More South West Rocks

Our second morning started with walk along a beautiful coastal track from Trial Bay Gaol ruins to Little Bay. A combination of bird and plant observation with a little history thrown into the mix made for a very interesting morning.

‘Drumsticks’ – Isopogon anemonifolius

Both these species belong to the fascinating and diverse plant family Proteaceae. The fruiting bodies are well worth a photo even though they lack the immediate appeal of flowers.

Hakea teretifolia or Dagger Hakea
Tawny Grassbird – making a brief appearance on top of a Dagger Hakea.
Red-backed Fairywren posing rather obligingly on lichen covering a rock.
The vegetation along the path is all quite low due to the exposed environment.

The ruins of Trial Bay Prison stand on a north facing granite promontory, now part of Arakoon National Park.

Looking down on the ruins from just below the German Monument.

Trial Bay was originally built as a Public Works Prison to house end of term prisoners while they constructed a breakwater at Trial Bay to create a ‘harbour of refuge’. The prison was eventually closed in 1903 after difficulties with the breakwater resulting in its abandonment.

There are always sad stories associated with old prisons but I felt that the saddest part of Trial Bay prison’s history was the internment of ‘Enemy Aliens’ for 3 years from 1915. In spite of the hardships these men endured they created a community within the walls. They cooked their own food including good dark rye bread, they made their own sausages and they supplemented their meagre rations with vegetables they grew themselves.

In 1918 a German monument was built by internees in memory of five of their compatriots who had been held at Trial Bay. Two had died in the prison, one had drowned and two died in Sydney. The monument was blown up a year later when it was believed that messages were being relayed from the monument to a German raider ship, which was reportedly on patrol just north of the bay. As authorities were concerned a rescue mission was planned the internees were moved to Holsworthy, south-west of Sydney and Trial Bay prison was closed.

The remains of the destroyed powder magazine – concrete base still visible.

In 1960, as a gesture of goodwill, Rotary Club of Kempsey restored the monument which is now recognized as a German War Grave. On our last morning we returned to this coastal path and walked from Little Bay via the Powder Magazine. It was a lovely walk although the smoke haze was much thicker.

Smoke haze through the trees
Patersonia fragilis – Purple Flag Lily

And to finish, just one more Proteaceae. I have only seen this low-growing Banksia in coastal heathlands and while I’m not sure about my identification I have made an attempt. I love the colour of the new foliage and its compact growth habit as well as the shape of the fruiting bodies.

Yet another fabulous Proteaceae member – Banksia oblongifolia.

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