This whole Around Oz trip is two part. One is to see and explore new places, meet new people and have new experiences, and the other is to go back to my roots and rediscover places I have lived and been to before and catch up with old friends from yesteryear.
Nothing has been more of a blast than coming back to Coffs Harbour. I moved to Coffs Harbour from Warragul, Victoria at then end of 1971. I finished Primary School in Warragul and started High School in 1972 at the Coffs Harbour High School at the Jetty. My brother and I were excited to start our new life at Coffs with the promise of living so close to the beach. We both took up surfing (unsuccessfully) as soon as we could.
In 1971 the population of Coffs was about 10,000 people which swelled to about 30,000 over the January School holidays. The population in the greater Coffs Harbour area is now 85,000 without the influx of tourists. I was blown away by how much the now city has grown. It looks overgrown now. Back in the early ’70’s we used to hitch hike between the town centre “Top Town” and the jetty or out to Diggers Beach which was a favourite surfing beach. Diggers was the closest beach to The Big Banana where we often used to hang out. Fishing off the Coffs Jetty (see Bucket List #38) was a favourite pastime, especially in the first couple of years after we moved there.
As I drove around and walked the streets of the CBD, Jetty and the new (to me) Park Beach Plaza, I imagined what buildings were there nearly 50 years ago. Some old buildings are still there but most have been replaced and all with new tenants.
I caught up with a number of old friends from school and some from post school days. To be able to spend a few hours or even a few days with someone from so long ago and most without much contact in the intervening years was so special as we reminisced and really just continued our friendships from where we left off the last time we saw each other.