Sometimes on the way to your dream,

you get lost and find a better one.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

it's a hot day, how about we visit the beach?

this is what it used to look like, back in the 60s......

(googled image) It's not very clear, in the foreground there are swings, the building to the right is the stage where beauty pageants were held, beautiful baby competitions and sometimes concerts too. it faces the main beach, what you see here is the back. Beyond that is the kiosk and change rooms. The kiosk was accessed from the front with stairs leading up to it and on the right were showers and change cubicles, toilets too, for the girls, on the left of the kiosk, the same set up for the boys.
You'll notice they're both up fairly high off the sand, this is because the tide would frequently come so far in the sand would be completely covered right up to the retaining wall.
Along the section between kiosk and stage, right along the retaining wall, would be rows of beach towels, sometimes as many as three rows, with teenagers sunbaking. Back in those days we were aware of sunburn and the radio station would broadcast an jingle every half hour, "time to turn, so you don't burn." It was funny to watch rows of kids all flipping over at the same time. And still burning.
I remember when I was ten or eleven, walking up and down the rows of towels, spotting empty soft drink bottles and asking the older kids if I could have them. The best kids to ask were boys about 16-17 who were trying to impress their girlfriends, they'd be most likely to hand over the empties, which were refundable at the kiosk for sixpence. I'd save the sixpences until I had enough to buy an ice cream or some chips for lunch.
Between the swings and the jetty was the best sand for the annual sandcastle competitions. I don't think they have those in Port Pirie now.

The beach is very much changed now......

the access roads have been upgraded and this sign is new to me, although I'm told it has been there quite some time.  The brick building right behind those trees is a toilet block, facing the beach. On the left, Men's, open; on the right, Ladies, locked. In the middle a disabled toilet, open. Thank goodness, after walking all that way, I really had to pee!

From there I walked a few metres to the nearest shade structure. It has always been there, but now it is renewed and in better condition. Still without any seats though. There is an identical structure further along the beach, where the kiosk used to be. Any grass and plantings you see, were never there when I was living in the town.

the bricks you see in the foreground are the steps leading down to the sand. I thought I had a better photo of those, but it seems to have gone missing. Anyway, I'm sitting in the shade, taking off my sandals, and what did I see?

A pelican! Is this a coincidence or are these birds following me around the country?
They're everywhere I go.

did I paddle along the shore? You betcha!! That's my sandals hanging off my bag strap. Getting down to the water brought back memories I'd forgotten. Like the sand being very crusty with salt and shell grit. Ouch!  Adelaide beach sand is much softer.

This is the beginning of the jetty, it used to be right up against the pilings holding up the kiosk, and when the tide was high, this section would be completely under water. In the summer holidays, we'd get up just before dawn, my brother and me, and run down to the beach to see if the tide was high. If it was, you could swim (float) right across the jetty and look down through the water to see it.
See the railings? More about those later....

This shade house wasn't there when I lived here, it's probably a welcome addition, but I think it would be better with a seat or two.

the T section has always been lower than the main jetty, but those steps leading down to the water have been moved. They used to be facing us as we look at the image, leading down from the main jetty, directly opposite the set you see just at the left of the photo. Here's where the railings come in. The water was quite deep there, and kids would climb on to the railing, steady themselves by holding on to the lamp post, which was right beside the steps, then jump in. Well, one day, I was up on the railing, getting ready to jump in and someone pushed me before I had my balance. On the way down I hit the steps several times, cutting my elbow open to the bone. At first I thought it was just a small cut, so kept on swimming and playing, but when it didn't stop bleeding, I went to the kiosk for a bandaid. ("get lost, we don't give out bandaids for free..."). When I had a closer look, I could see the bone, but the cut was small even though deep, so I held it together until the bleeding mostly stopped, then went back in the water.

Straight ahead of the toilet block and to the right of the shade where I'd taken off my sandals is this mangrove area. The mud underneath those bushes was black and sometimes smelly and kids would cover themselves in it, then run up to the main beach and scare little kids.  From the mangroves to the jetty used to be a sandy area, but now....the mud and those weedy green low growths are encroaching, you can see it in the previous photo.

these seagulls came to see if I had any food, see all those white specks that look like hail? Shells.
Millions of shells.

Further along the beach, almost at the causeway was a whole colony of gulls, maybe a nesting area?

The causeway had been built between the shore and what we called the island (really a small peninsula called Germein Bay) a few years after we'd moved to Port Pirie and was just a shallow bridge of rocks. High tide would cover it easily.

Now there is a proper bridge going across, called John Pirie Bridge. Only the lower level of rocks have been left in the water, the higher ones have been used along the beach where the retaining wall used to be and I believe some of them are in the sign I showed at the beginning. There are still thick banks of rocks at either end of the bridge.

I'm standing on the fake grass at the edge of the skateboard playground, looking across to the "island".

in this last photo, (last for today), you can see the waves breaking over the rocks left under the causeway bridge.

From here I walked to Fisherman's jetty......


  1. Beach pictures when we are deep in cruel lol. Never me something to look forward to.

  2. Ha, ha! I remember those Miss Beach Girl Quests every summer. We disrupted one when I was at uni and a bit of a radical feminist. We dressed in long black robes, climbed up with the bikini clad models and made a fuss on camera about them exploiting the female body before marching into the sea holding up our copies of Germaine Greer... We made the news that night much to my mother's mortification :-)

    Anyway, where was I? Oh yes, the beach. Always a joy when you are a kid. I loved eating fish and chips while watching the waves, collecting shells and burying my brothers in the sand. There really is something special about Aussie beaches. And i see you also had that line of Norfolk Pines along the causeway, just like we had at Glenelg and at my dad's home in Port Fairy. I wonder why they planted them?

  3. Last time up in Cairns a Bush Turkey followed me around and wouldn't go away. What a cheek.

    Merry Christmas again to all my darlings, O Holy Night, poor RH at Midnight Mass this evening, a nice-looking chap in Saint Vinnies clobber, journey's end. Jesus said:

    I am the light of lights
    I am the way
    Keep me in your hearts
    I will never leave you.


  4. You have squeezed an extraordinary amount of reminiscing into a day in Port Pirie. I'm glad you remember it all.

  5. What a wonderful trip down memory lane. Another wonderful trip.
    And I love the thought of pelicans following you.

  6. I am surprised how nice the place looks and not like I imagined it at all. There is some good history in your post.

  7. Ahh, memories.
    So cool to swim at high tide over the jetty.
    Great photos!

  8. How cute with the jingle on the radio to turn over so you wouldn't burn. I do bet you have lots of great memories from times spent on that beach.


  9. That is one extraordinary story of your young days at the beach with the old picture and all the modern photos explaining it all to us. We mainly swam in the Swan River, or the estuary at Mandurah when on holidays, so I have few beach memories so enjoyed sharing yours. Thank you.
    I don't think my feet would enjoy walking on those broken shells....ouch!
    It's amazing how blue the water is when the skies are bright blue; beautiful colours.

  10. Delores; when you get really cold you can look at my summer and feel warmer.

    Marie; laughing at you disrupting a contest. Norfolk pines were planted along beaches where ships could drop anchor as they grew tall and straight, when needed the trunks were used to replace broken masts and the straight branches were excellent for replacing broken spars, on the old wooden sailing ships.

    R.H. you should have caught him and cooked him for dinner. Merry Christmas to you too.

    Joanne; I remember more than I thought I would, I did spend a lot of time at that beach. It was ten minutes walk from my house.

    Elephant's Child; it seems my memory is longer than I remembered. There's probably been pelicans there for years, I don't remember any from my childhood though.

    Andrew; the beach has been upgraded a lot, even now there is construction going on further along that I didn't photograph. The views from the road are much prettier than when I lived there, much more greenery, properly sealed road and kerbs etc.

    Vicki; I'm surprised at the memories coming forth now. I thought I had forgotten so much.

    betty; for ten years I spent almost every summer day on that beach from dawn to past dark. We loved swimming in the summer rain too.

    Mimsie; the shells were always there, but I never even noticed them back then. I spent so much time barefoot I must have had tough soles. But I sure did feel them last week. Ouch! I remember river swimming at Murray Bridge with a group of friends and a giant inner tube from one of those milk tankers that came to the Farmer's Union factory where I worked.

  11. Hi River,

    Nobody in the UK would venture to the beach on Xmas Eve.




  12. Plasman; why does that not surprise me? Maybe you could and photograph the emptiness.

  13. If you could see me now. I feel like clapping with joy. Thank you for taking me to the beach on this very bitter cold winter day.

  14. Linda O'Connell; I'm glad I could bring you a little sunshine, we have so much of it here, why not share?