documenting that important time in the land of my birth here at The Wild Reed.
I say "important" because as most reading this would know, this particular visit was precipitated by word of my father Gordon Bayly's sudden decline in health and his subsequent death on August 5, a day I never actually experienced as it was the day I "lost" as I traveled across the International Date Line to Australia from the U.S.
In this post I share images and commentary on my time spent in Guruk (my name for the coastal town of Port Macquarie) with my mother, Margaret Bayly, from August 19-29. This 10-day period immediately followed a 5-day visit to my hometown of Gunnedah that Mum, my youngest nephew Brendan, and I undertook from August 14-18.
Once back in Guruk, Brendan returned to his home and studies in Melbourne, while Mum and I settled into a quiet routine, one that involved me accompanying and supporting her as she did all those practical but poignant things required after the death of a spouse – things like transferring the title of the car to Mum's name, taking Dad's name of various bank accounts, and collecting his ashes from the funeral home. At night after dinner, Mum and I would watch documentaries (via YouTube on the TV) of various singers and actors we admired – Jane Fonda, Shirley Bassey, Nat King Cole, Petula Clark, Karen Carpenter, Kenneth Williams and Yootha Joyce.
During the day we'd often have lunch with friends whom Mum and Dad had first gotten to know when they moved to Port Macquarie from Gunnedah in 2002. All are wonderful people, and a great support to Mum.
I'd also spend time alone by the ocean, usually at dusk, an experience I always find both grounding and healing.
Above and below: Cowarra Dam – Tuesday, August 27, 2019.
Birpai Aboriginal peoples for tens of thousands of years. Traditional Birpai life changed forever with the mapping and naming of the area by Surveyor-General John Oxley in 1818. Three years later in 1821, Port Macquarie was founded as a penal settlement for convicts sentenced for secondary crimes committed in New South Wales. The region was opened to free settlers nine years later.
Above and below: Grants Head, the headland at the northern end of Grants Beach, located just south of the coastal town of Bonny Hills.
I climbed this headland on the morning of Wednesday, August 28. I climbed it last just this past April when I was in Australia visiting my ailing Dad.
Above, right, and below: On Thursday, August 29, Mum and I took a day-trip south along the coast to the town of Laurieton.
I should say that the restaurant sign (below) was totally misleading. When Mum and I were seated inside we were told that the $12 lunch was a vegetarian dish while the local black snapper was the Fish of the Day, and priced at something like $25! 🤣 . . . Although neither of us went for that, we still had a pleasant lunch.
See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
• Remembering and Celebrating Dad
• Family Time in Guruk
• Across the Mountains . . . from Guruk to Gunnedah
• An Unexpected Visitor
• Family Time in Gunnedah
Images: Michael Bayly and Margaret Bayly.