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Sunday, 15 December 2013

Leaning on a lamp post at Dee Why?

 I was thinking I didn't have anything for this week's topic, but have realised  that a photo I took last week may be quite appropriate. We were up in Sydney and visited Dee Why Beach, primarily to have lunch at a cafe there. We didn't plan to swim, which was just as well, because the surf was too rough and the beach was closed, as were many others along the coastline around Sydney, much to the disappointment of many beach-going Sydneysiders and visitors alike. It was a pleasant day with temperatures hovering in the high twenties (Celsius) and they really wanted to cool off in the surf, but instead could only gaze out longingly at the wild white water and watch the whirling bomboras further out to sea. Although not visible in this shot, fearless board riders were certainly enjoying the big waves!

Difficult to capture the size and ferocity of the waves in a photo, but I do have the requisite pole here, being held up by a spectator, plus a cyclist in the centre of the photo, and the step railing looks a bit like something attached to the bike, such as a fishing rod perhaps. The sign says 'Beach Closed', and dedicated lifesavers were patrolling it aggressively. The tree on the right is part of an impressive avenue of Norfolk Pines planted along the promenade in about 1914, when the Dee Why Surf Club was established. Up until that time, the Salvation Army had owned property including the beach strip, and did not permit public bathing. The meaning of the name Dee Why is not certain, but it was called Dy Beach by surveyer James Meehan in a note he made in 1815, although at the time he was apparently standing on Freshwater Beach, a couple of beaches south of Dee Why.

No family history connections to Dee Why, but here are a few older photographs I found online:

National Library of Australia vn6301382

National Library of Australia ,vn6301383

The two photographs above are of a whale being hauled in from Dee Why beach, watched by an engrossed crowd of spectators, and then being viewed by a group of men and a small boy and his mother, c 1930. If the poor whale was alive as the sign seems to say, this can hardly have been the case for very long. These days it would receive much more care and attention,in the hope that it could be saved, rather than simply being treated as a curiosity.

The Strand, Dee Why, from Warringah Council Library collection, in Picture Australia
The above photograph of the Strand, Dee Why, c.1948, shows council workers mending potholes with hot tar from the tar truck. No doubt it was hot work, and they would much rather have been lounging on the beach rather than working beside it! Some of the majestic Norfolk Pines mentioned above can be seen in the background, and there seems to be a small pole of some kind in front of the truck.

 Dee Why Australia and Smithers BC may be poles apart geographically speaking, but here's a photograph from Wikipedia, of the small town of Smithers British Columbia, which also quite accords with our theme photograph for this week. My niece lives in Smithers, and I'd like to visit her there one day, meet her new little daughter and view the spectacular mountain scenery that can be incidentally spotted in the far distance here. I'll try to avoid those pesky power poles however! Right now it's around 2 degrees C there, and the Smithers main street is heavily blanketed and beautified by snow.

For more Sepian images on poles, bicycles, trucks and whatever, just click here.


  1. I've never been to Dee Why but I'd like to if only for the name :)
    Good photo choices for the theme.

  2. Isn't Dee Why the written out form of dy, as in the surveyors designation. Somebody's initials? The beach and surf look great. How wonderful that the Norfolk pines have lasted so long.

    1. Yes, but they don't know if dy came from an aboriginal word from the area, or whether it was just a map reference, or from the shape of the bay being likened to the derivative symbol in calculus, dy/dx, or from the distinctive call made by a local bird species.

  3. We'll done Jo. Especially on capturing those poles!

  4. We have Norfolk pines along our waterfront too (photo here).

  5. That's a great coincidence to take such a nice variation on the theme photo.

  6. That poor little whale. In that first picture especially, with it's eye seeming to give it such a sad & confused look. (I know - my imagination, maybe, but even so . . . ) Thank heaven we've become more knowledgeable & caring about such animals today.

  7. I really enjoyed your photos and commentary :)

  8. Poles Away! You did a marvelous job, all great photos.

  9. You did well. A pole and a cyclist. You did well !! Good spotting and an interesting run down on Dee Why. I'm amazed no-one has asked about the strange name Dee Why. I'm now off to look it up.

  10. I can't imagine anybody being crazy enough to go out in that wild water!!

    Poor little whale.

  11. You reminded me of the lunches we teachers used have in the beach cafes at Dee Why on the odd occasions we could escape from school.

    Thanks for the memories.