Saturday, July 14, 2012

Looking Glass Bay

Looking Glass Bay - July 2012
At the end of Punt Road at Gladesville (Sydney, New South Wales), looking up the Parramatta River is a bay with beautifully clear water which reflects its surroundings. It is known as Looking Glass Bay.

How did it get its name?

On its western shore (near the Shore School Rowing Shed), there is a plaque which reads:
Plaque commemorating CaptainArthur Phillip''s Landing
Just after the arrival of the First Fleet at Sydney Cove, Captain Arthur Phillip, Lieutenant William Bradley and James Keltie (Master of the Sirius) were taking a party up the River to explore the area that Bradley had previously named "The Flats" (present day Homebush Bay). Lieutenant Bradley explains in an extract from his journal about their stop at Looking Glass Bay:

We stopped at a Neck of Land for breakfast. We were soon met there by a Native arm'd. He laid down his spear as soon as he joined us, & had more curiosity than any we had met with. He examined everything attentively & amp;and went into all our boats from one to the other...The Governor gave this Man a hatchet, & a looking-glass, which, when he looked into, he looked immediately behind the Glass to see if any person was there, & then pointed to the Glass and the Shadows which he saw in the Water, signifying that they were similar.
[Lieutenant William Bradley, 15 February 1788']

In its later life, Looking Glass Bay was home to :
1) Rock End Cottage, built in the late 1830's as an inn and from 1866 to 1909 home to  the grandmother of the Australin poet, A B (Banjo) Paterson: and

Rock End Cottage at Looking Glass Bay - July 2012
2) Harold Meggitt Limited a leading producer in the edible vegetable oil industry from 1923 to its closure in 1973. 

The Harold Meggitt Story


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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Third Quarantine Cemetery

Entrance to the Third Quarantine Cemetery, North Head Sanctuary - July 2012
On a return visit to North Head Sanctuary (fascinating place!), we found the Third Quarantine Cemetery atop the ridge with great views over Sydney Harbour. This Cemetery was established in 1881 for the victims of a smallpox outbreak. It closed in 1925 and contains the graves of some 241 people.

Many of these were victims of the bubonic plague which came to Sydney in 1900. They were mainly young people and and children which made for sobering reading.

Grave of Maggie Whitehead - Third Quarantine Cemetery, July 2012

One interesting grave was that of Maggie Whitehead of Borambil Station near Condobolin, New South Wales.

What was her story?

According to Obituaries Australia 2010-2012, Maggie Whitehead, aged 40 years, was visiting Sydney en route to England. She contracted the bubonic plague and was taken to the Quarantine Station where she lasted only three days, dying on 3 May 1900. She was the wife of Richard Whitehead of Borambil and the eldest daughter of Alexander and Jessie Cameron of Satimur Station in Western Victoria.

If you are interested in researching Australian history, go to our website at: