Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Maybe We'll Give Bondi Another Chance



We didn't love Bondi during our 2007 holiday to Australia.   We went there after Manly and I guess our hearts were already decided on which beach we preferred.   I found Bondi to be too crowded, the changing bathrooms were gross, and the water was too wild.

Manly seemed more laid-back to me; unstylish and not that cool.

Bondi's people seem beautiful, fit, stylish, and cool.   I'm so intimidated by all that.

Upon my cousin's urging, we returned to Bondi--gave it a second chance.  We still didn't like it, but I did collect a few good memories of the day.   Our old family friend Greg spent the day with us.   He's an American who was living in New Zealand for awhile.   The two of us had a nice beach walk and chat.  We talked about our love for Sydney.   I also coerced him into going into the wild cold water with me.   That was fun.   So Bondi wasn't all bad.

And I'm planning to give it yet another chance.   

Maybe learning more about it will give me a deeper appreciation.

So, here we go.....

First, I shall talk to Lord Wiki.  

The name Bondi comes from an Aboriginal word meaning something like water breaking over rocks.

This is fairly interesting.   In 1851, Edward Hall Smith and his son-in-law Francis O'Brien purchased a bunch of beach land.  They called it the Bondi estate.   Then O'Brien bought out his father-in-law and renamed the estate after himself.    The O'Brien estate.   He kindly made the beach area public--offered it up to an amusement area.   Then he changed his mind when things became too popular.  He wanted to restrict access.  The government intervened and....well, I guess they bought the land and made it public.

I think it's interesting that O'Brien and Smith initially used an Aboriginal name for their estate. Was the name already there and known?   I mean how and why did they decide on using an Aboriginal Word.

I think the fact that Aboriginal words were used for places shows that there was at least a LITTLE respect for the Koori people.   I think if there was a total lack of respect, they'd disregard all Indigenous vocabulary and use British terms only.

On February 6 1938, huge waves hit the beach and five people drowned.  This became known as Black Sunday.  

According to the Bondi Beach website, Bondi lifeguards rescue an average of 2500 people per year.  Yikes.

In the Southern Part of Bondi beach, there is a rip tide nicknamed the backpackers express..  LordWiki says there are actually five of these rip tides, but the backpackers express is closest to the popular swimming areas.   We'll watch out for that one. 

As for stuff to do.   I've heard that the Bondi to Bronte walk is a must.    I want us to try that. 

I'm reading now more about Edward Smith Hall.  He's a bit like Robert Wardall(who I wrote about in the Dulwich Hill post) in that he too worked for a newspaper and spoke out against Governor Darling.     Smith was an evangelical Christian and part of a charitable organization called the Benevolence Society. 

Edward Hall Smith's daughter was Georgiana.  She's the one who married O'Brien.   I wish we could know more about the women in these stories.

Now I'm exiting the world of history and learning more about the practical stuff.

The Bondi Suburbs are part of the Waverly council.  Their website says the Bondi to Bronte walk takes about 1.5 hours.   It's 3.5 km which equals about 2.20 miles.    I think we can manage that.   I mean I know I can manage that.  It's more about can Jack manage it.  Or can WE manage Jack and his complaints of  Are we almost there?  and I'm hungry!

Bondi Beach itself is one Kilometer.  I guess we can walk and when we get hot, we can stick our feet in the water or something.   Maybe even swim when we end up between the flags.  I'm sorry, but I'm not swimming outside the flags.  I'm a chicken when it comes to this Bondi thing.

Okay, this makes me feel better.   It seems there are tons of little parks with playground on the walk. So, we'll just spend a long day of beach playing, walking, and playground climbing.   I think  that will be fun for all of us.

Well, maybe it's not as great as I thought.  As I look at this closer, I'm realizing not all the parks are near the beach and/or place we'll be walking.  That's okay.   I'm sure one or two playgrounds will be enough.   I hope there are enough toilets and that the toilets are easy to find. 

I'm looking at a map now--getting my bearings straight.   Bondi Beach is North and you walk south to get to Bronte.

While we're walking around Bondi, we can take Jack to the Mermaid Pool.   It's a children's pool.   I think I might remember seeing this.

The next major beach after Bondi Beach is Tamarama Bay.  Cute name.   The area had an aquarium and amusement park, but that all ended in 1911.   According to Lord Wiki, one of the reasons it closed was battles over animal cruelty.   It's interesting to know that even back then some people cared about stuff like that.   Although maybe it's prejudice and naive of me to be surprised by it.

Well, I'm not sure I'm going to like this Tamarama Beach.   According to Lord Wiki, it's known for it's glamourous people.   If that's not bad enough, it is also known as the most dangerous beach in New South Wales. 

I'm trying to figure out where this walk officially ends.  I guess if we had the energy and motivation, we could just keep on treking.    But I think we'll stop where most people stop.  Where is that?  I don't know.

 I think we should visit the cemetery.   

The other thing I'm trying to figure out is where the Koori rock carvings are located.  I know they're somewhere......

Actually, I have a book that has the info.  I will go look it up now.   Okay.  The book says there is a whale engraving on the clifftop walk between Bondi and Tamarama.   So, we'll look out for it.   We won't spend too much time looking at it because I don't want to get all hot in the sun.  Then we'll be dying for water and out of desperation, we'll rush to Tamarama Beach and drown in the most dangerous waters of New South Wales.     We really need to avoid that.