Soldier’s Point Secret Walk – go where the locals know!
By Kathy Brown, Secretary, EcoNetwork
Take your family out for a walk and combine local history with exercise and stunning views.
There is an historic precinct on the public land at the front of Bannisters hotel in Soldiers’ Point. This area is the beginning of the Mariner’s Walk that leads down to Wanda Beach and Wanda Headland, a 3km/40minute walk that will allow you to view some of the most beautiful beaches and waterways in our area.
The walk starts at Johnny’s Well, a recently restored water supply from earliest colonial times. Johnny’s Well is signposted and is on the left of the road leading down to the jetty near Bannisters. The spring water provided fresh supplies to ships from all over the world including passing whalers and others preparing for long sea voyages. The Cromarty family which had a land grant in the surrounding area also used the water to feed their cattle.
William Cromarty arrived in Australia from Scotland in 1822 with his wife Cecilia and 3 young children followed two years later when William was a pilot of the port of Newcastle. After a serious accident William retired to his land grant and carried cargo on his ship Fame. Both William and his son died in 1838 as they attempted to salvage a boat from One Mile Beach. Cecilia Cromarty and her remaining family kept a small store at Soldiers Point for whalers and fishermen. She died in 1862 aged 75 years and a small fenced gravesite can be seen at the top of Seaview Crescent as you start the trek across Wanda Beach.
There are further small markers along the way which explain the area’s maritime history. The last is in Joe Redman Reserve, opposite Mambo Wetlands. Take a picnic lunch, enjoy a coffee from the Sailing Club along the way, stop for a swim. Toilets and showers at Bob Cairns Reserve at the end of the Wanda Headland section.