Lake Macquarie History

A Heavenly Glow

by John Oubridge

It was in the early 60s that I had an experience I can’t forget. 

photo: belmont in the past painting by john oubridgel

I was next to the Belmont baths when it used to have three diving boards on it. On the shoreline next to the baths they hired out canoe’s, and other types of boats. One looking like a steam boat,which you would paddle like like you were on a pushbike. The whole family could fit onto it. You could also hire a float or snorkeling gear. 

We had a friend who lived near pommy town. We nicknamed him stretch. He was like a bit of a brother, to some of us younger ones. 

He offered to take me for a canoe ride with him. Stretch knew I have never been in one before. 

He first asked my brother first,telling him how he well look after me,specially knowing I couldn’t swim. So there we were paddling in the area we were aloud too. 

It was like we were flying through the top of the lake. I was enjoying every minute of it. 

Stretch even gave me a lesson for awhile. 

There was one time we went as far as we were aloud to go. It was in the deeper part. We were watching a cabin cruiser go by. We both happen to get up for a better look. It left a bunch of little waves coming our way. It didn’t seem to concern us at the time. Until they were upon us,and in a second or two,I lost my balance and fell over the side. 

Not being able to swim or dog paddle,I went straight to the bottom of the lake. So there I was sitting on the bottom and looking up above. 

I notice a bright light filtering down through the water on me. 

For some reason I had no panic or fear,except a beautiful peaceful calm feeling that came over me. 

It was like time had stood still and nothing else mattered,while I was in this kind of time zone or trance. 

Then breaking through my heavenly calmness,a long arm wrapped around my waist and took me up to the surface and gently placed me in the canoe. Stretch face told the story of how worried he was that I could of drowned. He said at first he didn’t notice that I fell out when the wave hit.Then he turned round to see I must of got knocked overboard, and said he dived straight in, but looked in the wrong area to start with, and the water was a bit murky too. Then he said he spotted me with my eyes wide open looking above. 

He also said my skin looked very white. He was very surprised how I was so calm. Poor stretch was still in a bit of shock, and took the canoe back earlier to the owner. 

Stretch was blaming himself for loosing me for that time. 

I kept what happened to myself. 

Being a kid and not being able to talk properly with my speech impediment, and then trying to explain this remarkable story to someone ,would of been hard for me. 

Some may say it was the sun that shone the light,except the sun wasn’t above at that time. 

Then you have to ask yourself what was that bright light. 

Maybe it was my guardian angel. 

Painting and photography 

By John Oubridge.

Painting of Belmont in the past.

Acknowledgement of Country

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