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.


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.


Paragon Cafe, Harden


Phrenology Head, North Rocks Markets


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’.


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.


Sunset over the Kanimbla Valley


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 Next week, I’m questing for things beginning with Q …



Eskbank House

Recently I went along to have a look around Eskbank House. It is located in Lithgow and was the first house built inside the Lithgow valley. Built in 1842 for Thomas and Mary Brown, the house was their residence for nearly 40 years. The helpful guide advised me that they were the only owner-occupiers of the house until it became a museum in 1966. There were various other tenants over the years, mainly mine managers and their families, and the house has had various incarnations over time.

The property was one of the earliest house museums in NSW, opening in 1966. Originally the house consisted of four rooms and a central courtyard. There were fireplaces in each of the rooms, and during my visit on a glorious late autumn morning the flagstone hall had a definite chill despite the warmth outside. It would have been very fresh there in winter.

There have been various additions and demolitions over the years, and there are four outbuildings in the large gardens. There are displays in each of them, including the most recent building which was constructed in 1993. This is the pottery museum and it holds the Lithgow Pottery Collection. There is also a range of industrial machinery in the grounds, including Possum the Locomotive, which worked on the Lithgow Ironworks from 1919 until 1928 when it was relocated to Port Kembla. Possum was gifted back to the museum in 1969.

Throughout the house and the gardens there are various items of interest. The furniture in the master bedroom includes an exquisite four-poster bed, and there are several period pieces of furniture as part of the Bracey Furniture Collection which help provide an insight into how the house would have looked over a hundred years ago. The wide assortment of tools and household paraphernalia in the stables and blacksmith area are a testament to the skilled trades of a bygone era, as are the samples of the Lithgow Pottery Collection.

At the time of my visit, the gallery space (old courtyard) featured some amazing local artwork courtesy of the Waste2Art Exhibition 2016. There are regular exhibitions held here which help to keep Eskbank House a living space and worth a visit.

There is an excellent website on Eskbank House here, and a detailed blog post here by Anne Dignam which helps to flesh out the history of the property. Some of the photos I took at Eskbank House are available through this link.

What brings history to life for you?

[Photo of Eskbank House taken near the stables]