Last Sunday, our family went on a history cruise along Sydney’s Hawkesbury River (Deerubbun) with the kids’ Scout troop.
However, before our journey proceeds any further, I thought I’d better provide you with a map of the Hawkesbury River. Not that I’m any good at reading maps, but I thought you might like to know where we are…especially if you’re not from around here. (By the way,as we live North of the Hawkesbury River, I really should be posting the map “upside down”…I mean, the right way up.
Our Hawkesbury River Cruise set out from Brooklyn, which is just above the M1 sign on the map. While I’ve previously posted about the Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge and its role in defending Sydney during WWII, this is more of a pictorial overview of the trip.
From Brooklyn, we headed east towards Broken Bay and Palm Beach, which some of you might know as “Summer Bay” from Australian drama Home & Away.
As I said, I don’t have a great sense of direction. Yet, I do remember us chugging past the Sport & Recreation Camp at Milson Bay and round to Juno Point, where I photographed this very statuesque gum tree leaning out over the river.
Then, we made our way into Broken Bay via checking out the defenses at West Head, which is really known more as a scenic lookout than an army base.
We returned to Brooklyn, heading upstream towards Wiseman’s Ferry and Windsor. This meant going past what remains of the original Hawkesbury River Bridge, a hauntingly beautiful row of sandstone piers, an epitaph to engineering doom.
We also travelled underneath the replacement Hawkesbury River Railway Bridge, which seemed reminiscent of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and was also an engineering marvel back in its day.
The Bridge provided some outstanding photo opportunities, particularly as I love seeing the familiar through an unfamiliar lens or perspective. The local train from Woy Woy to Sydney passes over this bridge so we know it well from the train window. You also see the bridge in the distance driving to Sydney. So, the Hawkesbury River Bridge is a very familiar sight…just not looking up at it from the river. That was a buzz.
However, there’s much more to cruising along the Hawkesbury River than engineering structures.
There were clouds.
At least, there were clouds as we were cruising along last Saturday. Not just any ordinary clouds either.There was a sky full of photogenic clouds…fluffy tufts of pure white cotton wool pasted on a bright blue sky with perfect cloud outlines. I couldn’t have done a better job myself…not that I’m in the cloud-making business.
Do you like watching clouds?
While cloud gazing might be considered a little “fluffy”, I find it quite mesmerising and have gone to great lengths to photograph clouds in what could be described as suicidal weather conditions. Yet, in better weather, appreciating clouds reflects a joie de vivre...a soul committed to carpe diem seize the day. After all, the phrase is “seize the day” and NOT “seize the mobile phone”!!
Hey, you tell me? What isn’t there to love about this sky full of clouds?
Another highlight of the cruise was checking out the wreckage of the HMAS Parramatta.
Named after the Parramatta River, HMAS Parramatta, was a River-class torpedo-boat destroyer of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN). Ordered in 1909 for the Commonwealth Naval Forces (the predecessor of the RAN), Parramatta was the first ship launched for the Australian navy.
From 1914 to 1917, HMAS Parramatta was involved in wartime patrols in the Pacific and South East Asian regions, before she and her sister ships were transferred to the Mediterranean for anti-submarine operations. She returned to Australia in 1919, and was placed in reserve. Apart from a brief period of full commission during the visit of the Prince of Wales, Parramatta remained in reserve commission until 1928. She was fully decommissioned in 1928, stripped of parts, and sold for use as prisoner accommodation on the Hawkesbury River. After changing hands several times, the hull ran aground during gale conditions in 1933, and was left to rust. In 1973, the bow and stern sections were salvaged, and converted into memorials and the remainder can be seen here. Further information HMAS Parramatta.
Wow! As you can see, we had a wonderful time…although it really just felt like an entree and I really want to see more…especially the sunset. Sunsets viewed as the train crosses over the Hawkesbury Railway Bridge are a knockout but it would be even better viewed from the water. I can definitely feel a sunset trip along the Hawkesbury River coming up.
Bring it on!
Meanwhile, if you’d like to follow in our wake, you can reach Central Coast Ferries: here.