Tag Archives: cats

Golden Grove, NSW – Darlington, NSW

Right, where were we?

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The Golden Grove by Frank Allen. Image courtesy First Fleet Fellowship.

Back in the 80s, a bunch of pissed blokes ran some boats aground in Sydney Harbour, much to the consternation of the locals.

Hooning around the Tasman in a tub’s nothing new, but this particular incident was deemed momentous enough that the city named a suburb after it.

Ever been to Golden Grove?

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If so, congratulations: you’re the oldest living human. A few years after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, a suburb in the blossoming (or metastasising, depending on your point of view) city of Sydney was named for the Golden Grove.

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Built in 1780 as the Russian Merchant, the ship’s name was changed five years before its departure for Botany Bay It was a prescient move – even back then, Russian collusion wasn’t something to make public. Known as “Noah’s Ark of Australia” (sorry, Rusty), the Golden Grove carried a bunch of animals to a wild, inhospitable place unprepared for the subsequent chaos of colonisation.

Despite the fleet’s lasting legacy being in evidence literally everywhere in the colony of New South Wales, someone thought a suburban tribute was a good idea. Thus, Golden Grove was born in the approximate location of today’s Darlington, at the uni end of Newtown.

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It didn’t stick. Today, all that remains of the gilded thicket is the name of the street that once bordered the suburb…

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…and a healing ministry centre on nearby Forbes Street. According to the centre, the name was chosen because the Golden Grove carried the first chaplain to New Holland. From a whisper to a scream, right?

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I tried to get close for a taste of that healing (God knows I need some) but a stern sign suggested I take my troubles elsewhere. The view from the fence suggested a colour a lot less golden than I’d expected.

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An infinitely more peculiar legacy of the Golden Grove has been written about before, but was too good not to share again. Score one for Noah’s Ark:

 

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Hobart Mercury, Saturday, June 17, 1876

As for the ship itself, it shared the same fate as its namesake suburb – it vanished from the records just a few years after its moment in history’s spotlight. A Sydney Harbour ferry’s carried the name since 1986, but let’s face facts: ferries are no substitute for the real thing.