Whether it is on Cliff road running past the cannons or on the bike/walking track there is always something to look at and a lot of blue around you.
What will you see? A few eateries, lots of water and walking track.
Starting with Flagstaff Hill you have the light house and three cannons. Flagstaff Hill was built in 1891 to defend against a possible Russian attack on Wollongong Harbour. We may now think, why would anyone bomb Wollongong Harbour but back then Wollongong Harbour was booming. The cannons we see today were apparently useless as they did not have the best range to meet a threat so they installed a disappearing gun in the pit near the lighthouse.
Next is the Nun Chain Pulpit Rock (which as a local I have never heard of). In the 1830s there was a pool that was mainly used by ladies and children, by the 20th Century the pools were used by the nun’s of a nearby convent. Now you see the remains of the pool wall, path and dressing sheds.
Moving down the hill towards the smaller lighthouse known as Breakwater Lighthouse, Breakwater
Lighthouse became operational in 1872 because of numerous complaints about lighting for the harbour. The light house started with an old oil lamp and moved to electric light in 1945 before it was extinguished in 1974. Now they use three flashing lights of the wall to guide boats into the harbour.
Brighton Beach was used by Aboriginal people for as many as 40,000 years as a natural harbour and cultural activities. The beach was used in the early days for shipments of supplies and produce for Sydney. The ships could only moor during the calm seas. Across Cliff Road you also have Brighton Lawns which is a nice quiet spot for a picnic and next to that to used to be Brighton Hotel (it is now apartments).
The Continental Baths which are still there today were opened in 1926 and I hope for the sake of the swimmers they were redone at least once since then. These are on the bike/walking track.
Smith’s Hill Fort built in the 1890s was built as a Gun Battery and Fortification to defend against the possible Russian attack. This is best seen walking along Cliff Road. The fort was manned by 9 volunteer militia. The threat of the Russians attacking had disappeared before the fort was finished but is was used for training. The area was restored in 1988.
What did we export? In the 1820’s it was mainly timber and cedar. Which changed to agriculture (wheat, flour, eggs, bacon, pork etc) in 1857. By 1861 the coal trade was the most evident.
For those that haven’t been to the Blue Mile. Pack your bathers and walking shoes maybe even a picnic and enjoy the scenery. I particularly enjoy the spot because even before writing this and not knowing the past of the area you are able to see everything Wollongong currently is and had been. (An industrial town with amazing beaches!)