Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Looping the Shoalhaven Part 1

I have chosen this title as the trip covered by this post, and another, crossed and recrossed the Shoalhaven River.  The approximate route taken is shown in this snip from Google Earth.  It is the latest in out 'visit every town' project.  As accommodation including the dog seemed difficult to obtain, the tent was installed for a night in Nowra.

After our first crossing of the Shoalhaven at Oallen Ford we rolled into Nerriga.  This didn't have an an entry in the Register of War Memorials in NSW but we spotted a small plaque on the church.  That was not a memorial but when Frances looked left she spotted one beside the road.

It is always good to add to knowledge and the official record.  Also good was seeing a group of 5 Glossy Black Cockatoos flying over the village - sorry, it is now a town, given the existence of a Memorial.

We carried on down the road stopping at Tianjarra Falls to see how the flow was.  "Not great" is the answer!
The car park at the Falls marked the boundary of one of the bigger bushfires in the recent very bad spell.  Going on down the road the fire had clearly burnt on both sides.
Presumably one species of tree has 'fibrous' bark while the other is platy.  The green tinge on the ground shows some life is returning ..
.. as do these few epicormic shoots on a burnt trunk.
After getting to Nowra, where we didn't stop on this occasion, we crossed the Shoalhaven again and  headed on the Princes Highway to Berry. The town was full of folks in the main street but Frances was told it was even busier on the preceding days due to the town show.  I think we added another War Memorial with this Roll of Honour on the wall of the School of Art.
The town puts itself forward as being 'historic' and there were a good lot of old buildings of which these are a sample. (One might note that - historic, rather ha 'good sample - as a good description of the sourdough loaf we acquired: definitely prepared for the show goers and not fresh that day.)

Heading North out of town on the Highway we came across an art work.
An optimistic lad (or, indeed in these progressive times, lass).  Our next stop was Gerringong.  Which has a very ornate - and large Memorial.

Here is a little of the detail (I consider the depth of emotion to be greater than the quality of the poetry).
On getting to the beach we found the dunnies had been enhanced by murals.

The second of these, at Werri Beach, was in the Lloyd Rees Memorial Park which honoured an artist who had lived and worked in the area.  This was partly why we had gone there, as Frances had found a painting by Rees and we hoped to revisit the location he used.  I think we did, using a lighthouse as a marker, although due to the mist it is barely visible at the end of the distant row of Norfolk Pines.
It should be noted that the original genesis of this project was Frances reading about Russell Drysdale's painting 'Sofala' and realising that she had never been to that town.  This led to the question of where else hadn't we been and thus a derived need to remedy the situation!  From here on, establishing where artists of high repute have done stuff will be part of the research and where appropriate an attempt will be made to take a current image for comparison.

We next called in to Gerroa, which didn't have an entry in the Register (and nor could we find a memorial on the ground).  It seems that modern settlements, especially the beach-side McMansion ones, do not go in for such reflections on life and death.  Finding a flock of 10 Sooty Oystercatchers was a bonus as they are regarded as threatened due to the encroachment of the occupants of McMansion habitat on their preferred nesting territory.
The big attraction of this point is Black Head. When we previously visited we were able to walk out to the tip of the point.  On this day there was a metre of water - at the shore end, making it very dangerous.
 Our next stop was Shoalhaven Heads which despite a tendency towards being a residential only development did have a Memorial.  It even had a 10 year old 'Lone Pine' but it was in a sorry state- unlikely to reach 11 years old.
 On the edge of the town some rustic charm was evident on a barn!
We then drove beside the Shoalhaven for about 10km before crossing it back to Nowra.  After booking in to the campground and erecting the tent we headed off to do the historic walk. We started at a Presbyterian church with an Honour Roll on the outside.
The town seems to have adopted the Yellow-tailed Black-Cockatoo as its symbol and reflected this in a mosaic embedded in the pavement in the main shopping area.
This contained a number of fine old buildings which looked to have been well maintained and/or restored.  It is possibly easy to do such things when your local economic base is supported by a large military presence.
The apex of the Boer War Memorial was impressive and rather unusual ...
... while the main Memorial - about 300m up the road was basically vast.  It is also interesting that the soldier is not in "heroic" or "attention" pose but has put down his helmet and gun as the job has been done.
The nearby grandstand in the showgrounds was most impressive: the colour scheme was used for many buildings around the town.
Here is the mighty Shoalhaven, taken from the Hanging Rock lookout in the showgrounds.
This is a sample of the attractive housing in this part of the town.  Many of these had been taken over as professional offices, which is a pity as people lose nice places to live, but also good as the buildings get maintained.
This seemed to suggest Nowra as the town of three halves.  The most commonly seen half is the very ordinary commercial strip along the Princes Highway.  The second half is the charming older section to the West of the Highway.  The third half is the overlapping take up of old buildings by business interests.

Back at the campground there was much to keep a small dog alert!
Many of the sites were occupied by permanent residents who have put a lot of effort into decorating their homes.  Altogether a good place to stay.
It backs on to the Shoalhaven and at night you get a pretty view of the Manildra ethanol plant across the River.
One also got a continual hum from the plant, which didn't prevent us from getting a good night's sleep.  The weather was little more 'average' than our previous camping effort, with some wind and an occasional shower.  However it was not a major issue.

On our way out of Nowra I was reminded that the area is also strong on dairy farming!  Note the pink bits: they reappear at Milton in part 2.


Lou said...

Lovely to see my old stomping grounds through fresh eyes. When we moved to Nowra (when I was 7) we lived on a farm alongisde the river next to the paper mill. You would have passed it as you drove back from Shoalhaven Heads. And if your campground was off Terara Rd you would have been just around the corner from where I grew up. I remember marching up to the War Memorial one Anzac Day when I was a girl guide (fled the guides as soon as I could - not my thing). I'm disappointed you seem to have bypassed the big Mall in Nowra known locally as The Swamp because it was built on one (etc). I agree about the faux-hippies at Berry (and now, it seems, Milton) but I still love going there with my Mum for a coffee and a look around the shops.

Flabmeister said...

Thanks Lou.

You're exactly right about the campground we stayed in. As we were unpowered camping we were outside the boom gate so looked at Terrara Rd across a nicely mown lawn. I should have said in the post that we thought it was a pretty good place to pitch a tent.

The Swamp should not feel discrimnated against. We avoid Malls and Plazas and such similar places wherever we can!


Mark Grogan said...

As much as I like nature, I prefer history better. Looks like part one covered a lot more of the historical bits of Shoalhaven so I think I might prefer going for that bit and stopping off at the mall for a cuppa after!