Captain James Cook named this island in 1770 believing it caused interference with the magnets on board the Endeavour.
By the late 19th century Europeans had settled the island.
This island has captivated us.
Simply enchanting in mid winter.
A recent weekend with daughter No2 saw us experiencing the beauties of Sydney architecture, history and the magnificent harbour. Here are a couple of recognisable landmarks!
In addition, the Hyde Park Barracks were open to reveal the living conditions of the early convicts. Not sure if these beds were that comfortable!
What a contrast with these people sunning themselves along the Circular Quay.
My favourite tree,the jacaranda was out to greet us too! After so much walking we settled for some giant chocolate strawberries instead. This venue was the genesis for another venture and another blog which we are working on – more information to be revealed soon.
It always amuses us that when we go on holiday we are drawn to the historical aspects of the city or place we are visiting. As we drove through Ned Kelly country on our way here to a Canberra, we often discuss the places such as Glenrowan and their significance for our cultural heritage. Of course, when in Canberra a must see for Australians and overseas tourists alike, are the old and new Parliament Houses. They are icons of our identity.
Set parallel to one another and only 300 metres walking distance apart, the two Houses are indeed worlds apart, both in architecture and modern significance.
I can’t really say which one I preferred. New Parliament House circa 1988, is certainly modern and thrust into the 21st Century with its bright and colourful chambers and glass and steel facade. However, what caught my eye in both Houses we the similarities in light fixtures. It is as though one looks back to the past for inspiration and knowledge whilst the other seeks to find innovation and foresight. Both “light” our democratic paths.
These beautiful fixtures are, surprisingly, in the new Parliament House. The ones that follow are beautiful examples that reflect Old Parliament House’s 1927 Art Deco influence.
One can imagine the historical figures of politics and royalty standing beneath these illuminated pendants.
Indeed, both venues balance the old and the new and are tributes to the men and women who guide and led our nation in peace and in war; in times of great social change, political upheaval and national pride.
The past is never fully gone. It is absorbed into the present and the future. It stays, to shape what we are and what we do. Sir William Deane, 1996. (Judge and former Governor General).
Let us now remember to see the past as an investment in our future and see our future as a beacon of hope and enlightenment.
Our winter school term has just ended and we have made the seven hour drive up to Canberra to meet up with Daughter Number Two and her husband. No, it can’t be compared to Florence, however, since Canberra celebrates its Centenary as our capital, we have come to see its yearly tulip festival, Floriade and some its culture as well.
Last September we were fortunate to take a school trip group to Italy. Travelling through Rome, Siena, Verona, Turin, Milan and Florence, we experienced a memorable time together. One year on, our thoughts turn to that remarkable excursion. I guess it has something to do with the fact that we are coming out of winter and the weather is not dissimilar to the beautiful weather we also experienced in Italy.
Ponte Vecchio, Florence
Forgive me if I indulge in some iconic Italian reminiscing…
Il Duomo, Firenze
The white marble statue of Michelangelo’s, David in the Uffizi Gallery. (Did you know that an electronic device measures the amount of movement of the marble in the statue by nano millimetres!)
The marvel that is Florence cannot be compared to any other place in the world. It is a man made splendour. Whilst in Canberra we hope to visit some lesser forms of man made art, however, for today we turn to the splendour that is nature in Spring – a celebration of floral splendour and time with family.
The tulips are out in force
We enjoyed a perfect sunny day, basking in the glory of tulips in full bloom. While our thoughts may return to the memories of Italy, we revel in our present time together. How do you keep your memories alive?
Father’s Day at a heritage listed mansion, Rippon Lea, built in1867 yielded its many treasures both inside and out. If you’re looking to upgrade your garden feature any time soon, here are my top ten suggestions
A Romanesque pool
With extra fountain!
A lady in waiting…
A thatched gazebo
A wind powered water source…
Some wagon wheels – strategically placed, of course
A pot or two …
A little lake.
With a foot bridge…
And a lake house…
Some rock feature..
To top it all off, a tower from which to view your vast garden empire!
I think I overshot my photos to twelve top garden must have’s.
We had a lovely day sitting in the sun – our first warm day and just in time for spring. Happy Father’s Day Dennis!
Whenever we return to my home town in the sub-tropics, I am reminded of the lyrics of the 1980’s pop band the Go-Betweens
round and round, up and down,
through the streets of your town
Every day I make my way
through the streets of your town
As a child I walked these streets for sixteen years, literally zig-zagging my way up the hilly, heated asphalt in the humidity and the obligatory summer rains.
The street where I lived… It really was!
We often return to visit my mother, who, in her eighties, still lives in the old Post War cottage. Our little home was one of the newer residences in the street. The area of Red Hill was established in the 1860’s where some of the first streets, Confederate and Federal, no doubt paid homage to that Civil War raging on the other side of the world.
I was always fascinated by the architecture of the region. The grand one hundred year old Queenslander with its sprawling verandas and high gable is still a much sought after residence.
Today, the little homes are delightful in their aspects. Their facades immaculately maintained and their modest porticos framed by verdant fronds.
I am by no means an expert in architecture, however, these homes are lovingly maintained and understated. There are always exceptions to the rule…
but no less captivating.
Others have been enclosed by white steel, cooling lattice or tropical shutters….
Even though I now live in another State, whenever I walk these streets I am filled with memories of family and the people who once lived in these homes, a life time ago. Just like some of these houses it was a simple time, lovingly spent in the sun and winding roads of life. Or was it a mirage? Do you ever go back to your home town?
As we continued our stay with Daughter Number Two in Sydney, we spent the day walking around the city. Our intention was to visit the State Library as I had heard of an interesting photographic exhibition.
Our walk led us past old Parliament House and the historic Sydney Hospital.
As well as other places of architectural significance such as the Commonwealth Bank Building.
One must appreciate that Sydney was the first settlement in Australia with the First Fleet landing in Circular Quay in 1788. Sixty odd years later gold was discovered in “them there hills”. This
led to a building boom in what was to become the leading city of the vast area known as New South Wales. Similar events in Victoria led to Melbourne also being “build on gold”. So when I heard of an historically rich photographic exhibition featuring gold miners, their families and their lodgings I was intrigued.
These photographs are reproductions of the original glass plates featuring images of life in the goldfields of New South Wales and Victoria. These plates were found in a garden shed fifty years ago and only after much time and money, resurrected to their original forms. They are quite extraordinary.
For me the images are reminiscent of the Civil War images featuring the sombre visages of the prospectors. The clarity, however, is superb.
Also, what really intrigued me were the images of women and their children posing silently out in front of their rustic lodgings.
It would have been a harsh and unforgiving existence. The women bore numerous children who often did not survive disease nor the poor sanitation of the time. I love their long dark gowns, their stern expressions and their children’s wondrous looks.
My favourite image follows and it incorporates beautifully laid out garden of vegetables and flowers. I even think the owners of this little miner’s cottage look very pleased with themselves!
It was a wonderful end to a great weekend. I think how fortunate we are to live in our technology rich times but still do marvel at the ingenuity, the resourcefulness of that time. Incidentally, the Holtermann nugget, pictured below was not the great legacy left by this prospector. Instead, it was the commissioning of photographers Merlin and Baylis from the American and Australian Photographic Company which is our greatest treasure. These photographs chronicle an important time in our history – the discovery of gold and the harsh life this entailed. We are richer for these photographs.
In addition, I was very lucky to share these with my daughter and her husband – a photographic essayist in his own right.
Thanks for a great weekend you two!
26th January commemorates the landing of the First Fleet in 1788 in Sydney Cove. Therefore, it is a public holiday for Aussie citizens. We also must take into account indigenous cultures who often do not see this as a day to celebrate,
As we are part of the Buick car club, we take part in the RACV display bringing our 1982 Riviera to the gardens. With milder weather setting in, there were countless classic cars to peruse. Some of my favourites were
1929 Pierce Arrow which always reminds me of the Robert Lowell poem, Grandparents.
even teddy got a ride!
there were some quirky exhibits….
No Australia Day is complete without the local wildlife: possums, dingoes and snakes
Government House is open today for those who wish to view its splendour and for me that was the magnificent magnolia!
No doubt we live in a vast land of many contrasts and today’s outing was no different. What did you do for Australia Day or how do you commemorate your national day?
Although I have only been blogging since September, I have found it one of the most rewarding outlets for my writing and thoughts on gardening, travel, pets and the every day happenings of life. So it was with much amazement that our blog has been nominated for the Liebster Award. As a newcomer, I have been buoyed by the feedback and kind words of my regular followers and visitors. My nominator was Nitty Gritty Dirt Man, whose blog I follow from the other side of the world, and one which never ceases to inspire with its heartfelt, entertaining and socially aware commentary – danke schoen to you Kevin!