Friday, 31 July 2009

Cockatoos (SkyWatch Friday)

There's a flock of sulphur-crested white cockatoos living in my local park. One day recently I felt like I was starring in a scene from The Birds.

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

Thursday, 30 July 2009

The Australian Angel

The Australian Angel was presented to the people of New South Wales by the Swiss Government and the Swiss Australian community at the time of the 2000 Sydney Olympic and Paralympic Games, as part of the Swiss contribution to the cultural exhibition .

It is made of discarded industrial steel objects, for examplecoil springs from a locomotive, spanners, rivets like those used in the harbour bridge.

The artist is Bernard Luginbuhl.
It is found in the park under the northern side of the Harbour Bridge, at Milsons Point.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009

Art Deco in curves

I love art deco. These 1930s examples - a former bank, now offices, and a block of flats are in my local area.
If you'd like to see more, here's a site made by a fan of Art Deco Sydney.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Approaching the bridge

I just snapped this off as we headed towards the Harbour Bridge after visiting my in-laws. You can see the Opera House sails to the left. Just proves that not ALL shots of the Harbour Bridge and Opera House are scenic and picturesque, and for all they are internationally known iconic images of Sydney, they're also just part of the fabric of the everyday life of a sprawling city of 4.4 million people.

Did you know that 2% of Sydney-siders are Aboriginal, and 32% were born overseas? According to the 2006 census, United Kingdom, China and New Zealand are the countries of origin of most immigrants, followed by Vietnam, Lebanon, India, Italy and the Philippines.Most Sydneysiders are native speakers of English; many have a second language, the most common being Arabic (predominately Lebanese), Chinese languages (mostly Mandarin, Shanghainese or Cantonese), and Italian. Sydney has the seventh largest percentage of a foreign born population in the world,ahead of cities such as London and Paris but lower than Toronto and Miami.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Local repair shop

This local repair shop was around the corner from me for decades. You could take in toasters, vaccuum cleaners, heaters, radios, TVs.....and they would be repaired.

The shop, and repairer have now gone, subsumed by another apartment development and slick looking shops (still being constructed).

When was the last time you had an appliance repaired rather than thrown it out and bought a replacement? No wonder the world is sinking under a sea of crap, and choking in its own chemicals.

Sunday, 26 July 2009

The science experiment (my Sunday)

Today was the last day of the winter school holidays, and on an otherwise dull and slightly rainy day, my day was set alight helping my son with his school science assignment. He had to design an experiment and record the results, so with Dad on stopwatch and hose and mum on camera, he set loose his inner pyromaniac, testing the flammability of several fabrics.

Here we see dripping polyester, melted nylon, singed rayon, ash-producing linen, flame-throwing cotton, melting and burning wool wadding and hot-wheels cotton flannelette.

What's the best experiment you've ever undertaken?

Saturday, 25 July 2009

The romance of the high seas

Gangway at the Overseas Passenger terminal at Circular Quay. The only boats that depart from here these days are luxury cruise ships. Most often they are the ones which cannot fit under the bridge (like The World Condominium ship).

Circular Quay is in the heart of historical Sydney. These waters will have seen convict ships, clippers and windjammers, steamers, the departure of troops to wars like the first and second world wars, and afterwards the arrival of refugees from those great conflicts. In the 1960s, before the advent of mass air travel, boatloads of young people left for adventures in Europe, first stop usually England (Southampton Docks, probably).

Below: A collage of ships at West Circular Quay from photos in the National Library of Australia collection (to those who have asked me what I use to do collages, the answer is the free software, Picasa)

Top l to r: Circular Quay West by Harold Cazneaux (bridge nearly complete), 1931; View from Harbour Bridge by Frank Hurley, date not stated; cruise ship The Oriana, by Wolfgang Sievers, 1961; during construction of the bridge by CE Wellings, 1930.
Middle, l to r: Orcades leaving by Jeff Carter, about 1955; departure of troops, possibly for Boer War, about 1900; departure of troops for Sudan, 1885.
Bottom l to r: Night view by Wolfgang Sievers, 1964; entertainers during Sydney Olympics 2000 by Wendy McDougall; lithograph by Samuel Thomas Gill, 1865; by Frank Hurley, date not stated.

(Sorry about turning on the word verification, but a spate of annoying, repetitive spam hit me lately, so I'll leave it on for a while)

Friday, 24 July 2009

The Flight of the Bogong Moth (Skywatch Friday)

A pic from my stock of Sculpture By The Sea snaps from last year. (To view all my 2008 Sculpture By The Sea posts CLICK HERE.) I hadn't previously published it, even though it was a favourite - I was saving it for a Skywatch Friday, and then it kind of got lost in the picture vault!

Perched on one of the sandstone cliffs between Bondi and Tamarama, which make the most dramatic open air art gallery, is this wonderful piece by Marguerite Derricourt. It was yet another favourite of mine.

Derricourt says: "On their annual migration from Queensland to the caves of the Snowy Mountains, the bogong moths are blown off-course and end up clustering in their thousands on lighted windows in the city."

Some years in Sydney, there are bogongs a-plenty. Other years, none. You can read all about them here, and here . Bogongs were an important protein food source for Aborigines who roasted them in hot ashes and mashed the bodies to make 'moth meat', which is said to have a nutty taste.

To see skyscapes from around the world, click here.

Thursday, 23 July 2009

Front yard sculpture

An unusual, but not unwelcome, object to see in a suburban front yard.

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Gözleme at The Rocks markets

Gözleme, a traditional Turkish flat, hand rolled pastry, filled with various fillings, is a perfect market snack food. Fresh pastry is rolled out, filled and sealed, then cooked over a griddle.

These women were making them at a stall at Sunday's markets in The Rocks.

I couldn't choose one favourite photo, so a collage it was. However, my two favourites are the centre ones: the older woman casting a weather eye over the younger, and the younger women twisting the dough in the air. I have uploaded them all full size at Sydney Daily Photo Extra.

I had a spinach and fetta cheese one, and forgot to take a photo of the finished product, so eager was I to eat it!!

You can see someone else's photo by clicking here! And below is an out of focus crop:

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Dual Nature, Woolloomooloo Bay

A soundscape installation by Nigel Helyer, relating to the history of the people and shipping in Woolloomooloo Bay. Hybrids of marine, industrial and natural forms cling to the shoreline, transmitting ambient sounds. 1999.

Saturday, 18 July 2009

Friday, 17 July 2009

Monorail, Light rail and freeways

A transport spaghetti at the Convention Centre at Darling Harbour. The elevated freeway, elevated monorail and ground level light rail. In the background is the old Goldsborough Mort woolstore building, built in 1883, now redeveloped as apartments.

The monorail is much criticised. It has no real functional use other than being a tourist attraction, and is INCREDIBLY ugly, especially in the centre of the city. I hate dit then, and hate it now, and have never been on it! I say "maintain the rage!"

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Cockle Bay

Pyrmont Bridge, a swing opening bridge, spans Cockle Bay in Darling Harbour. It used to be a main vehicle bridge in to Sydney, but once replaced by new freeways in the 1980s, it became a pedestrian bridge.

The decommissioned ferry, South Steyne is now used as a restaurant.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

Spiral water feature, Darling Harbour

The spiral fountain near the Sydney Convention Centre at Darling Harbour glints in the morning sun.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Sydney Harbour by Brett Whiteley

Above: A swimmer in a detail from Brett Whiteley's painting Sydney Harbour, hanging inside the Convention Centre at Darling Harbour. The point of view is from Lavender Bay, where Whitely lived

Brett Whitely (1939-1992) is one of Australia's best known modern artists.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Bubble busker

This busker at Darling Harbour, outside the Convention Centre, entertained Sunday visitors with giant bubbles.

Saturday, 11 July 2009


A shop selling groovy funiture and furnishings in Surry Hills (and reflection of Mary St)

Friday, 10 July 2009

Here's that bridge again! (Skywatch Friday)

The reason for bringing you this shot is a reminder that this is NAIDOC Week (see post from July 7 - all about NAIDOC), and here is the red, yellow and black Aboriginal flag flying from the top of the bridge. And at least one, if not two, groups of climbers!

Look at skies around the world.

Thursday, 9 July 2009


The old General Post Office building in Martin Place. A beautiful Victorian Italianate building with collonaded portico.

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Set in concrete

In the pavement on Pier One at Walsh Bay, I found these signatures/imprints in the concrete. They date from the 1980s, and I guess they will fade over time. Many of the people will be known only to Aussies "of a certain age"....underneath the collage I've listed who they are.

How many do you know of?

Top: Rolf Harris - entertainer
Slim Dusty - country singer (died 19 Sep 2003)
Betty Cuthbert - athlete
Ben Lexcen - designer winged keel on "Australia II" yacht, winner of America's Cup (died 1 May 1988)
Brian Wenzel - actor
Kamahl - entertainer
Pro Hart - painter (died 20 March 2006)
Robert Helpmann - dancer, choreographer (died 28 Sep 1986)
Tom Keneally - writer
Julie Anthony - singer
Joy McKean - singer, and wife of Slim Dusty
Nat Young - surfer
Pat McDonald - actor (died 10 March 1990)
Dawn Lake (died 1 Jan 2006) and Bobby Limb (died 11 Sep 1999) - entertainers
Syd Heylen - actor (died 4 Dec 1996)
Santa Claus! !
Humphrey B Bear - children's TV character
Andrew Peacock - former politician and friend of Shirley Maclaine
Roger Woodward - pianist
Doug Sutherland - former Lord Mayor of Sydney
Abigail - actor

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

NAIDOC Week 5 -12 July

NAIDOC - National Aboriginal and Islander Day Observance Committee - Week is a celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and an opportunity to recognise the contributions of Indigenous Australians in various fields.

Above: The 2009 NAIDOC Week poster features artwork by Queenslander Luke Mallie, winning artist of the National NAIDOC Poster Competition. Luke's artwork, created from acrylic, water colour and ink on paper, is titled Carrying On Our Culture and was judged the winner from a record 140 entries.

"Carrying On Our Culture was painted to reflect the 2009 NAIDOC Theme Honouring Our Elders, Nurturing Our Youth. It represents the elders teaching and keeping watch over their young as they learn and grow into adults to then carry on the culture."

"The painting also depicts past elders who watch over everyone to protect and guide us through our lives. We all have the ability to connect to those spirits if we need guidance or inspiration."

Sydney City Council's banner at left is the work of artist Bronwyn Bancroft, a Djanbun (pronounced Jaan’bun) woman from the Bundjalung (Bun-jaa-lung) Nation of Northern NSW. She was born in a small country town in regional NSW, but lived most of her adult life in Sydney. She is a well known Aboriginal artist who has exhibited her work both nationally & internationally. Bronwyn Bancroft stated, “I am pleased that the design will be used throughout the city, as I would love to see more permanent visual Memorials to Aboriginal People…Past, Present and Future.”

Activities take place across the nation during NAIDOC Week in the first full week of July. All Australians are encouraged to participate.

The theme this year is Honouring our Elders, Nurturing our Youth.

NAIDOC Week grew out of a "Day of Mourning" held in 1938. The Day of Mourning was declared due to the lack of response from the Commonwealth government to a petition from Aboriginal people in 1935 and 1937 seeking representation in the Parliament and the establishment of a national department of native affairs and state advisory councils.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Campbell's Cove

Campbell's Cove at west Circular Quay is an area of jazzed-up waterfront. The former bond stores are now upmarket restaurants. The glass and steel building at left in the photo at left is the Overseas Passenger Terminal where the large cruise ships tie up. The bar I showed two days ago ("Cruise Bar") is in this building looking out over the water.

The distinctive looking building with the spire was built 1883-4 and is of Anglo-Dutch design. It was the Australiasian Steam Navigation Building and was a warehouse. It is now a gallery space and theaterettes.

Campbell Cove is named after Robert Campbell, a prominent Scottish merchant in the early days of Sydney. He purchased this land in 1799 and constructed a private wharf to house imports such as sugar, tea, and spirits from India. He was the only merchant that broke the monopoly held by the British East India Company. From 1838, he began construction of 5 sandstone bays (Campbell Storehouses, which is where the restaurants are now.)

These photos were taken last Saturday. How's that for a brilliant winter sky!

Sunday, 5 July 2009

So cool it's hot

This is the coolest hotspot, or hottest coolplace in Sydney at the moment: the Apple store. I'm not advertising, honestly. I went in yesterday to get a couple of things, and fell truly, madly, deeply in lust. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! I wanna Mac. I wanna MacBook.

So, looking around for more stuff to sell on ebay. Fast!

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Have a great weekend

Maybe you're going to go out on a photography expedition? Maybe you're spending a relaxing time with family or friends? Maybe you prefer your own company, or circumstances keep you alone? Maybe you have to work?
Whatever it is, be it catching up with people amidst the bright lights of a city bar like this one at Circular Quay, or lolling on a beach - enyoy!
Or as they say in these parts Avagoodweegend (which is Australian running-words-together slang; it was originally from a TV ad for insect repellant, Aeroguard)

Thursday, 2 July 2009

Curves of steel

Back to our walk around the Circular Quay / Dawes Point area under the southern end of the Harbour Bridge.

Can you see the BridgeClimb group up on the curve of the arch?

No, I haven't done it; it's quite expensive, but I do mean to one day. Can't take your own camera. I support that idea, despite the cynicism it engenders (that you are beholden to the operator's expensive photos). Well, actually, the photos are included in the cost, and it's a regulation imposed on the operators. Just imagine the devastating effect if some clumsy tourist dropped their camera hundreds of metres below through the windscreen of a car passing over the bridge? There have been deaths on motorways from idiots throwing rocks off much lower bridges into traffic. It just doesn't bear thinking about.