Sunday, 30 April 2006

Sydney's "Eiffel Tower"

Today is the day our cities are being made to look like another city!

Yes, it was built as a replica of the Eiffel Tower, in 1939! The official name is the AWA Tower. It was Australia's tallest building until 1958. It has a viewing platform which is no longer open to the public.

It's quite difficult to get a good shot of this tower nowadays, hemmed in as it is by taller buildings. One of the best vantage points is from the elevated road approach to the Harbour Bridge, but I was walking at ground level.

AWA was an early Australian communications company, and this radio transmission tower formed an integral part of their building.

Saturday, 29 April 2006


This is another photo from the Sydney Morning Herald anniversary series in Hyde Park, published by popular demand!The caption reads, in part: "Most Australians grow up with the ability to work out when to run and when to stay." LOL

Bushfires are part of the Australian summer experience. Most are well away from population centres, but every year or so there are major fires which do threaten towns and the bushier parts of cities (eg Canberra 2003, Sydney 2003)These cricketers in Cessnock in rural New South Wales seem to be taking it in the stride, however!

Photo was by By Darren Pateman.

You can read more about bushfires and the Australian psyche here

Friday, 28 April 2006

Didgeridoos for sale

Souvenir didgeridoos (and kangaroo glove puppet) for sale in Sydney. You can listen to some didgeridoo music and learn all about them here and here.

Thursday, 27 April 2006

Sydney ships

The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper is celebrating its 175th birthday. I came across this display of photographs on canvas from throughout the period hanging between the trees in Hyde Park. This one of ships at Circular Quay was taken in 1892.

Wednesday, 26 April 2006

Lebanese pastry

This beautiful display of pastry is in my local cake shop, only about 200 metres walk from my front door. I've never tried one of these.

Tuesday, 25 April 2006

Anzac Day: My Dear Mother

Anzac Day, commemorating the contribution made in war. The date, 25 April, is the day when troops landed at Gallipoli in Turkey in the disastrous Dardanelles campaign of World War One. I prefer to think of it as a day not glorifying war but acknowledging its futility.

The card is one I made, featuring a photo of my grandfather, who was a soldier at Gallipoli and the Western Front (Flanders and the Somme). He survived, unlike many of his colleagues, who were either damaged and fractured, or slaughtered (the images behind him). Featured are copies of woven postcards he sent his mother (the card reads "My Dear Mother") and a photo of a poppy I took in the Somme, and 3 rubber stamps - Hotel de France, the 60s peace sign and a poppy.

Sydney will see the usual Anzac Day march, but I prefer not to show that - my grandfather would have nothing to do with it, just saying "War is a terrible, terrible thing and I hope it never happens again". He died in 1965.

This is my tribute to him.

Monday, 24 April 2006

Getting some air

The paved area in front of St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney is a popular place to perfect your ollies, kickflips and pulling air, especially on a beautiful Autumn day.

Sunday, 23 April 2006

Graffiti and Pollution Rant

Graffiti art adorning the South Western Sydney Ocean Outfall Sewer aqueduct.

Yes, Sydney still pumps its sewerage into the ocean at various points. This lot, the effluent of 1.69 million people, goes to the treatment centre at Malabar before being discharged via the deep ocean outfall, 3.6 kilometres offshore. Out of sight, out of mind.

It is treated to a certain extent - called "high rate primary". Sydney Water tells us that primary treatment takes out solid matter such as paper, cotton tips and plastic. Heavy particles like sand sink to the bottom and are removed. The sewage then flows into the primary sedimentation tanks. Here human waste, called sludge, settles to the bottom and oils and grease float to the top where they are collected.

High-rate primary treatment occurs at high flow rates and removes fewer solids.

Sydney and NSW politicians have shown a distinct reluctance to consider proper recycling of effluent. The previous Minister responsible for water, Frank Sartor inflamed matters by saying that Sydneysiders were not prepared to drink recycled sewage, even if it was treated to drinking water standard and safe. You can read more of his wisdom here. Plenty of Sydney-siders reckon otherwise.

This despite the fact that Sydney is in the grip of drought.

So, which is the greater crime - some graffiti tags and a couple of abandoned spray cans, or the continued use of the Pacific Ocean as a sewer? You decide.

Saturday, 22 April 2006

Spray Cans

No prizes for guessing what these were doing abandoned amongst the nasturtiums in a patch of wasteland. I’ll show you tomorrow.

Friday, 21 April 2006


I was walking around my local area when I came across a sign on an old ice cream factory. The sign read ML ANARKY STUDIOS (bits had dropped off). I ventured into the concrete forecourt, couldn't see anyone around to ask what it was all about, but saw this sculptural piece of old car exhaust pipes and mufflers, so guessed it must be some sort of workshop.

Home to everyone's best friend, Google, and I found this site all about MEKanarky. Seems we have our very own converted-factory artists' studios and workshops right here in downtown Turrella, thanks to rising rents closer to the city - the same process that drove artists to Montmartre in the early 20th century and Belleville in the 21st...

Thursday, 20 April 2006

The UFO Christ Man

People call him the "UFO Man" . One writer, Vanessa Berry, called him "the last of the sandwich-board prophets".

I used to see him in in central Sydney but for many years he has lived in a Housing Commission flat in Arncliffe, and that is where you can see him almost daily (mainly afternoons), on the footpath of one of Sydney's busiest arterial roads, the Princes Highway.

He stands pretty still - occasionally wanders back and forth a bit, or pivots to display his message to motorists from the opposite direction.

Yesterday I stopped and tried to talk to him, but what he utters is pretty incomprehensible. I don't know his name, just that he has been a fixture for many years.

His message? Isiah 66:15
"For, behold, the Lord will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire."

Wednesday, 19 April 2006

Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras

Yes, well, I'm late, but it wasn't TOO long ago. An annual cultural festival, culminating in the fabulous parade through Sydney's gay heartland. Takes place around the first Saturday in March. Good time, as it's usually quite hot still, which is necessary considering the amount of bare flesh.

While there's lots of fun had by all, there's still plenty of room for protest, by drawing attention to ongoing injustices. I was there in support of my gay and lesbian friends, colleagues and the community, to take part in a Trade Union float protesting at the new workplace laws introduced by the Howard government.