May 08, 2005 | Ronda Jambe

Under the Moruya Moon (1)

Moruya is a pretty but unremarkable town on the New South Wales south coast. It sits on the Moruya River, where a concrete bridge marks the entry to a small town centre. Slowly it is changing in ways typical of much of the Australian east coast. While inland regional areas are losing population, a slow drift of baby boomers (like myself) are bringing new residents, but also challenge.
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The Princess Highway briefly becomes the oddly named Vulcan Street. A few blocks of shops and pubs and in a blink it is gone. The back streets have some lovely old houses like this one. It is an unpretentious place, mild in its climate and its citizens. For many years it was a place to pause with the kids on my way further south. Now it is where we stop, one of many non-resident owners. As good a place as any, I feel, to make a modest stand. Compared to anywhere else I have lived or visited, it always feels welcoming, understandable.
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Then you are driving past the golf course on the right and could easily miss the turn off to Moruya South Heads on your left. This tumble down rusting old house has always appealed to me. It sits on a little hill as you start the drive to the south heads, a commanding position yet a wreck. I wonder who might have built it and proudly perched themselves at the edge of of town.
Last time we were at our little house on the heads, I got so close to the kookaburras, I was sure they would fly away any instant. Instead, they let me hand feed them. They beat the bread I gave them on the ground as if it were a snake. And we do have snakes. Sometimes I call it ‘the mosquito farm’, just so guests know what they are in for.
Everything about our little patch of bush excites me, but nothing so much as the red shed. Originally it was a goat shearing shed, part of the larger property. It is an old Nissen hut with a history, having once provided armaments storage in town, and then hardware. Or so we have been told. Now it has a fresh coat of paint and rooms without ceilings inside. It is technically a workshop plus storage, its curved tin ceiling just capable of containing my plans and schemes. Why not a gallery, a cafe, a weekend retreat for watercolourists? But first it needs more paint.
But I am most proud of the composting toilet and gray water system, visible at the left end of this photo taken from down the gully. It took a bit of arguing with my beloved, but I prevailed. We haven’t made much use of it yet, but I brag about it to people who I know think it must be yuck. Why would anybody waste water on flushing a toilet in the bush?
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It sits on a hilly bit of bush, straddling a gentle ridge rising from the beach front. The capacious bathroom in the shed, which replaces the shearing pen, offers a glimpse of the ocean. I love sleeping with the distant din of the sea in my ears. It is surprisingly like a freeway. But the underlying rhythym magnifies a human heartbeat, and sets my pantheistic soul to rest. This is the view from the enormous concrete water tank. Just a glimpse of the sea, but always changing with the light.
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Posted by Ronda Jambe at 8:17 pm | Comments Off on Under the Moruya Moon (1) |
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