Change is inevitable. Sometimes it is good. Sometimes it is bad. But always it just… is.
Once upon a time the spit of land between Cronulla and Kurnell (south of Sydney, Australia) was famous for its sand hills. I guess that in previous decades those same sand hills may have stretched further. What makes me think this? I have memories of reading old newspapers from before my time where they spoke of the infamous Wanda Beach murders of the 1960s The papers described the murders as having occurred on the deserted sand hills of Wanda. Wanda was and is a part of Cronulla, and by the 1970s Wanda certainly wasn’t deserted anymore. Instead it was crowded with houses and apartment blocks. I actually lived in such an apartment block there from 1978 to 1983. Can you imagine living less than two minute’s walk from a major surfing beach? Wonderful if you are a teenage boy. The aura of the murders had passed by then, but not the odd whispers.
Anyway, this aside, lets go back to the sand hills further up from Wanda. The photo for today’s story was taken in those very hills and represents a key part of my youth. You see, those hills held an oasis for young folk of the area. This was in the form of an enormous lake that we used to call “the Pond”. We were free to drive our cars here and do as we wish. This photo was taken in about 1983 or 84.
So my friends and I would always visit this place. We swam there. We sunbathed there till we were red raw (naughty naughty). We windsurfed on those waters. It was idyllic.
A mere hop, skip and jump across the sand hills was Boat Harbour and the long stretch of sandy beach that ran back down towards Wanda, Elouera and Cronulla. Once again it was a free playground that only locals knew about. So when Cronulla became crowded with visitors from distant suburbs, we locals popped out here. That’s my lovely little blue Suzuki Sierra in the picture below. (Broke my heart when its engine suddenly twisted itself out of shape for no good reason and I had to sell it for scape – a mere 7 years after I bought it.)
Now I need to tell you one more adventure in these hills. You see, in 1985 Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome was filmed here. Like every good local I respectfully kept my distance from the film site. See below: here I am respectfully keeping my distance while standing on the model of the crashed plane used in that movie.
Alas I saw no movie stars or anything. Would have been cool if I had. But life is what life is and I’ve never really stumbled across that many famous people in my life.
Now this story is about change. I’ve already told you that my home for a while sat where former sand hills had lain. So I think you can guess the change. Yep, people were mining the sand hills, selling the sand overseas for resort beaches on island nations, and housing was slowly encroaching north. In fact, it is my understanding (right or wrong) that even this great pond was created through the sand mining process. Later the sand mining company filled in this pond and created another somewhere else. Nothing was the same after that.
If you visit this place now you will see houses and factories and laboratories. And if you look really, really hard you will find a little turn-off on the right-side of the road to Kurnell where they make you pay to drive down to the beach (pay for what once was free!!!). And also, maybe if you are an old local like me, you will hear the ghosts of near-forgotten fun times laughing in the sea breezes.
OK – so I’ve said all this with the wistful ending and all… actually no. This bit is the ending and not the previous paragraph. Damn, I went wistful too soon! But the point is, things change. Sometimes it is good. Sometimes it is bad. But always it just… is.