Wednesday, 31 December 2008

The Three Sisters. Sydney Sandstone Part 20 (repost)

Originally posted 30 Oct 2006

The western edge of Sydney is marked by the dissected, uplifted plateau which forms the Blue Mountains. Mostly sandstone, it is basalt capped. This formation, The Three Sisters, is the premier tourist attraction, and shows the layers of sandstone superbly.

I'm away on holidays enjoying myself at the beach. I'm therefore re-posting some sandstone photos I've used previously, some more than two years ago....

Check here for holiday photos, and click here to see the complete sandstone collection.

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Sydney University. Sydney Sandstone Part 19 (repost)

Originally posted 16 Dec 2006

Originally posted 18 Jan 2007

The main Quadrangle, University of Sydney.Originally posted 27 October 2006

I'm away on holidays enjoying myself at the beach. I'm therefore re-posting some sandstone photos I've used previously, some more than two years ago....

Check here for holiday photos, and click here to see the complete sandstone collection.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Duke Kahanamoku. Sydney Sandstone part 18 (repost)

Originally posted 10 October 2006

I'm away on holidays enjoying myself at the beach. I'm therefore re-posting some sandstone photos I've used previously, some more than two years ago....

Sculpture of surfing legend, Hawaiian Duke Kahanamoku.

He is credited with popularising surfboard riding in Australia when he demonstrated his skills at Freshwater Beach in December 1914.

The statue was unveiled by his widow Mrs Duke Paoa Kahanamoku (Nadine) on Australia Day, Wednesday January 26, 1994.

There's a walk around the headland with mosaic tributes to the many Australian men and women who have since been world surfing champions. The plaque at the site adds "It is hoped that this Park and the men and women it honours, will help to fulfil Duke's dream of surfboard riding becoming an Olympic sport." There's more pictures of the Duke here.

Check here for holiday photos, and click here to see the complete sandstone collection.

Sunday, 28 December 2008

Cliff walk between Bondi and Coogee. Sydney Sandstone part 17 (repost)

Originally posted 30 July 2006

I'm away on holidays enjoying myself at the beach. I'm therefore re-posting some sandstone photos I've used previously, some more than two years ago....

Check here for holiday photos, and click here to see the complete sandstone collection.

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Frazer Fountain, Hyde Park. Sydney Sandstone part 16 (repost)

Originally posted 24 and 25 May 2006

I'm away on holidays enjoying myself at the beach. I'm therefore re-posting some sandstone photos I've used previously, some more than two years ago....

This is one of two drinking fountains gifted in the 1880s to the people of Sydney by John Frazer. It was a time when many houses lacked water connections. Carved in Pyrmont sandstone by Lawrence Beveridge.

Check here for holiday photos, and click here to see the complete sandstone collection.

Friday, 26 December 2008

Cloudy sky and plane

Many people travel thousands of kilometres to be with loved ones at Christmas. It's one of the busiest times of the year at airports.

To see skyscapes from around the world, click here.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Happy Homecoming

Several houses in our street have modest decorations for Christmas. We got home last night (Christmas Eve) from visiting family and noticed that the house directly across from us was decorated, with lights a-twinkling. A little strange, I thought, because the occupants, like many in our street are Moslem. And then I realised that, because the Haj (Pilgrimage to Mecca) has been so recent, Hajis (pilgrims) are returning, and this lovely display was one of welcome home. There's another in our street as well. So we're a coulourful street celebrating our various cultural and religious festivities.


Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Last chance shopping

Fish and seafood (especially prawns) are popular Christmas fare in Australia. Last night we went to the Sydney Fish Market to buy a salmon to poach, and came across this monster Moon Fish. Not too sure it will end up on anyone's Christmas table though. Reports are things have been busy at the fish market; it was pretty easy when we were there at 8pm last night. The market remains open from 5am 23 December to 5pm 24 Dec - 36 hours of continuous trading, and busy most tof that time.

Best thing to do is take your own esky or cool bag to bring the seafood home in. I'm pretty sure these book shop present wrappers wouldn't be quite the right thing at the fish markets. I guess they will be moving on to other things from end of business today.

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Monday, 22 December 2008

Park Gates Sydney Sandstone Tour Part 14

Arncliffe Park was originally a Chinese market garden, the property of Kim Too. In March 1889 it was officially proclaimed as a public park. It is bordered by a sandstone fence and entrances.

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Good for a belly laugh: Sydney Sandstone Tour Part 13

If you know me, you'll know I like nothing better than a great big belly laugh (to match my great big belly, I suppose.....). Anyway, I think the locals thought I was mad when the other day I rounded the corner from where the old broom was laid out the other day and came smack bang across the rest of the sandstone cleaning equipment!

Saturday, 20 December 2008

The Great Synagogue: Sydney sandstone tour Part 12

Located opposite Hyde Park is Sydney's Great Synagogue - Beth Ysrael. Like St Mary's Roman Catholic Cathedral on the other side of Hyde Park, it's a beautiful marriage of sandstone and wrought iron outside.

Back in the 1970s my Mum worked as the office administrator here and I visited a few times. I haven't been in since, but I should try to do the tour one day.

It was consecrated in March 1878, and at that time stood out as a landmark. Unfortunately it is rather hemmed in by other buildings now (top photo).

(The photo at left was originally published on this blog on 25 June 2006.)

Friday, 19 December 2008

Christmas Skywatch

This "Christmas shop" has been open for the past couple of months. The fellow holding the sign and waving at the traffic has been there every morning and evening. As his sign suggests, I suppose in a week's time he'll be gone.

To see skyscapes from around the world, click here.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Rodd Mausoleum. Sydney Sandstone Tour Part 11

A family mausoleum, carved by convicts, for a prominent family, the Rodds. Located at Rodd Point on Iron Cove. Rodd and his wife lived nearby with 12 children. Ten of thir embalmed bodies ended up in the mausoleum, and in 1903 were removed to Rookwood Cemetery.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

St Mary's Cathedral from the Australian Museum : Sydney sandstone Part 9

Looking towards St Mary's cathedral from inside the Australian Museum. The building with the pond and fountain and sloping glass wall is the Cook+Philip Park Aquatic Centre. There are more pictures of it here.

St Mary's is the Roman Catholic cathedral; its neo-Gothic sandstone facade was cleaned prior to the Pope's 2008 visit.

Monday, 15 December 2008

An Old Broom: Sydney Sandstone Part 8

Does an old broom sweep as clean? It was quite funny seeing it placed neatly along this sandstone ledge on my morning walk to the station.

Sunday, 14 December 2008

Museum of Sydney and Industrial Court :Sydney Sandstone Part 7

Sydney Sandstone has a beautiful golden honey hue. It is a beautiful building material.

The Museum of Sydney was built in 1993 on the site of the first Government House. The foundations of the 1788 building are preserved under the forecourt. The "viewing cube" in the top left corner provides glimpses (much compromised and almost impossible to photograph successfully - not least because of the glare from the glass....believe me I have tried!) of the harbour. I believe it is the most modern building made from sandstone in Sydney.

The building across the road to the side of the photo houses the Industrial Relations Commission and courts and the offices of the Governor of NSW. Originally it was the Colonial Secretary's Building and was constructed 1873-1880, at the height of Sydney's sandstone building boom.

Saturday, 13 December 2008

The Argyle Cut: Sydney Sandstone Tour Part 6

It looks a bit like an Italianate loggia, but it is the staircase to the cycle way across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, taken from the sandstone cutting in Argyle St, The Rocks - "The Argyle Cut". It was a major early engineering feat, begun by convicts in 1843 by convicts with hammers and chisels, and completed in 1867 with the help of explosives. For some time until 1900 it was the underground home of thugs, petty gangsters and rats. The site was cleaned up after the plague forced authorities to sanitise the area.

While Sandstone gives Sydney it's paerticular "look", at first it was seen as a hindrance because the sandstone is not very far below the surface, and the soils are thus thin and sandy. It was not very good for agriculture. The earliest housing was made from people hewing out the stone, literally from their own backyards, and making themselves a little rock cottage on The Rocks. Very early on, the convicts were put to work, quarrying out huge amounts of sandstone so that by the 1830s they were tunnelling the Argyle Cut.

Using sandstone for major public buildings took off in the 1850s. Skilled masons came from Scotland, France and Italy in the 1870s. It fell out of favour in the 20th century as skyscrapers of glass and steel came to dominate, and there were attempts to demolish some of the most magnificent examples, but fortunately actions in the 1960s and 70s saved many of them. I'll start showing some of Sydney's wonderful buildings from tomorrow.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Taking Leave - Skywatch Friday- Sydney Sandstone Tour Part 5

Sitting on a sandstone ledge at dawn, contemplating the ocean is a very Sydney thing to do. The artist of this piece, Peter Tilley, says it is "a reflection on the dilemmas faced when a decision to move on is made."

To view all my 2008 Sculpture By The Sea posts CLICK HERE.

To see skyscapes from around the world, click here.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Europeans arrive (Sydney Sandstone Part 4)

Captain James Cook sailed the Barque Endeavour into Botany Bay and made landfall here, at Kurnell, on Sunday April 29, 1770, claimed the land for the British Empire, and spent 8 days at anchor. He and his crew never made camp, but stayed on the boat to sleep. Botanists, most notably, Joseph Banks, collected plants, and wildlife was observed. Fresh water was found in a little stream. Cook named the bay Stingray Harbour ( from sightings of stingrays), and it subsequently became known as Botany Bay, after the botanic specimens collected. Eighteen years later, the First Fleet, led by Arthur Phillip, turned up at Botany Bay, looking to establish a British penal colony. Phillip found the fresh water supply inadequate, and the sandy soil unsuitable, so set sail a little further north to explore Port Jackson, which Cook named, but didn't enter.

The top photo shows the marker on the honeycomb weathered sandstone rocks where Cook's landing party set foot. The second photo is the replica boat Endeavour at anchor in Botany Bay. Right, marker and ship.

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Aborigines of Sydney (Sydney Sandstone Part 3)

The sandstone overhangs of the Sydney coast and bush provided great shelter for the original inhabitants, the Aboriginal people. There are also a fair few sites where rock carvings are still evident (I don't have any pics at the moment).

Above: Kurnell on Botany Bay.

Below: Nannygoat Hill, Bardwell Valley. This wonderful piece of remnant bushland is only a few kilometres from the centre of Sydney and right near where I live. Walk up Nannygoat Hill here, and here.

About the Aboriginal people of the Sydney region
The original inhabitants of the area shown in Photo 2 were (perhaps) the Gweagal clan of the Dharug Nation. There does seem to be some confusion about this. One source , the National Trust, says that the Gweagal people lived on the southern side of the Cooks River as far as the Georges River, from the shores of Botany Bay inland towards Liverpool. Other sources such as the map linked below, place the Gweagal people on the south side of the Georges River, and the group around Nannygoat Hill is named as the Gameygal.

Anyway, the river provided fish, oysters, crustaceans, waterfowl and the valleys birds, eggs, possums, snakes, wallabies, goannas, wild honey, berries and nuts - in short, an abundant food supply.

Valleys of Wolli Creek and Bardwell Creek contain evidence of Aboriginal presence in smoke-blackened caves. (I took this photo on Nannygoat Hill *, a rocky outcrop amongst a stand of bushland along Wolli Creek). However, it appears that these may have acted as temporary shelters only for hunting parties, as the people lived more permanently along the abundant shores of Botany Bay. Middens have been found along the Bay, and the river, and were one source of lime in the days when lime was burned in order to provide the substance for the bricks and mortar for Sydney buildings.

The northern part of Arncliffe (now a high-rise housing subdivision called Wolli Creek) and some parkland is bordered by the Cook's River, named after - well, yes - Captain James Cook.

You can meet a Gweagal man, Rod Mason, an Aboriginal Discovery Ranger at Botany Bay National Park, at this website of the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

This map of the clans of the Sydney area, definitely places the Gweagal people at Kurnell.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Tamarama Beach (Sydney Sandstone Part 2)

Here is a longer view of the beach where yesterday's sandstone outcrop was photographed. You can see it in the top photo, with the Surf Life Saving Club built on top of the cliff. It's Tamarama Beach, during the Sculpture By The Sea exhibition. Now it is easy to understand why Sydney has such sandy beaches - it all relates to the raw material! And the gaps in the sandstone eroded to form the huge number of beautiful beaches along the Sydney coastline.

Monday, 8 December 2008

Sandstone and waves (Sydney Sandstone Part 1)

Photo by Nola (my sister) - Happy Birthday, Nola!

The sedimentary rock, sandstone, defines Sydney in so many ways, geographically, and hence scenically, architecturally, as a major building material, even socially (see below).

Most of the city lies on sandstone, with just a few caps of shale on some of the higher ridges. The sandstone rocks of Sydney form a saucer-like basin. It is soft and hence full of joints and splits, allowing water to erode it into gulleys, and wind to help build formations.

"The sterile sandy soil around Sydney forced the early settlement to spread out, while the sandstone cliffs of the Blue Mountains hemmed the European settlers in for 25 years. Later, as Sydney grew, the pattern of ridges and cliffs directed the paths followed by roads, trams and railway lines, and that made Sydney spread out in strange loops and whorls, quite unlike certain well-planned and mundane cities in other parts of Australia. Later again, the gaps in the sandstone along the coast gave us a marvellous variety of surf beaches.
Oddly, the sandstone has also left Sydney more at risk from bushfires. People have settled the accessible ridges, leaving the deeper valleys full of bush. Ferry travel is another Sydney special demanded by the sandstone. Ferries gave people a chance to settle near the shore during the 19th century, increasing the chance today of a fire taking off and running up to the ridge tops. "
(From website here)

This series is a celebration of beautiful honey-coloured Sydney sandstone in all its manifestations.

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Amicus Certus

Symbol on the side of the AMP (Australian Mutual Provident Society) building at Circular Quay.
The full motto is Amicus certus in re incerta (a sure friend in an uncertain event).

Friday, 5 December 2008

Sunset (Skywatch Friday)

I glanced up while I was cooking dinner and noticed a beautiful red glow beyond the house, so grabbed my camera and went up to the top of the street, where, looking along the cross street directly west, this is what rewarded me. It had been a cloudy, fairly murky day with high humidity. The sky cleared by late afternoon and then produced this stunner.

To see skyscapes from around the world, click here.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

The ugliest building in Bondi?

Not everything can be beautiful, even where the Beautiful People live. My guess is that this block isn't much longer for this world. Those backyard chairs, including the comfy armchair are positioned just above the coastal walkway, with the magnificent views of the Pacific.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Felix waves hello from Bondi Beach

Look who's to be seen at Bondi Beach! Our old friend Felix, whom I captured beofe in various guises: see here
Here he's part of a mural celebrating Bondi Boardriders Club.
Guest photographer Nola (my sister)