29 July 2017 - Stanwell Tops and Stanwell Park
Welcome to Geocaching in Sydney, an irregular podcast about my geocaching adventures in the greater Sydney area. My name is Edwin, I play this game under the name of Team MavEtJu which includes my kids and everybody else who is with me at that moment.
I was in Stanwell Tops and Stanwell Park today, quiet suburbs in the northern part of the Illawara. Yes, it's not greater Sydney anymore, but still close enough. The reason I was here that I needed to do maintenance on some of my Helensburgh Puzzles caches, a trail of 36 caches going from Heathcote, Stanwell Tops and Otford.
Stanwell Tops rests on the Illawarra escarpment, overlooking the Pacific Ocean and the neighbouring village of Stanwell Park. Stanwell Tops is nearly fully residential, there are no shops, industrial facilities, restaurants or hotels. You need to go to Helensburgh or Stanwell Park for that. Bald Hill, which I by accident pronounced to be Bald Eagle Hill, is a nearby hang-gliding spot.
Stanwell Tops is part of the Aboriginal land formerly occupied by the Tharawal people, specifically the Wodi Wodi clan. And with that name, the story starts to find the "Cracktacular!" cache from Dellero.
Further on in the track are the "The Gnome" cache of Team Chaos, placed in 2002, and "Picnic on the rocks" by the Hancock Clan. The latter one has beautiful views over the valley the Stanwell Creek is lying in.
Going down the escarpment to Stanwell Park you go down 200 meters over a distance of 750 meters as the crow flies. Quite the descent!
The second story is on finding the "The Blue Hole" cache by The Arkaroo, located in Stanwell Park which lays . Stanwell Park is the name given to the farm established on the grant given to Matthew John Gibbons in 1824. He was given most of the area called Little Bulli which included present-day Stanwell Park and Coalcliff. The whole of Northern Illawarra went under the Aboriginal name Bulli which means rising up. These days Bulli is the name of an Illawarra suburb further south of Stanwell Park.
The most famous person in Stanwell Park must have been the aeronautical pioneer Lawrence Hargrave. He chose to live and experiment with his flying machines here in Stanwell Park because the place which offers excellent wind and hang conditions. His studies of curved aerofoils, particularly designs with a thicker leading edge like the way airplane wings are designed, and the box kite, which greatly improved the lift to drag ratio of early gliders. Of great significance to those pioneers working toward powered flight, Hargrave successfully lifted himself off the ground under a train of four of his box kites at Stanwell Park Beach on 12 November 1894. He rose 16 feet in a wind speed of 21 mph. This experiment was widely reported and established the box kite as a stable aerial platform.
Back to the reality of geocaching: One of the village's features is the curved railway viaduct over Stanwell Creek Gorge. It was built in the 1910s when problems with the old railway route forced the construction of a new track higher up the mountainside. At 65 meters above the creek bed, surrounded by profuse rainforest vegetation and containing an estimated five million bricks, it is the largest railway viaduct in Australia. And that is where this story starts:
The Geocaching Australia locationless referred to was already logged by me with the flood indication markers in Woolooware near the Sharks stadium.
What is next on the agenda for Geocaching in Sydney? Groundspeak is running their "The Lost Treasure of Mary Hyde" game this month, so that will keep people busy also (but not as busy as the Geocaching Australia game where you had to find 25 GCA listed caches). On 19 August there is an international Geocaching day event at Salt Pan Reserve hosted by ziggiau. Salt Pan Reserve is at Riverwood, between Punchbowl and Padstow. On 20 August is the AGM of GeocachingNSW at Carlingford, see geocachingnsw.asn.au for more details. I hope to see you at one of them!