Camp Cove to the South Head
It is a steady climb from Camp Cove, a section of cobblestones are a reminder of how hard it would have been to manhandle equipment and supplies past Lady Beach to the Hornby Lighthouse. Standing next to this gun looking towards Camp Cove reminded me of Rachel Wards’s World War I TV movie, An Accidental Soldier.
Based on the novel, Silent Parts, by John Charalambous, An Accidental Soldier is about an Australian soldier who flees the carnage of the Western Front and finds refuge with a French woman in a remote farmhouse. Harry Lambert is a shy, thirty five year old Australian soldier, working as a baker behind the lines. He is a gentle man, a reluctant soldier, but a man like many who has been shamed by his local community into joining up. But when he is called into the front line Harry decides to run, finding refuge in a farmhouse owned by Colombe Jacotot, a Frenchwoman in her forties whose husband has abandoned her and whose son has recently been killed. Forced to work in an ammunitions factory, Colombe too is trenchant about the war. Through her Harry will learn true courage. Through him Colombe will learn beauty. Together they will discover a love so strong that each is willing to give their life for it. An accidental soldier is a tender, at times gripping love story between two people who find passion, in all its joy and hurt, at an age when they thought love has passed them by. It is a story of unexpected bravery of countless men and women who would not give up their lives for abstracts like glory, or country. Those who wanted to live for love and life.
– Written by Goalpost Pictures Australia, An Accidental Soldier, IMDb, 2013, http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2366614/, viewed 27 November 2013
Lighthouse at South Head
Camp Cove looking west towards the City of Sydney.
The following is credited to Robin Derricourt, ‘Camp Cove’, Dictionary of Sydney, 2008, http://www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/entry/camp_cove, viewed 26 November 2013
Camp Cove is important to the history of European settlement in Australia as the probable site of the first landfall in Sydney harbour. On 21 January 1788 Captain Phillip sailed from Botany Bay to explore the potential of Port Jackson. The exploration was described by Jacob Nagle in his journal. After the expedition had sailed around the north side of Port Jackson he noted:
It coming on dark, we landed on a beach on the south side and there pitched our tents for the night. This was called Camp Cove. The marines were put on their posts. The sailors were variously employed, some kindling fires and some shooting the seine for fish, others getting out utensils for cooking. By the time we got our suppers, was late in the night, and by four in the morning we had everything in the boats again.
The story of the camp, giving its origin to the name Camp Cove, sounds realistic and is taken to imply the first landfall by Europeans within Port Jackson. With arrival in the dark and departure before dawn, there would have been no opportunity to explore the hinterland. As Camp Cove had a freshwater spring behind the beach, it proved a suitable place for a night’s camp. The next day, Nagle fished while Phillip and his party went ashore at what was to be named Sydney Cove.
Dictionary of Sydney