Shark sightings in Lake Macquarie go back a long way

Back in the day, it was a rare thing to hear about shark sightings in Lake Macquarie.

Nevertheless, the locals will tell you sharks have always been there.

In the mid-2000s, a photo of a hammerhead shark in the lake was a bit of a shock. Nowadays it’s all about the great whites. There’s also bull sharks lurking about.

Some reckon the end of commercial fishing in the lake in 2002 was the reason for increased shark sightings.

Others say improved management of the lake was a big factor.

And increasing use of mobile phones probably means more shark sightings are being recorded. As such, there’s a perception that there’s more sharks in the lake.

The risk of a shark attack in the lake is very low. The last reported shark attack in Lake Macquarie was on October 14, 1946, in Swan Bay, Marks Point, when a swimmer was bitten on the leg.

We’re not saying people should swim in the lake without fear. There’s always the possibility that a great white will bite you on the bum.

Anyhow, we received an email about sharks in the lake from Sandra Creighton, who lives at St Georges Basin on the south coast of NSW, near Nowra. Sandra used to live at Belmont South.

She read a recent story in the Herald about sharks in the lake, so she shared a yarn about her husband David Wells who died about 20 years ago.

David was game fishing with a mate off the coast of Lake Macquarie. We’re talking 48 years ago. One Sunday, they caught a hammerhead shark that was longer than their 20-foot boat. 

The shark was tied up alongside the boat.

“As they were coming through Swansea Channel, she started giving birth to dozens of baby sharks,” Sandra, 74, said.

“She kept having the babies all the way into Belmont yacht club.”

The thought crossed our mind about whether any of those sharks would still be alive. No chance. The lifespan of most hammerheads is 25 to 35 years.

When Milk Was Milk

A milkman in 1966, with those memorable glass bottles.

A milkman in 1966, with those memorable glass bottles.

Sandra told us that David was a milkman about 45 to 50 years ago.

“We had the milk run from Pelican to Caves Beach,” she said.

This made us wonder whether milkmen still exist. Apparently so, according to online news stories around the globe. For the most part, milkmen are a thing of the past.

When we were young, we vividly remember glass bottles of milk on our doorstep. And the little aluminium foil lids that you’d peel off to get to the good stuff.

We asked Sandra if she thought milk tasted better 50 years ago.

“Definitely. It wasn’t going through all these other processes,” she said.

“In the past, you had homogenised or pasteurised milk. Pasteurised milk had the cream on the top. Homogenised milk was a breakdown of the cream and it was mixed thoroughly through the milk.”

Nowadays there’s so many milks – full cream, skim, A2, almond, soy, rice, goat.

“You can’t keep up with it,” Sandra said.

So do you agree with Sandra? Did milk taste better back in the day? Comments to topics@theherald.com.au.

Horsing Around

We’d like to give a shout out to a horse that won its first race at Cessnock last week.

The horse’s name: Horsey McHorseface.

The horse is following the path of the famous Boaty McBoatface, the name which topped a public vote for a new polar research vessel in the UK.

Then last year, when a merger of Newcastle and Port Stephens councils was being considered, readers tossed a few names around for a merged entity. One reader suggested “Councy McCouncilFace”.

Where will this trend take us next?

Free Ride

We wrote yesterday how impressed we were by the free trams in Melbourne’s CBD. This made us think that trams should be free in Newcastle when they’re up and running.  

It’d encourage public transport and promote the city’s revitalisation. 

Reader Rick agreed, saying “if a charge is incurred for the ride then it will certainly become a white elephant”. 

On Facebook, Peter Richardson said: “Nothing is free......it's a government/corporate illusion. We pay one way or another”.