Saturday 14 August 2010 – Narrabundah

Unpromising weather but we were sufficiently lighthearted, having got the washing in, to set off anyway. We parked at Narrabundah shops, as indicated by the map.

Map of the Narrabundah walk

Map of the Narrabundah walk

Dac pointed out that there was a leaf in front of us at the carpark. It was a large leaf of doubtful utility, but pleasant:

Narrabundah shops and Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Services

Clockwise: the square (with leaf!) at Narrabundah shops; the mosaic in the square; fair daffodils along the way; kangaroo statue and mural at Winnunga Nimmityjah Aboriginal Health Service; and their logo and brolgas

The leaf resembles a pergola. I had to look around for that word – I was thinking “gazebo”, but they have rooves. The point of a pergola, though, is to provide a place for climbing plants. There’s no soil for plants to grow in around this one.

No plaque to be found.[1] My later attempts to turn up information about the leaf led me to the Narrabundah Neighbourhood Plan of 2004[2]:

Narrabundah was gazetted as a division name on 20 September 1928. Narrabundah was the last of the ‘inner southern’ suburbs to be developed. [Others] were developed in the 1920s but due to the economic situation in the 1930s and World War II … , development all but ceased. Work did not recommence on the construction of residential areas until 1947 when Narrabundah was commenced. …

Narrabundah is an Aboriginal place name and is said to mean “small hawk”. The theme for the streets of Narrabundah is indigenous names, explorers and pioneers.

So now we know. The small hawk explains the weathervane next to the leaf (top left), the mosaic in the paving (top right), and the logo of Narrabundah College:

Narrabundah College logo

Narrabundah College logo

It was about 2.30 pm when we started walking. We passed Winnunga Nimmityjah soon afterwards. I hadn’t known of the existence of this health service. Their logo (above, bottom left) is the Aboriginal flag with a Corroboree Frog – local, and significant to Aboriginal people in the ACT region.

We marched along, noticing houses ranging from weatherboard cottages to McMansions. We saw small signs of spring. There were people working in the yards in nearly all the houses on our side of Kootara Crescent, and many of them said hello. 🙂

Pretty soon I started falling behind. Dac told me I’d have to hurry up because the leaflet said the whole walk would take 40 minutes. I persuaded him that I was hurrying as fast as I could.

Notable sights, clockwise: old truck, cat, Mustang, palm tree

Notable sights

Dac pointed out the handsome old truck at top left – I’d walked straight past after photographing daffodils. What I did notice was a great many palm trees. 😦 Mostly those little ones with about three spiky heads, that I’d always thought were called yucca palms. (Having looked them up, I now know that I don’t know what they’re called.) But also tall ones like the one at bottom left, and big round ones like the one behind the Mustang at bottom right.

I’ve always liked Mustangs, and disliked palm trees. Perhaps I could cope with palm trees on a desert island, but not in a temperate place.

The cat (above, top right) was much further on in our walk, after I’d had a bit of a rest in a bus shelter, gazing vaguely at the house opposite – until someone suddenly pulled the blinds down! Dac played a few Scrabble moves on his iPad while waiting for me. When I spotted the cat, sunning itself on a front verandah, I tried to take a photo of it. While I was fiddling with zoom settings, it turned up at our feet. Why can’t our own cats be as friendly as that?

Clockwise: boxes, galahs, Dac, flowering gum

Further along

Clockwise explication: I took a photo of some boxes to go with the Garran box photo. Next, who could resist a bunch of galahs, especially when they stay on the ground while all the other birds fly away before you can photograph them? There were plenty of birds about. And there was a flowering gum tree, and Dac doing some pointing. 🙂

Seen in front yards: pebble-dash letterbox, owl, notice

Seen in front yards

I was taken with this pebble-dash letterbox. It looks very 1950s to me, with its curving stalk. Helen and I used to have a collection of letterboxes in Chifley that we admired every time we passed them. There was an almost lifesize wrought iron stick figure holding out the letterbox on its extended hand; there was a wooden box painted yellow with red spots… Sadly, they’ve disappeared now and no interesting letterboxes are to be seen on that street. I hope to find more to collect in this blog.

The owl statue was spotted by Dac. I thought it was sitting on a mynah bird trap, but the cage had no back, so it can’t have been that. I took a picture of the notice in case the person who put it up was watching – to show them I’d noticed.

We were on the home stretch, but I managed to have another little rest along the way.

Narrabundah allotments and community gardens

On Boolimba Crescent

We arrived at the Narrabundah allotments and community gardens. I admired the spinach and rhubarb and the olive trees – and the existence of a community. A little nook had been made in the garden on the other side of the tennis court, so I sat there for a while.

It took us a bit over an hour to arrive back at the car, finally making our way past the Dollworks Doll Shop (one of its windows full of  tiny sewing machines), the excellent Narrabundah Vinnies (an op shop run by the Society of St Vincent de Paul), and the very posh d’browes restaurant. The clouds that had lowered at us when we set out had blown away, and it was a sunny afternoon.


[1]I’ve now discovered, from looking at the Wikipedia article on Narrabundah (seeking the name of the doll shop), that there was in fact a plaque:

A sculpture has been erected opposite the shopping centre with the following inscription on a plaque:

Narrabundah: A Site Marker 1998
Susie Bleach & Andrew Townsend.

This Site Marker refers to Narrabundah’s social history. Narrabundah means ‘little hawk’ in the language of the local indigenous people. The steel elements, power poles and pebble mosiac refer to the European construction workers who made Narrabundah their home in the 1950’s.

ACT Public Art Program

[2]Narrabundah Neighbourhood Plan: A sustainable future for Narrabundah. Prepared by the ACT Planning and Land Authority, September 2004.

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