Back to the Beach – Henley and Grange

(pic - Story) Henly * Grange - title

Okay, I have already partly written a post of a couple of Adelaide’s beaches (Glenelg, though that had more to do with my New Year’s Eve adventure, and Semaphore), so I guess I probably should write one about another beach that I seem to have regularly visited. Actually, this is a regular beach in that this would be the place that my friend’s would meet on those hot days that they would suddenly notify us about. Actually, it’s interesting how these notifications developed because when I was younger it was simply word of mouth, and then it would be emails that would be forwarded around, and these days it is basically a facebook announcement (though since I don’t live in Adelaide anymore I generally don’t get any of them, or don’t pay any attention to them). Come to think of it, I generally don’t get many of them these days anyway simply because all of my friends from my youth have now gone and got married and had kids – that sort of puts a crimp on one’s social life.

Anyway, Adelaide is actually one really long beach – it sort of stretches from North Haven all the way down to Seacliff. The beach sort of ends at Seacliff because that is where the hills meet the sea, so you tend to get cliffs, and a few quiet coves. When you get to North Haven you then hit the entrance to the port, as well as Outer Harbour, which ends up being a bunch of docks. Once you pass the entrance to the Port River you then hit the mangrove swamps around St Kilda which then stretch off to the north to the top of the gulf (though there are still a few beaches dotted up that way where a retirement villages have sprung up – one in particular is Thompson’s Beach).

Anyway, before I continue here is a map of Henley and Grange (the two beaches are actually synonymous with each other, despite them being two different beaches):

Okay, I know, that map really doesn’t show us all that much, except that half of it is ocean and half of it is city. Mind you, I only put it there so you could work out where the beach is (and to also check out the statements that I made above as to Adelaide’s beaches). Anyway, there are a couple of ways to get to Henley Beach that doesn’t involve driving (or walking, or catching a cab). One of them is by bus, which I used to do quite frequently since I lived in Brooklyn Park once (which happened to be across the road from the airport, and despite having lived there for two years I never heard a plane fly over), and the bus that took us to Henley Beach went down the nearby main road.
The other way is to catch the train to Grange. Mind you that train doesn’t go all that often, but then again most trains in Adelaide don’t go all that often. However the thing that I always thought was cool about that train line was that it goes through the middle of a golf course. I’m actually somewhat surprised that the train never seems to get hit by a golf ball, despite the tracks runing through the middle. There used to be a train station near the club house, but that was long ago removed for some reason known only to the government (stations are usually removed due to lack of patronage, and people generally don’t catch the train to go and play golf – or at least not what I have seen).
(pic - Story) Henley & Grange - Railway Station
While the Grange line now terminates at Grange (which is why they call it the Grange line), it used to actually go onto Military Road and then head south and terminate at Henley Square. However, long before I was born, they ripped up the railway line and built the current station. From what I gathered from my research (which generally involves reading Wikipedia) they removed the tracks simply because cars and trains generally don’t mix (though for some reason cars and trams do). You can actually still see the remains of the former Grange Station along Military Road.
Old Railway Station
I learnt about that from Wikipedia
Red Hen at Old Station
Here is a photo I found of a train at the old railway station

Anyway, the reason I made my way down here with my friend was because I wanted to mark some more pubs off of my list. Okay, I have actually been to the pubs down here quite a few times in the past, however I wanted to make one last pass of the area to record these places on film. I remember going to a talk that was run by one of the Christian groups I was involved with where the CEO of Coopers Brewery (who happens to be a doctor) told us that beer has enough ingredients to allow us to survive simply by drinking it, so my friend and I decided we would test it out and only drink beer that entire day, and we went from pub to pub, starting at the Lockleys and making our way up the beach to finish off at Port Adelaide. Mind you, I was pretty plastered at the end of it, but for some reason still managed to go to the soccer that night with a friend (and once again had another beer or two).

Yep, I know, sound’s like I’m an alcoholic – blame Tim Cooper – he put the idea into my head.

Actually, before I went into the pub with my friend (to order a coke by the way – since I’ve already had a beer here I didn’t need to have another one – anyway I was driving so I couldn’t drink all that much, and decided to leave the few beers that I could have to pubs that I really liked) I decided to go for a quick walk down to the beach. Mind you a quick walk pretty much meant walking over the sand dunes, looking around, and then heading back, especially since I didn’t have a huge amount of time (I probably should give myself a bit more of a window the next time I land up down this way).

I finally ended up having a drink (or should I say coca-cola since the words drink and pub in the same sentence generally suggests something alcoholic – usually beer) and then jumped back into the car to head down to Henley Beach. However before we turned onto Military Road I saw a lovely old building that I had to take a photo of, so I stopped the car and jumped out. Actually, there were paintings out the front, but due to time constraints, I didn’t end up going inside.

(pic - Story) Henley & Grange - Art Building
I really should have checked out the artwork – but I had friends waiting

Well, as I am prone to do, as we were driving down Military road (actually it was Seaview Road – Military Road is the next one over) I saw another building that I quite liked. This one was the soldier’s memorial, no doubt a memorial for soldiers who fought in World War One. Once again I didn’t take a huge amount of time looking around the building, since I had some time constraints, but I did take a photo of it for this post.

(pic - Story) Henley & Grange - Soldier's Memorial
The 1921 indicates that it is a WWI memorial

Okay, I could be pulling random speculations out of my head here, but if you have a look at a map of Adelaide you will notice that Military road runs right down the coast from Taparoo to Glenelg (where it then connects up with Brighton Road). Since it has the name Military Road suggests that it was originally constructed by the military to allow quick access along the Adelaide Coast. There were a couple of forts up near Port Adelaide, which were constructed due to a looming Russian threat during the late 19th Century. Those forts have now been decommissioned, and Military road is now basically a road that people use to get to Henley Beach.

Anyway, we continued down Seaview Road (because around that point Military Road becomes a minor backstreet) and found a convenient park at Henley Square. Since I really like the Ramsgate Hotel I decided that I would have a beer there, however before I did that I decided to have a quick look around. As it turned out they have completely redeveloped Henley Square, and were even setting up a band for some live music later that night.

Once again, while my friend was waiting around the Ramsgate Hotel, I decided to go down to the foreshore and have a look around. As I mentioned, I used to come down here quite a lot, and I guess the appeal of Henley Beach (as opposed to Grange), is that there is a lot more activity down here, and you can also walk straight onto the beach without having to cross a heap of sand dunes. Okay, it doesn’t get anywhere near as crowded as some places, but it is still a pretty popular place for people to congregate.

One irrelevant fact is that the distance between the Henley Jetty and the Grange Jetty is the shortest distance between two jetties in Adelaide, which means that it is possible for a really fit person to swim from one jetty to the other. In fact the Adelaide Masters Swimming club does that quite regularly. For over a hundred years, on Australia Day, there has been a race to swim the distance between the two jetties. Needless to say, despite that fact that I know how to swim, I have never actually entered the race (and have no intention to do so).

Anyway here is a photo I took while standing underneath the Henley Beach Jetty a while back:

(pic - Story) Henley & Grange - Henley Jetty

Well, that’s pretty much it for this part of Adelaide, though I do have a few other photos that I should share of the area (since I have been down here a number of times in the past, though have no idea of when I will be able to come back down here again, since I do live in Melbourne). Still, this place does hold quite a few memories (especially of an after party that I went to one year when I was in University).

Oh, yes, I almost forgot – The Ramsgate Hotel. Well, I’ve already written a post about it on Yelp (which I did pretty much as soon as I got home, namely because it is one of those pubs that bring back quite a few memories). Actually, come to think of it I probably haven’t been here as often as I would have liked to, namely because most of the times that I was down here I wasn’t really in the ‘lets go to the pub’ frame of mind. In the days that I was doing that I spent more time around the city (and Flinders University) than down at the Ramsgate. I did go back to visit it again, and it certainly has kept up with the times, though I’m probably going to have to make an effort to come back here again for a proper night out.

(pic - Story) Henley & Grange - Ramsgate Hotel


Creative Commons License

Back to the Beach – Henley and Grange by David Alfred Sarkies is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. If you wish to use this work commercially please feel free to contact me.

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