Friday, April 30, 2010

Suburb No 33: Dural

So, here we are again on Friday, the original posting day for 52 Suburbs. Feels familiar yet new.

With the little extra time afforded by the later post day, I managed to break out of 60km speed
zones and head for the hills this week - to Dural. Why Dural? Well, when I plotted the 32 suburbs
we've visited so far (see the map, left and down) I realised there was a gaping hole in the north-west.
Castle Hill, Pennant Hills, Cherrybrook, Dural. I wasn't familiar with any except Dural. But the last
time I'd been to Dural? 30 very long years ago. How much had it changed I wondered. I was no longer
the lanky, spotty teenager my parents used to drag out to the 'country' for the day - so surely it
could no longer be the big patch of green it once was?

Expecting the worst - malls, a Westfield, a McDonalds - I was pleasantly surprised. For somewhere
that's only 36 km from the city centre, it's still amazingly green, with rolling hills and lots of plant
nurseries. But then it's all relative; the locals I met lamented the demise of the huge orchards
and market gardens, broken up into 'small' five acre residential blocks. Yes, the homes on these
blocks are large - but they don't overpower the blocks because the plots are so enormous - to me

Some history. Darug people hung out here originally. Pleased to hear that Dural comes from an Aboriginal
word, 'Dooral-Dooral', meaning a smoking hollow tree. Used to be a much bigger suburb, including
present-day Glenorie, Galston, Arcadia and Middle Dural. One British settler, James Roughley,
donated the land that a tiny old church, St Jude's, still sits on. One of his sons later donated
the family home (Roughley House).

Part 1: Anzac Day

One of the other reasons I wanted to visit this area was I was curious to see what happened there on
Anzac Day. While there wasn't anything going on in Dural itself, there were two ceremonies in
neighbouring suburbs. I arrived late to both; the morning service in umbrella-clad Castle Hill and
the afternoon one in bright, sunny Glenorie. While Castle Hill was thick with crowds, Glenorie's
was much smaller and more intimate. But either way, it didn't feel right to wander around shooting.
I took only a couple of shots at Castle Hill. And at Glenorie, just a few, waiting until the small
crowd headed back to the local RSL to take a few more. 

awash with umbrellas

1914. 2008. When will it end?

even angels cry

When I took this next shot of a father and son, I assumed the 21 year old son was wearing his
grand-father's medals (forgetting they'd be on his right-side if that were the case). When he told me,
no, that he'd served in Iraq when he was 20 and they were his own, I was taken aback. 20.

father and son as well as brothers in arms  :: 1

father and son as well as brothers in arms  ::2

After Castle Hill, I drove up towards Dural. At 8am on a rainy Sunday morning nothing much stirred.
I continued driving to Glenorie where I spotted an old Ford Fairlane outside the little memorial
hall. Inside I found the lovely Ray. Born and bred in the area, he does a great job of keeping
history alive with all the photographs that line the walls of the hall. There had been a small
ceremony at the nearby cenotaph but everyone had gone by then, save for Ray and another local, Pat. 

it could be the 60s

a 1935 model in front of his 1964 model

history lines the walls


After a cup of tea and a chat I left Ray to close up the hall, promising to return that afternoon
for the 3pm service - "Fingers crossed the rain will stop".

Amazingly, it did, enabling the local community to gather around the cenotaph for the sweetest
service you can imagine. The Salvation Army band played, hymns were sung, school children
laid wreathes. And then the Hills District marching band led the gathering across the road and around
the corner to the local RSL club for a couple of bevvies and some fairyfloss.

we salute the brave

heads bowed

and the children gave flowers :: 1

and the children gave flowers :: 2

'poppy' and proteas

and the bagpipes played

marching to their own beat

walking the walk

as they've always done (photograph from the 1960s)

different wars, same bravery

if only the Anzacs had had one (the view not a Chinese restaurant)

five apiece

a young 94 year old

where they like their men in kilts

up since 4am, out of puff

checks and tartan

pink magic



Part 2: Annie, the musical

Before I went to the afternoon service at the Glenorie Cenotaph, I visited the Dural Memorial
Hall. Unlike the Glenorie one, it wasn't filled with history. Instead it bustled with life as cast and
crew from the Dural Musical Society get the place ready for their production of Annie. On May 14
for two weeks (1300 306 776).

life goes on

cast and crew

"need the saw?"

Part 3: Green

Lots of green, indoors and out.

apple green :: 1 (interior of the Roughley House, built 1856)

where trees grow signs

couple o' cows

rosemary and apple green

from here to here

Denise, from Lebanon to Dural, via Bondi

tough swirls

Five seconds from Dural is Glenhaven, a more 'suburban suburb' with streets of normal sized
homes on normal, smallish blocks. But one day I discovered a large chunk of green right across
the road from this suburbia, covered with horses and a duck called Elvis. The couple who live
there explained that they used to live across the road in 'suburbia' but had always dreamed of living
here, in the 'country'. When it came up, they moved - and live happily ever after. Paul commutes
to the city daily while Jo works locally. They also look after the horses kept on the property.

having a quiet chat

operating the giant pooper scooper

on the farm, in the middle of suburbia

Mr Ed?


Part 4: Golden

light and Llamas

don't bother knockin' if it's rockin'

light the colour of golden honey


made of mountain

Part 5: Blue

stay alert

blue checks

under wraps

light paints the walls

Part 6: Pink (and one red)

Pink Ladies


it's nice when customers match the restaurant

cherry blossom

full bloom


tuning into nature

please, not another bill

Part 7: Canoelands

And my last reason to visit Dural? To satisfy my curiosity about a nearby suburb that is partly
responsible for inspiring this entire project - Canoelands. Ever since I'd spied it on the map I'd
wondered - what happens in Canoelands? Then more recently a 52 Suburbs follower asked me,
when was I going to visit Canoelands? Being so close to Dural I just had to check it out. From
what I could see it's very rural, with little but green and blue and a few properties here and
there. No doubt a lovely, peaceful place to live - but slightly less appealing to photograph.


So, Dural. Is there beauty? Thankfully malls and McDonalds haven't invaded the place and to my
eye, it has managed to retain so much of its rural beauty. Even if the blocks are only five acres

See you next Friday.


  1. I use to live in Cherrybrook for 9 years and worked in Dural and I absolutely love the area. I use to love gawking at the mansions everytime I visited friends! Glad to see that it hasn't lost any of its rural charm because it's like my country getaway without the hefty drive.

    And yay, you went to Canoelands! Love your work Louise :)

  2. Still loving it all Louise. Thank you! You should call the (sydney) magazine from smh & see if they want to talk to you about your project! More people need to see and think about the stories you are sharing with us.

  3. Man alive, you are talented! I really look forward to the next post and you never disappoint. Thank you!

  4. Louise, you continue to inspire (and make me homesick!)

  5. Louise, I like the new/old day Friday. It's a nice way to round out the week, something to look forward to. As usual, wonderful photos. Love the Tuning into nature pairing. What is the flower?

  6. Loving the light Louise, thank you.

  7. Gorgeous photos Louise!

    I am a hills girl, born and bred. Baulkham Hills, Castle Hill, Glenhaven. My inlaws live in Dural too, it's a lovely place. Feels alot further than 36kms from the city.


  8. Lovely Louise. Great work. You have a terrific eye.
    Hey, I noticed a few spots on your sensor. It's Adam the wedding photographer from Harry's Cafe the wheels the other week,..BTW. Cheers and keep up the good work. Love the shots you did in Woolloomooloo. Check out our work from that arvo if you like?

  9. Great as usual Lou. Anzac day always makes me cry.
    What about Burbies. Or Burbers. Love your work.

  10. Karen - Thank you - and you're right, it is like a country getaway without too much stress. Wonder if it will stay that way.

    brownhairblueribbon - Thank you. So glad you're still travelling, 52 Suburbs style!

    Heather - Thanks!

    scream4noreason - I'm so glad (about the inspire but not the homesick part!)

    Helen - Friday does feel good doesn't it? Did you see Beach Tropic's answer to your botanical question?

    Beach Tropic - Ah yes, the light. And thanks for enlightening us about the Grevillia. It's quite beautiful but you need to go really close to appreciate it.

    Sammy - Thank you. And yes, it does feel so much further doesn't it?

    Adam - Hello! Thanks for the kind comments (and for letting me shoot around you at the Loo!) I can't see those spots you're talking about - which pics? Will check out your pics of the lovely couple.

    Jude - You'd have to have a very stony heart not to be affected by Anzac Day I reckon. Now what are 'Burbies'?!


  11. All is incredible, as usual. Congratulations!

  12. Thank you for a lovely place I've never been to but often wondered about.

  13. Hi Louise
    Your photos are so beautiful, you are very talented and capture the beauty of every suburb. Your work reminds me of New Zealand photographer Robin Morrison. I am new to your blog but will be back here again!

  14. lovelovelove your Anzac shots. So passionate and beautiful. They say so much. xx.

  15. Fer de Argentina - Thank you!

    Penelope - So glad you enjoyed them.

    Siobhan - My pleasure.

    Anon - I'm honoured that you say that with regards to Robin Morrison - not knowing of him, I just did a little research. His work is so simple but lovely. And what he says about the way he approaches his work resonates with me a great deal. Thank you so much - and yes, I hope you can visit again!


  16. I can't remember how I found your post but I am thankful that I did!

    I don't know Sydney at all, but am enjoying your photos, stories and captions. I like that you capture more than the suburbs, the characters and stories of the people are so interesting too.

    I want to have a cuppa with Ray and find out more about him, and the shock (and then sadness) I felt at the age of the young man who has already been to war reminded me how young some of the boys that fought in previous wars were.

    Anyway, long story short, your photos make me feel. They are quite, quite wonderful. Thank you for sharing them.

  17. very contemplative... I wonder if you have read any Thomas Merton... awake to wonder you are

  18. Jo - Thanks so much and glad you get something from the stories. You realise when you start talking to people, there are so many interesting stories to tell. I love Ray's passion and commitment to his hall of memories. And yes, that young 20 year old - looking at him I realised this was the age of many that died at Gallipoli - and of those who continue to put their lives at stake. War is bloody awful but the qualities it inspires - bravery, honour, deep friendship - are pretty awesome.


  19. J.D. (Biker) at WindsorMay 3, 2010 at 7:01 PM

    what a fantastic adventure you have embarked upon Louise...I very much look forward to my next visit to your site...

  20. J.D. - Hello and thank you! I had no idea when I started this project just how much of an adventure you can have in your own city. Check back in this Friday - should be fun!


  21. Ria - Thank you so much - I felt pretty invasive wielding my camera around at the services so I didn't do much of it - but I'm glad to have captured a little of the emotion.


  22. A friend sent Me a Link to Your site. Some Great Photos; will keep checking Your Site.

  23. Hi Louise
    Your photos are very beautiful, your work reminds me of New Zealand photographer Robin Morrison, he also found beauty in suburbia. Love it!

  24. Hi Louise,

    I am over the moon that you visited us in Dural. I was actually present at the Anzac Day ceremony you photographed with all the colourful umbrellas. More and more young people are attending these days. I am also one of the cast members you photographed in the Dural Memorial Hall setting up for Annie. the musical...must be due to your publicity that we have full houses for the 10 performances this month. Thanks again for visiting. Come back again soon. Ian McLean

  25. Ian - I'm so happy you have full houses! Have fun and hope to visit again soon.


  26. Coupla cows
    Light the colour of golden honey
    Tough Swirls
    Made of mountain

  27. This brought back so many memories! I grew up in Canoelands and went to Glenorie public school. I wore one of those green school dresses and went to the ANZAC day thing every year and on to the RSL afterwards. My dad still lives in Galston (near dural) and my mum works at one of the orchards in Canoelands.
    By the way, not much happens in Canoelands!

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  29. As I am a new visitor to you site I suggested you visit Galston not realising that you had already been to the Hornsby and Hills Shires. Thank you for your sensitive post and beautiful pictures. It is a pain getting here in peak hour but with no pain there's no gain. Spent my first four decades in the eastern suburbs - wouldn't go back for quids.

    Hate to shatter your illusions but Maccas have been in Dural near the big roundabout for about 15 years, Hungry Jacks followed in New Line Road a few years later. Kenchucky Fried is there too.

    Thanks for visiting the country in Sydney. Please come back soon.

  30. In about 30 minutes this has become my new favourite blog.

    Thank you so much for trekking out to see us in Dural - we don't get city-slickers a lot!

    I really hope you'll consider doing this again and have a look at another 52 suburbs next year. I think we need to have more of this sort of stuff around town!