Thursday, 31 August 2006

Cup cakes

Display in the window of a shop specialising in chef's equipment and commerical kitchen goods. These "cookie jars" make a colourful addition to the mainly stainless steel and white goods.

Tuesday, 29 August 2006

Inside the button shop

This is where yesterday's door led. It is a treasure house of the most beautiful buttons, many vintage 1950s and 1960s.

Monday, 28 August 2006

Closed today!

What a pity this shop with the intriguing door handle is closed today...we'll have to come back tomorrow to see what's inside!

Never mind, there's still plenty to enjoy on a stroll along King St. It's a good day's walk if you do the full length, stopping for coffees and browsing shops along the way. Lots of second hand bookshops attract me.

One of the things I love most about Newtown is that EVERYONE is here - it isn't just representative of ONE group of people. There are oldtime residents, students, Goths, political activists, gays and lesbians (and yes, please feel free to walk hand in hand and show affection to your same-sex partner), young families with kids in trendy jogging strollers, Pacific Island immigrants (the Greeks and Turks of a previous generation having mainly moved on, but there is still the large Greek Orthodox church), conservative protestant Christian theologians from Moore College (who now own the building which when I was a student at Sydney Uni in the 1970s was a pub with the best beer garden - the White Horse) , public housing residents, famous right wing shock jocks (Alan Jones), people with electric blue of flourescent pink hair, the tattooed and pierced and's truly eclectic.

Sunday, 27 August 2006

Newtown coffee shop

Newtown is an inner city suburb not far from where I live. It's been gentrified over the past 20 years or so, and now houses more cafes than you can contemplate, African hair salons, two community theatres, an art house multiscreen cinema, a thousand Thai restaurants, vintage clothing shops, retro furniture ... The shops are a delight because it's a long, long strip of individual shops along King St - no shopping mall, no chain stores (or very few). At the northern end you find Sydney University, and large houses - it's the most gentrified. At the southern, St Peters end, thinks are still a little bit grungier, although change is very rapid. In the past couple of weekends I've been there I've noticed a few shops being gutted and re-fitted.

Today I went to buy a new filter for my Moka espreso coffee maker. Allegro is a Newtown institution, and sells some of the best ground and roasted coffee in Sydney. It also retains its beautiful shopfront, and delightfully 1960s interior click on the photo to see the wallpaper and wall tiles!).

Saturday, 26 August 2006

Developer's goals

In Sydney, it's often said that property developers rule. This sculpture is located in one of the most controversial development sites in central Sydney in recent years - World Square. For many years it was a huge ugly hole in the ground.

This sculpture is called "The Challenge". The attached plaque says:

"The bull, a mythological beast, is the embodiment of spirituality and symbolises the qualities of strength, endurance and tenacity necessary in meeting the many challenges encountered in achieving success.

OSW Properties, the developer of this site, admires these qualities and applies them in setting it's [sic] own goals in the development industry."

Maybe its first goal should be to learn to use its correctly on public plaques. Own goal, OSW Properties, despite the bravado.

Friday, 25 August 2006

Al-Zahra Mosque

This well decorated entrance is to Al-Zahra mosque in my suburb. It's a Shi'ite mosque, with adherents mainly from Lebanon, but also many Iraqis (and others I guess). It was established in 1980, certainly the first Shi'ite mosque in Sydney (and it may still be the only Shi'ite one; not sure on that).

Unlike when I lived in Turkey, however, you never hear the call to prayer.

It's also rare to hear church bells in Sydney , something I remember fondly from living in England. Noise laws I think.

Thursday, 24 August 2006

Australian Coat of Arms

This rendering of the Coat of Arms is found on Law Courts in Macquarie St Sydney. You can find a full description of it here.

The kangaroo and emu are pretty obvious. In the shield in the middle, from left to right, top to bottom:
  • cross of St George and lion (New South Wales)
  • Imperial crown and Southern Cross (Victoria)
  • Maltese cross and Imperial crown (Queensland)
  • Australian piping shrike (South Australia)
  • Black Swan (Western Australia)
  • Lion (Tasmania)

The star above the shield is the seven pointed Federation Star - one point for each of the six state and one representing the territories. The circular thing is representative of a wreath.

Wednesday, 23 August 2006

Public Education

The billboard on the left is sponsored by the NSW Teachers federation, the union representing public school teachers. It has no control over the billboard on the right...I think they look like Great Kids.

Tuesday, 22 August 2006

Vanishing icons: the Holden Monaro GTS

The Monaro was made by Holden, the Australian branch of General Motors from 1968 to 1979. It was a rev-head's car of choice. I pass this lovingly restored example on my walk to the station each morning. I especially love the "Monaro Parking Only" sign!

Wikipedia has some more info here, and there's a history of the Monaro, including this model, here.

Monday, 21 August 2006

View from wharf 2/3

View from one of the windows of finger wharf 2/3, where we saw Asian Field yesterday.

Sunday, 20 August 2006

Asian Field by Antony Gormley

One of the exhibitions in this year's Biennale of Sydney, is Antony Gormley's installation of 180 000 hand-made clay figures. It is located in one of the finger wharves in Sydney Harbour, which makes a marvellous backdrop. We had a mosey around yesterday (Saturday). I've put some more photos, including a close-up, on Sydney Daily Photo Extra. (do have a look there: the figures are all so individual!)

Gormley says of his work:

"I've been making the Field project for over 15 years - taking the clay of a particular region of the world...and allowing local people to form a surrogate population."

This installation was made by 500 villagers in a southern Chinese village. The exhibition includes photos of those people, with one each of their clay models. It is almost as engaging as the installation itself. My 12 year old son was captivated.

You can read more about the making of them in the Chinese village : here and their installation in Sydney : here.

I can remember seeing his Field for the British Isles at the British Museum in London in 2003. That version of 40 000 sculptures has tourd throughout Britain. This art work has been exhibited in several countries - do you know if it has been in yours?

Saturday, 19 August 2006

Change in Surry Hills

Yesterday I mentioned that Surry Hills is a rapidly changing part of Sydney. It is going through the transition from a factory and warehouse district on the city fringe, home to the textile and garment industry, to one housing white collar workers and apartment dwellers (as well as some great cafes!).

The building on the left was Silknit House, which started as a textile factory, became artists' studios and squats and is now, after extensive restoration, the headquaters of the NSW Teachers Federation. It also houses other businesses, including an art bookshop and two cafes on the ground floor, and the Office of Film and Literature Classification occupies two floors. The building on the right is a newly built luxury apartment block, above the head office of the Teachers Federation Health Fund.

In the 1830s - 40s the site was a brickfield, and in the 1870s it became residential (terraced) housing. These came to be occupied by many Chinese immigrants in the early 1900s, and were demolished in the 1920s for commercial development, including some in 1922 for a Turkish bath house. In 1994, Silknit House was assessed by the government for use as a remand prison, but the site was deemed to be too expensive.

Friday, 18 August 2006

Factory to YOU!

The area I work in (Surry Hills) is a rapidly gentrifying part of the city which was once the centre of the garment industry. Now there are warehouse conversions (including the building I work in), and designer furniture shops. But there also remains lots of remnants of the past life of the district, and the grungy side hasn't yet disappeared altogether. I saw this sign as I was wandering around at lunchtime and it really appealed to me. Not sure it will last too long!

Thursday, 17 August 2006

Basement Files

Looking through the basement window of the Land Titles Office (Department of Lands) in Sydney.

Wednesday, 16 August 2006

Site of the old tramway shed

Yesterday I referred to the most famous site of an old tram shed in Sydney. It was at Bennelong Point, where the Opera House now sits.

Even the name 'Bennelong Point' is important in Australian history, for it speaks about the first contact between the original inhabitants and the European invader. In the early years of settlement , the 1790s, Bennelong was kidnapped and employed as a cultural go-between. He asked the first Governor, Arthur Phillip, to build a brick hut for him on this point.

You can see some great pictures of the point in days gone by by looking at yesterday's links.

To find out more about the indigenous history of Sydney, look here.
For more about Bennelong, look here.

The building of Sydney Opera House, designed by Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, was not without controversy. For more, look here. Happily, there are plans to undertake work to enable the Opera House to more closely resemble Utzon's original plans.

Tuesday, 15 August 2006

Sydney Bus and Truck Museum

The most famous ex-tramshed is the one shown if you click here. Anyone know what stands there now? The answer lies here.

The historical Tempe tramsheds are partly used these days as a bus depot, but the buildings also house the Sydney Bus and Truck Museum. The site includes a clickable list with photos of all their buses and trucks, for the bus-spotting anoraks amongst you!

Monday, 14 August 2006

The Harp

Painting on the outside wall of The Harp Irish Pub at Tempe. It faces the very busy Princes Highway and is always a welcome sight after the light industry of the area.

Not one of those prettified brewery-fake Irish pubs, The Harp attracts some high quality musical acts.

Sunday, 13 August 2006

For all your protest needs

Saturday there was another anti-war in Lebanon rally in Hyde Park. At one of the stalls there was the opportunity to stock up on all your protest badge needs.

Actually, I was going to post a picture of a troop of young girl scouts in their Islamic-adapted scouting uniform, and their protest banners, but I am squeamish about posting photos of children on my blog, without parental permission. There are too many unknown quantities lurking around the was certainly a striking image though.

Saturday, 12 August 2006

Happy Birthday Central Station

Central Station has been having its 100th birthday. This magnificent railways clock is in the main concourse. There are some good pictures of the station while being built, and in the early days at this website.

Friday, 11 August 2006

...and for lovers of some grease...

Recently Kate in St Paul showed a van selling "Australian Battered Potatoes" at her State Fair. Several comments were received wondering what an Australian Battered Potato might be. Well, my guess is this: a slice of potato, dipped in batter and deep fried. Real heart attack fare! Sold at fish and chip and takeaway food shops. In the interests satisfying inquiring minds I felt it incumbent upon myself to undertake some lunchtime research... that's an extra three hours at the gym at least, but, well, someone has to make the sacrifice for The Community :-)

Thursday, 10 August 2006

Something for the sweet tooths

Way back in April I posted a picture of Lebanese Pastry in my nearest cake and pastry shop. Here's an older, more traditional "Australian" cake shop in the main shopping street in my suburb. It's run by Vietnamese people now, and they've kept all the old staples: iced patty cakes, lurid pink iced finger buns and raisin buns, cream donuts and iced donuts with sprinkles . . . (and inside, caramel slices, coconut slices, vanilla slices, lamingtons, and much, much more...)

Wednesday, 9 August 2006

Renzo Piano building

I love this building (the tall one with the interesting shape in the middle of the pic). It was designed by Genoese architect Renzo Piano, perhaps most famous for the "inside-out" Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris. I wish this one housed something as interesting, but sadly, it's an office block, chief tenant ABN Amro bank.

This view is from the Botanic Gardens across Macquarie Street (PS I also really like the shorter art deco building in the foreground).

(PS It's the 61st anniversary of the detonation of the second atomic bomb over Nagasaki. Just to draw a contrast between the seeming 'permanence' of such edifices as this, and humanity's propensity for self-destruction)

Tuesday, 8 August 2006

The Law of Diminishing Returns

I was seeking shelter from a downpour in a shopping arcade, lamenting the fact that it was all so grim outside and I hadn't found a subject for the blog, when I got captivated by this display of high definition TVs and my thoughts wandered to Economics 101 : the Law of Diminishing Marginal Returns.

The more STUFF we buy, the diminishing marginal return of pleasure from each. . . it's all a gamble, a circus, a roundabout of conspicuous consumption...(except for my digital camera, and computer, and my son's iPod which I love to borrow, and, and, and ... now there are some things that have brought enormous pleasure!)

Guess that's the Law of Hypocritical Contentment [Sally, 2006]

Monday, 7 August 2006

Enviro Trade Centre

I love spotting this "sign" outside a building centre along a particularly dull stretch of road in the Sydenham area of Sydney. This is a "weekend only" type photo to take - the incessant traffic prevents stopping during the week.

Sunday, 6 August 2006

Hiroshima Day

A serious post for the 61st anniversary of the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. We are still surrounded by war, hatreds, conflict in so many places. This container reminds me of a photo Abdallah posted on Beirut Daily Photo on 29 July. . .

The container is an exhibition forming part of the Sydney Biennale. The sign reads:

Milica Tomic, born Belgrade, former Yugoslavia 1960. Lives and works in Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro.

'My art is an attempt to save the memory of history, which is a defining part of our identity. . .the issues which I derived from this idea of criticality I would like to place in the context of personal political discussions.' In Container [2006] Milica Tomic references a reported event from the war in Afghanistan. Captured Taliban, under the supervision of the US Army, were shot dead after requesting that air holes be made in the shipping containers in which they were being transported. Tomic also makes reference to an event from the Balkan wars - when people were herded into containers and dropped into deep water.

Surely as a species we can do better than to constantly invent better weapons with which to kill and ways of oppressing each other?

Saturday, 5 August 2006

Friday, 4 August 2006

Gladstone and Wentworth

This pair of Victorian houses is one of my favourites in my local area. Built in 1886, they are rendered brick, with double storey verandahs and lavishly decorated cast iron lacework. I think the one on the left is still a single residence; the one on the right has definitely been subdivided into flats. This is a great example of how Victorian domestic architecture was translated into the Australian context.

There's some more views here.

Thursday, 3 August 2006

It moves!

Carlos in Barcelona has shown us some wonderful shots of the statue buskers in Las Ramblas. Here in Sydney they congregate around Circular Quay.

I was lucky enough to be wandering past when this one showed signs of life!

Wednesday, 2 August 2006

Wylie's Baths, Coogee

In the early 1900s, swimming pools were built hewn from rock platforms and below many of the rocky headlands of Sydney beaches around Sydney (and beaches to the north and south of Sydney). They remain popular today, many hosting winter swimming clubs.

Wylie's Baths at Coogee date from 1907 and were restored in 1994-95 (the website linked here has some interesting info and images)

There's some more pictures posted here, including another self-portrait.

Tuesday, 1 August 2006

Il Porcellino

Today is Daily Photo Theme Day - self portrait in a favourite place.

This is Il Porcellino, outside Sydney Hospital in Macquarie Street. The "little pig", actually a wild boar, is a copy of the one found in the Straw Market in Florence (one of the reasons it is one of my favourite places - it brings back happy memories of various travels). It was presented to the hospital in 1968 by the Marchessa Clarissa Torrigiani in memory of her father and brother – Dr Thomas Fiaschi who died in 1928 and Dr Piero Fiaschi who died in 1948. Both had been renowned surgeons at the hospital. There's more about it here.

Sydney Hospital itself is also interesting; it is Australia's oldest hospital.

For all the other Daily Photo bloggers' self-portraits, visit the sites listed below:
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26