Developments around La Perouse

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There’s a flurry of activity around La Perouse.  Not only are there more visitors than normal during weekdays in Autumn but there is also construction work for the expanded playground on the foreshore and what looks to be preparation for the wharf proposed 4 years ago.

Playground on foreshore at Frenchman’s Bay Park

Divers – survey for wharf??

Survey of the La Perouse Loop perhaps for wharf

250 Years Ago

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Myself in the Even landed on a small Island on the Northern side of the bay to search for shells” – Joseph Banks 30th April 1770…

so in the ‘even’ today the following could be found at this small island that Cook later recorded as Bare: fishers, dog walkers, photographers, along with litter, and weeds such as Bitou Bush. Unfortunately there were very few shells.  Although Bare Island forms part of  Kamay Botany Bay National Park the rock platforms are not protected. (Photos below of Bare Island, The Heads of Botany Bay, Henry Head, Kurnell, the armillary sphere atop the Laperouse Monument, Macquarie Watchtower, as well the grave of Receveur another young and enthusiastic scientist of the Enlightenment buried at La Perouse 17 February 1788)

Laddie Timbery’s death marks the end of an era at La Perouse

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One of La Perouse’s most respected and well-known identities, Laddie Timbery died on July 23.  Laddie was known as the La Perouse Boomerang Man.  He used to travel from Nowra every weekend with his boomerangs and other works and display and demonstrate them around the La Perouse Loop up until its redevelopment in 2011.

The following is by Robert Crawford, extracted from The South Coast Register 

“Highly regarded and renowned around the world for his superb Aboriginal arts and crafts, he was also a devoted family man and a generous soul who would do anything for anyone.  Highly respected in the South Coast community he was always happy to “have a yarn” and pass on his vast knowledge.”

A man with strong beliefs who was willing to offer an opinion on many different topics, he always had a smile on his face and will be remembered as one of the “genuine” nice guys.  He had a vast knowledge of culture and history, and shared that through visits too numerous local schools.

Hubert “Laddie” Thomas Timbery was born at La Perouse on February 12, 1941.

He belonged to the Dharawal language group which spans from Sydney to Jervis Bay.

As a youngster, living with his Aunty Marge (photo) and Uncle John he attended La Perouse Public School and as a young man spent his time between the Sydney seaside suburb and the South Coast.

It was while he lived in Nowra in the mid to late 1950s, as a teenager, he met Ann Cullen who would later become his wife. After a four year courtship the couple married in the All Saints Anglican Church in Nowra on August 12, 1961. They would have four children, daughters Debra and Kerry who were both born in Nowra, and sons Paul and Jeffery, born in Sydney.

For many years, especially in the early part of his working life, he worked as a brickies’ labourer up and down the coast and then later drove and maintained trucks for Sydney fuel company Total.

In 1981 he and Ann “retired” to the Shoalhaven, but there wasn’t much rest as with help from his mother Rose and her partner Laddo they opened up an Aboriginal Arts and Craft Centre adjacent to the then Lady Denman Museum at Huskisson.

From there for the next 38 years he built up a reputation as an artist, legendary boomerang maker and thrower.

(Photo:Laddie with John Cann in January 2018 at the La Perouse Museum)

It was a career that saw him travel not only to almost every part of Australia but the world, with many visits to Canada and Switzerland, while his arts and crafts have also gone worldwide.

He also provided artwork used at the equestrian centre for the Sydney 2000 Olympics.

“There are pieces of his artwork everywhere,” said his eldest daughter Debra.

“You can’t really go anywhere major without seeing some of his artworks or a photo of him in his now famous pose, throwing a boomerang.”

(Photo: Randall Sinnamon’s portrait of Laddie which was a recent finalist in the Moran Portrait Prize)

Laddie and his family make the traditional original returning boomerang from mangrove knee, as it has a natural bend.

He used the highly regarded and unique craftsmanship of “burning in”, to decorate a large variety of artefacts and artworks, a technique his family has been using for hundreds of years, and one the family continues with today.

The family is also well-known for its incredible shell work with his great grandmother Emma Timbery’s work sent to England for Queen Victoria in the early 1900s.

In between work Laddie was also a keen and accomplished rugby league player, taking the field until the ripe old age of 41.

He was also a very keen and talented golfer, becoming an A grade champion and also proudly representing the Indigenous golf team in New Zealand and Hawaii.

“Everyone just knew Dad,” youngest son Jeffery said.

He lost his love Ann 16 years ago in 2004, after more than 40 years of marriage but continued his work at the now Jervis Bay Maritime Museum with other family members with even more vigour.

When he was a little boy he had a dog named Laddie and everyone simply started referring to him as well as Laddie.

Jervis Bay Maritime Museum director Diana Lorentz paid tribute to Mr Timbery saying the organisation had been deeply saddened his death.

“Uncle Laddie has been an integral part of the museum since it opened in 1988 and over the years has provided an intangible link to Aboriginal culture for schools, locals and tourists,” she said.

“Engaging everyone with a wonderful sense of humour and engaging younger generations in a history that has often been forgotten.

“He will be sadly missed by everyone at the museum, past and present.”

Bumborah Point and Napoleon’s Ambitions

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In 1802 the Baudin expedition stopped over in Sydney for provisions, botanical and other scientific pursuits and to collect military intelligence. Francois Peron was a naturalist on the expedition and also the principle spy. His assessment was found relatively recently in the Museum of Natural History L’Havre. It was a 122 page report on how best to attack Sydney. It can be seen that Botany Bay was the recommend route for a surprise overland attack on the Port Jackson colony  

Péron proposed the French armada should enter Botany Bay at night. As quickly as possible the troops would be landed, near a malt house belonging to a man named Smith, and at daybreak rapidly marched into Sydney. The road the soldiers would take, which led through the brick fields, is clearly marked in Louis Freycinet’s map which accompanied the official record of the expedition.

In Botany Bay the main garrison was stationed at Bumborah Point as that was the main defence point against a ship incursion of the Bay.   Only a few soldiers were stationed at the La Perouse casemate, the  Macquarie Watchtower (photo of the 3 tier gun casemate at Bumborah Point. Note extensive wall running to the north. This would provide for land defence against an attack from the beach). Charles Abela took photographs of the foundations of the casemate around 1960 and noted the flatness of the sand within the circle, indicating that the floor stones were still in place and likely to be buried under the hard fill deposited by the Maritime Services Board when they used the area as a compound for machinery during the construction of Banks’ Revetment Wall in the 1970s.  (Photo left taken 1951, John Cann).

Photos below show the position of Bumborah Point, now subject to a proposal for a 3000 site expansion by Botany Cemetery.  

 

 

 

Bumborah is a recreation area. Photo left shows hangliding while other pursuits include scuba, snorkelling, swimming and fishing.