|Image: Google Maps|
This part of the world is very dear to me and my family. If you would like to help this community recover and rebuild, read on!
|The family holiday house 1988.|
It contains many happy memories.
Both sides of my family have been holidaying at Lake Conjola for decades.
This holiday house has been in my family from the 1950s until 2012 when it was sold to new owners.
|Back door and yard of house|
with tank stand and Hills hoist
(typical inclusions in Australian backyards).
In this day and age of greedy property developers, I was worried that the home might be replaced by a larger, modern building, as has been the fashion around the country; and with it, we'd be saying a permanent goodbye.
Can you imagine how delighted I was to discover that the new owners have kept the home and turned it into a café! It's called 'Tilly & Mo'.
|View from the back door|
with barbecue, garage and 'dunny'
(a 'drop' toilet).
The surrounds are heavily wooded.
We used to walk along a track through that bush
as a direct route to the beach (Pacific Ocean).
The holiday township of Lake Conjola is nestled between Conjola National Park and Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve.
The house is on a corner with plenty of beautiful tall trees around it.
My greatest pleasure was to sit on the front porch: at dawn to enjoy the cacophany of native birds; and at dusk to witness the quiet activity of local kangaroos as they emerge from the bush on their regular evening route, looking for an easy feed from people's gardens, the picnic area near the sports club and native vegetation along the reserves and verges.
|Over the years the house was renovated to become a permanent home.|
"If you want to come down to Lake Conjola, it's your last chance to stay in the holiday house before it's sold." That was the call from a darling cousin (who still lives in the area) in 2011.
I jumped at the opportunity to take my children to this place that they had only heard stories about so they too could experience the paradise of Lake Conjola, to sleep and play in the same places I did when I was younger, and to meet lots of cousins that they had never met in person before. It was a very special and precious holiday.
We travelled up and down the New South Wales south coast to show the children all the places that feature in our family history. It is a very beautiful and special part of the world to me.
|The home went up for sale in December 2011.|
This was the last time that I stayed there.
The prominent corner position made the home perfect for the new local owners, Katie and Kane, to create a refreshing, spacious café – a place to congregate and relax after a game of tennis or as a walking destination from the nearby caravan parks and holiday cabins. I love the way they have prettied it up and repainted it in yellow per the fashion of its vintage.
|Ready to become a café!|
Photo: Tilly & Mo.
I'm especially excited to see it with ramp access. The last time I had visited, there was no ramp and the steps were tricky for me to navigate with my health issues.
See the Tilly & Mo. café attractively lit up at night on the Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwsxmeFh3Zz/
See the Tilly & Mo. café in this fun video (Instagram): https://www.instagram.com/p/B7-MW8BnE_n/
Come New Year 2019/20 – now called 'the Black Summer' – you may have seen the news reports about the bushfires. Lake Conjola residents had lucky escapes. There is only one road in and out of Lake Conjola and that's where the fires came through. People were forced to flee to the lake and the beach to save their lives.
Katie and Kane were in a bad position. The fire destroyed the neighbouring area of Conjola Park, reducing it to rubble, including Katie and Kane's family home. They shared a photograph of the devastation on their Instagram page: https://www.instagram.com/p/B62MLYinn1l/
[News reports are added to the 'Links' section below.]
|This was the view south from the Conjola turnoff from the highway back in 2011|
as one drives through the area known as Conjola Park.
(The turnoff can be seen on a couple of videos linked below.)
Despite such terrible circumstances, there was a ray of light. It turns out that the holiday-house-come-café miraculously remained untouched by the fires.
|The road into Conjola|
in happier times.
One south coast leader on national television, aired her fears of people leaving the region because of the loss of employment opportunities. We cannot let that happen, especially not to people who have taken an important relic of my family history and breathed new life and love into it.
So, if you get the chance, travel to the south coast; visit Lake Conjola. Support the businesses in the region and have a meal or a cuppa at Tilly & Mo. Tell them Jodie sent you!
|View of Lake Conjola.|
Kayaking and fishing are popular pastimes here.
This week brought long-awaited heavy rain to the region – so much rain that flash flooding is a problem!
(That's Australia for you! "A land … of drought and flooding rains …" – Dorothea Mackellar, My Country)
Thanks to the rain, the fire that tore through Lake Conjola ("Currowan Fire") is now extinguished after burning for 74 days, across half a million hectares, according to an official declaration yesterday.
Have a look through the links below. Some of the videos show the drive from the Lake Conjola turnoff after the fire. I have a very amateur video of the same drive which shows the area as it used to be, before the fire. It is 523 MB in size which is too large to post here on blogger but if you are interested, please email email@example.com.
Tilly & Mo
52 Main Entrance Road, Lake Conjola NSW 2539
Ph: 02 4456 1187
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TillyAndMoCafe/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tillyandmo/
- Website: https://tillyandmocafe.business.site/
- Instagram – café at night: https://www.instagram.com/p/BwsxmeFh3Zz/
- Instagram – fun café visitors: https://www.instagram.com/p/B7-MW8BnE_n/
- Instagram – devastation at Conjola Park: https://www.instagram.com/p/B62MLYinn1l/
Lake Conjola Area
- Lake Conjola: https://www.visitnsw.com/destinations/south-coast/jervis-bay-and-shoalhaven/lake-conjola
- Conjola National Park: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/conjola-national-park
- Narrawallee Creek Nature Reserve: https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/narrawallee-creek-nature-reserve
- Amin, Mridula, "Conjola Park tackles mental trauma of bushfires with free hugs and honest conversations" ABC News [online], 2 February 2020: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-02-02/conjola-park-bushfire-recovery-from-trauma/11921064
- Moran, Alexis, "As fires in Lake Conjola hit, Brett Cripps watched his home burn as he helped save families", ABC News [online], 3 January 2020: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-02/fires-lake-conjola-hero-brett-cripps-home-burn-down-boat-rescue/11836676
- Butler, Josh, "A 500,000 Hectare South Coast Fire Is Finally Out, And Firies Are Celebrating", 10 Daily, 8 February 2020: https://10daily.com.au/news/australia/a200208yckbm/a-500000-hectare-south-coast-fire-is-finally-out-and-firies-are-celebrating-20200208
- AAP, "Torrential rain and dangerous flooding to continue across NSW coast", 9News, 9 February 2020: https://www.9news.com.au/national/sydney-rain-city-drenched-in-most-rain-in-a-year/03153bf2-fe46-447a-9a9e-afa779a74146
- Mackellar, Dorothea, My Country [poem], accessed 9 February 2020: https://www.dorotheamackellar.com.au/archive/mycountry.htm
- Google Images, 'Lake Conjola News' [search], accessed 6 February 2020: https://www.google.com/search?sxsrf=ACYBGNTACEiHpLeuRhe8GmeCFZxEr5ldoQ:1580977777025&q=lake+conjola+news&tbm=isch&source=univ&client=firefox-b-d&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiHmrCWwbznAhXrwTgGHeMQA4AQsAR6BAgIEAE&biw=1366&bih=607
- ABC News (Australia), "89 homes destroyed by bushfires in Conjola Park, NSW" [article], "Communities Shattered" [video 2'53"] Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1 January 2020: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ioZ2TlHu6bE
- ABC News, "Convoy of cars drive into the lake to avoid the fire" [video], Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1 January 2020: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-01/convoy-of-cars-drive-into-the-lake-to-avoid-fire/11836056
- ABC News, "Karen Lissa describes the moment a bushfire swept through her street" [video 1'25"], Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 1 January 2020: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-01/karen-lissa-describes-the-bushfire-swept-through-her-street/11836232
- ABC News, "A family film their return to Lake Conjola" [video 2'35"], Australian Broadcasting Corporation, 2 January 2020: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-01-02/a-family-film-their-return-to-lake-conjola/11837756
- NSW Police Force, "Police vision shows bushfire devastation around Lake Conjola", news.com.au, 7 January 2020: https://www.news.com.au/national/police-vision-shows-bushfire-devastation-around-lake-conjola/video/157b34b432346b04364d8ec254d7e4f6
- Patrick, A. Odysseus, "‘Houses were exploding’: In Australia’s fire horror, heartbreak and relief", Washington Post, 4 January 2020: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/houses-were-exploding-in-australias-fire-horror-heartbreak-and-relief/2020/01/03/adc1f534-2dd9-11ea-bffe-020c88b3f120_story.html