Australia · Pacific Ocean · photography · South West Rocks · travels

The stories these ruins could tell: Trial Bay Gaol, South West Rocks, N.S.W.

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An assignment I recently completed through the University of Tasmania, The Photo Essay, called for a series of seven to ten photos, each captioned, to tell a progressive story of the students’ choice. I spent several weeks away from home late last year and found photo opportunities everywhere I went, so the difficulty with this assignment was choosing which series of ten photos would tell the most interesting story.

The last time I visited Trial Bay Gaol at South West Rocks it was too early in the day for the ruins to be open to tourists, but I did enjoy a lovely visit from a family of curious kangaroos, who had spent the night ‘behind bars’. This visit, however, the gaol was open to the public, so my husband and I spent some time wandering around the confines, camera in hand, learning some fascinating history of this beautiful area.

Last Friday, the grades for the assignment were released and I was thrilled with my mark of 46/50! And the assignment reminded me so much of a blog post (written as a Word document) that I decided to share it with you today –

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The stories these ruins could tell: Trial Bay Gaol, South West Rocks, N.S.W.

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After walking through the entry of Trial Bay Gaol to the inner confines, the historic relevance is immediately evident. Now a South West Rocks tourist attraction, the roofless ruins stand as testimony to a time over a century ago when these buildings were used for a different purpose than they are today.

 

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Arriving in 1876, the first high-risk prisoners’ days involved carrying out hard labour. At the end of the day, these inmates were searched and locked in their cells for the night, with lights out at 9 pm.

 

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In an innovative project for the time, from 1889 the prison accommodated low risk, end of term inmates whilst they built a breakwater at Trial Bay to offer a safe retreat for passing ships. These prisoners learnt trades and skills while earning a small salary for their work.

Multiple arches provide visual portals into the inner reaches of the buildings, offering glimpses of what lies beyond.

 

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A mock prisoner demonstrates the sparseness of the cells and confined space, behind the bars of the securely locked cell door. Living a solitary life for many years did not bode well for some inmates who suffered psychologically from the isolation.

 

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In 1903 the prison was temporarily closed but reopened again between 1915 and 1918 to be used as an internment camp. After the outbreak of World War I, German men living in Australia were regarded as a threat to the security of the Empire, therefore, some wealthier and better-educated men were confined at Trial Bay Gaol. During these years, interns built three tennis court in a disused quarry near to the gaol, enjoying the recreational facilities the courts offered.

 

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Climbing approximately forty stairs to a tower overlooking the nearby surrounds, warders kept watch for ships in distress along the Pacific Ocean seafront. The gaol owned an old rescue boat which they used when necessary. The tower also served as an outlook for any escaped prisoners and of the eighteen escapees during 1887 and 1901, most were captured.

 

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Within the three rooms of the kitchen, including a scullery and bakehouse, prisoners prepared meals for their fellow inmates on a wood fired stove. The large display picture shows the activity of inmates in a room now stripped of any evidence of its past use.

 

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In a display of nurturing in the grounds of the gaol, a family of kangaroos pass away the hours, content within the safe enclosure of the gaol grounds. Signs in the area advise visitors not to approach the kangaroos, who can show aggression.

 

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Situated amid a display of old photographs, this scene shows the gaol intact and in full use. The section of the building on the far right with the arched opening still stands today. The buildings behind have since lost their roofs.

 

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After the gaol’s final closure in 1918, the buildings were left abandoned. Since the 1960’s the old gaol ruins have become a tourist attraction, displaying the majestic sandstone buildings with details of the historic events that have taken place during the last one-hundred-and-forty years.

What a story these ruins can tell.

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daughter-in-law · grand-baby one · new beginnings · photography · son · wedding

A Floral Extravaganza

vase

For her wedding, Mary chose two beautiful flowers, baby’s breath and roses (we were too late in the season for peonies,) in a gorgeous peach shade, to match her bridesmaid’s dresses. To pretty up the rooms inside of the house, we ordered several bunches of matching flowers, in both long and short stems, so once the flowers that had decorated the marquees were brought inside and placed in various vases around the house, my home has been transformed into an exquisite floral paradise.

button hole roses

The two single roses in the foreground, above, were saved from a couple of men’s jackets, which were discarded once the ceremony formalities were over and the party had begun.

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I, however, placed my beautiful corsage in a small vase on the table at the reception. These flowers are so pretty, I want to savour their beauty for as long as possible.

fishbowl flowers

Each table at the wedding reception had a lovely display of baby’s breath and roses inside a fishbowl……

roses & doiley

….which, when brought inside the house the next day, look just as stunning in a tiny vase on one of my coffee tables.

lotsa flowers

I really love to see several vases placed together on a table, in a mass display of white, cream and peach colourings, and isn’t the wedding candle just beautiful? I’ll tell you more about the candle shortly. Right now, it’s all about the flowers!

corsage & candle 2

Here’s my corsage again, looking lovely amid the peach roses. I must find out what type of flowers are in my corsage, as I’d really love to have these in my garden.

phlox

I’m quite sure that the flowers toward the centre and left of the photo above are called phlox. They have such delicate white petals and looked so pretty in small vases next to the vanity basin in the bathroom.

candle 2 (2)

Here’s the candle again, beside a floral display of whites and greens, which were a part of the decorations on the arbour, beneath which Adam and Mary exchanged their wedding vows.

roses

Aren’t the roses stunning? I have vases of roses everywhere, and have decided that you can never have too many roses in the house. 🙂

white flowers

The “ball” of baby’s breath (also known as gypsophilia) to the right of the candle, is one of the bridesmaid’s bouquets. Mary’s bouquet also contained roses, and she wore a simple baby’s breath headpiece in her hair. I’ll show you how beautiful she looked in a day or two.

corsage & roses

Here is another photo of all the shades of white, cream and peach together. I think I missed my calling in life, I should have been a florist! How I love these flowers. ❤

candle & base

And now to the story of the candle, a gift from our wonderful friend, Therese, who also happens to be a Marriage Celebrant, has known Adam all of his life, and officiated at the ceremony on Saturday. The candle represents new beginnings, and Therese has asked Adam and Mary to light the candle each year, on their Wedding Anniversary, to welcome another year of their married life together. And can you see the tiny glass bead in the base of the candle, with the letter “S” on it?

S

Here’s a closer look. Therese added the S for Samuel, Adam and Mary’s precious baby boy, stillborn just a month ago. The wedding ceremony began with mention of baby Sam, at which point several members of the wedding party, including the men, (and Mary’s mum and myself) became quite choked up with tears in our eyes, which were carefully dabbed away so as not to ruin our makeup. My precious little grandson will always be remembered.

arbour flowers

Next time, I will share a few photos of the wedding ceremony, in which you will see the arbour in all of its glory, but for now I hope you enjoy seeing a closeup of the crowning glory of the display, resting beautifully now upon my dinner table.

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