Pat Wallace's reflections
Pat Wallace first came to Rosedale 63 years ago and has been coming back ever since. Here are some of her reflections of earlier times.
I was inspired — or rather 'stung' into recording these 'reflections' by the headlines of the December issue of the Rosedale Association's newsletter --"Developments over the Road" — and the accompanying sadness I felt regarding the inevitability of what is sometimes labelled 'progress' at our beloved Rosedale
I hope these memories won't be a total yawn to newer folk. I have tried to make them brief!
I first came to Rosedale (or Burrewarra North as we knew it then) in 1939 in a wicker laundry basket at the age of two months. No, I wasn't a foundling but that was what parents did before car baskets and capsules!! The dirt road began at Nowra and the Bateman's Bay punt was always an adventure! (much more for kids than adults!)
I have been coming ever since, mainly at Christmas, Easter and NSW school holidays when we are in Australia and now we have the luxury of being able to come more frequently throughout the year.
My father, Norman Bartlett, was a close friend and fishing mate of Fred and Perce Browne and had already been coming to Rosedale with them for a number of years before I was born. Fred acquired land on Saltwater Creek and Perce later bought the block between the Malletts and the Bransons. (These blocks are now owned by Wendy Reid and Deirdre Prussak, I think). We bought our own block in Paul Street from Phil Miller in 1954 and it was named after Phil's son.
Dad originally built a small kitchen to appease my mother who insisted on cooking fabulous 3-course meals on holidays (who's complaining?)
We used to stay in either tent or caravan until Dad built the rest of the house. As I married and had 4 children we always seemed to be extending (and still haven't stopped!)
Now to those reflections —the magical things I recall over the past 63 years!
Learning to swim in the creek at age 4. I swam much better underwater — mainly so I could check out the eels, seaweed and poddy mullet!
The fun of real camping out, digging drainage trenches, hammering in tent pegs (and fingers!), setting up the flyproof meatsafe and butter cooler high in a gumtree, playing card games by the light of the Tilly lamp, sleeping on a camp stretcher — and praying it wouldn't rain!
Exploring by foot every nook and cranny of coast from Malua Bay to Broulee, scrambling around rocks, which were either soft and crumbling or razor sharp and over headlands, jumping or sometimes swimming across channels (always watching for wobbeygongs lurking beneath!)
Being given the responsibility at a tender age of collecting the milk in what seemed a very big billy from Mr. Albert Sebbens who ran Rosedale Farm at the time. I believe Mr. Sebbens still lives in Moruya and his son often fishes at Rosedale - I met him on a beach walk recently and swapped some great yarns.
Having milk fights and trying to milk the Rosedale cows at the dairy.
Bodysurfing the entire day — our only concessions to avoiding skin cancer were zinc cream on the nose and the shoulders and the back of the knees. How foolish we were, either from ignorance or, more likely, the belief in our immortality!
Great picnics in the surrounding bush — the most memorable being amongst the Big Bad Banksia Men at Burrewarra Trig. Station.
My father's wonderful tale,later confirmed, of being out fishing with Perce Browne in his rowboat in the bay and seeing a Japanese submarine periscope. His quandary was how to row calmly across to wake Tom Mallett Snr who was asleep in his boat! They managed to do it and reported it to to coastguard who, of course, was aware of its presence all the time!
Fishing everywhere, collecting bait — poddy mullet, prawns, worms, octopus, cunjevoi, pippies and actually knowing which fish liked what!
Racing into the General Store in Mogo to get the Leaving Certificate and later University results from the Sydney Morning Herald, in those published mercilessly in those days for all the world to see!
Training for State Swimming Championships in Saltwater Creek — I think that was why I didn't win!
Playing Tarzan while jumping off special trees into the creek, learning some rather unorthodox ways of entering the water.
The excitement in Kitty Allison (now Tischler) 's eyes as she ran all the way from the Knoll to tell us there were hundreds of whales off Jimmy's Island.
The friends I made in the 50s and 60s. Most of them came from Canberra and Goulburn while I was from Sydney. Many letters travelled around the state between holidays. Certainly romances flourished during those formative years with Rosedale and all its moods as the backdrop. We really were a bunch of 'free spirits", able to wander everywhere and absorb the essence of Rosedale —it has shaped me forever.
New Year bonfires on the beach — my most memorable was seeing Andrew "Boy" Charlton festooned in seaweed coming out of the sea as King Neptune! We owed a lot to the Knowlman Family for organising these.
My father's fury when he encountered his first spearfisherman in Jimmy's Hole! That was definitely sacred ground!
Learning how to set lobster pots and body surf from Perce Browne and Miss Jeanette Buckham, getting clues on catching beachworms from Tom Mallett Jnr.
Dreaming of swimming across to Jimmy's Island. I was never game enough but many did.
The huge and varied hauls of fish my Dad and his friends would bring in to feed everyone who was staying at Rosedale at the time.
Now it is a joy to see our children and grandchildren and their friends still revelling in Rosedale, although much has and will change. They have pushed the barriers more than we would have dared, having swum with sharks at Bateman's Bay and seals at Montague Island and last Christmas climbed to the top of Jimmy's Island ( — definitely not recommended to those inexperienced in rock-climbing as those rock faces are soft and crumbling)
However the scenery, the ever-changing moods of the sea and its surroundings, the landscape, vegetation and birdlife are still theirs to enjoy and to share. Hopefully like all you others who care so much for Rosedale they will also be conscientious stewards of the treasures they are privileged to enjoy.
March 3, 2003