Sounds like a firm of lawyers doesn’t it, but no, for me it’s to tell you that:
1. I am closing the Moreton Bay History part of my webpage (which means that you won’t be able to log on using the http://www.moretonbayhistory.com address after next week).
I opened my Moreton Bay History webpage in April 1997 and after nearly 20 years, I think I’ve said all I need to about the bay’s history. However I’ll try to keep the blog section open for the occasional blog. Hopefully, barring technical difficulties in the transfer, you may still log in to the blog using the following address:
2. My second closure is to finish writing ‘the novel’ which I began way back in 1970. After being constantly put on the back burner for the past 47 years due to the demands of my history writing, I’ve made it my new year resolution to finally seek closure on the ‘novel’ project. It won’t be a number one bestseller and will probably be seen by nobody but myself, but like learning to play the guitar, it will satisfy a lifelong ambition.
I’ll keep sending my new blogs to Facebook and Google+ so I hope we can still keep in touch.
Part of the idea I had when I came to London this visit was just to sit in Kensington Gardens and watch the grass grow while sunning myself in the gentle English light.
However the sunny weather Phyllis and I had experienced last week in the west of England sadly did not accompany us eastward to London. Yet in many ways reaching the capital felt like coming home: the overfamiliar landmarks, the crowded trains of the underground, the public Laundromat,…and the bleak cold weather that heralded in the first days of the English ‘summer’.
Being back in London again after I first arrived here 48 years ago was a bitter- sweet experience: it was wonderful for us to tread the footpaths of the West End once again, but sad to realise that our bodies just couldn’t manage them as they once did so easily.
We visited our old Boots shop in Victoria Street where we had both worked but found it to be overrun by a mass of building work. As if to give a nod to the old days, some of the buildings’ facades were being preserved, but little else.
However Phyllis’ former flat at 33 Moreton Place, Pimlico and mine at 10 Nevern Square, Earls Court remain unchanged, still slumbering quietly as they have done in our dreams.
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog.
Here’s an excerpt:
A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 4,400 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 4 trips to carry that many people.
Cowan Cowan is a tiny settlement on the western side of Moreton Island a few kilometres north of Tangalooma. On this map, it is situated just where the main shipping channel almost touches Moreton Island. In the early days, when a ship entered Moreton Bay, a pilot vessel would be dispatched to guide it safely into port. In 1848 because of its proximity to the shipping channel, the Pilot Station was moved from Amity to Cowan Cowan on Moreton where, by 1860, it was recorded as having in residence two pilots, nine boatmen, and others, all living in wretched conditions. Later the Pilot Station was shifted still further north on Moreton to Bulwer.
At the commencement of WWII, there were three Forts built to protect the entrances to Moreton Bay. The main shipping channel, via the North West Channel between Bribie and Moreton Islands, was guarded by Fort Bribie, a garrison situated on the northern end of the island where the channel passes closest to the beach, and by a similar Fort at Cowan Cowan where the channel passes closest to Moreton Island. Fort Rous, on the southern end of Moreton Island guarded the bay from any shipping attempting to enter via the South Passage. At each of these Forts was a pair of six inch guns. Bribie was sea firing, Rous was sea and bay firing, while Cowan was bay firing only because the height of Mount Tempest proved too large an angle for the guns to fire over to sea.
Roy Gardner, of Bechmere tells us of his wartime experience at Cowan Cowan:
‘In 1939 when war was imminent, I was sent with the Engineers over to Cowan Cowan to build facilities for a garrison to be stationed there. We firstly cut our own timber to build a bridge over the swamp behind Cowan, then constructed a rifle range where the land begins to rise to Mount Tempest. I’ll bet it’s still there today because we made it out of ironbark. It was backbreaking work shovelling sand.
‘Next we sank a well on the Cowan side of the swamp. Up until then we depended for our fresh water on supplies brought down on the “Grazier”. Washing was done in the bay with the sharks! Then we constructed wooden towers to hold the corrugated iron tanks for the water, then ablution blocks for the showers. We then cut stumps and had them sunk and levelled ready for pre-cut huts brought down on the “Grazier”.
‘Then the artillery and foot soldiers moved in to join us 120 engineers. I remember we had Church Parade on Sundays conducted by Padre St.George from Sherwood. Sickness was the only exemption, but one Sunday a few of us buzzed off and went for a walk along the beach. We saw a lot of sharks in the water nearby and one of my mates fired off three quick shots at them. The parade heard this and thought the island was being attacked. The alarm was raised. Needless to say we were not very popular!’
‘Curly’ Meath, of Wilston writes:
‘The fort at Cowan Cowan possessed two 6 inch guns to protect the entrance to Moreton Bay. In one encounter, the bridge was blown off a mystery vessel which failed to respond to its challenge of identification. The vessel turned out to be a ‘friendly’ minesweeper and several crew were killed in the encounter.’
“The world steps aside for the man who knows where he is going.”
This week, I was reminded of the well-known quote by the British philosophical writer, James Allen, as I listened to Gordon Davidson speaking about our local Redland Museum and its origins. Like so many other institutions in our lives, the Museum was the dream of one man. In this case it was Norm Dean, a local estate agent and Rotarian, who sought to preserve the Redlands history as it changed from a farming to a housing community. A museum is the memory of its community.
Of course, the dream of one man needs a whole team of supporters to bring it to reality, and in this case, Rotary and the Redland City Council’s support have been outstanding.
Other individuals who spring to mind and who have had massive influence on our way of life have included Steve Jobs, Henry Ford, Albert Einstein, Winston Churchill etc etc (I am sure you can think of at least half a dozen of your own choice). But these individuals were able to enlist the support of many by using more than just their dreams. I think it’s called charisma.
‘Memories are more than recollected experiences. They’re displacements of ourselves in time and space. They’re events our younger self witnessed and participated in, recalled by an older self who often wonders if he’s truly the same person. They’re visions of people we once knew. And, bewilderingly, we are one of those people.’
Robert Goddard opens his book “Fault Line” with these words, and I can really identify with such sentiments. Anyone who has read my Facebook blogs will know that I often dredge up and analyse events from my earlier life. It’s something I also do during many a sleepless night, looking back on a life unfinished yet abandoned.