This week we meandered from La Perouse to Tempe. The numbers on our walks contract and extend and are wonderfully curated by Chris Nash, he researches the route the buses to catch the transfers leaving we ducks to just wander on behind picking up morsels of information. It is a delightful way to spend a day.
The La Perouse peninsula is the northern headland of Botany Bay. It is notable for its old military outpost at Bare Island and the Kamay Botany Bay National Park. Congwong Bay Beach, Little Congwong Beach, and the beach at Frenchmans Bay provide protected swimming areas in Botany Bay. La Perouse is one of few Sydney suburbs with a French name.
Visitors can learn about the indigenous significance of the area from the Aboriginal people of the area, with boomerang-throwing demonstrations often held on weekends and Aboriginal guided tours operating from Yarra Bay House during the week. Aboriginal artefacts are produced and sold by locals. The Snake Man of La Perouse has an outdoor reptile show is also a tourist attraction in the pit, at The Loop, on Sunday afternoons. The reptile shows were begun by the legendary Professor Fox in the late 19th century and resumed by George Cann just after the Great War in 1918. The tradition was continued by members of the Cann family, until recently, and other snake handlers since.[
This beautiful little part of Sydney is under threat, from a Meriton apartment development and a Cruise Ship terminal.
From La Perouse you hit the more industrial backstreets of Botany Bay with it’s huge container terminals.
The first container terminal at Port Botany, east of the airport, was completed during the 1970s and is the largest container terminal in Sydney. A second container terminal was completed during the 1980s and bulk liquid storage facilities are located on the northern and southern edge of the bay. A third container terminal was completed in 2011.
Botany is much more than container terminals however, it has a charming little shopping strip where we stopped for lunch. It has creative enterprises like Studio Enti and even tho it appears to be under threat encroaching development the tree line streets still shelter pockets of old Sydney.
The Sir Joseph Banks Park is a significant and complex cultural landscape to which each of its two main layers, the Pleasure Grounds of the 1844 Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, and the 1988 Park, contribute. The former gardens of the Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, now part of the Sir Joseph Banks Pleasure Gardens, was a location of considerable interaction between Aboriginal people and European settlers during the second part of the 19th Century and the site of a possible historical campsite (listed by the La Perouse Local Aboriginal Land Council and recorded in recent studies).
After Botany you head into Mascot, an area of Sydney fast approaching something like the futurist landscape of the film Blade Runner and what our Governments like to call progress or what they say lies at the heart of Australia’s urban transformation. I call it a Concrete Jungle.
On the other side of these man made canyons you hit a walk beside the Alexandra Canal past the Nigel Love Bridge and onto the Tempe Reserve.
This walk from La Perouse to Tempe takes you on a walk from a beautiful natural place under threat and our past to a place so soulless it could only have been built because of greed, the future.
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