Sydney Harbour lights (Look up)

View under Sydney Harbour Bridge from Dawes Point at night, 21 Nov 2008

Under Sydney Harbour Bridge, Millers Point

There’s nothing better than a walk along Sydney Harbour shore at night. The crisp, salt tang of the air, the rush and bump of the traffic over the metal bridge, the lapping of the wash from ferries. Solid, grand and an icon of Aussie pride.  ♦

 


 

Weekly Photo Challenge – Look up!

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/photo-challenges/look-up/

An old photo taken with my Canon Powershot A550.

 

Creepy critters (Silhouette)

 

Flying foxes at Parramatta Park, Sydney, Australia

“Children of the night” *

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Last winter, we walked in Parramatta Park just on dusk. We paused on the footbridge to admire the silhouettes of the grand old trees in the fading light. A squabbling and screeching of ‘birds’ rippled the shadows.

Slowly we realised the heavy boughs were in fact covered with the hanging pods of hundreds of roosting flying foxes. A creepy fascination held me fast to the spot to watch them.

Flying foxes are larger than a bat and have a furry face like a fox. They eat pollen, nectar and fruit. The colony in Parramatta Park is of grey-headed flying foxes. More photos and information here.

quote from Dracula. Dir. Tod Browning. Per. Bela Lugosi. Universal, 1931. Motion picture.

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Weekly Photo Challenge, ‘Silhouette’

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/dp_photo_challenge/silhouette-2014/

Photo taken 11 August 2013 with my old Canon PowerShot A550

Footbridge over Parramatta River, near Byrnes Ave, Parramatta Park

Parramatta, in the Greater Sydney area, New South Wales, Australia

 

[https://goo.gl/maps/uGiDE]

Sydney Harbour Bridge aka (affectionately) ‘The Giant Coat Hanger’

Australians like to poke fun at things*, especially themselves. So it’s with mostly pride and a fair bit of self-deprecation that we nicknamed our wonderfully unique Harbour Bridge in Sydney, ‘The Giant Coat Hanger’!

Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney, Australia

The Giant Coat Hanger

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I don’t know if kids still call it that? But my family did.

And although it was an absolute must for many school excursions and family holidays from ‘the Bush’, and everyone had the obligatory harbour shot with The Bridge front and centre, we still pulled it down a peg* and called it The Coat Hanger.

So I was amused at myself, a couple of weeks ago, when we were on a Sydney Harbour lunch cruise…

Apart from a couple of tables and us the boat was patronised by large groups of older tourists. Cameras on the swaying foredeck was the order of the day.

I resisted.

After all I’d seen The Harbour before, had even lived in Sydney where the harbour was my daily commute, and we had already done a hop-on hop-off harbour cruise a few years before where I wore out my shutter button. And, of course, there was lunch! Well, it wasn’t gourmet but that was part of what we’d come for.

So we were enjoying the harbour, the views and the beautiful day. We ate and drank and reminisced, watched the other boats, a ferry or two, and slipped in and around the coves and bays of blue water gawking at the amazing waterfront real estate.

But when it came to the final promenade up the main basin of Port Jackson, past ‘Pinchgut’ or Fort Denison, and approaching the Opera House and ‘The Giant Coat Hanger’ … I just couldn’t help myself!

Sydney Harbour by lunch cruise, Sydney, Australia

The grand icons of stunning Sydney Harbour

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The cruise would end at Darling Harbour so it meant we would go UNDER The Bridge! I’ve been on, over, around, and at the base of The Bridge for New Year’s Eve, but never UNDER it by water!!

So I scrambled last minute to the top deck, braced myself against the lurching railing, and waited for the money shot!

ZOOOMMMMPP! That was the sound of my camera closing back up again, due to empty batteries!!!

So I laughed at myself for succumbing to the innate tourist urge … and sat and enjoyed the rest of the view!  ♦

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But here are some of my past views of The Giant Coat Hanger.

I like to do things a little differently – being on ‘the road less travelled’ and all that – and as an Aussie I guess I don’t take The Bridge too seriously, so I usually look for oddball angles!

 


Aussie icons series

Photos taken with my old Canon Powershot A550, 2008-2014

* ‘to poke fun at’ – to make fun of in an affectionate, cheeky way.

We often do this with a serious looking face, then a delayed grin or a wink when the person takes you seriously. Some people, like my uncle, always teases with a straight face and I get caught thinking he’s serious just about every time! You think I’d have learnt by now!!

* ‘to pull something/someone down a peg’ – to treat something / someone with a dose of reality so they don’t become too full of vanity at their own greatness.

A weekend of Aussie wonders

Last weekend was a most amazingly diverse kaleidoscope of a few of my very favourite things – from ancient maps and antique ships at two museums…to a light show festival…to the waters of Sydney Harbour…to coffee by a fountain and brunch by a lake!

Ok, they were not all off the beaten track – but sometimes you’ve got to play ‘tourist’ in your own backyard too!

Here is a smattering of the pics I took (although I didn’t take the new camera or tripod, being ‘on the hoof’ and à la backpack).

It was the most wondrous weekend and it looked something like this:

Friday night: Night session at the ‘Mapping Our World’ exhibition at the National Library of Australia in Canberra

Friday night was one of the special event openings of this exhibition. It was great to be able to wander through after hours.

Many of the maps have never been seen in Australia, some have never been out of their home country. They included:

* the maps made by Captain Cook, who charted the east coast of Australia, paving the way for the penal colony of New South Wales * Matthew Flinders’ instruments and charts * Medieval maps of the ‘known world’ and a few guesses at the unknown * Maps from the 9th to 11th centuries, including a reproduction of the work of Ptolemy from the 2nd century AD.

It was so engrossing, two hours flew by. I was awestruck to see artifacts that are so old and to gain insight into how people viewed the world then.

ENLIGHTEN Festival, Canberra

We then wandered outside in the Parliamentary Triangle to see the national buildings illuminated with intricate slides and patterns. There was a food fair, music and performances in the gardens and parks between the monumental buildings of Canberra. Just magical!

Saturday: Lake Burrinjuck picnic via Good Hope Rd, Yass NSW

Cows grazing on Burrinjuck lakebed, Good Hope Road via Yass, NSW, Australia

Just our little old picnic spot down the road!

After the late night we decided on a lazy picnic at one of our favourite spots. Cue meandering cows, a flock of pelicans soaring and landing on the dwindled lake, a sea eagle overhead, (the only faint hum of) wave jumpers and water skiers, all with a backdrop of an ancient rock wall and a purple, swelling storm front.

Sunday: Drive to Sydney via the Southern Highlands detour, to stay at Ultimo

A great Wotif.com discovery of a large double room with balcony, 2 blocks from the Powerhouse Museum and a nice easy walk past terraced houses and converted historic warehouses to Darling Harbour. All for only AUD $130 per night!

Monday: (Canberra long weekend)

Lunch cruise on Sydney Harbour, wander around Darling Harbour

Sydney Harbour on Fusion lunch cruise

Stunning Sydney Harbour

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With some time before our harbour cruise we wandered through the beautiful Chinese Garden of Friendship at Darling Harbour.

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour, Sydney, Australia

Chinese Garden of Friendship, Darling Harbour, Sydney

Then after the cruise we strolled around Darling Harbour some more, having coffee at the Lindt Chocolate Cafe by the brolga fountain, browsed the shops at Harbourside, and pottered around the antique ships moored at the National Maritime Museum.

We’ll be back to Darling Harbour some time as I want to explore inside the Onslow submarine and the replica of the ‘Endeavour’, the ship that Captain Cook sailed to Australia and the Pacific in 1770.

Oh and we bought the obligatory tacky souvenir magnet for the fridge!  ♦

The next few posts will feature these destinations with more photos.

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Photos taken with my old Canon Powershot A550, 8-10 March 2014

A convict inside (Parramatta Female Factory)

Original 1818-21 wall of the Parramatta Female Factory (2nd class yard), New South Wales, Australia

1818 convict wall, Parramatta Female Factory                        (2nd Class yard)

In 1838 Catherine Dixon found herself on the wrong side of this wall. She was my great great great great grandmother. So I retraced her footsteps, with my camera, to see what life was like for her ‘on the inside’.

Why was Catherine ‘inside’?

She was a thirty year old widow sentenced to 14 years transportation for receiving stolen goods [Lancaster Quarter Sessions 1836 trial register]. Her four young children were sent with her to New South Wales.

(To see a description of what Catherine looked like and more on her transportation to Australia go to Part 1, ‘A convict in the tree’.)

At the journey’s end Catherine had been assigned to M Sparke of Sydney. But soon afterward she and her daughter were sent to this place, the Female Factory in Parramatta.

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A convict in the tree

Parramatta Female Factory Precinct, Cumberland Hospital, Parramatta, New South Wales, Australia

A majestic old tree sheltering convict and colonial buildings, Parramatta

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A little while back I found some convict bricks in my veggie patch. It got me thinking about the Australian ‘royal blood’ or convict blood in my family tree. 

Of my convict ancestors the one that strikes my heart the most is Catherine Hughes, my great great great great grandmother (4 x great). Something about her sad plight touches me. I wanted to know more about her life on Australian soil and to retrace her footsteps.

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