I’ve spent the past 4 days in Sydney. I’m onboard a Virgin flight as I type this, bound for home in Brisbane. I love being able to do this post now, using my iPad. I’ll publish it once back home.
It was the first time in my 57 years that I’ve been here as a tourist. Only twice before have I been in the beautiful capital of the state of NSW, each time to meet with officials at the USA Embassy – as a part of the migration process.
I came down here because of the generosity of a friend, who works for a Sydney-based company – and visits there a couple of times a month, from her home in Brisbane. So I stayed in an apartment in the historical Rocks area of the city, a stone’s throw from Circular Quay and the iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Sydney is a beautiful city with lots of historical buildings, some of which I was able to capture. Tree lined streets dominate the Rocks area, always appreciated when it’s hot.
An additional attraction to make the visit even more enjoyable was that the annual Vivid Festival (http://www.vividsydney.com) was starting the night I arrived – it’s a Festival of Lights, music, and ideas. The light shows were amazing as were the interactive installations around the city. At Circular Quay, beautiful music pumped out in time with the light shows. The Opera House was exquisite as various patterns were broadcast onto its famous shells.
The last day I was there I went for a stroll around a historical area near my apartment – included was the Big Dig. I had no idea what it was, and happened across a Park Ranger who explained that it is located in The Rocks; a parcel of land containing remains from the late 18th century, the time of Australia’s first European settlement. Excavations began in 1994, attracting enormous media and public attention. Some 400 volunteers and a team of 20 archaeologists took part in what was popularly known as ’The Big Dig’. They uncovered the foundations of over 30 homes and shops, the earliest built in around 1795, and some 750,000 artefacts. These have provided a rare insight into early urban life in Sydney. I found it fascinating to wander around, and with the help of information screens and artifacts, was able to get an insight into what life may have been like in those early years after European settlement.
An interesting piece I discovered is that at one point many of the buildings were demolished as the officials worried about a major outbreak of the plague. Whether that played a major part in the low number of deaths (3 in total) is questionable. But hard times called for hard decisions.