Thursday, 31 March 2011

Sydney Architecture Walk 4 : KIng George V Recreation Centre

What's "wrong" with the view through the arches?

A City of Sydney sports facility in The Rocks. Another controversial-at-the-time building. The City originally wanted a building reflecting the old,  brick buildings, but the architect chose instead to reflect the industrial heritage of the area.

As part of the development the mural was required to be saved, and it forms a striking wall of the outdoor court. It almost accurately reflects what is on the other side of the wall which forms part of the Harbour Bridge approach access. It was painted by Peter Day in 1983.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Sydney Architecture Walk 3: Sirius and Green Bans

Sirius is a public housing development in The Rocks. It was built in 1979, after the decade long Green Ban protection of The Rocks. It was symbolic of the fact that public housing was there to stay, right in the centre of an area potentially ripe for development for the very rich. Although concrete, and an example of 'brutalism', the rooftops all have private or community terraces. The wanted to use architect, Tao Gofers, from the government architect's office wanted to use white cement, to echo the Opera House across the water, but there was no budget for it. It is designed to allow plants to grow over it. Fifteen metres on the other side is the approach to the Harbour Bridge, so the vegetation helps baffle noise. This is an extremely popular place to live.

The 'Green Bans' were a coalition of the Rocks Residents' Action Group, and the union called the Builders Labourers' Federation who combined to prevent demolition of the historic Rocks precinct with its low-income housing. I have blogged about Green Bans before: see here. More about Green Bans here.

More here about Sirius here.

Monday, 28 March 2011

Sydney Architecture Walk 2

Our guide, Eoghan, at the tiled map of Sydney Harbour at Circular Quay. He's pointing out the site of the Opera House. The coloured parts are the original foreshore, and the dotted line the foreshore in 1988, at the Bicentennial.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Sydney Architecture Walk


Today I went on a walk called "Harbourings". It explored the western edge of the city, around the grittier side of The Rocks, and the finger wharves of Walsh Bay. Come with me over the next few days for a glimpse of this fantastic walk with our engaging guide, architect Eoghan Lewis (visit his architectural firm, Supple Design).

First stop was this triangular patch of public space, Macquarie Place Park between Bridge and Loftus Sts and Macquarie Place. Eoghan set the scene for the walk here, explaining how Sydney's thoroughfares followed the natural ridges and landscapes of the city. This place, a perfect camp for the Indigenous inhabitants, was a short walk from fresh water (the Tank Stream spring) - along the track which became George Street, and the harbour with its northerly aspect and prevailing cooling in summer, warmign in winter sea breezes.

The sandstone buildings in the background are the Education Department (left) and lands Department (right). The obelisk was erected in 1818, and is still the point from which distances in Sydney are measured. I have blogged it previously - see here.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Taking the plunge

"To plunge into water, to move one's whole body in its wild and graceful beauty, to twist about in its pure depths, this is for me a delight only comparable to love." - Paul Valéry

Friday, 25 March 2011

Autumn bloom

It's autumn and that means my camellia sasanqua starts to bloom.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Stretching out

A  long week, so I went for a swim on the way home today. Bexley Pool. As I lay on my towel in the late afternoon sun to dry off, I was reading a favourite book, Haunts of The Black masseur: the Swimmer as Hero, by Charles Sprawson.

He tells us that in ancient Rome, swimming was associated with sensuality and, eventually, as Emperors built ever more luxurious pools and baths, decadence. The Christian church filled the sea with imaginary monsters.

For Pliny the mermaid was a exciting proof of nature's diversity, her song an irresistible celestial harmony.

For the medieval church her siren song became the lure of fleshly pleasures to be feared and avoided by the godly. Swimming, like sexual pleasure, came to be associated with the devil and was almost suppressed during the domination of Europe by Christianity. Not until the beginning of the 19th century was its popularity revived.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Long morning shadows

After the deluge, beautiful sunshine, and long morning autumnal shadows

Monday, 21 March 2011

The umbrella office.

It's a rainy Monday. Lucky there's an unoccupied office at the moment.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

Rose Seidler house

Designed by architect Harry Seidler for his parents Rose and Max, built between 1948 and 1950.

In the 1950s and 1960s, many such houses were built in suburban areas. Unlike today's huge McMansions, they were often small, fuctional, with clean lines. Love it, or hate it, it is an example of an era, and I suspect that this one won't survive much longer - many have already been demolished to make way for the larger houses demanded today. This house in Arncliffe was probably part of the movement. As far as I know, this house is the only example of the type of 1960s modernist architecture in my area.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

From the water

Such a beautiful. Available to anyone for the price of a ferry ticket.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011


This public housing block on Victoria Road at Gladesville is quite famous for its name! The sign got stolen some time ago: read here. There was a 2007 award winning  documentary about its residents which you can view here.  This article explains how it got its name (named after the first private doctor in the colony, ex-convict Dr William Bland)

Saturday, 12 March 2011

100th International Women's Day

March 8th was the 100th anniversary of International Women's Day. Today in Sydney was the annual march. It was the best turnout for years. Above: my colleagues Maxine and Kathy.

Friday, 11 March 2011

Anzac Bridge from Glebe Point

Looking towards Pyrmont and the city from Blackwattle Bay Park, Glebe Point across Blackwattle Bay.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Gone fishin'

I love this about Sydney Harbour. ccessible, democratic and relaxed. You don't have to be a squillionaire to access lots of places along the foreshore, which are public access reserves - it's what also makes New Years Eve so good : plenty of public reserves to sit yourself (with many others!) for free.

This is from East Balmain looking across Darling Harbour.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

From Balmain to Barangaroo

Looking towards the western edge of the city and Barangaroo, across Darling Harbour,  from Illoura Reserve in Balmain. The building with the criss-crosses is Macquarie Bank. The flat expanse of former docks is the controversial development site, Barangaroo.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

International Women's Day 2011 - 100 Years of IWD

Here's a tribute to my women friends - without them life would be very much diminished.

For a century women have used International Women’s Day to celebrate the achievements of women and also to draw attention to issues which are of concern to them.

The late 1800s and early 1900s was a period of great unrest, women’s oppression and inequality become the catalyst for women to became extremely vocal and actively engaged in campaign for equal rights to men. It was the time of the suffragettes.

In 1910 an international meeting representing 17 countries was held in Copenhagen. The delegates at this meeting voted to hold an annual International Women's Day in order to honour an increasing number of women's groups working for rights for women and to assist in achieving universal suffrage for women and in 1911 the first International Women’s Day was held.

One of my favourite scenes in movies is the sufragette song from the Mary Poppins movie. It does not appear in the recent stage production - a huge diappointment.  Mary Poppins, a Disney movie, was made in 1964 - the year after the Equal Pay Act in the United States. The UK had an Equal pay Act introduced in 1970. In 1972, women in Australia achieved equal pay, for doing the same work as men.

Monday, 7 March 2011

From Balmain to Pyrmont

This view from the Balmain Peninsula looks across Johnstons Bay towards the Anzac Bridge and redeveloped Pyrmont Point. Pyrmont was once an industrial and port area. Pyrmont quarries provided sandstone for many of Sydney's 19th century buildings.

The view from Illura Reserve :

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Sunday, 6 March 2011

Balmain - My Name's McGooley....what's yours?

The view towards Barangaroo (The Hungry Mile) across Darling Harbour from Grafton St, East Balmain. The area where the ship is berthed is due to be developed, amidst much controversy about the extent to which the developers are driving the project.

Such scenes of "ordinariness" in trendy, gentrified Balmain remind me very much (for those who remember) of My Name's McGooley, What's Yours?, when Balmain was a rough and ready workign class suburb, and Sydney harbour was a working port. Now all the freight ships have been moved to Port Botany to the south, and harbour traffic is confined to cruise liners, ferries and pleasure craft. The demand for marinas for luxury boats increases.

The area to the right of the fence is container terminals from the White Bay shipping berths. The plan is to move cruise ship berths here from across the water - again controversial.

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Saturday, 5 March 2011

Sydney skyline

Looking at Sydney across Camerons Cove (part of Darling Harbour, itself part of Sydney Harbour) from Ewenton Park, East Balmain.  The water police depot is on the left.

Thursday, 3 March 2011


A lovely place for wedding photos - the Balmain East ferry wharf at the end of Darling Street.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Theme Day: My favourite place in my city

Not a single place, there are too many to choose from! My "favourite place" is anywhere I can immerse myself in water and stretch out for a swim! Here's  a collage of a range I have enjoyed over the nearly 5 years of this blog.

Click here to view thumbnails for all participants