Saturday, 31 October 2009

And once more

Jacaranda season once more in Sydney. Every year I feature a different tree. This one is in the car park of my local fruit market.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009


One of the old finger wharves in Sydney Harbour, now a function centre and cafes.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Korean Sydney

These ladies were off to a wedding reception in traditional Korean dress. The plane trees and the bicycle made for a photo very reminiscent of a street scene in Asia.

Monday, 26 October 2009

NSW Maritime Environmental Services

This is how Sydney Harbour is kept clean. Photo taken at Campbell's Cove.

Information from the NSW Maritime website:

The operators remove floating litter and waste, including storm water pollution, other visible debris and floating hazards to navigation.

On average more than 3,500 cubic meters of rubbish is collected per year, ranging from large objects such as trees and tyres to the debris washed into the harbour from harbour side suburbs and small items left behind on beaches and other foreshore locations by people.

The Environmental Services team also manages the free sewage pumpout stations at Blackwattle Bay and King Street wharf. They monitor the use of other free public fixed pumpout facilities available in Sydney Harbour to recreational and commercial vessels operators.

Historical background

In the early 1900s the Environmental Services team’s predecessors were known as the “rat catchers” of Sydney, formed to combat the spread of the Bubonic Plague. The trapping of infected rats was a vital service to the health of Sydneysiders.

In the 1930s, the “rat catchers” became the Harbour Cleaning Service. In timber boats a crew of hardy souls who didn’t mind the salt, spray or the smell, would collect debris and floating rubbish. The retrieval of dead animals and other unsavoury objects from Sydney Harbour was a common task.

In the 1950’s the wooden boats gained the luxury of engines but it was the greater environmental awareness stemming from the “Clean Up Australia” campaign that instigated the purchase of the present harbour cleaning equipment in June 1989.

In 1990, the NSW Maritime Authority took on the responsibility for cleaning Sydney Harbour as a major environmental initiative.

The role of the Harbour Cleaning Branch changed to Environmental Services in 2002. It has grown in conjunction with the NSW Maritime's enhanced responsibilities as an Appropriate Regulatory Authority under the State's environment protection laws. It demonstrates an increased environmental engagement and provides a stronger focus on environmental performance within commercial and recreational vessel fleets on Sydney Harbour. An additional duty, for example, involves monitoring compliance by contracting and building companies regarding deployment of anti-pollution booms and skirts around foreshore construction sites.

Today’s Environmental Services Branch has a team of 15, who work the vessels on a seven day per week schedule.

The team and its equipment is also used to provide operational support to the major events on and around Sydney Harbour. These events include the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race Start on Boxing Day, New Years Eve and Australia Day, for which marker buoys are laid to indicate safety exclusion zones on the harbour.

For several years, Environmental Services has also been conducting a Joint Foreshore Cleaning Project. Local Council areas nominate foreshore areas to be cleaned in a land based operation, labour is provided through the Department of Corrective Services Community Service Order and Periodic Detainee Rehabilitation Program, Clean Up Australia’s bus is loaned to the project with all planning, transport and supervision provided by the Harbour Cleaning Service. Councils bear the cost of transport and disposal of rubbish collected.

The vessel

These purpose built vessels are 10.5 meters in length and powered by twin 150hp outboard engines. The power operated ramp allows direct access to beaches and enable transport of beach cleaning equipment to and from appropriate locations. The on-board crane and addition of surface skimming equipment allows these vessels to provide fast response for almost any cleaning requirement, and are listed as support vessels in the Oil Spill Response Plan for Sydney Harbour.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Searle's Monument

This monument is dedicated to the short but spectacular life of Henry Searle, one of
Australia’s greatest scullers, who died in 1889 at just 23. The column also marks the finish line where, a year earlier, Searle comprehensively defeated the world rowing champion.

From History of Australian Rowing website:

"In October 1888, after only 5 professional races in outriggers, Searle defeated Peter Kemp at Parramatta for the World Championship and a purse of £1000. After 4 more races in Australia, Searle went to England to meet the Canadian challenger William O'Connor. Searle easily defeated O'Connor on the famous Putney to Mortlake course on September 9, 1889, successfully defending his title.

"Unfortunately this was Searle's last race, as he contracted Typhoid on the sea voyage home and despite his excellent general health and fitness, he died in Melbourne on December 10. He was aged only 23.

"Just as most of Australia had followed Searle's meteoric rise to hero status, so they mourned him in his death. Huge crowds turned out for services in Melbourne, Sydney and finally at the funeral in Maclean. Crowds lined the streets wherever the cortège passed — it is estimated that 40,000 people lined Collins Street in Melbourne to pay their respects, with three or four times that many in Harris and George Streets in Sydney. (Estimates place the crowd as high as 170,000!)

"A broken marble column was erected on the Brothers Rocks in the Parramatta River. This point is the finish line of the course on which Searle defeated Peter Kemp for the world championship. This course became known as the "Ryde Bridge to Searle's Monument" course (3 miles, 176 yards).

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Friday, 23 October 2009

The overhang - Woolwich Dock

Here is the magnificent sandstone overhang at the end of Woolwich Dock. The dock was dug into the Woolwich peninsula as seen yesterday.

Tomorrow we'll have a look at the view from the viewing platform way up the top.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Woolwich Dock

When it opened in 1901, Woolwich Dock was the largest in Australia.

It was in deep water, and close to Cockatoo Isalnd, the major shipbuilding and repair centre in Sydney Harbour.

Labourers spent four years carving the dock into solid sandstone. Horses pulled carts loaded with earth and stone, and grazed nearby (in an area still called 'Horse Paddock' today).

The dock operated until 1958, repairing and maintaining a range of vessels from tall ships to steamships and large naval vessels.

Tomorrow: A closer look at that sandstone overhang up at the end.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Banjo Paterson

Sculpture of Australian poet Andrew 'Banjo' Paterson (1864-1941), outside Rock End Cottage at Gladesville. Now a restaurant, the cottage was built in the 1830s as an inn. From 1866 to 1909, Emily Jane Barton, grandmother of Banjo Paterson lived here.

Paterson's most famous poems include The Man From Snowy River:
"There was movement at the station, for the word had passed around
That the colt from old Regret had got away,
And had joined the wild bush horses - he was worth a thousand pound,
So all the cracks had gathered to the fray."

Clancy of the Overflow:
I had written him a letter which I had, for want of better
Knowledge, sent to where I met him down the Lachlan years ago;
He was shearing when I knew him, so I sent the letter to him,
Just on spec, addressed as follows, "Clancy, of The Overflow."

And an answer came directed in a writing unexpected
(And I think the same was written with a thumb-nail dipped in tar);
'Twas his shearing mate who wrote it, and verbatim I will quote it:
"Clancy's gone to Queensland droving, and we don't know where he are."

and the words of Waltzing Matilda (1887), later set to music.

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Bedlam Bay 05

The cricket pitch at Gladesville Hospital, still used for matches, sits prettily on Bedlam Bay.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Friday, 16 October 2009

Bedlam Bay 03 - Boats and Clouds

A bit diffferent to the punt which used to cross these waters, described as being able to carry "a horse, a cat, and a few people".

To see skies around the world click here.

Thursday, 15 October 2009

Bedlam Bay - a series 02

Looking across Bedlam Bay and west along the Parramatta River, towards the boatshed shown yesterday. This is taken from the site of Henley Baths, which a sign says are closed for renovation.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Bedlam Bay - a series 01

The bay was named after the mental hospital (known then as a 'lunatic asylum') built near it in 1835, which was named after the English asylum Bethlehem, corrupted to Bedlam.

We'll have a closer look around over the next few days.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Former Salvation Army Training Centre

This unusually crenellated building used to be the Salvation Army Training Centre in Sydney. It was built some time in the first half of the 20th century. Some time ago it was sold, and now appears to be low income housing.

I'd love to hear from anyone who knows more about this intriguing building, for o long a major landmark at the intersection of Livingstone Rd and Addison Rd, Petersham.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Ashfield Park: Mary Poppins

Did you know that the author of the Mary Poppins books, P.L.Travers was born in Australia. Born Helen Lyndon Goff (she later changed her name to Pamela, as a stage name, and Travers was her father's first name), in Maryborough, Queensland, she lived with her sisters and mother in a house overlooking Ashfield Park between 1918 and 1924. She then went to Engalnd, where she lived, along with the US and Ireland, until her death in 1996. She tended to hide her Australian origins, and only returned once, for two weeks in 1966. She reportedly said she didn't think it was "my place."

Ashfield resident, thirteen year old Gracie Drew lobbied for a statue to be erected. It is based on the original book illustrations by Mary Shepard. It was unveiled 0n 13March 2004.

Below: The house Goff and her sisters and mother lived in

Read about how Gracie Drew thought of the statue idea here.

Read more about PL Travers in an interview with her biographer, Valerie Lawson, here. In particular, about her off-beat spiritual views.

Read more about Travers here.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

Ashfield Park - International Mother Language Day Monument

This monument in Ashfield Park is an intriguing one. On December 17, 1999, UNESCO declared February 21st to be International Mother Langauge Day. day is celebrated to promote mother tongues and encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education.

It originated as the international recognition of Language Movement Day, which has been commemorated in Bangladesh (formerly East Pakistan) since 1952, when a number of Dhaka university students were killed by the Pakistani police and army in Dhaka during the Bengali Language Movement.

The monument was promoted by the Ekushe Academy Australia, a Bangladeshi orgsanisation. It was unveiled on 19 February 2006 by H.E. Ashraf UdDoula, High Commissioner for Bangladesh.

The UNESCO site for IMLD.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Ashfield Park Dr Jose P Rizal

This plaque on this statue reads:

June 19 1861 - Dec 30, 1896
National Hero of the Philippines
Pambansang Bayani ng Pilipinas
This plaque was unveiled by
KOR - Damas de Rizal 1962
on 19th June 1988
on behalf of the
Australian Philippine Association
as a tribute to the Australian Bicentennial
Special thanks to Transfield Pty Ltd
Ashfield Municipal Council

I had never heard of Jose Rizal, so Google, as usual, became my friend.

"...a Filipino polymath: a poet, writer, artist, intellectual, and educator. He was a nationalist and the pre-eminent advocate for reforms in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial era. Rizal's 1896 court-martial and execution made him a martyr of the Philippine Revolution. He is widely considered the most prominent Filipino and a national hero.Since Philippine Independence, the anniversary of Rizal's death has been commemorated as a national holiday." (Wikipedia)

Friday, 9 October 2009

Ashfield Park palms

Ashfield Park is one of Sydney's traditionally laid out parks, commonly taking up space where two streets would normally be. When these suburbs were laid out in the 19th century, a park was usually provided.

For the next few days we'll see what we can discover in this park. First stop will be along the avenue at that sculpture just visible on the left in the middle distance.

I've already shown some scenes from this park in earlier days, so let's linger a little longer.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Things to do on a long weekend 5....

...have a picnic.

On the day I visited, the picnic pavilion was being used by a group of Chinese. One of the large flags said "Universitas Amoiensis". So, off to Google again, and I discovered that this is the Latin name for the first university in China founded by overseas Chinese, now part of the mainstream Chinese university system. So I am assuming this was a picnic day for former alumni and families living in Sydney. There were young families enjoying the playground, and exuberant young men playing a very lively and good-natured game of socccer.

Monday, 5 October 2009

Things to do on a long weekend 1 . . . bowls at the Ashfield Bowling Club in Ashfield Park.

Today was a public holiday (Labor Day). I went out 'n' about taking some photos, and will bring you them over the next few days.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

If you don't want to cross the Sydney Harbour Bridge, or it's more convenient, you can use the tunnel under the harbour.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Callistemon viminalis 'Captain Cook' - my bottlebrush

Here's the bottlebrush I can see from my kitchen. It's in full bloom through October and November.

Genus: Callistemon
Family: Myrtaceae
Natural distribution: North-eastern New South Wales and eastern Queensland

Callistemon - from the Greek, kallistos, most beautiful and stema, a stamen;
viminalis - from the Latin, vimen, a long flexible shoot or osier.