Oatley Historic Walk

On Sunday 3 April we (about 6 but grew to 9) commenced our walk in the Povelli Café and Deli with the large photos on the wall. We discussed James Oatley’s Sydney history before reading the words on the plaque opposite the Clock. Walking through the Memorial Park we remembered the splendid Kogarah Council on 1920’s that made it a Park before walking down through the old railway cutting between the Community Hall and Guide Hall. Janet Austin told us about the plaque commemorating the old Como rail bridge being maintained for the pedestrian and cycle way it is today.

The Como Bridge and Neverfail Bay followed and then the long walk to the Charles Street lookout. To the Oatley Pleasure gardens where David Koffel stated he was seeing things he had never known after only 43 years in Oatley!

Back to the St Pauls Church, the new plaque at the old War Memorial site and back along Letitia to the Radio Theatre and School of Arts.

0006 Oatley Bay  from Charles Street Reserve 1926a Oatley Radio Theatre

It took nearly 3 hours and the walk was revealed to many new discoveries or details of our suburb. Apart from those places mentioned above we looked at several other features along the way.

Thanks to the enthusiastic group who came and their additional knowledge that added the enjoyment to the morning walk.

Report on Historic Walk of Oatley  by Leader Rodger Robertson

Scarborough to Thirroul

On 27 th February, 20 OFF members and friends enjoyed a very pleasant walk along the lovely south coast from Scarborough to Thirroul. The walk which was capably led by Sharyn Cullis started out with coffee and finished in a hotel in Thirroul.


In between we walked about 8km along beaches, across headlands, had a swim and had great views of 38 sooty oystercatchers (an uncommon bird of rocky headlands). Sharyn’s local knowledge enhanced the experience.
Unfortunately, the high seas prevented us from exploring a rock platform, but overall it was a great day in beautiful surroundings and in pleasant company.


[Report by Graham Fry]


Lime Kiln Bay Guided Walks

IMG_1683OFF conducted free guided walks on 8 and 12 December around Lime Kiln Bay Wetland to show interested people how the wetlands improve the quality of storm water runoff and the abundant native plants and wildlife that the wetland supports.

The walks are part of  a  project undertaken by the society to raise awareness in the local community of potential environmental impacts on the wetland from urban activities. What goes down the drain ends up in the wetland and then into the Georges River. The project is being funded from the NSW Minister for the Environment’s Conservation Fund. It will benefit the local community and Council by improving the long-term health of local waterways and reducing maintenance costs of Council’s drainage infrastructure.



River Postman Outing

IMG_146930 OFF members took part in one of easier outings of 2015. After a relatively early start in order to get to Hawkesbury River station by 10am, we boarded the boat for a very pleasant 3 hour cruise on the Hawkesbury River.

Postman River Boat cruise map





















There was a good commentary and the participants were surprised at the number and extent of the many small settlements that are along the shoreline.




IMG_1525We dropped off mail at most stops except for one, where we met by a dog who gratefully accepted his regular ANZAC biscuit!





It was a very hot day but the cooling breeze on the water helped to keep us comfortable. After a nice lunch we arrived back at the wharf at 1pm in time to catch the train back to Central and then onto Oatley. IMG_1545


Whilst the day was not as  active as some of our outings, it was a good opportunity to socialise and I think most people enjoyed the day.

Report By Leader: Graham Fry



Rose Bay to Watsons Bay

IMG_1169The walk from  Rose Bay to Watsons Bay on 31 October was generally well reviewed and was given an overall four star rating. A total of 31 OFF members and friends took part ignoring threats by the weatherman of rain dispersed by thunderstorms. The weather was perfect for walking.

IMG_1185Features of the day included: a history of Rose Bay and Mr George Rose (1744-1818); seaplanes; Dumaresq Bay; the Hermitage Walk- the most extensive remnant bush on the south side of the harbour; Carrara (or Strickland) House; Greycliff House; lunch and a swim at Nielsen Park; Coolong Street otherwise known as Swank Street (many, many miles from Struggle Street); Vaucluse House park, Parsley Bay suspension bridge and the Watsons Bay Pub.

IMG_1209IMG_1249Some thought there was a step or two too many but most agreed that the world class views of Sydney Harbour were a rich compensation.

Field Report by Walk leader : Julian Sheen


Click here for map & brochure of walk

Spring Walk in Oatley Park

IMG_7790A combined Hurstville Council and OFF event was held in Oatley Park on 1st September to celebrate the first day of Spring, Wattle Day and the Society’s 60th anniversary. The weather was warm and sunny  which enabled the 24 participants to really appreciate the park and its wildflowers. Alan Fairley led the walk around the Headland Track.

IMG_7796It was too late for our local wattles (they had long finished flowering), but a number of other flowers were in full bloom.  Most conspicuous were the pea flowers, Daviesia corymbosa, Dillwynia retorta and Pultenaea daphnoides. Wedding Bush (Ricinocarpos) supplied patches of brilliant white. Members of the Proteaceae were also on show, including Pink Spider Flower, Green Spider Flower and Broad-leaf Drumsticks. Clusters of 5-petalled pink flowers of Philotheca scabra were noticeable in the understorey. Below the steps on the sheltered southern side of the headland, shade-loving plants dominated the slope. Here the most obvious flower was the white Leucopogon amplexicaulis, a species with a restricted distribution.  Those participants who had not previously visited Oatley Park were impressed by its variety and wanted to return again.
IMG_7828Liz Cameron had baked a birthday cake and committee members Graham Fry, Shaun Keays-Byrne and Robin Dickson mingled with the group over morning tea and coffee.
A very pleasant day for all involved.



Click here to see photos

Maddens Creek and Bulli Tops

The OFF outing of the 1st August was the second walk led by Sharyn Cullis this year to explore sections of Dharawal NP. Twenty-six members and friends enjoyed a very satisfying day which was divided into two sections. In the morning we walked to Maddens Creek, one of the sources of the Georges River, and explored the area which has a small waterfall.


We then adjourned for lunch to Sublime Point which lived up to its name with sublime views of the south coast.


Some of our party left after lunch while an intrepid ten continued on the second part of the walk – a steep descent of the escarpment to Austinmer. While only a 1 km distance, it was a drop of 350 m and most had very wobbly knees at the bottom.

A former president of OFF took the easy option and had a lift waiting for him at the bottom while the rest of us tackled the climb back to the top.

After 1146 steps and a number of stops we eventually arrived and were very satisfied with our achievement, notwithstanding some tired legs and ankles.

A great day, thanks Sharyn.


Cowan to Taffy’s Rock

Hawkesbury River – walk from Cowan to Taffy’s Rock via Jerusalem Bay on  27th June

This walk started in the dark for some as they took the bus from Oatley Station to Central in time for the 7.45 train to Cowan. This was quite a pleasant, smooth trip with very picturesque views of mist in the valleys  after Berowra.Six people were waiting at Cowan station having driven up, which made 12 walkers in total.

The walk crossed over to the eastern side of the station and over the freeway. Then it was into the bush and a steady downhill towards Jerusalem Bay but first we had a short detour to visit some Aboriginal carvings (luckily our leader, Adrian Buzo, knew where they were). The walk down to Jerusalem Bay followed a creek line and passed some wonderful rock overhangs and large gnarled trees. The view at Jerusalem Bay was beautiful and the water very clear. We encountered many walkers going in the opposite direction who seemed to be in training for the 100km Oxfam Walk which commences in Brooklyn and finishes in Balgowlah. The section we were walking is part of the Great North Walk.

A steep and rough ascent took us to a ridge where we turned off the main track onto a side track which we followed till we came to a great rest stop of tessellated rock. We then continued on to our lunch stop at Taffy’s Rock. Here we had stunning views to Lion Island and Cowan Creek.

Dorothy (Taffy) Townson liked to frequent a beautiful rock with wide vistas in a remote area of Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park.  After she died of snake bite while walking the Overland Track in 1948, her fellow bushwalkers erected a plaque in her memory on Taffy’s Rock. 

Lunch was quick as we were needing to get back for the 4.47 train.We were blessed with fantastic weather and clear skies making for great views along many parts of the track. It was quite a challenging walk of 16km and took most of the day, starting at 9am and back by 4.30pm but well worth the effort.

Report by Vicki Bolling


Spit Bridge to Manly Walk

IMG_7104WALK FROM SPIT BRIDGE TO MANLY May 31st was the day for the rain-delayed walk originally scheduled for early in the month. Despite the unpromising weather, nineteen set out on the walk through the Sydney Harbour National Park. It was a largish group with a variety of walking capabilities.

IMG_7159The walk around the northern harbour foreshores has a range of interesting flora, helpfully identified with signs. Because of the erratic weather, some unexpected species were in flower. Some of us enjoyed using a new and inexpensive app “Wildflowers Australia.”


IMG_7146With the spectacular scenery, photo ops, aboriginal rock carvings and abandoned fishermen’s shacks to speculate about, we took rather longer than planned; finally signing off at Manly wharf at 2.10pm. Most enthusiastically continued for a convivial lunch in a pub over-looking the ocean; there were not one but two different styles of band playing at us from different sides. We finally made it back to Circular Quay on the ferry by 4.30pm with some hardy types still expressing interest in checking out the “Vivid” light festival!

Report by walk leader – Erica Buzo


Source to Sea – Nepean

IMG_6700IMG_6704We met at end of Russell Street, Emu Plains in the morning where we heard from Alan Izzard from  Bass Sydney about their Landcare work. In the last 10-12 years, club members have worked to have Fishways installed on the Lane Cove & Parramatta River Weirs. They have also been busy with Greening Australia with replanting native vegetation on the riparian zone of South Creek west of Sydney, as well as helping to remove large stands of Lantana on the Grose and Nepean Rivers. Most recently, they have started a revegetation project on the banks of the Nepean River at Emu Plains. The club has been able to obtain funding for this project and anticipate that the project will keep them busy for several years to come.

IMG_6713IMG_6719We also heard from Jeff Cottrell from Willow Warriors about their Black Willow control program, the impact of flood events in 2012 and 2013, the changes in water quality releases from STP plants. We were given a demonstration by Willow Warrior Fred on how to poison a black willow.

We had a leisurely 8.5 km Kayak along the river which was mostly flat water with a few riffles and eddies to add some excitement to our day. Thank you Jeff and Fred for being our guides and organising the Kayaks.

 IMG_6744 IMG_6733

During the day we observed many birds : White shouldered Kite, White bellied Sea Eagle, Azure Kingfisher, White and Grey Herons, Cormorant, Pelican, Black swans and wagtails.

IMG_6793 We were welcomed at Yellomundee by the Yellomundee Aboriginal Bushcare group in a smoking ceremony. Thank you to the Bushcare  volunteers who put on a great spread for lunch.  We were then shown the technique and effect of cool burning, a method practiced by aboriginal group over thousands of years to manage the landscape. (See Bill Gamage)

We observed an area burnt last year under guidance from  Living knowledge Community Education program. This organisation came to Yellomundee last year to share their knowledge of the practice with the local traditional owners who had been dispossessed and prevented from continuing this practice hundreds of years ago. Intergenerational learning Photo below shows has the elders Chris Tobin (in blue), David King and Aunty Mary (standing up at the back), the young children learning how to make fire and participating in the cultural burn as they would have for thousands of years and  Paul Glass the NPWS Ranger in the foreground not just protecting the physical heritage of the site but also the traditional practices that Living Knowledge on the site.