Have you heard it said that there are more Greeks in Melbourne than in any city outside Athens? It might even be true though probably not during the January school holidays when Melbourne's Greek families up stakes and converge on Eden.
Here, in the hitherto peaceful Eden Tourist Park, it is difficult to believe that we are in an English-speaking country. Truly! To stay in this park during January you might need an English-Greek phrase book containing useful translations. A few come to mind:
Why not tell your kids to kick their ball against YOUR caravan for a change?
Can't you speak in a conversational tone? We can't hear our television.
Please berate your husband in English so that we can enjoy it, too.
How is your national economy these days?(Perhaps this one's a bit mean.)
Stepping out of your caravan is hazardous; you might find a child under your foot. Or you might be unlucky. Walking is also fraught with danger, especially after dark, as tent guy ropes are strung everywhere. Stubbing your toe on a steel tent peg is guaranteed to make your eyes water.
If your tyres are a little worn, replace them before arriving in Eden. We have tried both Eden's tyre depots in an effort to spend $600 on two new rear tyres. The first business didn't want to know us because it was a minute past five o'clock. The second was charming, took our mobile phone number and promised to contact us when the perfectly commonplace Bridgestone tyres, which he would order for us, had arrived. After two weeks the phone had not rung so we called in to see what was causing the delay. The office was unattended and the bloke in the workshop, within easy calling distance, totally ignored us. So we drove away.
Bairnsdale tyre dealers, we'll be in your town soon. Are you interested in selling us two new tyres?
Absolutely YES. It's one of the most picturesque little towns in Australia and has some wonderful beaches and sheltered coves. The main shopping area is smallish but can supply almost everything you're likely to need (except tyres, see above) and boasts a Bi-Lo (Coles) and an IGA. Coles discount fuel is available in the town centre.
Our advice to Grey Nomads would be,
Don't miss Eden but do avoid school holidays.
It was, of course, the lovely old lighthouse that we went to see. Beyond it is a new, ugly, high-tech light atop a metal framework. On the left, behind the fence, are the lighthouse keepers' dwellings and on the right an array of solar panels which powers the whole complex.
Green Cape Lighthouse was built in 1883 and was the first in Australia to be constructed of cast concrete. The tower is of octagonal section upon a square base and stands 29 metres tall, the second tallest in New South Wales.
The original revolving lantern was of the mantle type fuelled by kerosene with an output of 100,000 candelas.
In 1962 the light was electrified and powered by diesel driven generators.
In 1967 two new alternators were installed, one of which is on display in a local museum - see left. The light was upgraded with a 1000W tungsten halogen lamp boosting its output to 1,000,000 candelas and giving it an effective range of over twenty nautical miles. Subsequently mains electricity replaced the diesel generators.
In 1992 the old tower was decommissioned and replaced by the latest automated steel lattice skeleton tower with a solar powered light.
Such is progress; the power of the old light was stepped up over the years until it peaked at one million candelas only to be discarded in favour of an ugly steel framework topped by a solar powered light rated at a trifling 37,500 candelas and only effective for ten nautical miles.
Presumably modern satellite navigational technology has all but eliminated the need for a flashing light. Until somebody pulls the plug on the satellites one dark and stormy night ...
Some of what follows is conjecture in the absence of an abundance of fact. At about 4:00 a.m. on the morning of 10th August, 1994, Eden fishing trawler
Terrace Star was passing Green Cape when the youngest member of the three-man crew, apparently trusting the auto pilot, went below to make coffee and toast. In his absence
Terrace Star ran onto rocks. What happened next isn't recorded but presumably the trawler would have started breaking up, leaving the three men with the choice of staying aboard or abandoning ship. The older two crew members, Olav and Guy, were strong swimmers. They decided to abandon ship. On doing so their options were again limited; head towards land where the waves were crashing onto the rocks, or swim out to sea and hope to be be picked up. There wasn't really any choice; they swam out to sea.
Unfortunately help did not arrive in time and the lighthouse keeper and a local fisherman watched helplessly from the shore as both men drowned. When the third crew member entered the water - after he'd finished his toast, presumably - he was hauled ashore on a rope by the lighthouse keeper. Again, how that came about is not recorded. He was the sole surviving crew member thus the only one who knew exactly what happened.
The name Benjamin Boyd is ubiquitous on this part of the Sapphire Coast. Boyd was, in the words of Wikipedia, a man of
appearance, fluent oratory, aristocratic connections, and a fair share of
commercial acuteness. Having read up on Master Benjamin, he sounds very
similar to a certain 'entrepreneur' that thrived for a while in Australia
in the late 20th century. Both undoubtedly believed that their wealth and
connections would be enough to keep them out of gaol thus allowing them carte blanche to do whatever they liked. One discovered he was sadly mistaken, the other got shot.
Boyd founded a town about ten kilometres south of Eden which he (modestly) called Boydtown. His intention was to make Boydtown the capital city of Australia. That, of course, never happened.
Perhaps Benjamin Boyd was just too big for his boots and rubbed 'authority' up the wrong way. For example, he used his wealth to try and take over the lucrative whaling industry that existed at Twofold Bay at that time. To facilitate his business he built Boyd's Tower on Red Point, a lighthouse and whale spotting vantage point overlooking the entrance to the bay. This was no altruistic gesture, Boyd wanted the lighthouse to safeguard his ships coming into Twofold Bay and - just possibly, you might think - to remind everyone who had the influence.
The government had no objection to him building this lighthouse, but Boyd only wanted the light to be manned when one of his own ships was expected. He was told that if he wanted the light to operate, it must operate every night or not at all. Take it or leave it. Got that one wrong, Ben Boyd, you're not quite as important as you thought. So Boyd 'spat his dummy' and the tower, the word Boyd chiselled into each aspect of its parapet, was only ever used to spot whales.
Conversely, if Boyd could have known that his tower would still be dominating the skyline 160 years later, still be bearing his name and be surrounded by a national park named after him, he'd undoubtedly have thought his defeat over the light issue small beer. The ongoing cost to successive governments (read taxpayers) of maintaining this folly would have been the cherry on the cake. But, of course, Boyd didn't know.
Boyd's methods of financing his several ventures were, like those of more recent
entrepreneurs, complicated and obscure. He overreached himself in his investments
and was soon in financial trouble. It is a long story, as you might imagine,
but having failed in Australia Boyd set sail for the Californian Goldfields
describing Australia as
... the colony in which I had hoped for so much,
and though in part succeeded, yet in the main failed through little of my
own fault. Modest to a fault, was Ben.
On reaching California he again failed and departed America in 1851 to cruise the Pacific Islands. On visiting the Solomons island of Guadalcanal, Boyd went ashore with a native to shoot game. His boat was seen to enter a small creek and soon afterwards two shots were heard fifteen minutes apart. When Boyd failed to return, his companions went ashore and searched in vain. His body was never found and it was concluded that he had been killed by natives.
One of Eden's popular tourist attractions is a sixteen metre catamaran called
Cat·Balou which offers Twofold Bay Discovery Cruises all year round and whale watching cruises from mid September until late November.
No, I haven't misspelled the name; Roy Chanslor's novel and the subsequent film are called (The Ballad of) Cat Ballou. The boat is different;
'cat' is catamaran abbreviated, 'balou' is a twist on the colour blue. We booked a morning cruise but since it was well past the whale watching season we just hoped to see seals, dolphins and more of the scenery around Twofold Bay from the seaward perspective. It was a really enjoyable cruise and we recommend it if you're ever in Eden. Click here for their website: www.catbalou.com.au
Living Doll is still on the wharf but is now resting in a cradle - the crane has gone. There's no indication of repairs to the superficial damage to her hull and the damaged rudder has been taken away.
The Navy very kindly transferred all its nasty, noisy stuff here from Sydney. Why 460 metres, I wonder? Perhaps it equates to the superceded 500 yards, decimalised and rounded. Some countries still haven't gone decimal, you know.
Edrom Lodge was named after Edrom in Scotland, the birthplace of its architect and builder, John Logan. Begun in 1910, it took three hundred people three years to complete - the leaflet says so. The Lodge, with its twenty eight bedrooms cost John Logan £34,000 and it remained his home until his death in 1937. I can't imagine anyone needing twenty eight bedrooms, can you? Actually, Buckingham Palace has 240 bedrooms. I bet it wouldn't have if E.R.II had to clean them all herself. I can't see Liz shoving a vacuum cleaner, can you? Hair in curlers, walkman wires hanging from the royal ears, singing along to Lady Gaga. But, back to reality ...
When Logan's widow sold the Lodge it became a guest house for a while. Later still it became a prison farm - John Logan must have turned in his grave. In 1970 the Forestry Commission took it over.
By a coincidence, long before Edrom Lodge occupied the site, Ben Boyd's whaling station was situated there.
At one point on the Cat Balou cruise some rather irate cormorants took exception to the camera ...
Many thanks to all who have contacted us expressing concern for our safety during the horrific fires this January. We are safe and well and sincerely hope that you are too.
The Eden Tourist Park, as I have mentioned previously, is on a narrow strip of land with the Tasman Sea on its east side, Lake Curalo on its west and a sand bar isolating it from fire to the north. None of this makes it fireproof, of course, but it's as good a place to be as any. Despite there being over a hundred fires burning in New South Wales, none of them are in this area. The maps shown in the media often give a false impression of proximity.
So, offspring, don't bank on any inheritance soon. Our intention is to live for ever and so far it's going to plan.
Footnote: This re-working of Page 173 was completed on 4 April 2013. It conforms to HTML5 and CSS level 3.