Ela Beach Excursions

AtoZ2019EThis series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.

Four years in (Port) Moresby

Ela Beach excursions as a family

A weekend drive to check the mail

A few hours on the beach with the kids

Sometimes a picnic, sometimes sandcastles or a swim

peter Louisa Rach picnic Ela Beach 1974

The blue heeler in the back of the car

Excitement measured by her fragrance

And the velocity of her tail.

Sunday mornings an added bonus

The Police Band playing a range of tunes

Weekday lunchtimes watching volley ball matches.

Simple, relaxing, happy family times.

Police Band Ela Beach

Tok Pisin:

Em nau – great! fantastic

Em – a universal pronoun – he/she/it

Em i inap – that’s enough

Em tasol – that’s all

Monday Memories: Weekend picnics


Hiking and picnicing at Brookfield c1965.

I’ve recently come to realise that one aspect of our family’s traditional life has faded into obscurity, due to a blend of improved circumstances, general disorganisation, and a social trend to eating out in cafes and restaurants. In our case, I suspect that it was the move to Darwin’s hot humid climate that contributed as well. So where are my memories taking me today? Why, on a picnic in the fresh air and sunshine on a day which once would have seen us desperate to pack an al fresco meal and escape.

We didn’t often do picnics in my own family as Dad worked shift work which wasn’t very family-friendly for school-aged children. We didn’t own a car so we were mostly dependent on the bus, train, or an outing with the neighbour down the back. I don’t recall ever eating out in a café on these outings – it was always a packed lunch of some sort.

Over the years we’ve picnicked in all sorts of places depending where we lived, and the age of our children. When Mr Cassmob and I lived in Papua New Guinea we picnicked rather more often, usually to explore some new place, and quite often with an entourage of interested villagers who would sit at a distance from us. Not entirely conducive to lolling around with a book, not that there was much time for lolling with a toddler!

Peter and girls at Buck Palace

We didn’t invite QEII to our picnic near Buckingham Palace in 1977.


After we moved to Port Moresby, on the coast, our weekend trips took us often to Ela Beach as we’d take the dog and check our mail box en route. We’d even hear the Police Band if we were there early-ish in the morning, or watch the beach-volley-ball players.

Our other favourite, but more distant spot, was  Varirata National Park. This involved the longer drive up towards the Owen Stanley Range and Sogeri, near where the Kokoda Track ends (or starts). The national park was such fun with open spaces, BBQ areas, and the tree house. All the family enjoyed the outing and we always took visitors there when they came to town. We have quite a few photos of groups of smiling families perched like starlings on a fence.

Variarata picnic view

Back in the Land of Oz, picnics were either by the beach (Sunshine Coast or Hastings Point) or in the ranges. One of our faves was Lamington National Park where we could camp as well. It could be chilly and you could have a camp fire at night. During the day there were bush walk and the chance to see the beautiful rosellas (birds) and regent and satin bowerbirds.

Depending on where we were going, the picnic would be fresh bread, cheese, ham and tomatoes (and a thermos of coffee!) Other times we’d take sausages (aka snags) and the portable BBQ. Last weekend we drove past one of the spots where we’d had a BBQ on the river bank. The name always amused us because Obi Obi Creek has multiple crossings. Our picnics were pretty lazy affairs – taking it easy, having a book or magazine to read – a way for the family to recuperate after the busyness of the workday week. None of those energetic cricket or footy games, unless we were camping…our best effort was a bush walk.

Peter and Louisa BBQ Obi Obi Ck

A creek-side BBQ at Obi Obi Creek.

Did your family go on picnics? What food did you take? Were you energetic or lazy like us?

Fab Feb Photo Collage Festival: Day 22 Let’s go picnicing

4 x 7UP collageMuch as we love the little snippets of information about our ancestors, we still tend to keep focusing on the “big ticket” items in our own lives. My photo today is about the ordinary moments, the ones we often forget to capture. Over the years picnics have been big in our family: at the beach, in the hills, in the bush, overseas, with others, on our own. I’m not going to write much about each because there’s no need. So let’s go picnicking…as much a challenge in the snowy north at the moment as it is Down Under with 35C heat.

Peter and DD1 and 2

Peter and DD1 and 2

This may have been our classiest picnic -across from Buckhingham Palace on our 1977 trip. Mr Cassmob and our two darling daughters (henceforth DD1 and 2).

Peter and DD1 and 2 at Ela Beach.

Peter and DD1 and 2 at Ela Beach.

How better to celebrate our relocation from the Highlands to the coast than a picnic at Ela Beach 1974.

Peter Heidelberg 1974

Mr Cassmob, roast chicken and a wine in the grounds of Heidelberg Castle.Variarata picnic view

(Above) Varirata National Park (we used to call it Variarata) outside Port Moresby, up in the hills near Sogeri, was a family favourite for picnics and BBQs. Boxing Day, visitors, any day. Often a group of us would go up travelling in convoy.

(Below) Most times we visited we took photos from the lookout which had a lovely view down towards Moresby and out to the sea -not that you’d know it from this picture. Unfortunately the good ones all have lots of still-living people in them.

Cass family edited 1975 Variarata

DD1 photographs her Dad while Mum photographs both!

DD1 photographs her Dad while Mum photographs both!

For some reason we quite liked a picnic BBQ beside Obi Obi creek near Nambour (this is a later photo).

Cass families picnic Mary Cairncross Park

A rare photo of a picnic with Peter’s parents at Mary Cairncross Park near Nambour (his Mum didn’t do picnics).  His father obviously took the photo. Another from beyond the 28 year span.

Fab Feb imageFamily Hx writing challengeThis post is part of the February Photo Collage Festival and the Family History Writing Challenge.