Tuesday, 30 June 2009

OH, HB and sandstone

There aren't all that mny places where you can get the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House in one shot. The Dawes Point (western) side of the bridge is one.

This is taken from Ives Steps Wharf right near Pier One.

I don't know what the little round copper-roofed sandstone building is - couldn't see a plaque (maybe I'm just unobservant), and I've been madly googling, to no avail. So if anyone knows what it is, I'd love to know. It's a footpath level, with the wrought iron fence along the water on either side.

Update: My Sydney bloggy colleague and indefatigable historical super-sleuth, Julie, has probably solved the mystery. The site was originally used as a tiny observatory, built by Lieutenant Dawes. But then Governor Macquarie ordered a crenellated tower be built as a defence against the Russians and French, so this is probably part of it.

Julie also uncovered some interesting information about the beautiful wrought iton balustrade - have a look at Julie's Plumbing the Deeps blog to find out more.

Monday, 29 June 2009


Resuming our walk around from Circular Quay to Pier One....here we are under the Harbour Bridge.

Sunday, 28 June 2009

In solidarity with Iranian bloggers

Iranian bloggers and photographers are having their sites shut down, and worse, disappearing or being arrested.

One City Photo Blogger, "A", from Tehran has not been heard of for some days. Reports are that he has been imprisoned for taking photos in the street. The City Daily Photo Blogging community is responding by drawing attention to the situation in that country.

Today, several of us in the City Daily Photo community are blogging in support of one of our friends, as well as all those protesting in Iran and around the world for democracy in Iran.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants


At 8.20am as ferries arrive at Circular Quay delivering communters to the city, this cormorant takes a pole position to survey proceedings.

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Car park with a view

Last week I went to a seminar at Watersedge, at Pier One, Walsh Bay. For the next few days I'm going to show some of the sights along the way. It's a very small distance, with some of the most spectacular views Sydney can offer.

Friday, 26 June 2009

City from Towers Street Arncliffe (Skywatch Friday)

This is the view over the inner southern suburbs towards the city, from near my house (I don't have a view, unfortunately). Overseas visitors have commented to me that they are surprised at how green Sydney is. I don;t quite know what their image of Sydney is, but it gets a fair amount of rainfall, and I guess compared to some cities I've visited, there are a lot of trees, and parks. You can see more recent apartment developments, but much of Sydney's population still lives in Single dwellings, with backyards.

Have you ever been surprised by preconceptions visitors hold of your city?

Below: The same view at sunrise yesterday:

To see other skies around the world, click on these words.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


On a recent Sunday afternoon, these girls were busy filming in various locations around the local area. They were making a film for a school English assignment. And they seemed to be having a lot of fun doing it.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Stone Villa Inc, Sydenham

This house was the only one to survive the demolition of 152 houses in Sydenham which were severely affected by aircraft noise when the third runway was built at the airport.

It is now leased by Marrickville Council to local artists as a community arts studio.

Monday, 22 June 2009

St Mary's Coptic Orthodox Church, Sydenham

Located in the inner south of Sydney, Sydenham was a heavily industrialised suburb, with a traditional working class, and ethnically diverse population.

Then, when the controversial third runway was built at Sydney airport in 1992-94, just 2 kms distant, Sydenham, straight under the flight path, was dramatically affected.

152 houses were bought by the federal government, demolished, and turned into a park.

This church, known as the Tempe Park Methodist Church replaced a nearby older, smaller church in 1902. In 1968, following a petition to the Papal See in Cairo, the first Coptic Orthodox priest, Father Nematalla, arrived in Sydney and, with funds contributed by his congregation, purchased this church. It was reconsecrated as St Mary and St Mina's Coptic Orthodox Church, the first Coptic Church in Australia and the first owned by Coptic migrants outside of Egypt.

St Mary and St Mina's Coptic Orthodox Church was part of the aircraft-noise-affected land acquired by the Federal Government and given to Marrickville Council for community use. The heritage-listed building was not demolished but is no longer used as a church. Its future use is still to be determined.

The Coptic church was relocated at federal government cost in Bexley.

To find out more about Sydenham, click here.

Sunday, 21 June 2009


My colleague from work, Amanda (she's on the right), and her friend Anna-Louise went to Pink's recent concert in Sydney. Anna-Louise had scored backstage passes to meet Pink afterwards.

Have you ever been in the presence of the latest hot celebrity?

(Photo c/- Amanda)

Friday, 19 June 2009

Port Botany and City across Botany Bay

Lots of cloud, lots of rain lately, and the occasional brilliant sunshine, especially along the coastal parts of Sydney.

To see other skies around the world, click on these words.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

Redfern Park - Inspiration for a photographer

A new feature of Redfern Park since its refurbishment is this water feature. The interactive water feature is a cross formation of lotus lily stems reaching two metres in height with pop jet water features and water rill channels for water play. It is located in the area designed for young children to play.

At one end is a memorial plaque to Michael Riley, a local Aboriginal artist/photographer, Michael Riley. You can read more about Riley here: Message Stick, and see many of his works here: Sights Unseen.

The plaque reads:

Michael Riley 1960 - 2004
Of the Wiradjuri and Kamilaroi People

"I found I wanted to tell stories and get stories from Aboriginal people."

Michael was born in 1960 in Dubbo. Aboriginal people of Michael's generation thrived both in numbers, vocal visibility and artistic achievement.
His generation was a line of sophisticated people who fell between, in Michael's words, 'The Trad Ab and the Rad Ab' but wh developed into worldly art practitioners and stylish urbane personalities.

His quiet seemingly aloof demeanour actually belied a deep thinking person of extreme warmth, humour and generosity. Michael's poignant insightful frames and landscapes express the universal search for an historic spirituality. Initiially there was the dreaming, but if this is lost, what replaces this guiding core of our lives? The relationship (and attendant issues), to some degree go beyond questions of indigenity alone. Equally he is loved and missed.

Djon Mundine OAM

"Aboriginal spirituality is still there within the land even if the surface has changed there's still a sense of beauty and spirituality there."

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Redfern Park play

Part of the brief for the redevelopment of Redfern Park was the creation of interactive playground space for the under-7s.

This beautiful sculptural-looking piece is part of it (you can tell by the soft-fall groundcover).

I'm not too sure how much it appeals to children; I have a feeling it looks like it's been transplanted from Sculpture By The Sea and caters more for adult tastes. Unfortunately there weren't any Redfern kids around to ask when I was there.

What do you think?

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Redfern Park redevelopment- after and before

I previously showed the old South Sydney Rabbitohs home ground prior to its redevelopment.

The project is now finished. Redfern Park has a lovely new look, and the football ground is now a community asset and training ground.

Below: After, after and before:

Monday, 15 June 2009

"You outlasted the bastards!" (One Word . . .WE!)

One Word …WE! : The songs and story of Pete Seeger and friends…a musical biography by Maurie Mulheron.

In 1993, teacher – activist – musician, Maurie Mulheron, wrote a theatrical work about the life and times of iconic folk musician – activist, Pete Seeger.

The play had a sellout season at the New Theatre in Newtown, Sydney, in 2000. It has been taken on the road to folk festivals at Maleny and Woodford in Queensland, and Port Fairy in Victoria.

Most recently it was revived for three performances (June 12, 13 and 14) at the Tom Mann Theatre in Surry Hills, Sydney. The performances were a celebration of Seeger’s 90th birthday, on May 3 this year. It contained much new material. As Bruce Springsteen said at Pete's 90th birthday concert/celebration in New York (a who's who of American folk - protest - activist musicians) : "You outlasted the bastards, Pete!"

Seeger was once America’s most boycotted, banned, blacklisted and picketed singer. But Pete not only survived and at 90, still records and performs including at the recent Obama Inauguration Lincoln Memorial Concert with Bruce Springsteen, and his grandson Tao Rodriguez-Seeger. (Springsteen and Seeger sing This Land Was Made For You and Me at Barack Obama's inaguration concert)

The title? Well, many of the old union songs of the 1930s - like We Shall Overcome and We Shall Not Be Moved – started off as gospel songs ‘Jesus Is My Captain, I Shall Not Be Moved’; ‘I Will Overcome’. Instead of singing the first person singular “I”, the unionists changed just one word … “we”.

And 'The Friends'? Maurie says: "The show is not really about one singer. It's about a tradition. A tradition dating back centuries in which singers and songwriters, 'the friends', have used their skills to galvanise others to action and to provide spiritual nourishment when things looked bleak. "

For this production I was privileged to be able to provide some technical support, and enjoyed working with the talented cast and crew. The house was packed for each performance, including on the final day, a standing ovation.

Perhaps you know some of the songs Seeger, and his bands and friends have written or sung over the years?

Where Have All the Flowers Gone? (Pete Seeger and Joe Hickerson) : sung by Pete Seeger
Pastures of Plenty (words and music by Woody Guthrie) : sung by Pete Seeger
This Land Is Your Land (words and music Woody Guthrie) : sung by Bruce Springsteen, Pete, and Pete's grandson, Tao Rodriguez-Seeger
Union Maid (words Woody Guthrie, music traditional) : sung by Arlo Guthrie & Sarah-Lee Guthrie
If I Had A Hammer (words and music Lee Hays and Pete Seeger) : Peter Paul and Mary's version, and here, Arlo and Pete.
Turn! Turn! Turn! (words and music Pete Seeger) : sung by Judy Collins & Pete. And here Pete tells how he came to write it.
Waist Deep In The Big Muddy (words and music Pete Seeger) : sung by Tao Rodriquez-Seeger
Goodnight Irene ( words and music Huddie Ledbetter – Leadbelly) : The Weavers (Pete and friends Lee Hays, Fred Hellerman, Ronnie Gilbert)

If you follow any one of those links, you risk being lost forever in great folk music, as one thing leads to another....

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Night works

Workers create sparks when undertaking maintenance on the electrics for the railway line on the harbour bridge approach. Taken from near the underpass to Cumberland Street at Observatory Hill.

We were in the area visiting the Vivid Sydney festival Smart Light exhibition. This wasn't part of it, but perhaps could have been!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Green Void

On 29 March this year, I posted a picture of this sculpture from the top (at left). When strolling around Sydney looking at the Vivid Sydney exhibitions recently, I had a chance to go inside Customs House again and captured this shot from below.

An explanation tells us it is Green Void by LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture), and states: "Man.Nature. Technology. Green Void is an artificial organic sculpture inspired by nature, that inhabits the atrium of Customs House. Similar to a plant that grows in a natural environment, or an amphibic creature evolving, it is a reminder of the relationship between architecture and nature."

It is being exhibitied between 10 December 2008 and 10 June 2009.

Read more about LAVA and the sculpture here.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Vivid Sydney - Vessel of (Horti) Cultural Plenty

Light sculpture by Sydney artist Warren Langley, forming part of the Smart Light exhibition as part of the Vivid Sydney festival (26 May - 14 June). One aim of the festival was to demonstrate the use of light through energy efficient means. This sculpture uses LED lights, and along with all the others, uses minimal electricity. The festival is accompanied by a programme of talks and other events discussing ideas, and ....light!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Vivid Sydney - Argyle Street

The trees in Argyle Street illuminated during the Vivid Sydney Smart Light exhibition - jewel colours.

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Vivid! The Opera House sails alight.

As part of the Vivid Sydney festival, the sails of the Opera House are used as a canvas for an ever-changing light show. Every night from 6pm to midnight, between May 26 and June 14, the sails are lit with rich, continuously changing configurations of colour. What a "canvas" ! The curator of the exhibition, and artist responsible for these illuminations is Brian Eno. Perhaps he's better known as a musician, he also works as an artist.

Above: Each design lasts for between 5 and 20 minutes.
Below: The sails peeping up from our vantage point in Cumberland St, above Argyle St in The Rocks. Tomorrow we'll see more of that colourful tree at the right.

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

South Bank Parklands, Brisbane

To me, South Bank is a symbol of the determination and occasional success of people in stopping rapacious developers getting their hands on public space.

This part of Brisbane's riverbank was originally a meeting place for the traditional landowners, the Turrbal and Yuggera people and, in the early 1840s it became the central focus point of early European settlement. From the 1850s, South Bank Precinct was established as the business centre of Brisbane, until 1893, when floods forced the central business district to higher ground on the northern side of the river. The southern area became home to vaudeville theatres, derelict boarding houses, and light and heavy industry.

In the 1970s parkland was reclaimed along the river bank, and the Queensland Cultural Centre was built, including the Queensland Art Gallery, the Queensland Museum, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre and State Library of Queensland.

In 1988, Brisbane held World Expo 88, following which government, under corrupt and autocratic Premier Joh Bjelke-Peterson, intended to develop the site for commercial interests. However, a public campaign successfully lobbied for the site to be redeveloped as parkland for the enjoyment of people in Brisbane. In 1989 the South Bank Corporation, a Queensland Government statutory body, was established to oversee the development and management of the South Bank Parklands.

However, the struggle continues as proposals by the Corporation emerged in 2003 to sell large portions of South Bank Parkland to developers. That was overcome. The group Save Our South Bank Parkland continues its vigilance.

Already apartments exceed height limits.

Below:Part of South Bank from Rydge's Hotel, looking downstream. In the foreground is the artificial beach.

Monday, 8 June 2009

Up A Lazy River

Brisbane lies on the Brisbane River which drains into Moreton Bay (Quandamooka to the local Aboriginal people) 19 kms downstream.

I think Brisbane is channelling London, with its redevelopment of the Thames. There is an exception - the South Bank development, while containing many cultural centres (performing and visual arts centres) like London, London does not have an artificial beach!

When seen from above, the Brisbane meanders like the Thames, and I've seen promotional footage of Brisbane featuring aerial shots which are a "copy" of the opening credits sequence of BBC series EastEnders.

Below: Looking upstream towards the city centre. Taken from the Medina near Story Bridge. The tall buildings at right are part of a development called "Riverside". Apart from tower apartments and offices, there are cafes and restaurants along the riverfront. There's also a shared walk and cycleway along the river.

Below: Looking towards Story Bridge. This part of the Riverside walk is currently closed and under repair

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Same bridge, different skies

The Story Bridge across the Brisbane River opened in 1940. Taken from the Medina apartments, where we stayed.

Saturday, 6 June 2009


By deliberately moving the camera in a horizontal plane I captured these abstract shots of the Brisbane river, skyline and traffic. Top: my favourite of the photos. Bottom: A collage

Friday, 5 June 2009

Brisbane night sky (Skywatch Friday)

A couple of days ago I showed the ferris wheel at Southbank in Brisbane. The other night, from the River Cat, on the way home from the ACTU Congress, I was playing around with the camera, without a tripod. I decided to deliberately move the camera in a horizontal plane and see what patterns might emerge from the lights of the buildings and the traffic along the expressway on the northern bank.

Above: The ferris wheel and lights and a cloudy sky. Below: The ferris wheel against the night (6:27pm) sky as the River Cat leaft the wharf.

To keep a watch on skies around the world, click here.