At this beach, an offshore island; a creek flowing into the sea (dry at the time of my visit); boatsheds and boats pulled up against the dunes; a discreet settlement in the bush; rocks with striped patterns in grey, orange and blue
Bagging Eurobodalla Beaches has been dragging the chain a bit recently. Not any more. One a week, so says the in-transit resolution fairy.
I begin with one of the string between Moruya and Batemans Bay that still await my attention: one I’ve already briefly reconnoitred. I’m not ready to deal with obscurity (in the form of invisible tracks), or difficulty (in the form of rock-hopping.)
To reach Rosedale all I have to do is park in a very visible car park, and walk along one of a delta of sandy tracks that cut through bush, regenerated by the locals in an award-winning project, and pass coastal monotoca in minuscule flower on the crest of the dune.
There’s the beach. I’m not inspired. It looks like a long fairly featureless stretch, although an offshore island is always interesting.
However once I’m down at sea level I find myself enclosed by cliff-curves at both ends. It’s obviously a busy beach: the sand is dense with footprints, bare and shoed human, and clawed and padded dog.
Houses nestle discreetly in the bush; boats line up above high-tide line, mainly row boats, but one sailing boat. A line of grey cabins edge the beach.
The rock platforms at each end are spiky, mini-castellated. The sea leaves its usual calligraphy, written in shreds of bluebottle, small arrangements of seaweed, and delicate tideline curves. The rocks no doubt tell geological stories, but sadly I’m illiterate in their language, although I relish their patterns, their diagonals, their colours: subtle grey, ochre, near black, rust, beige, and blue.
Near the track back to the car, beach plants cast shadows and offer bright colour.
Such was my Rosedale experience in September, 2019.
There are of course a number of back stories.
The regeneration of the dunes and the bush behind the beach was a 2003 project that involved the whole community – permanent locals and homeowners who live elsewhere. Like most seaside villages along the coast, a lot of people have holiday houses that they retire to. The woman I sat next to at a recent Four Winds concert, probably now close to 80, had been visiting Rosedale for about 40 years before the final move.
In a common story, by the mid 20th century the farming land was becoming unproductive. The soil wasn’t all that good in the first place, and the habit of massacring trees to establish farms from the mid 19th century on didn’t help. However there were attempts to farm sheep and make cheese over that period.
As for Aboriginal history, again a not unusual story. A google search yielded nothing.
Addendum: In the latest newsletter from the Eurobodalla shire council (October – December 2019) there is a snippet headed “New stairs for North Rosedale”. It mentions “close work with the Rosedale community” to build stairs for beach access from Yowani Road. The building team used Batemans Bay Surf Life Saving Club’s all-terrain vehicle to get into the site.