On Friday June 2nd, nineteen EZY walkers met at Bondi Junction to catch the 380 bus to Raleigh Street at Dover Heights before walking to Raleigh Park, the beginning of the Federation Clifftop Walk. The day was misty and mild at first, then the clouds cleared and we had perfect conditions for the walk.
The initial point of interest was in Rodney Reserve. From 1946 to 1954 it was one of the most important radio astronomy sites in the world when CSIRO conducted Australia’s first experiments in radio astronomy. Radio waves were detected from flares on the Sun and from supernova (exploding stars). They measured the radio waves directly from the source and from waves reflected from the surface of the sea using a technique called sea interferometry. This was the beginning of research which led to the Parkes radio telescope used during the moon landing, and to the invention of Wi-Fi.
After leaving Rodney Reserve, a brief street walk took us to Dudley Page Reserve with its spectacular view over Sydney Harbour to the city and beyond. This is where there were two convenient tables for morning tea. A bit later another walker joined us.
Unfortunately the Clifftop Walk was closed for two sections, necessitating short street detours, one of which gave us good views of the rather “brutal” 1963 Harry Seidler building.
The track was finally rejoined in Diamond Bay Reserve with its little pocket of rain forest known as Rosa Gully.
We continued north to Clarke Reserve and the playing fields of Christison Park where we had lunch.
From here it was a short and easy walk to Watsons Bay. En route we visited Macquarie Lighthouse designed by Francis Greenway. The first and oldest still in use in Australia, it was originally built in 1818 and was rebuilt in the 1880s.
Next came the 1840 South Head Signal Station on Signal Hill, a site used to communicate and monitor ship arrivals continuously from 1790 to the present day. Nearby was the Signal Hill Battery with its gun pits.
In the same area, we peeked into an interesting mirrored sculpture, Joel Adler’s “Viewfinder”, which gave a glimpse of the waves crashing on the cliffs below.
A bit later we were excited to see a pod of whales out to sea. Soon there was the chance to capture a magnificent photo of the cliffs and ocean. On the way to the infamous Gap there was the anchor of the Dunbar, wrecked in 1857 with the loss of 121 lives and with only one survivor.
We gathered in Robertson Park at Watsons Bay for coffee, followed by a windy trip (by most of the group) on the ferry to Circular Quay.
The walkers were Nick B, Susan B, Gabriela, Annette Elp, Christine G, Rosie, Aileen, Lyndy, Robyn Ma, John M, Rex, Robyn Mi, Camelia, Elizabeth, Fran, David and Theresa as well as Habi, a visitor. The group was led by Dennis & David R.
Thanks to Nick B who was tail end Charlie & Lyndy our first aid volunteer.
Photographs by: Barbara R - 4,7,13,16, 20; Lyndy - 1,10; David S - remainder