I first saw this ship in Fremantle, soon after it had been launched in 1993. Since then I’ve been lucky enough to see it in several different cities. I think it’s lucky anyway. I’m an early-Australian history buff. Captain James Cook sailed on the original Endeavour in the 1780’s when he found Australia. This replica was built in Fremantle in a specially-built shipyard. Since then it has circumnavigated the world twice as well as around Australia. It now sits at the National Maritime Museum in Sydney.
When I travel I love to go to lookouts to get an overview of the city. The world takes on a whole different perspective from up high. The first three photos were taken from the Sydney Tower viewing deck.
A few years ago some friends and I decided to go to Tooronga Zoo, after the conference we were attending ended. We didn’t have all day to spend there because we had to fly home mid-afternoon. We gave ourselves a couple of hours to take in as much as we could.
The journey from the city to the zoo starts with a ferry from Circular Quay to the Taronga Zoo wharf. Upon disembarkation we boarded mini buses to take us on a short drive up the steep hill to the main entrance. They were renovating the entrance when we were there so we went in the nearby temporary entrance. Starting up there was clever because you work your way downhill towards the exit rather than uphill.
The gardens are in Darling Harbour, Sydney, just outside the CBD which you can see in the background of some of the photos. I went there soon after they opened in 1988. Since then I’ve been several times when I’ve been to Sydney. They were a bicentenary gift to Sydney from it’s sister city Guangzhuo in China. Despite being beside a busy road it’s a very tranquil place to sit and lose yourself in the surroundings.
Captain William Bligh was the captain of the ship The Bounty, famous for the mutiny on the Bounty, made famous by the Mel Gibson movie. However it’s not very well-known that he was a governor in the colony of New South Wales. He played an important part in colonial Australian history. Being a firm disciplinarian, he was made Governor at a time when the young colony of New South Wales needed strong leadership as the military was taking control. They were not meant to be involved in private trading given they were public officials. Bligh’s confrontational style and attempt to stop this trading put a lot of noses out of joint. In the end, Bligh became a part of another mutiny known as the Rum Rebellion.
We came across this sculpture in the middle of a roundabout in Hickson Rd, Walsh Bay in Sydney. We thought it was quite humorous. I didn’t know the eyes and mouth at first. It’s made by a sculptor named Jimmie Durham and is called ‘Still Life With Stone and Car’. I now know it is part of the Walsh Bay Sculpture Walk. Next time I go back I’ll seek out the other seven pieces on the walk.
My final stop on the Hop-on, Hop-off bus was at Kings Cross. At night it’s full of nightlife but during the day it’s quite a sleepy place. It feels like everyone is asleep or just waiting to come out at night to play.
The El Alamein Fountain is located at the entrance to the Fitzroy Gardens on the corner of Darlinghurst Rd and Macleay St in Kings Cross. It’s significance is that it is a war memorial to the soldiers that died in two battles at El Alamein in Egypt during World War 2. Some people say the shape is like a dandelion (which I agree with) and it won it’s architect an award in the early 1960’s. I love going there and just sitting and watching the water and the interesting people walking past.
Built in 1816, this little cottage’s claim to fame is that it is the oldest surviving residential (and the third oldest) building in Sydney. It was built as a home for the government coxswain who looked after the government boats and their crews. Since then it has had a number of uses. The cottage is now a museum and the home of the Sydney Harbour National Park Information Centre. It was designed by Francis Greenway, an English architect who was transported to the colony of New South Wales for forgery. His career in NSW was controversial because he was designing buildings while still serving his sentence. This caused quite an uproar amongst the elite in the colony.
I had heard about the cottage from my interest in Australian history over many years but thought it was hard to find. This time when I went to Sydney I decided to find it and realised it was just off George St in The Rocks.
The following photos show the timeline of Sydney’s history.
Macquarie St, Sydney is named after my favourite governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie who with his wife Elizabeth, came to the colony in 1810 and stayed until 1821. During that time he commissioned the building of many beautiful buildings that still stand today, many of them in the street named after him. He also brought in a lot of reforms for convicts which wasn’t popular with the military sent to guard the colony.
The first two photos in this post is of Hyde Park Barracks. The building was designed to house male adult and child convicts. It has also been a home to female immigrants, an asylum and a home for destitute women at various times. It’s my favourite building on Macquarie St. Inside is now a museum and a bookstore. I ban myself from the bookstore because there are so many books I really want. I can spend a fortune in there every time I go there. And now they have an online bookstore. Dangerous!!!
The Royal Mint which was originally part of the Rum Hospital. In 1853 it became the first branch of the Royal Mint outside England so it’s name was changed.
Once I made my way to Circular Quay I spotted the Hop-on, Hop-off bus. I had just enough time to grab a bite to eat at a nearby cafe then jumped on the bus. I love these buses because they allow you to get off at a particular destination and get back on when you are ready to move to the next stop. In Sydney they have a Sydney CBD and Darling Harbour bus as well as the Bondi bus. That one starts at Circular Quay and takes you to the eastern suburbs and Bondi Beach. They have also recently added a Hop-on, Hop-Off ferry cruise service taking you from Circular Quay to Parramatta and Manly amongst other places. I can’t wait to go back to Sydney to try that one out. I’ve been to all the places it stops at but never on this type of service.
The Opera House was the first place I wanted to visit. I’ve been here so many times in the past but I still love coming here. I’ve never been inside though. I’d like to join an organised tour one day. I wandered around taking these photos before heading down to the lower concourse and the Opera Kitchen. This popular, open-air cafe area is home to a number of cafes that sell sashimi, sushi, Vietnamese and seafood. It’s the perfect spot to sit and watch the passing traffic on the harbour on a warm day.
Circular Quay is the hub of Sydney and it’s transport system. It’s a hive of activity at any time of the day. In the mornings and evenings it’s busy with business people and during the day and night time it’s the tourists that keep it busy.
This is the main ferry quay in Sydney and ferries depart here to Manly, Watson’s Bay, Middle Harbour, Darling Harbour and upriver to Parramatta amongst other destinations. There are also restaurants, cafes and tourist shops here. The Museum of Contemporary Art and the Overseas Passenger Terminal are located on the western side with the Opera House on the eastern side.
The area played a major part in the settling of New South Wales in 1788 after Botany Bay was thought to be an unsuitable place to set up the new colony.
Next stop on my walk was around The Rocks to Circular Quay. Many of the buildings in the area have been converted for other purposes. In the 1980’s it wasn’t a popular area and there was a movement to knock down a lot of buildings and build modern, probably high-rise buildings. The public rallied around and convinced authorities they should save the area and make it into a tourist area. If this hadn’t happened so much of Sydney’s and Australia’s history would have been lost forever.
The terrace houses above have been converted into shops and small businesses.
An example of some of the beautiful sandstone that you see buildings around Sydney made from.
The Harbour Rocks Hotel is quite famous in the area. I’ve often thought of staying there one day.
One of my favourite Aussie movies, Starstruck, was filmed at the Harbour View Hotel. It’s (now) a daggy but fun musical movie that launched the careers (some only short-lived) of some actors. For years I’ve wanted to see where the movie was filmed and researched it on the internet before going to Sydney. I knew I had plenty of time to walk around to find it, knowing it was just under the Harbour Bridge. I know that part of Sydney really well because it’s my favourite part, being the history buff I am, so I knew which streets went where.
The Hero of Waterloo is one of Sydney’s most historic and oldest pubs. It was built in 1863 and was a popular drinking spot for the Garrison Troops in those days. It’s famous for the tunnel that is supposed to run from the harbour to the hotel. There are some funny stories of men getting drunk at the hotel and being smuggled on to the ships that were at anchor on the harbour and waking up to find themselves as reluctant sailors on their way to some exotic destination.
The Argyle Cut is one of the most amazing pieces of construction undertaken in Sydney in the 1800’s. Convicts cut through the sandstone and then when transportation ended, qualified stonemasons completed the work. Once completed, it allowed better access to the port facilities from The Rocks. If you didn’t know about the Cut you would walk right through without realising the significance but it was such an engineering feat at the time.
Susannah Place is a row of four original terrace houses in the historic Rocks area of Sydney. Dating back to 1844, they show how the early immigrants lived in Sydney. The houses look run down but inside they are meticulously cared for and kept as they were when they when they were built. Unfortunately the museum was closed at the time. I came across a tour group but they had already started so I was unable to join in. It’s one of the few complexes I’ve seen where they have so faithfully restored the homes.
The south-east pylon contains a lookout and museum but, unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find the entrance. As far as I could see it’s not clearly advertised how to get there. If I’d had access to the internet I would have been able to look it up. Apparently there are 200 steps up to the pylon lookout and along the way you pass through 3 levels of exhibits that detail the history and construction of the bridge. The view would be amazing but even better would be the bridge climb which gives spectacular views of Sydney.
Cannons at Dawes Point Park – there are 5 cannons left on the site of Sydney’s first fortified position. They were manned until 1916 when they were removed for the construction of the bridge.
The Ibis Darling Harbour is located on the western side of Darling Harbour behind Harbourside shopping centre. I’d heard it had it’s own monorail station which provided easy transport access to the main part of the CBD and shopping areas. I’d also heard the rooms were really small. That turned out to be correct however I was staying there by myself and was in town for a conference so the small room didn’t matter. The room was clean and the bed very comfortable. It cost quite a lot more to have a city view so I settled for the Pyrmont view which looks over to the western suburbs. Again it didn’t matter but I realised on the first night that I would have killer sunsets to enjoy. The staff were so friendly and helpful. They made my stay so easy and enjoyable.
For dinner on night one I had a steak sandwich and the other night a Soft Shell Crab salad. Included in the room rate was one hour free internet access in one of the public areas. So each night I would take my laptop down to the bar, buy a drink or two during happy hour and take advantage of the free internet access. Adjoining the iBar was the iBistro where they served breakfast and lunch. Eating there at night was a highlight because of the views of Darling Harbour and the city all lit up.