M in Wollongong–Sunday lunch

M came down to Wollongong. We went to the northern Chinese restaurant, Bei Feng, in Keira Street. I left my camera at home.

The food? Better than most I have had, including Chinatown in Sydney! M agreed – and he is Chinese! He described it as good home cooking, nothing fancy about the presentation.

Then we took a walk down Market Street.


Market Street in 1885

Behind the trees on the right, mid-ground, the second church building: 

Yes, Wollongong Congregational Church is still there. 

The Congregational Church in Wollongong was officially established in October, 1855,  and services were held in family homes. The first minister was Rev. George Charter, who had been a missionary in the South Seas. In 1856, it was decided to build a chapel for the growing congregation, and in August, 1857, the present church in Market Street was dedicated. Trustees of the new building included the Sydney businessmen, David Jones and John Fairfax.

Further towards the beach we came upon the old Wollongong Post Office, now a museum – and it was open.

We went in and had a good look around.  There is a lot inside and in the yard.


On 2 December, 1816 Richard Brookes received a 1300 acre grant on the western perimeter of Lake Illawarra which he named "Exmouth". The homestead he built consisted of split timbers such as stringy-bark, red gum and red mahogany with some wall plates of sassafras. After the homestead was dismantled some timbers were taken to Mt Brown where they were used for a shed to store grain and tools. With the construction of the southern freeway in 1968 the building had to make way for progress. The Society obtained the timbers and Ken Thomas set about constructing a typical stockman’s hut at the rear of the museum, completing it in 1979. Someone said that the flooring traditionally consisted of cow dung. This was one technique Ken was not familiar with. After advertising for information Forbes Historical Society contacted the Society stating that laying a cow dung floor can only be done in springtime whilst the manure was still warm. Ken diligently followed the instructions and laid a perfect cow dung floor.


The air raid shelter was built during World War II. The Museum building was then used as Government Offices. The air raid shelter is located at the rear of the building.

The Illawarra Historical Society has used the air raid shelter as a display area depicting various items used by the people of Illawarra during the war years, such as knitting patterns and sheet music.

Also on display are posters relating to the war years, a gas mask, an air raid warden’s helmet and hand book which would have been used during this time. In the corner is an old wireless set. A switch on the wall allows the visitors to turn back the clock and listen to recordings relating to World War II.


The restaurant – taken today.


Excellent food!

Sunday lunch in Daceyville

It has been a while since I ventured back up to Sydney for a Sunday lunch. That I did so yesterday is down to Jim Belshaw who now lives in Daceyville, a most interesting suburb not far from the University of NSW.

Today, Daceyville is a tiny, often overlooked suburb located six kilometres south of Sydney central business district. In 1912, however, it was a hive of activity as its construction brought about Australia’s first public housing scheme. Built by the state’s first Labor government, and using the skills of well-known Sydneysiders like architect John Sulman, it is one of Sydney’s unique suburbs.




In Jim’s street yesterday.



Jim, followed by (L-R) Noric Dilanchian, Clare Belshaw, Neil Whitfield and Dennis Sligar.


In the train on the way home.

Dennis turns out to have been just one year ahead of me as a student at Sydney Boys High in the 1950s and we reminisced ourselves silly. Smile  He was also a Public Servant of note and gets mentioned in Kim Beazley’s autobiography. Noric is of Armenian background and among topics raised by him was the matter of history and perspective. Jim’s daughter Clare is also quite passionate about history, particularly about the Julio-Claudians it appears and has a perhaps not unrelated interest in zombies. I also learned for the first time – though I am sure most of you already knew – about Kickstarter,  a funding platform for creative projects. What a great thing it appears to be!

All that and roast lamb too.

Thanks, Jim.

SBHS ex-students in the news, and pleasant Sunday in Illawarra

SBHS ex-students in the news

In a good way.

Jeremy Heimans (1995) has been in Sydney for TedX.



Jack Manning Bancroft (2002) is on Australian Story tonight.


The pictures link to the stories. On Jack see my 2008 post Fantastic, but another reason to feel old!

Pleasant Sunday afternoon in Illawarra



Lunch at City Diggers

Met ex-TIGS (1975) student Ian Turton – and his son!


Music at Illawarra Brewery


Just saw the program about Jack. Inspiring, and he is inspirational. I did have an Extension English class for Yr 12 in Jack’s year but he wasn’t in that class – though some pretty amazing kids were, as happens at SBHS. But we (ex) teachers really do know our place: so often we really are humbled by the humanity that passes through our hands, as it were, and what we contribute is never all that clear. Even so, with no real justification I guess, I couldn’t help but feel proud about what I saw tonight – and cheered to see something we so often have regarded as an intractable problem yielding to this young man’s vision. There’s hope there eh!

ALICIA JOHNSON, AIME MENTEE: What I think makes AIME so good is it was developed and created by an Indigenous youth, for Indigenous youth. And other people ask me about the program and ask me about my involvement and I just said, "It’s made for us, pretty much by us and that’s why I believe it’s so successful." It’s not someone trying to save us. It’s not someone trying to tell us what to do; it’s about giving us self determination and hope.

IAN THORPE, ‘FOUNTAIN FOR YOUTH’ CHARITY: I think Jack probably has a plan that we have to get Australia right first and then why not AIME in Africa, why not AIME in other countries that have similar problems? I think, for someone like Jack Manning Bancroft, and I think, you know the world really is his oyster. He could be doing anything.

JACK MANNING BANCROFT: It’s pretty humbling to see what AIME has done for a lot of different people. Personally, I think that it doesn’t make sense today that an Australian kid who is Indigenous doesn’t have the same chances that every other Australian kid has. And until I can see an Australia where that happens, I don’t think I’ll be happy or satisfied.


M came to Wollongong bearing gifts

Sunday lunch at Wollongong Diggers, and this gift from M.


Apparently someone recently moved from M’s East Redfern complex and obligingly left behind their wine cellar!

I haven’t been able to track down the exact wine on the left, except that the provenance is good. I suspect it is simply no longer available.

The wine on the right sells for around $70 a bottle.

The fruit for this wine was sourced from several of the well-established vineyards all located at Langhorne Creek. This superlative Cabernet growing district is renowned for rich soils, nourished by the Bremer River’s flooding, which drives the development of powerful characters and distinctive flavours in the local fruit. The wine underwent a relatively warm ferment to extract the maximum colour and flavour from the excellent fruit. Each parcel was pressed separately then racked to barrel, where it finished primary fermentation. Once malolactic fermentation was complete the wine was racked again and returned to the same new French and American oak barrels for a further two years. Winemaker John Glaetzer

A deep red colour, the wine shows very good varietal Cabernet characters. The nose exhibits spice, mint, chocolate and rich berry fruit. There are elements of eucalypt, tar, blueberry and sweet loam, hallmark characters of good Cabernet Sauvignon from Langhorne Creek. The palate is full bodied with exceptional layers of berry fruit and chocolate oak, finely integrated nuances, the matrimony between wood and Cabernet is evenly matched by the singular wash of trademark fruity acids that mark the vintage. Real dark plum, loam and tea, instances jammy nutella-like compaote, the cassis clings all the way through, buffered by the violin-like tannins, it culminates lightly smokey, velvety textured, ripe and tight.