Across the River with Geoff Goodfellow | April 19

GOOD SPORT: The Inner Bowl on Mount Gibraltar, where nocturnal gymnastics became one of the Southern Highlands' most popular sporting events. Photo: Geoff Goodfellow.
GOOD SPORT: The Inner Bowl on Mount Gibraltar, where nocturnal gymnastics became one of the Southern Highlands' most popular sporting events. Photo: Geoff Goodfellow.

ONE bit of history that should be recorded, lest it be lost in the mists of time, is the importance of the Inner Bowl on Mount Gibraltar to many older Southern Highlands residents.

This quiet bit of bush was once the most famous parking spot around these parts. I am sure there have been many tales told, and many that never will, of misty nights when young (and not so young) lovers had a bit of fun among the ghostly gums at the top of Mount Gibraltar.

Often Charles Dunk was hastily summoned and a wedding organised much quicker than anticipated back in those days.  

I do remember one such case in Mittagong where a particularly frisky young thing's mother, a most religious lady, believed her daughter's sudden pregnancy was an act of God. But most of her school friends were inclined to think the school footy captain may have played a bigger part.

WHICH is not unlike Dudley's daughter, Georgina, who felt she may have become pregnant to a good looking lad in town, so she went off to see her doctor, taking her mum along for support.

After a thorough examination, the doctor confirmed Georgina was indeed pregnant.

“That isn’t possible,” said Grace indignantly.

“Georgina is a shy girl. She has never had anything to do with men in her life.”

The doctor walked over to the window and just stared into space. He didn’t say a word.  

“Why are you just staring out of the window,” asked Grace.

“Well, Grace,” said the doctor. “The last time this happened, a very bright star appeared in the east and I was just checking to see if another one had appeared.”

BUT let us get back up to the Inner Bowl one dark night 30odd years ago, when an old friend of mine and a very well known Mittagong sportsman were having a lovely time in the back seat of her car.  

"All of a sudden there was a bang! bang! on the roof of the car," she recalls. "Due to all the heavy breathing that had been going on, the windows were fogged up so we couldn't see who or what it was. It happened again and then again.

“Well, naturally I thought the big burly footballer would venture out to see who or what was out there. Not on your life. He was terrified. I managed to get my clothing re-arranged and into the driver's seat, de-fogged the car and you wouldn't believe it. Sitting on the bonnet was one of the biggest possums I have ever seen, munching on something he had found in the bush."

I would love to tell you who they were. They are so well known. Alas I promised. My lips are sealed.

A FRISKY young couple of my acquaintance drove in for a bit of fun up at the Inner Bowl. Imagine their horror when they spotted his father's car in the headlights.  

"Surely he isn't having a fling with someone, was my first thought,” he confessed.

"So I tentatively broached the subject with him the next morning. I shouldn't have been so worried. It seems it was their wedding anniversary so he and mum had decided to rekindle some great old memories of their own courting days."

Apparently his dad reckons never again though, suggesting modern cars don't seem to be made for that sort of thing, concluding "beds are far more comfortable when you reach our age."

WE should finish with a tale that has become etched into the folk-lore of Mittagong. Not at the Inner Bowl, but on the edge of Lake Alexandra, a very popular lad had struck it lucky with an extremely good-looking young lady.

It seems in a moment of wild passion one of them must have kicked the gearstick into neutral and his brand new car quietly slithered down the bank, straight into the water lilies.

Although this happened almost 50 years ago, friends still remind my old mate Pumpkin about the night his car had to be pulled out of Lake Alexandra at midnight.

 – Geoff Goodfellow