The 29th of March 1986 (Easter Saturday) was memorable for two reasons in our family.
- Steve and Anne got married
- Steve’s Mum and Dad purchased Coolendel
I could choose to write a story about our wedding, but I’m going to share my Coolendel tales instead.
Coolendel is a unique, and naturally picturesque 52 hectare bush camping ground, bordered by the Shoalhaven River and the Morton State Conservation Area. It’s 30km west of Nowra on the New South Wales South Coast, and only a 3 hour drive south from Sydney.
Over the 29 years that Mum and Dad have owned the Park (in partnership with two other families) we have enjoyed many memorable occasions.
We have camped with friends and family, we have canoed from the junction of the Kangaroo and Shoalhaven Rivers, we have floated down the rapids on lilo’s, and bravely jumped from the diving rock. We have enjoyed Christmas lunches overlooking the river and celebrated numerous birthday parties on the Coolendel veranda as the children and their cousins have grown older.
We have chased goats from the bonnets of visitors cars, we have collected exotic peacock feathers, we have written letters to Wendy and Wally Wombat, we have taught Fred, the Cockatoo, to speak incessantly at the guests, we have been scared by the resident Goanas as they roamed the campground for food, and admired the exuberance of kangaroos as they’ve grazed and bounded across the Park’s lush fields.
We were lucky enough to visit Coolendel again last weekend, just one week after Easter. The Park attracted 850 campers over the Easter weekend which is a pretty admirable effort for a property which doesn’t advertise and doesn’t have mains electricity or water supply. Electricity is generated by a large bank of solar panels and water is pumped from the river.
I remember when Mum and Dad took over the Park and we were conscripted to help with much of the property maintenance and capital improvements. Lending a hand on the garbage run was always a highlight, as was assisting in building the first two concrete water tanks.
Today we take Wi-Fi and our mobile phone signal for granted. One of the lovely things at Coolenedel is the lack of connectedness to the outside world. There is no Wi-Fi or mobile phone service and we cook on campfires and keep things cool on ice in eskies.
Coolendel remains a fabulous place to explore nature and build happy memories, as we have done with our friends and family. We are all looking forward to many more visits.
I admire Mum and Dad (and the two other owners) for the risk they took in 1986 when they were the winning bidder at the Coolendel auction. I admire their commitment, their foresight and their never ending efforts to build the property’s reputation and appearance to what it is today. And lastly, I admire their continued focus on maintaining and protecting the natural flora and fauna that makes Coolendel the unique paradise that it is.
Thanks Mum and Dad for bringing Coolendel into our life.