing over 90 different religious and cultural groups such as Anglican, Catholics, Orthodox, Jewish, Chinese, Islamic, Independent and many others.
At the start of our tour, Mark showed three training graves in which apprentice grave diggers or ‘underground technicians’ can practise lowering different size coffins without any mishaps.
In the early days, mourners and the coffins were transported by train from the Mortuary Station at Central to Rookwood. The funeral train operated twice a day and tickets were one shilling each way. Corpses travelled free. This train service ceased in 1947 when cars became more popular. The old Cemetery Station No.1 was sold to Reverend Buckle for 100 pounds in 1951 and was transported brick by brick to Canberra by 83 semi-trailers in 1957 to become the All Saints Church Canberra.
Mark showed us graves of some of Rookwood’s famous residents including John Fairfax, John Frazer, David Jones, WC Penfold, David Mitchell (Mitchell’s Library) and Bea “Bee” Miles. There are many more… some famous and some infamous.
The Circle of Love is an area set aside with a beautiful monument honouring and remembering some 30 thousand unknown babies buried in the area… babies who did not survive childbirth and were taken from their mothers under extremely sad circumstances and buried at Rookwood without recognition.
I think everyone on the tour found the history, its peaceful setting, the many monuments and Mark, as our tour guide, an interesting place to visit. Some of the group finished off the tour by having lunch and a coffee at the Café on the grounds.
A visit to Rookwood is a great destination anytime but particularly during COVID when many of us are wanting a safe outing.
Pictures of the Christmas Lunch 2019
A big thank you to all that contributed to the very successful Christmas Lunch 2019.
We enjoyed the friendship, good food and the fabulous entertainer was great fun.
Hope you enjoy the images.
Autumn Tour of Japan – Review
21 November – 9 December 2019
The recipe for success:
- A fabulous group of fellow travellers,
- An experienced/patient/knowledgeable guide,
- Spectacular autumn colours,
- Exciting food,
- A zillion temples and shrines,
- Friendly, courteous Japanese,
- Trains, trams and buses always on time,
- Clean toilets with heated seats and tinkling music available everywhere….
What more could a traveller want?!!
Arriving in the quaint city of Kanazawa after an overnight flight to Tokyo and an early morning flight to Kanazawa, we lost no time in getting stuck into sightseeing setting a pattern of walks through historic districts, visits to shrines and temples (and getting to know the differences between them) and manicured gardens resplendent in their Autumn colours- returning at night to see the red and orange trees lit up. The cameras were kept busy day after day recording all the wonderful sights.
A few of the absolute highlights of the trip for me were:
- The ONSEN (traditional Japanese hotels with hot baths). Staying in such places reminds you that you are in a different country, with different traditions and ways of doing things. Challenging AND rewarding. We stayed in Onsen for 4 nights, with another night at a temple. In these traditional Onsen we learned how to cope with sleeping on futons on the floor and bathing in the nude in gender segregated hot baths with only a face washer sized towel. A bridge too far for some, a new addiction for others!
- The FOOD. You know you are in a very different culture when you walk around a small supermarket and cannot recognise any of the food on offer or are presented with an eleven-course meal and need the printed menu to be able to identify what you are eating! The tastes and textures were very different to our usual fare and eating with chopsticks can be challenging but the variety and presentation of the food (always seasonal and served to please the eye as much as the palate) were outstanding. A few even developed new food addictions to treats such as Green Tea Ice Cream.
- Using PUBLIC TRANSPORT. Hopping on and off trams, buses, trains and ferries- sometimes crowded but always on time is great fun as you get to see the surroundings and the people on their own terms. When navigating through the multi storied train stations and bus terminals you are glad to have the guide with you making sure you get to the correct train line and platform. Travelling on the Bullet Train and reaching 300km an hour was a highlight.
- The Japanese PEOPLE are polite and courteous and always willing to assist. They are great rule followers- no-one crosses against the lights, they are all great queue formers and even when massing to cheer the Emperor the crowd automatically lined up against the barriers in lines. The streets are impeccably clean with no graffiti and no rubbish (or even rubbish bins). Local food outlets are responsible to take back their packaging. No one eats or drinks in the street- eating is for home or inside the numerous small eateries. You become very aware of the separation between the outside world of the street and the inside world of the home. This is very obvious when visiting the numerous temples and shrines, staying in Onsen with Tatami matted rooms and the need to be constantly taking off one’s shoes to move into inside spaces only to have to put them back on to re-enter the outside world again. If you love cleanliness, adherence to tradition and order then Japan is the place for you!
- One outstanding feature of Japanese culture is attention to DETAIL and a commitment to quality. The museums we visited were not huge and did not contain room after room brimming with artefacts. Instead beautifully designed spaces surrounded by manicured gardens to be glimpsed through the picture windows contained a few high-quality artefacts displayed with care and technically perfect lighting. You could appreciate each item without feeling overwhelmed or ‘museumed out’.
- The VARIETY of places visited kept us interested and busy – while there were many temples, shrines, castles and gardens as one would expect of a tour of Japan in Autumn, there were also sand dunes, lakes, seaside, reconstructed villages, rope bridges, chair lift and gondolas, a gorge river cruise, traditional houses, a cemetery …and the very moving Peace Park at Hiroshima. There were also free evenings and afternoons to rest or to explore independently- or grab yet another hot bath….
- Our FELLOW TRAVELLERS- what a great group we had on this tour! Getting to know each other, supporting each other, always being on time, and willingness to ‘give it a go’-the description of perfect touring companions.
- Our GUIDE Hide. What a treasure he was- ever patient, always in control of the timetable and the itinerary, knowledgeable about the places and people. Having such a great guide makes such a trip luxurious for me – you don’t have to worry about a thing as felt confident that Hide had it all under control.
All in all it was a fantastic trip and I hope it will be the first of many Probus trips to overseas destinations in the future- where will we go next????
By Christine Hingerty
Probus Club of Cabarita and Breakfast Point 5th Anniversary Celebration – review
Friday 6 September dawned a beautiful sunny day – just perfect for our Club’s 5th Anniversary celebrations.
By 9:00 am the Community Hall was abuzz as Kathy Beresford was arranging decorations around the room – blue and yellow Probus balloons and anniversary banners – whilst the usual chairs were setup.
In the kitchen meanwhile our fabulous ‘Morning Tea’ ladies and gentlemen were busy filling urns and setting tables. At home Gilda McRobert was adding the final touches to the celebratory cake she handmade.
By 9.30 am the hall was filling and our Guest Speaker Jim Haynes OAM arrived wearing a jacket not to be missed! He was quickly followed by Silvana Martignago, CEO Probus South Pacific.
And so our celebrations began – the Anniversary Certificate was presented by Silvana to Brian Roylance, President and then Dorothy Faulder, President, 2016 cut the cake on behalf of all Past Presidents. Jim Haynes then regaled us with laughter as he spoke of Áustralia’s most unbelievable stories.
Morning tea followed with the celebratory cake and some little tarts. Not a crumb was left by the time the hall emptied and people went on their way. And as the photos demonstrate, a good time was had by all!
Group photo of foundation members.
Review – ’30 Something’ at the Hayes Theatre
On Sunday 6 October a group of Probus thespians attended a fabulous show, “30 Something – A 2019 show where you’ll party like it’s 1939”, at Hayes Theatre starring the wonderfully talented Phil Scott on piano and Catherine Alcom providing wonderful vocals. While the songs belted out were of the era, the lyrics had a comical nod to present day issues and characters. All climaxing with a boisterous welcome to the new year, 1940.
Then on to Caffe Roma in Potts Point, a quintessential Italian restaurant where we gathered in the palm covered courtyard on one large table that required some to perform gymnastic feats to launch themselves into the seats.
That accomplished, we enjoyed a wonderful meal of pizza, salad and pasta varieties that was very pleasing to all tastes. Mirth and merriment flowed freely.
Although lacking the champagne corks flying and the high jinks of New Year’s Eve parties no doubt we all celebrated in our younger years, it was certainly a grand night.
Review – The Great River Walk
On Friday 9 August, eighteen members of our club assembled at Strathfield station.
Judy had made it easy for us to remember: 9.31 am train, platform 3, carriage 3. We disembarked at Emu Plains Station and headed across the car park to begin our walk.
The Great River Walk is at the foot of the Blue Mountains. For the first section, Judy explained that there were two choices, the upper (sealed) walkway or the lower ( unsealed) walk. I took the lower which was more protected from the winds. We had some spectacular views of the Nepean River. The scenery was stunning. As well as the natural environment, this part of the walk presented us with some enigmatic sculptures. The sculptures tell a story about local history. The only one which meant anything to me was one with oars on either side. It was easy to work out that this was to commemorate the GPS Head of the River which used to be held each year. There were signs too, one detailing a convict prison established by Governor Macquarie.
Our first stop was the Penrith Regional Art Gallery for a well earned coffee and highly recommended muffins. Feeling full from our late morning tea, we continued on our walk towards the Nepean River Bridge. We crossed the bridge with the M4 traffic speeding beside us and the Nepean Belle Paddlewheeler gently moving down the river on our other side.
Across the bridge there were some inviting picnic areas but we decided to press on before stopping for lunch. At this point our walk took us north along Tench Street until we finally reached the Yandhai Nepean Crossing. Yandhai means walking in the path of past and present. This pedestrian walkway was opened by the Premier in October 2018. We stopped for lunch on a cosy river bank on the other side of the bridge. After enjoying our picnic lunch we sang “Happy Birthday’ to two of our members while Phil generously shared his jelly beans with everyone!
After lunch, it was just a short walk back to the station. We had walked a total of 9.5 kilometres in winds gusting 35 knots according to Rob.
Many thanks to Judy and Rob for organising such an invigorating, interesting and energetic walk.
Christmas in July 2019 Review
Fun day, beautiful surroundings in an amazing building.
78 members and guests enjoyed lunch at the Grand Dining Room, International College of Management, Manly.
The room was abuzz with lots of chatter, fun and friendship. And what would Christmas be without Mr and Mrs Santa Claus.
Neil Price was the lucky recipient of the lucky door prize.. accepting the prize from Mrs Santa! And of course, Phil Canty expressed his Christmas wishes by whispering in Santa’s ear!
“Best Christmas in July ever”…Lis Parrague.
Kangaroo Island Adventure – Review
Saturday 22 June to Saturday 29 June 2019
We arrived at Adelaide Airport. All went well as some folk came earlier than others. We were picked up by a chartered bus and drove through McLarenvale grape vine country to Victor Harbour.
VH is delightful! It reminds me of Manly. The pines were planted on purpose so the ships knew where good wood could be found for repairs. Then off to Cape Jervis along a scenic ocean drive to catch a ferry to Penneshaw, Kangaroo Island.
Our motel/hotel is right across from the ocean and a penguin rookery. There are impressive views across to the mainland Australia. We headed off to Rob’s farm for a sheep shearing show. His grandson was ‘helper’ for the show. Good stuff. Genuine people. Next stop was Willoughby Lighthouse (1860s) which is still operating. The shipping lane between the mainland and Kangaroo Island is not easily navigated and very busy. A guide gave us a huge insight into the history of the lighthouse and those who worked to keep it going. We climbed to the top and the view was magnificent. Next stop was Dudley Winemakers for a wine tasting. Always good stuff. We drove back along the dirt road for a late lunch and then a wander around a sculpture/nature walk in Penneshaw.We left Penneshaw and visited Pennington Beach which is beautiful and at the point on the southern side of KI where there is only 9 km across to the north side. Plans are in place to fence across it to maintain a feral cat free zone for all the eastern part of the island. First stop was the honey farm with the special Ligurian bees from Italy (1860s). We then went to Emu Farm Tea tree oil distillery, then a Lavender Farm. We ate lavender scones with Lavender jelly and cream. Then off to the a gin distillery too. Tasting was fab. Only KI botanicals added.
Came in to Kingscote, which is the largest town. It’s claim to fame is the oldest human planted tree in SA (mulberry tree). It is fenced off and ‘special’.
We spent the day in Kingscote. Breakfast was enjoyed looking at the Backstairs Passage (sea) and seals sailing in the water. Later on some of us walked around the sea shore. More seals, more bird life and small abandoned penguin rookeries. Later on we hit the shops (all 2 of them) and arrived at the arranged cafe for our pre-booked lobster lunches. Wonderful!
After lunch we caught up with 4 members of the KI Probus Club. Pat Cass (President/ Vice President/ Committee member – 2010-2019), Jeanine Ellison, Ria Kendall (President 2018), Erica Barrett (President 2019).
There are 30 members of their club mainly Kingscote folk. They are desperate to get off island speakers. They meet every 3rd Monday of the month and would welcome visitors to attend and join up for lunch. They were delightful women and gave us each a small jar of KI honey.
We then headed south and west. Seal Bay was magnificent. It is a conservation park for sea lions. Up close and personal. Seal Bay also sported a bird sanctuary run by David and Lisa Erwin (Steve’s cousin). The love of native animals must run in the family…crikey! We saw magpies, owls, falcons and black parrots. We petted a few. Some also did a reptile show with tiger snakes, lizards and baby crocodile. Then off to Vivonne Bay to watch 3 humpback whales frolicking just 50 metres from shore. Amazing! Next stop a wildlife sanctuary with kangaroo, wallaby and koala in a grove of trees. All just doing their thing. No cages and no shows. We drove to our wildlife resort.
Flinders Chase National Park was the next target. We headed for the ‘Remarkables’ which are a granite outcrop right on the Southern Ocean. Very impressive. Then Weir’s Cove with old stone warehouses at the top of a former horse drawn winch. Every 3 months a steam ship would bring supplies. Bad luck if the sea was too rough. Wait 6 months for supplies. This was to service the Lighthouse which is now fully electric at Cape du Couedic.
Next stop was visiting the New Zealand fur seal breeding area at Admirals Arch. Amazingly windy! Later we travelled to the Flinders Chase National Park Visitors Centre for a lunch break and the start for the Platypus Walk. Some folk headed off. Some didn’t.
Back at our accommodation we played Canasta and dice. Great day!
We drove north through the National Park until we reached the north coast of the island again. Snelling Bay Beach is very scenic. White beaches and very isolated with the odd holiday unit let. There was a huge fig tree of interest, in the past it was used as the location for intimate gourmet dinners. What a hoot. The business went bust. Next stop was Morton Bay Beach. It had a rocky headland and caves to wind through to the beach on the other side. Unfortunately high tide prevented most of us from getting through. Some got wet! We lunched at Parndana at THE Pub. Great fish and chips. Then off to American River. We stopped to chat to locals about the building of an historic ship/boat, the ‘Independence’. The Mercure was our last night on Kangaroo Island.
Last day on Kangaroo Island was rainy and the seas were rough (2 metre swell). Our crossing back to Australia (as they call it. Unlike the Tasmanians which call it the mainland) was fun for some but sickening for others. We were picked up on the other side by Russell our driver and came back to the airport via Glenelg. Some played cards to waste time and arrived back into Sydney at 5:00 pm. Happy times were had by all and everyone was looking forward to our own beds.
Many thanks to Jane Elliot for being THE best tour organiser!