Coalcliff House

Coalcliff House
Ken Bolton & Sal Brereton standing beside house. Photo by Kurt Brereton (1980)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

the2nd half

Fantastic project. It really is worth exploring a place or a building that attracts energy/enthusiasms over a solid period of years.

I was a fairly regular visitor when Alan Jefferies was the bearer of the legacy (& yes, he deftly carried on the tradition that made the place so memorable). As before, the only constancy was words, music & friendship. Extraordinary.

The Coalcliff cottage was also a doorway for many of us to that mysteriously industrial city of Wollongong. Rae Jones was there, it had its own branch of the Poets Union -- oddly including pio who had split from the Melbourne branch. Five Islands Press & Scarp were yet to emerge.

The only time I visited when Ken & Sal were there was a time they weren't. Went down there with Donna Maegraith (sorry Laurie, she was a fine reader!) & Alan Jefferies. Pam Brown and Micky greeted us on arrival. A superbly relaxed night followed by a fragile morning. Donna and I went onto Burning Palms, another Illawarra place of resonance for a number of us.

A great mutual friend of Alan's and mine -- Mark Leabeater (artist muso and latterly poet) died some five years ago. His life has also been profoundly marked by the Coalcliff house. Some of his ashes were scattered on the rock platform down below & on the escarpment above.

More than once I've stopped at the site of the old cottage & had a couple of quiet for him & the succession of bright moments.

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