Things only Naroomians would know...

Things only Naroomians would know...

GIVEN that social and entertainment news site Buzzfeed is pretty massive these days, it would be silly of us to ignore the popularity of their regular list stories.

So here's our own localised version: Here for a start are 12 things only people from Narooma will understand!

We’re happy to make this a collaborative and interactive effort – so feel free to add your comments below or on our Facebook page and we'll add them onto the end!

1. The real Australia Rock is not at Uluru

As only Naroomaites would know the real Australia Rock is down at the entrance to Wagonga Inlet. It has a really interesting history as rope was run through the hole to bring ships into the inlet – that’s what we’ve heard anyway. This fascinating bit of geology is changing over time and may not be with us forever as the Australia-shaped hole keeps changing. It was be a very sad day when this rock crumbles as Narooma will never be the same!

2. Narooma bar does not serve alcohol

The Narooma bar crossing at the entrance to the inlet is much maligned in bad weather and must be treated with respect. It has claimed lives over the years but at the same time is part of life in Narooma that all boaters must learn to deal with and read properly. There are much worse bars but our own bar is another special part of our special town.

3. Forsters Bay versus Fosters Bay

Who really knows? But we think it is Forsters Bay as least that what is says on the signs and maps. That doesn’t stop people saying or writing Fosters Bay – a little more research into who this Forster was is on order and I am sure we will hear from resident historian Laurelle Pacey on this and other Narooma facts!

According to Anne McDougall, the great great granddaughter of the man himself: "Forsters Bay is named after Thomas Forster, one of the very first white settlers in the area. In 1848 he bought the lease of "Noorooma" after working for John Hawdon for some years at Bergalia, Kiora and Bodalla. The property extended from Wagonga Inlet to Wallaga Lake and the family home was just off the present Old Highway."

4. Forget the earth is round, Narooma's Flat

It takes a little getting used to but the “Flat” is a formal name that should be spelled with a capital “F”!  This area down along the floodplain area of the beautiful Narooma inlet is some would say the heart of the Narooma with the biggest camping area. Maybe this is why it is so popular as we all know how important it is to have a flat spot when camping.

5. Hogan's hole is the best golf hole anywhere

Visiting golfers would all know about Hogan’s Hole - the No. 3 hole at the Narooma Golf Club  - but maybe not how it got its name! Well, Paul Hogan or “Hoges” shot a Winfield cigarettes television commercial there with the slogan “Anyhow have a Winfield” – it may not be politically correct these days or fit in with the Narooma lifestyle but it’s part of our history!! The hole itself is spectacular and has been ranked among the best in Australia with a big gap to shoot over - lots of golf balls end up in the drink! Also known as "The Gap".

How to play Hoges' hole...

6. The good old Narooma rumour - rooma

Yes when the so and so hits the fan, it’s all about the good old Narooma rumour – or shall we say rooma – rhymes with Narooma Booma – who long-term residents and sports fans would know was the boxing name of Bad Boy Leroy Brown. But I digress  - and back the Narooma rumour. All small towns have their gossip, it’s just that in Narooma we have our own special name for it!

7. Gulaga Mountain versus Mount Dromedary

Here’s another geographic and historic name divider. Mount Dromedary was the name given to the big old lump that overlooks us all by Captain Cook as it apparently looked like a camel’s hump from the sea. But these days we call it Gulaga Mountain, the name it was known by for thousands of years previous by the local Yuin people and we are fine with that  - as it is a special place as anyone who has climbed to the top and had a spiritual experience would know.

8. The man that sued God is from Bermagui

Speaking of spiritual – the only really big Hollywood moment for the region came when Billy Connelly came to the district to make his movie about suing God – don’t we wish we all could! More recently there was another bit of Hollywood when Wallaga Lake Bridge was filmed for the upcoming Angelina Jolie movie “Unbroken”.  Narooma itself has never made it to the big screen, which we think is a crying shame  - or maybe not for those who want to keep our area a secret.

9, River Cottage is on a mountain not a river

The second series of the hit television show River Cottage Australia has just wrapped up on The LifeStyle Channel on Foxtel. Named after the original British show, there is only one problem. Paul and his farm are on the side of a mountain – Gulaga Mountain – and there is no river in sight. That’s okay because you couldn’t get a more picturesque spot than the Tilbas.

10. Resident winter swimmers mingle with seals

These days you don’t have to travel out all the way to Montague Island to see the marine mammal and have a wildlife experience. On any given day in recent weeks there have been 12 or more New Zealand fur seals hanging out only metres from the footpath on the southern breakwater of the Narooma entrance or bar crossing. This has become a huge tourist attraction and with Australia Rock and the seals right next to each other – it’s the must see spot in Narooma for tourists. And if you down to Bar Beach at 9am on a Sunday in winter you will see up to 20 walruses joining in as that's when the Narooma Numnutz winter swimmers take to the waters...

11. Walking with stingrays beats dogs

There has even been a locally written novel by the name of “Walking with Stingrays” and as anyone who has walked the Narooma boardwalk would know, these big loveable creatures can be there with you every step of the way. And the water is so clear, it makes for a spectacular experience that locals love just as much as the visitors.

12. Montague Island - for men only! Gulaga Mountain - for women only!

There are some clear demarcations that have existed for thousands of years apparently dictating who can go where. Montague Island is a men’s place and Gulaga is women’s place. These have been relaxed slightly to allow for visitors of both sexes to enjoy both places – but still respect should be paid to these traditional ways. Some of us may have even heard the story that women who visit Montague won’t have any children… so beware if you are planning a family…

13. Glasshouse Rocks - an icon of Narooma's coastline

The series of big stunning rocks stand sentinel to the south of Narooma's main surf beach. Like their namesakes they stand out and in the case of Narooma's rock they stand stand tall and proud when seen from the sea.

14. Dalmeny Deviates - not at all, they do good

The Dalmeny "Deviates" may sound a bit dodgy some someone not from Narooma but they are simply a group of local blokes that do great things for the community and have a good time. The slogan on the surf boat states: "30 years 30 million beers". They raise money and complete most worthwhile projects so that everyone in Narooma looks favourably on a Deviate.

15. Wallaga Lake bridge is the gateway to Tokyo

Well at least in the Angelina Jolie movie "Unbroken" and its probably worthy of an entry of its own. For a few days the film crew caused great excitement as they recreated World War II Japan with period vehicles and Japanese crossing the classic wooden bridge as if on the way to Tokyo. The rest of the film is being shot in Queensland.

16. More celebreties: Mel Gibson no, Rex Hunt yes

While fishing identity Rex Hunt did own a holiday property on the north side of Wagonga Inlet, which he has since sold, there appears to be no truth to the Narooma rumour that Mel Gibson had a property to the south of Narooma. In bizarre twist we've uncovered that Mel Gibson's great-great grandmother Australian contralto opera singer Eva Mylott was born in Tuross Head in 1875. In other celebrity connections, Flea from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers owns a property at Congo and Anthony Kiedis has been spotted in Narooma, most recently with Lara Bingle at the Hippie Sticks incense shop in Bodalla.

17. A town with its own automotive paint colour

Narooma must be one the few, if not the only, towns to have an automotive paint colour named after it. Ford Australia, RIP, for some time was selling Falcons in a brilliant, beautiful shade of "Narooma Blue". We're not sure how this came to be but probably some Ford paint technician had driven over the Narooma bridge and been impressed. In another Ford connection, we heard recently that Narooma once home to the largest Ford dealer outside of Sydney, down on the Flat where the Matilda's service station now stands.

18. Never park under Narooma streetlights!!!

19. The Kinema is spelled with a "K"

Another icon of Narooma, the town's cinema is indeed spelled with a "K". The Kinema was named by the couple of German heritage that apparently operated it before the Griffiths family, or so the rumour goes. Screening films since 1928 is the 4th oldest cinema screening films in Australia. The plot thickens because the picture theatre is actually housed in the Narooma Soldier's Memorial Hall, which is owned and held in trust by the Narooma School of Arts.

20. Narooma is "Godz country"

A number of towns could claim to be "God's Country" but this often a phrase used for Narooma. Ziggy the boxing promoter threw in the use of the "z"  - so it is "Godz Country" - good on you ZIggy!

21. Chinaman's Caves are full of bats!

Chinamens Caves refers to all the old abandoned gold mines near Kianga. This is the first we've heard of these and they sound interesting - might have to check them out if we can find out where exactly they are. One Facebook poster let us know they are full of bats!

22. The haunted house from Robert G. Barrett's "Mystery Bay Blues"

This is a most excellent book has Les Norton come to Narooma for the Blues Festival and what a yarn it is including drug smugglers at Mystery Bay and a eternal life giving spring at Central Tilba. This spring could well very be on the River Cottage Australia property. While in Narooma, Les stays in a haunted house that is the Seamist house just at Wharf Street. The house just sold so we hope the new owners have not found the ghosts yet!

Here's some new news on the ghosts from Sylvia Gauslaa:

The house is haunted – my brother in law Gerry and his partner lived there for over 15 years and odd things happened in the night – like footsteps on the verandah, when no one was there. The bedroom next to the bathroom was always cold and something would come and sit on the bed in the middle of the night. Cheers Sylvia

23. Rocker Steve Wright calls Narooma home

The legendary Steve Wright from the Easybeats calls Narooma home and has done so for a long while. He has kept a very low profile over the years but has been spotted shopping for groceries once or twice, We hear he is now living in one of the Narooma-area nursing homes... Above is a photo of fantastic ex-Narooma photographer Francis Hape with the portrait of the rocker...

24. Digby Richards was from Narooma

Regular reader and Facebook poster Terry Commins let us know that Digby Richards was from Narooma.  Google Digby Richards and you will discover he grew up in Narooma. Terry seems to recall their house was opposite the golf course, on the steep bit going up from the main beach. The photo is from 1961. Charlie Mann reckons the photo is from the eastern corner of the wharf below the bottom pub. Charlie can also recall I can recall him visiting the boat shed quite regularly. Charlie says there was also another rocker of the time from Narooma that died in a car accident, but can't recall his name.

There is a book by Leon Isackson called "Behind the Rock and Beyond". Here is an excerpt: After lunch, Dig & the R’Jays finally had a small rehearsal with The Graduates who were going to sing vocal backing for our spot. We came back to the dressing room to find Dig’s father and manager, Gordon, holding Johnny O’Keefe upside down while Johnny Restivo was looking on in horror and disbelief. Apparently JO’K had noticed that Johnny Restivo was a little thick (naive), so he was trying to con him into going on the show before him. JO’K always insisted on being last on amongst the Aussie acts. He thought he would try to take his prestige a little further. After JO’K continually bugged poor little Restivo, Dig’s father finally got sick of it and told JO’K to leave him alone to which JO’K replied, “Shut up you old bastard!” Gordon Richards, who was an ex-policeman from Narooma, immediately grabbed JO’K and turned him upside down till all the money fell out of his pockets. “Don’t ever call me an old bastard again”, he said as he bonked O’Keefe’s head on the floor. Although surprised, JO’K seemed to take all of this with good humour and he certainly never called Gordon an old bastard again! In fact, Johnny O’Keefe and Dig’s father became pretty firm friends from that day on.

25. The Drom is the home of a lot of history and Bullsh*t corner

The Drom Hotel is not only the home of some great history it is also features "Bullsh*t Corner"! There is a new mural above the bar done by local artist Warren Lurie. It features hose down ravines with high-pressure hoses powered by water wheels, while cables run gear through the workings, and a man on horseback surveying the scene is meant to be one of the Bate brothers. “It’s based on the history of the town which itself is based on gold mining,” he said.

SHARK!!! The shark net is not for trapping sharks but making a safe swimming area... although there has been shark inside before!!

SHARK!!! The shark net is not for trapping sharks but making a safe swimming area... although there has been shark inside before!!


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