Friday, September 18, 2009

September Update

We have been in the USA just over 3 weeks visiting family and friends and taking a break in central Iowa to see the bridges of Madison County and the Amana Colonies.
More details on our adventures in later posts.
The flight over with Virgin Australia was excellent. The fourteen hours from Sydney to Los Angeles passed fairly quickly with nice food, good service and reasonably comfortable seats.
Both United and QANTAS definitely have some competition on their hands with this new airline.
Despite a 7 hour layover in LAX and a rather uncomfortable flight on Northwest's redeye to Minneapolis, we arrived in good condition jetlag wise.
After a few days there, we picked up our rental car and drove the 5 hours to Sioux Falls and began our round of surprise visits. All went according to plan with everyone reacting in the expected way to our sudden appearance on their doorsteps.
But we have been warned not to do it again!

PHOTO: Gerry Ricketts / September 2nd edition of Milton Ulladulla Times
Our departure from the south coast was delayed by another bushfire emergency to the north of us. This one got to within a few kilometers of our home and again we were on evacuation alert. Thick smoke covered our valley and there was the incessant throb of water bombing helicopters overhead all day. The highway north had been cut. We were wondering if we would be able to leave on our trip and maybe would have to give up our non refundable tickets. However the fire was brought under reasonable control on the shores of Lake Tabourie the following day.
We made the decision to leave with the support of our neighbours but our trip to Sydney was a long affair due to the enforced detour south and west around the fire area. Reports from our region in the following week indicated that things were ok in our immediate vicinity and there was even a small amount of rain. However there were two more fires in the Batemans Bay area to the south of us which had also endangered property.
The hottest driest winter on record was certainly producing unwanted consequences.
As an epilogue to "our fire", a grazier in the area has been charged with letting a hazard reduction burn get out of control and will face court in October.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Ulladulla / A Short History

Ulladulla is located 300 km south of Sydney. It is a coastal holiday resort, a "seachanger" destination (someone who makes a significant lifestyle change by moving to or near the sea), a retirement centre and a fishing port. The local economy is supplemented with dairying, timber getting and tourism. This is "our" town or rather the one we visit most for goods and services.
There are a number of theories about the origins of 'Ulladulla' as a place name. The indigenous word is variously given as 'ullada ullada' and 'Woollahderra' supposedly meaning 'safe harbour'. A somewhat dubious story is that the word 'Ulladulla' is a compromise between the Aboriginal title and the phrase 'holey dollar' which was a form of currency in NSW from 1814 until about 1824.
For the 20,000 years prior to white settlement the coastal area was occupied, depending on the source read, by the Dhurga, Walbanja and/or Wandandian Aborigines. Middens and caves used for shelter confirm their occupation of the land. When Captain Cook travelled up the coastline in 1770 he noted, at Bawley Point, south of Ulladulla, people on the shore who 'appeared to be of a black or very dark colour'. On April 21 he sighted Pigeon House Mountain, to the west of the present town. He described it as 'a remarkable peaked hill, which resembled a square dove-house, with a dome at the top, and which for that reason I called the Pigeon House'. The aboriginal name for this landmark is Didhol or Dithol which means woman's breast due to the distinctive shape of the mountain.

In 1827 Thomas Florance surveyed the coastline from Lake Burrill to Narrawallee, naming much of what he saw. He anchored his boat, "The Wasp" in what is now called Ulladulla Harbour and it became known, for a while, as Wasp Harbour.
The first land grant in the area was issued in 1827 to Reverend Thomas Kendall (1778-1832). He settled north of the present township of Milton, calling his property 'Kendall Dale'. There he ran cattle and harvested timber using ticket-of-leave men (convicts on parole) for labour. Kendall travelled often from Ulladulla to Sydney but was drowned when his small boat, "The Brisbane", was wrecked off Jervis Bay.
His grandson, Henry Kendall, was born on the estate in 1839. Although he only lived there for five years the people of Ulladulla helped to launch his literary career when they instigated, by public subscription, the publishing of his first book, "Poems and Songs", in 1862. He was to become one of Australia's most distinguished contemporary poets.
An area called 'The Settlement', upon the site of present-day Milton, was occupied by farmers. Creeks, rivers, gorges, mountains, lakes and swamps made access by land problematic so the settlers began to use the harbour, imaginatively known as 'The Boat Harbour', for the shipment of produce. There were no breakwaters nor any jetty at this time, just a chain by which ships were secured.
Other land grants were issued in the 1830’s and the site for a village was surveyed in 1837. With an abundance of red cedar in the area, much in demand for the construction of furniture, Ulladulla prospered as a timber port in the 1840’s.
The first houses consisted of a sapling framework with strips of dried bark for covering. As families developed (until 1850 there was only one white woman living at Ulladulla Harbour) larger slab houses were erected.
Shipbuilding was also undertaken from about 1840 by David and James Warden on the beach inside Ulladulla Harbour. The promontory known as Warden Head is named in their honour.

Other early industries included dairying, wheat-growing (destroyed when 'rust' hit the south coast in the 1860s), pig-rearing, honey, maize and vegetable-cultivation, a tannery works at Millards Creek and the mining of silica and quartzite which was loaded on a wharf at Bannister Point and shipped out for usage in the blast furnaces of Newcastle north of Sydney.
In 1856 the population of Ulladulla was around 300. A road was marked out in 1858 although it was not suitable for laden wagons. That same year a wooden jetty was built by private subscription, being replaced by a government wharf in 1865.
A lighthouse was erected at the end of the wharf in 1873 and was relocated to Wardens Head in 1889. It is still there today serving the local fishing fleet as well as recreational boating.
A regular passenger and cargo service was established from 1852 by the Illawarra & South Coast Steam Navigation Company (ISCSNC), which serviced most ports on the South Coast and continued until its closure in the 1950’s.
Fishing has always been a popular occupation in the area and shipbuilding returned to the port just before World War II and continued for many years. The Ulladulla Fisherman Co-operative was formed in March 1956. Today Ulladulla is a peaceful, relaxed seaside town that is a pleasure to live near. The harbour, with two boat ramps, is nestled between two enclosing headlands. With a couple of notable beaches, seven lakes nearby and a hinterland of state forest, mountain ranges and national parkland it is ideal for all aquatic activities, camping, bushwalks and scenic drives.
My thanks to the Sydney Morning Herald, the Milton Ulladulla and District Historical Society and local historian, Cathy Dunn, for providing much of the background information for this entry.

Monday, September 07, 2009

A Surprise Trip

By the time you read this we would have been in the USA for almost a week.
Despite being an almost annual soujorn to see family and friends, we hadn't planned to go this year due to the economic downturn. However competition on the Pacific route has increased with the introduction of direct daily services by Delta Airlines and Virgin Australia in addition to the usual United Airlines and QANTAS flights. This substantial increase in the number available seats plus the decline in passenger numbers saw some very low fares being offered over the last few months.
We couldn't resist so picked up two 'cheapies' on VA from Sydney to Los Angeles.

Then, after a few hours cooling our heels at LAX, we planned to pick up the North West 'red eye' to Minneapolis. Normally we fly into Sioux Falls, SD but in keeping with the budgetory nature of this trip it was much cheaper to fly to the Twin Cities, pick up a car and drive the 5 hours to our final destination. After a few days getting over jetlag, that is. We were wanting to visit with family in Hudson WI anyway so it was killing two birds with one stone.
Now the big thing was, none of the family knew what was going on.
We have planned just to turn up on their doorstep.
They were just told that we were heading north for a few days break and would be out of touch.
So it will be interesting to report on their reactions to our sudden appearance.
We both like surprises!!!!!!!!