Page 174

One of Eden's Greatest attractions ... the Wharfside Café

As demonstrated by our waistlines, or lack thereof, we do enjoy good food and we became quite excited when we discovered the Wharfside Café which is right on the waterfront in the Port of Eden.


Farran and Bridie are only two of the reasons I love visiting the Wharfside Café.

View from within

Inside looking out.

Lunch here is wonderful. Any meal here is wonderful. As within the Wharfside Café, the ambience of the whole area is just ... magic. Best of all I love going for a breakfast of eggs Benedict followed by a much-needed stroll along the jetty, watching the sturdy little trawlers and looking down at the cormorants 'flying' under the clear water in search of fish scraps and frequently seeing a fur seal or two as a bonus.

Occasionally a visiting luxury cruiser costing millions will provide a sharp contrast to the working boats. They don't look right, to me, these swish demonstrations of wealth. Not here in this 'olde worlde' port environment. Not as long as I can't afford one myself, anyway. And I never will.

Luxury Yacht

This luxury cruiser, Kalm, claimed brief notoriety in march 2012 when it grounded in shallow water under
the Spit Bridge in Sydney's Middle Harbour and had to wait, ignominiously, for the next tide to float it off.

bad hair day

Bad hair day.

The Intriguing Legend of Old Tom

The Background

Whaling was a prime industry in Eden in the early 20th century. The catching and killing of migrating baleen whales, such as humpbacks, was not carried out from large factory ships at sea as practised by the Japanese today, but from the shore using wooden boats to hunt and harpoon the prey, then tow the carcass back to the whaling station for processing.

Baleen whales don't have teeth, they filter krill and small creatures from sea water for nourishment. In addition to humpbacks, the following whales also fall into the baleen classification: bowheads, northern rights, southern rights, pygmy rights, grays, minkes, blues, brydes, omuras, seis and fin whales.

Humans were not the only predators of the baleen whales in the waters off Eden; orcas, known as killer whales, also hunted them. While humans harvested blubber and whalebone from the carcasses, killer whales were only interested in the lips and tongues of their victims; the remainder was wasted.

Here was an ideal opportunity for a partnership to develop and so it came to be. Rather than the whalers having to wait until the migrating baleens came inshore, the orcas could intercept the pods at sea and herd them towards the land. Once inshore, the whalers completed the kill leaving the carcasses moored to buoys overnight for the orcas to devour the lips and tongues. Since they touched nothing else, the following day the whalers would tow the remainder ashore and claim their spoils.

How this mutually beneficial arrangement came into being is not known though some believe the coastal Aborigines may have hunted in this manner for thousands of years.

Old Tom

The partnership with the killer whales was very profitable for the whalers. The orcas further refined the system by sending an emissary to alert the whalers once baleens had been herded into shallow water and corralled. One such messenger came to be known as Old Tom. Tom would cavort around in the water close to the whaling station, slapping the surface with his tail to attract attention. The whalers quickly launched their wooden boats and followed Tom to where his fellow orcas had the baleen whales surrounded. Some stories insist that Tom would even take a rope in his teeth and tow the whalers' boat.

The custom of leaving the dead baleens moored overnight for the orcas to eat their fill became known as the Law of the Tongue. The killer whales understood that this was their entitlement and the whalers regarded the Law as sacrosanct.

Many of the killer whales were easily recognised and given names by the whalers who became quite fond of them. Old Tom, however, was a special favourite and almost regarded as family by some whalers. Whether Tom was the leader of the pack is not known, no more is the length of time he engaged in his duties. He was said to have been over seventy years of age - perhaps even eighty or ninety - when he died. Yet another report states that examination after his death revealed he was only about thirty five.

Tom's Demise

One day John Logan of Edrom Lodge (see previous page) was out in his motorised yacht, White Heather, on Twofold Bay. With him was George Davidson, a friend and retired whaler. Unexpectedly a whale appeared next to the boat, driven to the surface by no less than Old Tom. George Davidson had his harpoon with him and he killed the whale.

Realising a storm was approaching, John Logan stated he would immediately tow the carcass back to shore for fear it would be lost if they secured it to a buoy as was customary. Not only was George Davidson aghast at this violation of the Law of the Tongue, Old Tom was very put out too. He took the tow rope in his mouth and so began a tug of war with White Heather pulling one way and Old Tom the other. The result was never going to be in doubt, but to John Logan's horror, it didn't end until Old Tom had lost two teeth. John had been a veterinarian in the military and understood only too well the consequences of the loss for Old Tom.

Live Orca

As Old Tom would have looked in happier days. If you think orcas resemble
dolphins, you would be right. Orcas are the largest of the dolphins. Photo credit: NOAA

Seven years later, in 1930, Old Tom's dead body drifted into Twofold Bay. Examination revealed abscesses where the teeth had been torn out. Old Tom had died of starvation.

His death led directly to the creation of the Eden Killer Whale Museum in 1931. John Logan was so wracked with guilt over Tom's death that he provided the premises for the museum. The carcass was processed and Tom's skeleton was mounted as a very unusual exhibit in the Museum.

Old Tom

Old Tom's skeleton. He'd been 6.7 metres (22 feet) long.

The death of Old Tom ended an era. It also effectively ended the contract between the orcas and the whalers. There was a suggestion that the rest of Tom's pod was later slaughtered by Norwegian whalers on the Queensland coast, the Norwegians mistakenly believing the killer whales were a threat to their activities.

And that's the story of Old Tom, though perhaps it would be more accurate to say that's one version of the story of Old Tom.

Hey, look what I found in Eden's whale museum!

Fairey IIID

More about John Logan - Eden's good guy.

In the insert in the picture (above) the name of John Logan occurs again, this time assisting the Air Force. In fact, the more you look into Eden's history, the more the name of John Logan crops up and always in a positive light - except when he inadvertently pulled out two of Old Tom's teeth. Even then, the migrating baleen whale population owed him a debt of gratitude. He made it up to the people of Eden by providing the town with its museum.

John began an electricity project for Eden, setting up his own plant to light the streets, hotels and public halls prompting (shaming?) the Imlay Shire Council into taking responsibility for a complete service to the area. Logan then had the Towamba River surveyed for a dam site to supply cheap electricity. (No suitable site seems to have been found as there is no record of a Towamba River hydro-electric scheme.) Again it was John Logan who, in the early 1920s, first drew attention to the potential to generate hydro electricity in the Snowy Mountains.

Logan brought a professional golfer to Eden to lay out Eden's first golf course on Lookout Point. Due to a housing development, the course was moved to it's present location. John Logan also had Eden's Log Cabin constructed in 1936 which he donated to Eden's Girl Guides where his daughter, Margaret, was First Lieutenant.

I must stress that the sources for all the 'information' I print on this site, mainly from the Internet, are not checked for accuracy. Sometimes I have to 'pick the meat from the bones' without really knowing where meat ends and bone begins. This site is just for fun and should never be regarded as a definitive historical record.

Having said that, what comes across repeatedly in Eden is what a valuable member of the community John Robertson Logan was. Yet it is the name Ben Boyd that is attached to the local National Park and other entities. The more you read of Boyd, the more self-centred and less likeable he appears. His over-riding purpose in life seems to have been to 'big note' Ben Boyd. Would it not be deserving if Ben Boyd National Park was renamed John Logan National Park?

Hey, just gotta show you this.

According to one of those things that arrive daily in our Email 'Inbox', there's an annual contest at the Griffith University, Australia, calling for the most appropriate definition of a contemporary term. This year's term was 'Political Correctness'. The winning student wrote:

Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rapidly promoted by
mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a piece of
shit by the clean end.

Don't you love it?

Bairnsdale, Victoria

Our time in wonderful Eden at an end, we hitched the 'van and headed for the state border and Bairnsdale in Victoria. We booked into the Mitchell Gardens Caravan Park where we stayed previously - see Page 131. After six weeks of awakening to the sound of waves breaking on Aslings Beach, we are now rudely awoken by trucks climbing the incline into Bairnsdale centre on the adjacent Princes Highway and the bellow of engine braking from trucks going the other way. Irate car horns and screaming emergency sirens punctuate the heavy truck racket.

It's not all bad, though. Just a few metres from our caravan we have access to a path which runs along the bank of the placid Mitchell River. The footpath, lined with large overhanging trees, is well screened from the traffic noise. The Mitchell flows from the Victorian Alps through Lake King and Lake Victoria before exiting into Bass Strait near the popular resort town of Lakes Entrance.

The town of Bairnsdale offers retail therapy and, what's more, tyre depots that actually appreciate business! We obtained two new tyres for the Pajero with no problems at all.

While on the subject of the Pajero, remember all the erroneous engine temperature indications we were experiencing? Well, everything has now settled down and is working perfectly. The cause of the problem remains a mystery but if throwing cash at it is a solution, it should now be perfect.

Bairnsdale to Dandenong

On our journey from Bairnsdale to Dandenong we passed road signs to places with interesting names. One was Koo Wee Rup which took its name from a Bunurong Aboriginal word meaning plenty of blackfish. With a population of around 3,000, Koo Wee Rup is Australia's largest asparagus growing district - bet you didn't know that! It is also a beef farming and potato growing area.

Another town was called Nar Nar Goon, again derived from an Aboriginal word, this time meaning koala. Nar Nar Goon has a population of about 1,000 and is known locally as The Mural Town. Imagine being pulled over by the police and responding Nar Nar Goon when asked where you were from.

We Meet up with Peter and Eileen again

When we arrived at the Big 4 Dandenong Caravan Park we were overjoyed to find our lovely friends, Peter and Eileen Walton, waiting for us. They are back in Australia for their third tour, this time towing a gleaming new Nova Pride caravan. Like us, Peter and Eileen love this 'sunburnt country' and were restless to be away on their travels but not, however, before they had 'caught up' with their mentors, as they call Pam and I. We were really flattered that they had come out of their way to meet up again but parting was so sad. That, perhaps, is the only down side to this nomadic lifestyle.

Peter cooked a delicious roast chicken on the slide-out Weber barbecue that they had specially installed on the side of their new Nova caravan. Pam and I had left our caravan at the Jayco factory for repairs after a most inconsiderate woman in a black bikini had distracted me as I manoeuvred between two palm trees - but that's another story. Being temporarily sans caravan we had hired a cabin in the Big 4 Park so the four of us, plus the chook, repaired there for dinner.

Peter and Eileen

Well, maybe we could have cleared the table but when we're with Peter and Eileen, who cares?
Note that the back-up bottle in the background is already empty, and only two drinking. Oh dear.

It was fabulous to meet up with Peter and Eileen again, they're such a lovely couple. Unfortunately they were ruled by the clock on this trip and had to leave almost as soon as we'd arrived. We often have that effect on people.

Caravan repairs - a quick turn around.

Jayco, having said they'd need our caravan for two weeks, called to say it was ready in just two days. We were certainly not complaining, however, and soon collected it, transferred our belongings from the cabin we'd hired, and moved onto a 'powered site'.

For non-caravanners, a powered site is the area of ground which you rent in a tourist park. It is preferably grass covered (as opposed to mud or dust), reasonably flat and level, and might have a concrete pad positioned under your awning where you entertain. It has a convenient mains electricity outlet for you to connect to your caravan and, likewise, a fresh water tap to connect your input hose. Usually these sites are large enough to deploy the caravan awning and still have sufficient space to park your car. Many have a 'sullage point' where the grey water hose can discharge; failing that you water the grass. This particular park in Dandenong provided individual 'dump points' where the toilet waste tank could be emptied which saved hefting the heavy tank to a communal disposal point; you don't often find that!

Being able to park your caravan under a tree is often seen as an asset by park owners and some may agree. Personally the advantage of shade is overshadowed (pun) by the staining on your 'van and awning from sap and dripping rainwater, the danger of damage from falling branches, leaf litter in your roof hatches and the dreaded bird poop over everything including your car from roosting birds.

I think I should have covered that explanation on page one or two of this tome so sorry if you had to plough through 174 pages to discover what a powered site is.

Medical Stuff

Being a male I have avoided visiting doctors like the plague for several years. This worked well for me but things - including age - have now crept up on me so I booked myself in for a 'full service'. Of course, this resulted in all sorts of scans and cameras in places not designed to receive cameras. No, not there, the top end.

One of my problems was partial deafness in my right ear, that's why I always walk on Pam's left. What is the first thing you would expect a doctor to do when a patient presents with a hearing deficiency in one ear? Not this one; she sent me for a hearing test. The test revealed that I could hear better in my left ear than my right. Well, what a surprise. This was my second consultation and the doctor concluded my hearing was acceptable. Not to me it wasn't, nor to Pam who is itching to eliminate any excuse I give for not listening. (I do listen when she says anything interesting.) So I asked the doctor to look in my ears. She did and declared there was wax in them and they needed syringing. Durrrr!

What does a doctor usually do as soon as your bum hits the seat next to his/her desk? Right! Takes your blood pressure. Not this one. So why do I go back? Well, she's got very nice boobs.

Some time later. So, if I just keep taking the six pills and capsules every morning I should see another birthday. What more can a person ask?

Sand Sculpting Australia Presents Under the Sea

One local attraction was highly recommended by Peter and Eileen. There was a local exhibition of sand sculptures featuring the book, The Sign of the Seahorse by Australian children’s writer and illustrator, Graeme Base. 3,500 tonnes of sand had been brought onto site to be compressed and carved into spectacular sculptures by a team of talented international and Australian sculptors. They bring to life, in meticulous detail, “Under the Sea”, a submerged world of breathtaking beauty and foreboding where reality and fantasy combine in massive sand sculptures.

The exhibition was just down the road in Frankston on the shores of Port Phillip Bay. We were so impressed that we have devoted a whole page to photographs of the sculptures in our Miscellaneous Items section. The picture below will give you a preview of what to expect if you click on: Under the Sea. To return here afterwards, click on the 'Page 174' button at the bottom of that page.

Ancient Temple

Isn't that fabulous? The finished sculpture is lightly sprayed with a water resistant lacquer and,
with a little maintenance, can last for years in a sheltered location.

Mount Dandenong and a Flat Camera Battery

Mount Dandenong is a local beauty spot well worth a visit. It, too, was recommended by those Tireless Tourists, Peter and Eileen Walton. However, on the way to Mount Dandenong is a very picturesque mountain village called Sassafras; a tourist destination with several boutique stores including Devonshire tea outlets, antique shops and nurseries. In Sassafras there is a wonderful tea room which follows the theme of Agatha Christie's famous character, Miss Marple. Miss Marple's Tea Room is an absolute 'must' as Pam's very good friend, Pat, told her. And you were right, Pat; it was so worth going. When we opened the door we entered a low, L-shaped room with bay windows and exposed wooden beams and an atmosphere from years gone by. The staff were all dressed in black, some wearing ankle-length dresses, and they were very busy serving a packed room. Have you been busy, Pat?

I went back to the car for my camera as a picture of the tea room interior was a must, only to find I'd left it switched on and the battery was dead. Ho-hum, Dummy. Fortunately Pam had remembered the Baby Canon so we took this picture from outside the tea room.

Miss Marple Tea Room

Miss Marple Tea Room in Sassafras; as quaint inside as out. The food was excellent.

Sassafras might seem an odd name for a village. The name is taken from the sassafras trees which grow abundantly in the area or possibly from the Sassafras Creek which flows just east of the village.

On leaving Sassafras we drove on up Mount Dandenong to where there is a tasteful development called SkyHigh Mount Dandenong with gardens, streams, fountains, wooden sculptures, a café/restaurant and a function centre. There are dual level viewing platforms affording spectacular views from the Mornington Peninsula across the majestic sweep of Port Phillip Bay, surrounded by Melbourne’s growing urban fringes, to the You Yangs on the southern horizon. After sunset the southern sky, brilliant in the clear mountain night, is imitated by a spectacular carpet of glittering city lights. The words in italic are taken from their website.

Unfortunately, during our visit the atmosphere was quite hazy so we missed the best of the panoramic views and we didn't stay until dark to see the city lights. Had the air been sparkling clear I might have removed the dead battery from my camera and chucked it down the mountain in frustration.

I'm going to call it quits for Page 174. See you on Page 175 ... I hope.

Footnote: This re-working of Page 174 was completed on 4 April 2013. It conforms to HTML5 and CSS level 3.