Life's a pretty precious...

Life's a pretty precious...

Wednesday, 19 April 2017


J.B. and I attended a wedding recently - outdoors in the beautiful autumn 
warmth, beside Boambee Creek which flows out to the Pacific Ocean at 
the northern end of the delightful village of Sawtell.

 I am standing at the lookout above 
where Boambee Creek meets the ocean. 
Bongil Bongil Beach behind me 
stretches north to Coffs Harbour.
Between the ceremony and the 
reception we lapped up the 
last sun of the day...


My vintage scarf dress was a gift my Dad brought back from the States a 
long time ago...I still adore it and still love wearing it.
The sleeves have wonderful minds of their own...


In 1863, a cutter carrying a load of cedar logs ran aground on what would become Sawtell Beach. A Coffs Harbour farmer named Walter Harvey assembled a team of workers to salvage the logs, and a small settlement developed near the site of the wreck.

Forty years later, the land around Sawtell Beach was purchased and subdivided by Oswald Sawtell for housing and farmland. Sawtell railway station, post office, school and hotel followed soon thereafter and by the 1930s Sawtell had become a thriving coastal village.
The original inhabitants of the land were Aboriginies of the Gumbaynggirr clan. The Aboriginal name for the land where the town now stands was Bongil Bongil.

 Sawtell Beach is below and behind of my favourite local beaches.
The beach has 'singing sand' when walked on in dry conditions. The sand grains have to be round and between 0.1 and 0.5 mm in diameter; it has to contain silica and needs to be at a certain humidity...lots of fun "sand shuffling" across the beach to make it 'sing'.

Dad also gave me this stunning American Indian  Choker...


The Sawtell Heritage Conservation Area is of high local significance for its mix of inter-war and post-WWII commercial and residential buildings, the central plot including the four fig trees and other mature trees, and relaxed seaside ambiance. The street has developed a vibrant café and restaurant culture and its mix of shops, cafes, overhead tree canopy and seaside atmosphere is a tourist drawcard and a locally much loved aspect of the street. The street largely retains its original subdivision pattern, dating from 1923, and the result is a large number of individual narrow shopfronts which helps generate the eclectic mix of small businesses. This is a significant feature of the streetscape and the village atmosphere.

 The famous Sawtell Cinema...

I discovered the black velvet jacket in a vintage shop in Bellingen
some years ago (sadly the wonderful shop no longer exists). As the air cooled
the flying sleeves surrendered and tucked nicely into the jacket sleeves.


History of the Sawtell Cinema

The cinema was purchased in 1941. (It was previously used as a community hall, staging dances, church, public meetings etc.)  A tiered wooden floor to enable patrons to have a much better view of the films was added.
In 1955, disaster struck, and a mini-cyclone ripped through Sawtell – totally demolishing the cinema. While re-building, ‘the show must go on’ became the catch-cry, and Sawtell had its very own open-air cinema for the next 12 months! The projector was powered by an old Ford pick-up truck battery, and patrons would bring their own cap-guns for the Westerns and umbrellas for those rainy nights.
The cinema was rebuilt in triple brick and still stands today, despite disaster striking again in March 2009, when a metre of water flooded the town causing extensive damage and forcing the cinema to close for 6 weeks.
Sadly, after over 70 years in the same family, the property was put up for sale in March, 2012. 
The need to upgrade cinema technology from film to digital played a major role in the decision to sell, with a serious investment of funds required to update the cinema to new standards.

The cinema closed in January 2013 and was eventually bought by a local consortium with crowdfunding to help with its major renovation. It re-opened with great excitement in 2015. There are now 2 cinemas, (one large, one small) and although the old organ and leadlight wall features are gone, it still has retained its old charm and shows the latest release movies (sometimes ahead of the cities), international film festivals and special screenings. J.B. and I are movie club members and attend regularly (and usually combine it with a beach picnic or eating at one of the many cafés or restaurants). 

At the wedding reception there was a photo booth for the guests...
nothing like the ones I remember from a long time ago, sitting behind a curtain, giggling with a friend and then the flash going off before we 
were ready...this one came with an operator and many backdrops and choice
of print colour...


  1. That looks like a lovely time, Elizabeth! Your scarf dress is just wonderful - I would be hopping and flitting about in it, just to see the sleeves billow! What a cool place Sawtell looks! Thank you!

    1. And thank YOU, Sheila for enjoying your visit to my post. The sleeves are awesome, very interesting when it comes to eating but who cares when they can fly! xx

  2. You look absolutely stunning, Elizabeth! I'd wear that glorious maxi and choker in a heartbeat. What excellent taste your father had.
    You and your man are one cool looking couple.
    Thank you for the peep at the Sawtell cinema, I'd so glad places like that still survive. xxx

    1. Thanks Vix, for all your compliments, received with lots of smiles. Yes, I could see you in my outfit! My Dad has always had very good taste. It's always a challenge to save unique places like Sawtell Cinema but always fabulous how locals come together with passion. xx

  3. That's a DRESS!! The sleeves look ready to carry you away. The colours look magnificent on you. What a dad to know you so well.

    I enjoyed the story of how the settlement came about. Happenstance can have such long-lasting effects. What if it were a cargo of stones or bricks? Great history. The town looks charming, and I too am happy that the movie house carries on.

    Great couple photos at the end - photo booths are so much fun. Thanks for these photos of your wedding getaway.

    1. Thanks Melanie, for your well received compliments, so pleased you enjoyed a little of the history of Sawtell.
      I adore interesting sleeves (I'm always exclaiming about YOUR fabulous sleeves, of which you seem to have many), they're never dull! xx

  4. This is such a lovely post Elizabeth with so much history about your area. Your dress is so unique with those wonderful flowing sleeves, and how perfect is the choker to go with it too. What a beautiful place for your photo shoot overlooking the sea - it looks exhilirating with the wind rushing around you and that vista beyond.

    The story of your local cinema is heartwarming. Despite all that nature has thrown at you, your community has held onto this beautiful building. I love going to the movies, but can only do so when I visit the mainland. I'm rather envious of you to have this on your doorstep!

    Anna x

  5. Thank you Anna, from my coastline to yours, both so different, both so beautiful. Hope you're having a gorgeous weekend. xx