But those good old camping spots are gone, those green and shady places.

Jack Bridle’s ‘Farewell to Talbingo’

Sitting down at the e-Bench early this morning.  Feet up on the footrest and ready for a Yaan. I am going for the 500 word Yaan again. Daylight saving ended here last night. It took me the usual thinking and research to determine which way to turn the clocks. That’s done and I have an extra hour up my sleeve before I go out at 10 a.m. to a Meeting at Raleigh Hall.

Today’s GEM COLLECTION Calendar reading is about the CAMPING spots. I have camped down South where the Talbingo Poem was written. It was way back in the 1970s when I was down there. The waters were already over the towns when I got there. Buried whole lifetimes and memories. When I look up Talbingo now, the first hits that come up are all about tourism. Tourism – I think there ought to be another word for it but I haven’t thought of one yet. Here’s a couple of the present day Talbingo Sites.



It was Eucumbene that I camped on. All part of the Snowy Hydro Electric Scheme.

It useter be easy to camp in Australia. I did a lot of that. The SNOWY was only a brief part way back when I taught down in Tumbarumba. We camped as kids with the family. travelled to TUENA at Eastertime in our utility converted into a covered ‘station wagon.’

It seems such a long time since I was down at those  Southern Places. It IS a long time. For the last 40 years or so, I have been in Sydney or North of Sydney. Generally up here in Bellingen Shire and sometimes camped further north. In the early 1970s I spent months camped on 4 mile beach at Port Douglas way up in the Far North of Queensland. It’s a long time since I have been up there as well.

What’s on my mind this morning, is not so much the specific places as the loss of the GREEN and SHADY places. Mostly through odd legislations and sometimes through developments. Sometimes, its even been well intentioned by Departments of Land and National Parks  etc. The result has been the same. Loss of the GREEN and SHADY Places to the ordinary camper.

We have plenty of them, the green and shady places – but we are not ALLOWED to camp in most of them. Hungry Head just out of Urunga was a camping ground. It had a shop too, up on the Headland, cabins and places to put up tents and light campfires. That is now mostly overgrown with weeds and mess. There are cabins back a bit and they’re not bad but they are NOT for camping. The nearest place, methinks, is the Caravan park in town and that’s FORMAL, unshaded and costs MONEY.  The HIPPY ERA was more exciting. Tents and mini mokes and hammocks hanging in trees.

I did take a niece out to BUNDAGEN for a Vipassana retreat and she was camped amongst the trees and on the edge of the BONGIL BONGIL State Forest and right by the Ocean. That was 2010. The places  still exist. That’s where I had lunch last Tuesday for about $10. Freshly gathered and cooked.

Bellingen Caravan Park in the 1970s was where I first smelt jasmine growing en masse and walked on a tropical island right in the middle of town. I read LORD OF THE RINGS there in my tent with Tony  B. The council closed that one down a few years back and now its an overgrown mess as well. The camping these days is down in the Showground where it gets boggy and floods.

There are still excellent places. The thing that’s missing for me is the impromptu freedom of pulling into a place, putting a wee tent up, lighting a fire and having a swim. Guess its still there. It usually is.

She had the loaded handbag of someone who camps out and seldom goes home, or who imagines life must be full of emergencies. Mavis Gallant.

30 2 scouts

My dad, BRUCE SANDERS, was a boy scout in the 1930s and drummed the old BE PREPARED motto into us. Mind you, he was rather a muddle headed camper.

I shall take a look for some pictures of camping times.   
40 5 monterey tennis club camp 1940 02  

Here’s a 1940 shot of the MONTEREY TENNIS CLUB from SYDNEY. Its from my Father’s collection. I don’t know where they are camped but it’s a fine campsite. Probably just west of Sydney someplace and just before WWII.

40 34 el alamein 1942  

It was only two more years before the tennis boys were camping in the Western Desert under harsh conditions. 1942 – WWII.

60 1 goulbourn  
Camping near Goulburn in 1960. Joyce and Bruce Sanders.  
61 cowra . wellington easter  
Camping at Easter out near Wellington NSW in 1961.  
62 tuena03  
1962 – Prepared to camp at TUENA. Easter with the Naylor Family.  
66 loading the car for another trip  
1966. Preparing the car for another camping trip. We have been known to take a pan toilet strapped to the roof of the car.  
izzy and wintermoon week 004  
2008 – The inexperienced Camper preparing to head to WINTERMOON Festival up in the Whitsundays.  
izzy and wintermoon week 010  
2008 – a bigger tent at Bilambil.