Posts Tagged ‘Nepean River’

School excursion to a key place - past, present, & future.

School excursion to a key place – past, present, & future.*

A school excursion, rocky junction.

Glenbrook Creek meets Nepean River.

A history lesson from Mr Street.

Our own histories yet to be made,

Pivoting around these waters.

Waters flowing through our town

Irrigating lives & memories.**

Some included here, others omitted,

But always there, constant, this river.

The Nepean River.


* In the photograph:

(l-r) Back: Gordon Hall, Sandra Hall, Peter Elzer, James Corr, Mark Haines (?), Me, ?.
Front: Margaret Martin (?), Christine Smith (?), Bruce Turner, ?.

Some of these have made appearances elsewhere in 365 Short Memories.

** To the south we water-skied through this point (the narrows) and down Nepean Gorge, swam at Bent’s Basin & hunted for crayfish there, swung off a rope at Menangle, witnessed water thuunder down Warragamba’s spillway.

To the west, along Glenbrook Creek we picknicked and swam at Jellybean Pool and the Blue Pool

To the north we jumped off Victoria Bridge, cooled down at the Weir, kayaked through to Yarramundi.

Nepean Gorge - to the south of the school excursion site

Nepean Gorge – to the south of the school excursion site

Our River irrigating our past, present, future

Our river irrigating our lives & memories.

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This was the boat, wasn't the day - the people here are (l-r) cousins Jenny, Jeffrey, Susan, Auntie Clare, Phil

This is the boat, not the day – the people here are (l-r) Cousins Jenny, Jeffrey, Susan, Auntie Clare, Phil.

Along Nepean River

The jet-boat progress slow

Water-line high on hull,

Family, friends, supplies – fuel & food.

Riverbank beach base found, claimed.


Day camp set up – it’s still early.

Friction, flash, fuel, flames

Leap high, burn to water-line.

Boat gone

Skiing finished.

“You should’ve seen it, flames to the sky”*


* This is a family memory … I wasn’t there on the day but it is a story told time after time.

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Norm’s in his chair,

Facing B&W TV screen.

Cricket Test MCG – viewing compelling.

Fan facing him cools.

Our heat escape,

Short trip south to Menangle

Nepean River bend, perfect swimspot.

One bank:  beach & paddling shallows,

The other:  deep water, steep cliff, overhanging tree (with rope).

Safe(?) diving, jumping, swinging.

Brothers & cousins frolic.


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Stroll to the night river

Difficult, overgrown.


By day, verdant.

Canopied, vines threading thick

Under-foot, wild growth.

At night, eerie beauty.

We take that stroll.

Easing down the steep path

I take her arm.

Gesture accepted.

Am I trembling?

Or is that tremor the shaky movement of time stopped?

The riverbank – today it looks manicured, then it was wild growth.

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Moving …

Across the River

Emu Plain’s northern extreme.

River winds around to meet Blue Mountains

Our new home.

Riverfront & on mountain slope.

On the mountain slopes, banks of the Nepean and land stretching out to the East.


Silent – save bellbirds & ducks.

Dirt bush road.

Solo neighbour.

Looking east, beyond blue metal & gravel quarries,

Flat fertile land stretches away

To distant suburban then urban landscapes.

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The great (GPS) schools visit Penrith The Nepean.

Flash cars fill the streets.

Thousands line riverbanks.

Penrith Kingswood urchins watching

– curious & cautious –

Alien invaders claiming our river.

Head Of The River. Rowing.

Thousands line riverbanks. Photo: Sam Hood.: State Library NSW

Secondary sport:  “drowning” local kids.

Local kids’ sport: stealing football jerseys from “toffs”.

Cycling home; victoriously waving

My new Newington jersey.

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School Squash! I diligently attended sport.

Senior sport, multiple options

Team sports, standard seasonal mix.

Then …

Off-site individual selections,

Allowing latitude.

SquashTen Pin Bowling

Venues near home (or friends)

Offer easy early escapes.

Golf at Leonay,

A few holes, then down to the river.

Sport, well attended, easily escaped for

More imaginative, more indulgent, alternatives.


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All well-coordinated with good balance

We are quickly skiing – two skis

We fly along

Skimming across the Nepean waters.

Often forgetting the credo

  “arms straight, legs bent”

Result: a watery fall.

All together

From early morning, till dusk

Circuit after circuit, taking turns.

And the hours passed like minutes.

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Summers scorch in Penrith.

The river is relief.

A favoured spot … the weir.

Nepean Weir – photo taken in 2012 – it hasn’t changed much. Although the water level is higher than usual.

Swimming, flowing water pulling

Or standing below the  wall

Water tumbling over,

A cooling, refreshing shower

Sit & slip back, hard against the weir wall

The curtain of water camouflages.

Pleasures lost to next generation: weir declared dangerous.

The Nepean Weir is now considered dangerous for any activity.

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Nepean River rail bridge.

Nepean River Railway Bridge

Climb out and down – from tracks to pylon. Sit. Wait. Water below.

A lo-o-o-ong way below.

Steam train comin’. Water spurting. Hot. Scalding.

Easy choice … except all vertical space is a barrier.

Everybody loves the sound of a train in the distance.*


Jump. Scream. Splash.

A lot of air betwixt track and splash.

* Train in the Distance from Paul Simon’s 1983 album  Hearts and Bones .

(listen to Train in the Distance here)

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