Sunday lunch: Thirroul

Sirdan drove down from Sydney and I trained up from Wollongong: destination Thirroul.

The world famous English author, D. H. Lawrence visited Thirroul in 1923 and wrote the novel Kangaroo (novel) about Australian fringe politics after the First World War whilst there. Over looking the Pacific Ocean, his house Wyewurk is the earliest Australian bungalow to show the influence of the Californian Bungalow style of architecture. He gave this description of the town… “…The town trailed down from the foot of the mountain towards the railway, a huddle of grey and red painted iron roofs. Then over the rail line towards the sea, it began again in a spasmodic fashion….There were wide unmade roads running straight as to go nowhere, with little bungalow homes…..Then quite near the inland, rose a great black wall of mountain or cliff…..”. The book D.H. Lawrence at Thirroul by life-long Thirroul resident Joseph Davis was published by Collins (Sydney) in 1989 and questioned many of the assumptions made by Robert Darroch in his 1981 work entitled D.H. Lawrence in Australia published by Macmillan (Melbourne). The Cambridge edition of Kangaroo (edited by Bruce Steele) tended to accept the views of Davis rather than those of Darroch. Davis has gone on to write a number of books about art and the environment in Thirroul and the local area, including Lake Illawarra: an ongoing history (2005).

Artist Brett Whiteley died from a heroin overdose in the Beachside Motel in Thirroul on the 15th June 1992, aged 53. The artist Paul Ryan (many times short listed for the Archibald Prize) is a long-term resident of Thirroul, as is the up and coming ‘outsider’ art practitioner Frank Nowlan…

We lunched at The Old Siam. Our duck curry was excellent, washed down with an Otago pinot gris. The surfer boys at the next table distracted Sirdan somewhat, however.

Afterwards I deviated on the way to the station to The Beanstalk Cafe, which is also a very good bookshop. I really tried not to be distracted.