Saturday, 16 February 2019

Visiting the Big Smoke - Part 1

Mick and I go down to Sydney every now and then for various things, usually down and back in a day, but we haven't been into the city itself since the end of 2010!  A couple of weeks ago we had the opportunity to visit and play the tourist, which was quite novel for us.

I had a quick trip down last June to visit the Quilt Show, staying with Chooky and catching up with a lot of the girls.  I never really did get around to blogging about that trip.  A big part of that was travelling to Sydney by train.  When I was a kid, and up till my mid teens, you could catch a train from Bathurst to Sydney in the morning and return that evening.  All that changed in the early 1980s when they introduced the XPT train, which travelled to Sydney in the evening and to Bathurst in the  morning.  If you wanted to go to Sydney for the day you had to drive to Lithgow and catch a train from there, or catch a bus from Bathurst, which required pre-booking and was really all too hard. After years of lobbying by some dedicated locals the "Bathurst Bullet" was introduced a few years ago.  What a great thing it is, especially with the traffic chaos in the city at the moment.

We arrived in Sydney at half past nine, caught another train to Hyde Park and checked our bags into the hotel.  Then it was time to play the tourist.  

We had all day to fill in at our leisure, so what to do?  Jenny and Robin from Romany Rambler provided the inspiration.  When their trip on the Indian Pacific was cut short they had extra time in Sydney and travelled to Parramatta on the ferry.  That is something that we have never done, so this was the perfect opportunity.

The Norwegian Jewel cruise ship was in port.

About to go under the Harbour Bridge.

Past the lovely old wharves.  

The new casino under construction around towards Darling Harbour.

Past flash harbourside homes.  We've never really been far this side of the bridge on a ferry.

Historic Cockatoo Island.

Under the Gladesville Bridge.  That is what our ferry looked like.  They are all named after famous Australian sportswomen.  

This beautiful ols building is the Thomas Walker Convalescent Hospital dating from 1893.

There were glimpses of the industrial past of the river. By now it was becoming more like a river than the Sydney Harbour.

Then it changed to a quiet river, lined by mangroves and with lots of birdlife.  We were surprised at how clean the waterways were for the whole trip.  There certainly has been a huge clean up over the last 30 or so years.  Having said that, apparently there is still a lot of contamination in the water from the industrial past of the western harbour and river.

Finally, an hour and a half later, we reached our destination of Parramatta.

We had an hour to kill before our return ferry departed.  The weather was stifling hot, in the very high 30s, so we just had a gentle stroll along the river park and then found a cafe for lunch.

We then enjoyed a relaxing return ride back to Circular Quay.  While we were travelling along I was wondering about the history of the river and Mr Google found an article here.  It really is interesting reading.  There is so much that we don't know about Australia.

After we disembarked we went for a wander around the Opera House precinct. 

 It was a couple of days before Chinese New Year and some fun installations were being erected.

The rooster shows the clever way they were constructed, with fabric stretched over a steel frame.

As always, there were lots of people enjoying being out and about, despite the oppressive heat.

We continued on our way, walking through the Royal Botanic Gardens.  This statue "The Satyr" reminded me a little of the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens.

The Morton Bay Figs were huge.

We both loved the wild flowering section.  What a contrast to the buildings in the background.

This gives you an idea as to how tall they were.

We enjoyed the fernery too.

During the day we had seen lots of ibis.  They even had a nest in the Botanic Gardens.

As we headed back to our hotel we had to check out a fountain I had seen mentioned on the map when I had done a little search.  The Archibald Fountain is well known (I forgot to take a photo of it), but I had never heard of the "Busby Bore Fountain".  It is tucked away down near St James Station on the Elizabeth Street side of the park.

There is a plaque nearby, but sadly it is next to impossible to read.  Of course I had to ask Mr Google a little about it.


On a plaque located approximately 1 metre north from the fountain, an inscription reads: “This fountain was provided by the Council of the City of Sydney to commemorate Sydney’s / second source of water / and its first piped water supply. / As the Tank Stream, the original source of water, was dwindling and had become befouled, Governor Darling in / 1826, directed the Government Mineral Surveyor and Civil Engineer, John Busby, to undertake / the task of / increasing the water supply to Sydney. John Busby proposed and supervised the construction of a tunnel from / Lachlan Swamps (now Centennial Park) to a position in Hyde Park opposite Stanley Street and near College / Street. Work commenced with convict labour at Hyde Park on August 15, 1827. The tunnel was / completed in May, 1837, and was approximately 12,000 feet long with an average cross section of 5 feet by 4 feet. It cost 24,000 pounds / to construct, and delivered up to 400, 000 gallons daily. Water was carried by pipes, supported on trestles, from / the tunnel end to an enclosure near the corner of Elizabeth and Park Streets until 1844, when pipes were laid / from the tunnel to various parts of Sydney. The Bore remained Sydney’s sole source of water until 1859. / The Fountain was placed in operation by / Lord Mayor of Sydney / Alderman H.F. Jensen/ on 26.10.62. / J.H. Luscombe / Town Clerk / Designer: John Byrom – Architect.”
You can read the full article here.  There are some very informative web sites.  Everything I looked up about places in Sydney had really interesting information.

I'm glad we discovered this tribute to such an important  part of Sydney's history, but am sorry that the plaque is in such poor condition.  I must say, I'm enjoying finding out the more obscure bits and bobs, rather than the ones that we all know and love.

By then we were about walked out, so back to the hotel to get ready for our evening.

More tomorrow.


Jenny said...

Looks like a fun holiday in the city. There's nothing nicer than staying in a hotel when camping and caravanning is the norm.
We are currently booking our return trip on the Indian Pacific later in the year, after our aborted trip last year.

Jenny said...

PS we found the Sydney transport system incredibly easy to use. Loved the trains and ferry rides, and circular quay is an amazing vibrant place.

Fiona said...

looks like a lovely day. I have never been to Sydney so getting a few ideas for one day when I do. The flowers look lovely... and so do you... I think you have lost quite a bit of weight?

Cheryll said...

Thanks for taking me along too. I thoroughly enjoyed my day in Sydney and the parra river...

Lily Allen said...

Nice article as well as whole site.Thanks.
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