The Blue Mile

I don’t run but give me a good cause and make the track the Blue Mile and I’ll be there.
This is the only path I am happy to do anything on!

 

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.

The Blue Mile, what is it? The path from Flagstaff Hill to North Beach in Wollongong.

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.

 

Between the 1860s and 1950s there was a tramline running along the Blue Mile for the transportation of Coal to the harbour. The tramline was where the bike/walking track is now. (And you wouldn’t even have known if I didn’t tell you).
 
Belmore Basin – Between 1837 and 1844 the first stage of the Basin was built consisting of a pier for passenger and freight trade but because of how well the Basin was doing they had to make a new pier or jetty. The Basin was officially opened in 1868. In the late 1830s there were regular steam boats going from Wollongong to Sydney (can you imagine it, I can’t!) By 1936 most of the ships were sailing past Wollongong Harbour to Port Kembla Harbour and they started to revamp Wollongong Harbour into fishing and leisure.
 

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 Old Courthouse was built in the 1830s and the Court stayed there until 1885.
 

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.

 

In 1871 the Men’s Baths were developed I believe this to be the rock pool you see after the continental pools. In 1916 this pool was allowed to be used by women and children and in 1920s the Council opened a pool for toddlers which was washed away in 1930.

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.

 
Hopefully you make it all the way to North beach passing the recently restored Bather’s Pavillion which was around from 1906 and the kiosk owner was charging people to use the change rooms and eventually blocked all entrances to the beach so that everyone had to go through the Bather’s Pavillion.
 


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.

 
What to do once you finished your walk? Well you eat! Lunch or dinner, maybe just a snack. There are plenty of places on Cliff Road or just at North Beach.
 
If you made it through reading all of this and have walked, ran or cycled the Blue Mile and cannot place any of the information I have told you then we are in the same boat and I suggest you go check out thebluemile.com.au.

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!)

 Best $5 ever spent

Day trip to Wollongong

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6 thoughts on “The Blue Mile

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