A re-post of Sammy Sparrow’s story in honour of the station’s 150th birthday.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY BLACKHEATH STATION

A REFUGEE SPARROW FROM THE CITY

Some time ago a sparrow living in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens was assaulted by a giant white ibis.  A dispute had broken out over crumbs at the café and the little fellow came off second best .  He went into hiding, but that didn’t really help.

Ibis in Sydney City
I know you’re in there  Sam Sparrow.

The trauma was so great that he  decided it was time to leave the dangerous ‘jungle’ of the city and move west.  Not just a little bit west, but all the way to the beautiful Blue Mountains.

A few days later Samuel, (better known as Sammy) made his way to Central Station  and hopped on the train.  Well he could have flown of course, but he’d found an old Opal card in the Gardens’ café, so why not use it?

ALL ABOARD FOR A TREE-CHANGE

He was looking out the widow  as the stations  passed by and noticed there was a sort of general exodus from Sydney.

Pigeon waiting for a train
Another refugee from Sydney waits for a train..

When the train reached Glenbrook and began to climb he realized he had given no thought all as to where  to get off and re-settle. Someone  had mentioned Lawson, but he was a bit concerned when he noticed what looked like a small lock-up.

Lawson Railway Station Building
Good heavens, is that a bird pound??

Higher and higher they went; Springwood, Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba   Some passengers disembarked (or is it detrained?) at Medlow Bath….hmm, looked a bit posh for a common sparrow he thought, being a humble soul.  More suitable for a lyrebird, or a peacock.

Hydro Majestic Hotel at Medlow Path, from the train window.

That looks a bit swanky.

The very next stop (there weren’t many left) was Blackheath.  It looked OK, if a little chilly.  He hopped off, carefully minding the gap of course. Oh that fresh air!

Blackheath railway station in the Blue Mountains
Blackheath Railway Station
Blackheath Railway Station. Must be a story behind that mural!

Wow, public art, a good sign of a vibrant community. Plenty of roof space too.

PERMANENT RESIDENCY

On one of the big iron girders across the track an Australian raven was keeping watch . He seemed to be the Mayor.

‘I do believe I will become an official Blackheathen,‘  Sammy  told himself, and immediately put in an application

Sparrow in Blackheath railway station
Yes, I think I could live here.

Next morning he woke at sparrow’s chirp (ho ho!) to find a  deputation waiting,  headed by Mayor Raven.  There were king parrots, crimson rosellas, currawongs, yellow robins and a good many blue wrens. They told Sammy he was welcome to stay, but on strict conditions. As a ‘blow-in’ he could never have the freedom of Blackheath., as they did   Well that was a nasty shock!  He’d been looking forward to doing a bit of  bush walking and visiting the local look-outs.

He told them his ancestors had been in Australia since 1863, but they didn’t care.  A couple of cheeky magpies said, ‘Listen Mate, no introduced species are allowed beyond the immediate village precinct’.  And that’s exactly how it was for  pigeons, mynah birds, starlings…. and sparrows. Sometimes a Pommy blackbird broke the rules, but if nobody looked into his eyes he passed for a male satin bowerbird. As for that orange beak…. must be pollen stain mate!

Blackbird
The ring-in
The  eyes have it….a satin bowerbird, not a bloomin’ blackbird.

Weighing everything up he decided he would accept the fact that he could never venture  past Wentworth Street.

It was fine in  the end. There were plenty of cafes in the village, and sometimes tourists even ate pies and cakes on the platform. Plenty of crumbs to go around, so very few squabbles. If an Indian mynah bird got out-of-hand the mayor would soon sort him out.  Of course the final arbitrator in any dispute is always…The Station Manager.

Station Master's Office Blaclheath
The highest authority.

Three years have passed, and the little bird has married, and raised several families. So much nest building required. Never mind, there’s always lots of material among the fallen cherry blossom.

Sammy sparrow gathering nest material at Blackheath station.

Oh my, babies are so demanding! Moments away from nursery duties are rare.

Mr and Mrs Sparrow at Blackheath Railway Station.
Gladys (left) and Sammy Sparrow.
Mother sparrow tends to her chicks.

DOMESTIC BLISS, SPARROW STYLE

Our hero’s beloved partner keeps a neat home in the rafters on No. 1 Platform. Sammy is responsible for the backyard, which he has to admit is a bit of a mess. An inside loo might help.

Sarrow nest at Blackheath Railway Station
Not the tidiest of backyards..
Sammy Sparrow at Blacheath timber yard.
LOOKING FOR BUILDING MATERIAL AT THE TIMBER YARD.

Master of at least  some of what he surveys.

Sammy’s wife Gladys (see below) is always busy with her chicks, but graciously  took time out for a solo photo. She put a lot of effort into that shawl fringe effect.

Sparrow on a wire.
SWEET GLADYS

By the way, the pigeon waiting for the train at Strathfield settled in Blackheath as well. He resides on platform 2.

Pigeon living at Blackheath railway station. Sammy Sparrow's neighbor.
Close neighbor,

Yes, it’s a cliché, but home is where the heart is.  Sammy is  proud to give his address as Top Floor, No. 1 Platform, Railway Station, Blackheath  NSW 2785.

UPDATE 2019. Sam is also environmentally responsible, as we all should be. Water restrictions? Not a problem, a dust bath will do instead.

Sparrow dust bath
SAVE WATER, BATHE IN THE DIRT!
Celebrations for 150th birthday of Blackheath Railway Station. I'm sure Sammy Sparrow was watching.
THE BLACKHEATHEN CHOIR PERORMING AT THE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

Were Sammy and family in attendance for the celebration of the 150th birthday of the Railway Station on December 14? They certainly were! One day they will be considered part of the Station’s social history themselves.

Celebratory morning tea for 150th birthdy of Blackheah Railway Station.
SOCIAL HISTORY PHOTOGRAPHS ON DISPLAY FOR THE BIRTHDAY CELEBRATIONS

FEEL FREE TO LEAVE SAMMY A MESSAGE IN THE BOX BELOW.

7 Comments
  1. Sammy, you are a bird after my own heart. I seemed to always be urging my husband to get up and go…somewhere….anywhere. We only have a short life time to satisfy our urge to get away and I don’t like to waste too many years of it. Every now and then, we stop and enjoy the experiences of joining in with other flocks, until the urge to pack up and move becomes too strong. Thank goodness you aren’t being chased by that pesky Ibis. As far as we know we aren’t being chased by anyone or anything. We can pick our perches and it seems that we’re going to take off again and return to our home shores of Australia before the year’s end. I may even go on a search for you and Gladys at Blackheath station. That’s a place I haven’t been to and it sounds so peaceful thatI believe, it’d suit me for a change.

    • Pauline

      I’ve been up at the station watching Sammy today, Heather. How wonderful it would be to show you around my village one day, it certainly is very peaceful here. A bit busy at weekends in autumn with tourists, but I love to see them enjoying Blackheath.

  2. Good to see that a humble Sparrow gets his own blog!

  3. I love your photography and your stories!

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