My I Spy: something beginning with ‘P’

Plenty of possibilities for things beginning with ‘P’ have presented themselves. Parrots, people, plumes of clouds, pets, just to name a few. Here are a few things I managed to photograph.

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Paragon Cafe, West Wyalong

Paragon Cafes

The Paragon Cafe in Katoomba celebrated 100 years this year. But it is not the only Paragon Cafe around by a long shot. These cafes, typically started by Greek migrants, were dotted all across the cities and small towns of Australia. When travelling through the central west of the state, I managed to spot these two. The first, in West Wyalong, is still trading as a cafe. The second is a shopfront in the town of Harden in the south west of NSW. Lately there have been some interesting podcasts and books about this cafe culture.

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Paragon Cafe, Harden

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Phrenology Head, North Rocks Markets

Phrenology

The ‘study of external conformation of cranium as index to development and position of organs belonging to the various mental facilities’, as defined by the 1911 Concise Oxford Dictionary, no longer holds the sway that it once did. It is now a rather discounted theory of how one’s mental powers are influenced and indicated by the shape of the skull. My earliest recollection of this theory was when I stumbled across it in one of the Bony books. Detective Inspector Napoleon Bonaparte was the literary invention of English born writer Arthur W Upfield. Upfield worked and travelled extensively across Australia, and he wrote a series of books based around Bony solving mysteries in various locations. Many of the books were set in the outback and Bony brought insights from his mixed heritage into solving crimes. Titles included ‘Death of a Swagman’ and ‘The Bone is Pointed’.

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Possum the Locomotive at Eskbank House, Lithgow

Possum the Locomotive

Possum now resides in the grounds of Eskbank House at Lithgow. It was one of several engines that worked the train line between the Blast Furnace and the steelworks. Possum arrived in 1919 and worked the line until 1928; it was relocated to Port Kembla when the steelworks closed in Lithgow. It worked through until 1967 when it was retired and relocated back to Eskbank House, which was then a relatively new museum. The little engines that worked the line between the furnace and steelworks all had animal names including Wallaby, Wombat and Bunyip.

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Sunset over the Kanimbla Valley

Pink

I love a good sunset. Sunrises are good too, but I like the fading of light at the end of the day. This sunset was spotted over the Kanimbla valley.

What possibilities have you spotted beginning with P? Pop over and see what Autumn is spotting here, along with photos on Instagram by atman.art.studio. Next week, I’m questing for things beginning with Q …

 

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Paragon Cafe, Katoomba

A Katoomba institution, the Paragon Cafe celebrates its centenary this year. It was established by Zacharias Simos in 1916 when he leased premises in Katoomba Street to start his business. The cafe walls are adorned with friezes including Roman inspired gods and goddesses, and chariots in full flight. What it is famous for, apart from its longevity, is its exquisite handmade chocolates.

The front window is presented with a wide collection of gifts, novelties and toys to appeal and draw you in. Inside is a cluster of booths along the walls with tables arranged in the middle, and signs directing to the Blue Room and Banquet Hall towards the rear of the building.

Around the picture rails are a wide assortment of photographs, documenting various celebrities who have dined at the cafe. Familiar faces of actors sit alongside politicians across the decades, some photos signed with a flourish.

The cafe embodies the tradition of an older time, embracing stylistic elements of the age of Art Deco. The atmosphere of a nostalgic time is further reinforced by soft jazz music playing in the background, and the wide assortment of paraphernalia associated with the cafe’s long life on display in cabinets.

It is a popular spot for tourists and locals, and has its own dedicated club – The Friends of the Paragon Cafe Inc which has a great website with a treasure trove of history, images and stories relating to the cafe and is well worth a visit. There is also a link to an article by R. Ian Jack providing an extensive history of the cafe.

If you’re in the area, drop in and experience the atmosphere, buy some of the amazing chocolates, enjoy morning, afternoon tea or lunch in the cafe, or book in for one of the jazz & dinner nights. The cafe’s Facebook site can be found here.

[Photo: inside the Paragon Cafe at the counter loaded with all kinds of temptation]