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Mosman harbour walk

Thursday, April 6, 2006
There are so many walking paths around the Sydney Harbour foreshore. Most offer easy walking and all have marvellous views. Getaway was privileged to join a very special walker on Sydney's newest harbour bushwalk.

Alan Waddell has a mission in life — and that is to walk every street of every Sydney suburb. When we joined him, he had conquered 192 suburbs, with hopes of reaching over 200. That's remarkable enough, but Mr Waddell is a fit, healthy and determined 91-year-old who was ironically refused overseas duty in WWII due to flat feet!

With the sad loss of his wife after 60 years of marriage, there was a gap in Mr Waddell's life, and he decided to put his walking shoes on and literally, keep going. Now something of a celebrity, he has his own website and has received encouragement from 140 countries with 150,000 hits.

We went on a walk which goes along a new track implemented by the Sydney Harbour Foundation Trust. Until recently, the Chowder Bay to Balmoral Park route was off-limits as it belonged to the Australian Defence Forces. The new 6km track makes it possible to walk from Taronga Zoo to Balmoral Beach.

There are some interesting historic buildings at the start of the track at Chowder Bay, which is adjacent to Clifton Gardens Beach.

Next place of interest is the 1870 Gunners' Barracks and Tunnels. Now a function centre, its views are breathtaking. The tunnels are quite dark and can be entered only during a Harbour Trust guided tour. They end up at gun emplacements, complete with canon, and again, great views. They had been inaccessible to the public for over 100 years.

Lower Georges Heights is a former military base, now an artists' precinct and parkland. It is the first stage of the Trust's Headland Park, being created to link and interpret the former defence sites at Middle Head, Georges Heights and Chowder Bay.

The Balmoral section of the track running from Middle Head Road to Balmoral Beach includes a number of stairs.

Mr Waddell has vivid memories of hiding under a staircase with his wife when a Japanese midget submarine attacked Sydney Harbour in May 1942. He also remembers sneaking out from the army base at night to be with his wife.


Sydney's lower north shore.


Sydney Harbour Federation Trust Chowder Bay to Balmoral Park walks can be enjoyed every day from sunrise to sunset. Guided tours run on the first Sunday of every month. They cost $8 for adults and $20 for families.

For further information

Sydney Harbour Federation Trust
Ph: (02) 8969 2100

Mr Alan Waddell
Walk Sydney Streets

Please note that the prices listed are valid at the time of filming.

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