We were at La Perouse yesterday – it had been a beautiful day – sunny and warm and we’d had a wander on the beach at Congwong Bay before checking out the location of various things that Grandpa Flea needed to know for a Probus outing that he is organising. Late in the day the sky was filling up with cotton wool clouds and the sun was sending out long rays of “God’s light” . Flocks of sea gulls and crows were circling around, riding the thermals and looking for scraps left by litterbugs. I was trying to catch the sun’s rays in a photo – without a lot of success, but the silhouette of the birds against the sky really appealed to me.
While we were wandering around I became very conscious of how little I know of the geography and history of this land that I live in. La Perouse is on a bay at the end of the bus line in the south eastern suburbs of Sydney. The link above to Wikiipedia has a good summary of it’s history. Named after Jean-François de Galaup, comte de La Pérouse, and traditionally an area with a large aboriginal community, it is still a relatively unspoiled waterfront suburb, but signs of the great middleclass sprawl are showing. Just up the road, the magnificent site of the now defunct Prince Henry Hospital has been broken up into small building lots for those with plenty of money, and high rise apartments are starting to encroach on the once unbroken view of Little Bay.
Fortunately, some historical parts of the site will be protected and retained. One of these is the Nursing and Medical Museum. We are going there for a Probus outing in June and will have a conducted tour by one of the nurses who worked there in the fifties and sixties. Prince Henry was known as “The Coast Hospital” and had originally been a quarantine hosptal for infectious diseases. A friend of mine studied medicine when we left school and one of her placements was at Prince Henry. At that time there was still an operating “leprosaurium” there. We were both amazed (and very young!) to think that there were people with leprosy living in Sydney – we’d only ever heard about it in the context of overseas countries. The leprosaurium was closed in the mid-late sixties after the advent of antibiotics that controlled the disease.
Just as well Janette isn’t holding her breath – knitting content – SOON.