Today Mike was determined to catch a fish. We have been watching a number of people taking their boats onto Manning River and catching fish. So RV Yellow Ducky was deployed.
Lee took photos of fish jumping out of the water – always where Mike wasn’t. It was like they were making fun of him, jumping behind him. Locals told us that those fish we’d never catch. True.
It was a long day. Mike caught one fish, a flat-head and of legal size. However by the time he had cleaned it, and fed the neighbourhood pelican the bits, what meat was left we decided the pelican needed more than us.
Hard to imagine, but a few years ago when the Manning River flooded, the floating jetty rose to the top of the three black poles.
Mike purchased our inflatable boat months ago and we finally had the opportunity to try it out on the Manning River, Wingham. We launched from the boat ramp and rowed up river, past the bridge and back. Good news: It didn’t end up being a yellow submarine.
It is not just the fabulous views of the Manning River and the Brush Nature Reserve that bring us back. The people here are all very friendly. AND there’s a great bakery: McKeoughs Cake Shop – which we visited each day.
Wingham Central Park in town is a huge grassed area which was used in WWI and WWII as a muster point for military personnel recruited for the defences forces for overseas postings. On one corner, a commemoration to the Centenary of ANZAC including a seedling pine tree cultivated from the original tree in Canberra which had been cultivated from a pine cone brought back from the Battle of Lone Pine Ridge in Gallipoli, 6.August 1915. This history and of the Wingham Central Park is set out nearby with photos.
On one side of Wingham Central Park and opposite the Wingham Services Club, a Vampire Jet appears to be taking off over the Club.
The Brush Nature Reserve, first protected in 1906, has several entrances, connected by the Graham Allen Boardwalk and an offshoot – “Flying Fox Circuit”. The reserve is approximately 10.hectares of rain forest and a group of volunteers (one being Graham Allen) was instrumental in ‘saving’ the overgrown reserve. Walking along the boardwalk, day turns to darkness with the thick canopy above. Fig trees and creepers have taken over other trees. There was a warning about “The Giant Stinging Tree” which we had never come across before. Thanks for the warning!
Mounds of leaves and dirt appear here and there, the work of the bush turkeys. There were not as many birds as we expected, but no shortage of flying foxes. Three kinds live in the reserve: Grey-headed, Little-red and Black. The reserve is a flying fox camp and maternity site. Around Christmas 2005 there was a heatwave with temperatures in excess of 40C and 5,000 flying boxes succumbed. From what we saw, their numbers are back up again. We went back at night time, to see if any animals moved around the forest floor while the flying foxes were away, but did not see any.
Each evening as the sun sets, the sky above is full of flying foxes departing on their mission to find food, flying up to 50.km in their search – and they’re are noisy!
One exit from the reserve is near the old Wingham Wharf on the Manning River. The original wharf was constructed in the 1830’s and was a major shipping port in 1835. Nearby, an impressive mosaic conversation seat, dedicated to the memory of an obviously popular Mick Tuck – Wingham Mayor between 1999 and 2003.
We arrived early to the Wingham Riverside Reserve Campsite, positioned between the banks of the Manning River and Wingham Brush Nature Reserve, in time for some early morning photos. What a fabulous vista!
We thought it was an overnight rest area for self-contained vehicles, however discovered we were allowed to stay more than one night. We initially parked adjacent to the Brush Reserve and as we alighted from the vehicle, noticed a distinct odour. In the trees growing alongside the camping area, hundreds – nay, thousands of flying foxes. We moved later, away from the trees which made a difference as far as the odour was concerned, but this is a small area for parking RV’s. Once the sun set, the flying foxes all took to the air and the sky was filled with them. Not a place where one puts the awning out.
Later in the day, we were welcomed by “Ron” – a friendly representative of the Wingham Advancement Group (Inc.), armed with maps and information about the area.
There are no fees, however there is a box with a request for donations and receipts (to give an idea of spending by visitors).
The area is easily accessible for our vehicles and has toilet facilities. There is a boat ramp next to a floating pontoon-jetty and nearby, a purpose built table and water tap for cleaning fish (if Mike catches any).
It is a very busy place. Traffic in and out starts early with we presume locals, parking near the jetty and around the driveway alongside the grassed area by the river. Small boats are launched and the pelicans fly in from across the river to greet them on their return, hopeful of some scraps. Many people pass by on their walk for the day. It is a well-used meeting area all through the day and after school, for mothers and their children.