This photo shows the Ocean View Hotel at Urunga. It was built in 1927 and then was a big hotel. I stayed there as a young child.
Lynne and I have been exchanging comments about the Urunga floods. It made me realise how much even Urunga had changed.
I have been writing a lot of serious stuff recently. I thought that it might be fun to write a series of personal memoirs about the old coast before it vanished for ever. I am an inland person, but I remember the old North Coast.
Why is it that the flats we later stayed in in Urunga were called the New England Flats? Why do the flats in a Yamba Street carry the names of Tablelands' stations from the Armidale area? Why do people in Grafton today not remember when Grafton was the great river port? What was it like to be university student when your friends were nearly all the first in their families to attend university? And what was surf music like at Coffs Harbour?
When I first travelled this road on my way to that holiday in Urunga with my aunts, there was not a single tarred road between the Tablelands and the coast.
Past the dingo gate on the Grafton/Dorrigo road the country changed. This was a rugged world, one where P A Wright, my grandfather and others fought to create what would become the New England National Park. This was a world in which my my Aunts sheltered from a snowstorm at a little bush nursing centre.
The bush was close, to be enjoyed even by those who lived there on a regular basis. This was a world far removed from modern urban Australia.
Past Ebor, the road entered the rolling green hills of the Dorrigo Plateau before plunging down the mountain to the coast.
I am an inland person. I find the modern obsession with the narrow edge of the coast absolutely boring and personally incomprehensible. We may as well pack all of the Australian population off to live in the narrow beach strip between the waterline and adjoining sand dunes. Yet I find the New England coastal zone as a whole intensely fascinating.
I might see if I can bring this alive.