No 7: Bradleys Beach – 26 April 2010

From one of Sydney’s most iconic and well-known destinations at No 6: Bondi Beach to one of it’s more obscure and remote destinations at No 7: Bradleys Beach at Dangar Island off Brooklyn in the Hawkesbury River.

Bradleys Beach is roughly 60 kilometres (37 miles from home).  It is, I think, the northern most beach in this tour.  Jim took us there on his boat as part of a larger day of enjoying being out on the water in the Robyn.

Bradleys Beach is on the southern side of the island and boasts a number of holiday rentals.  The day of our visit we had the beach to ourselves.

Dangar Island proved an interesting discovery in its own right.  Home to a permanent population of about 250 — there’s a bowling club and a cafe/general store.  The island is served by a ferry out of Brooklyn and people get around on foot and move their gear and goods in large trolleys.

Prior to European colonisation Dangar had been home to the Guringai people.  Governor Arthur Phillip was the first white to visit when he was surveying the area in March 1788.

The island was leased to the Union Bridge Company of Chicago during the 1886-1889 construction of the original Hawkesbury River Rail Bridge.  During that time some 400 Americans — workers and their families — made their home on Dangar.

Bradleys Beach and Dangar Island are in the Hornsby Shire LGA, the state district of Hornsby (Matt Kean, Liberal) and the federal division of Berowra (Philip Ruddock, Liberal).

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No 6: Bondi Beach – 18 April 2010

Bondi, baby, Bondi — THE Sydney beach.  The one everyone has heard of.

When you look at it from the esplanade you think — jeez it’s crowded that doesn’t look like much fun but down on the sand the people-watching and people-listening makes the day.  Its a mini UN of sunbathers; we must have heard half a dozen languages.

Bondi is 16 kilometres (10 miles) from home.

Not surprisingly Wikipedia has a lot to say about Bondi but here’s a few key things — ‘bondi’ is an aboriginal word meaning either “water breaking over rocks” or “the noise of water breaking over rocks” or maybe “place where flight of nullas took place”.

Bondi was a working class suburb for most of the 20th century and the landing place for immigrants, especially Jews, from eastern Europe.  Jewish in-migration has continued in the 21st century with newer arrivals coming from Russia, South Africa and Israel.  When I need a good bagel, I go to Bondi; but it’s not like American Jewish food with delicatessens and whatnot — different people, who came from different places, at different times.  A good reminder of what an ethnically diverse group Jews can be.

Bondi Beach is in the Waverley Council LGA, the state district of Vaucluse (Gabrielle Upton, Liberal) and the federal division of Wentworth (Malcolm Turnbull, marginally (until he gets kicked out, takes the leadership again, or starts his own party) Liberal).