Monday, 30 April 2012


After leaving Double Bay, Bill proposed that we walk along to Rose Bay where we could catch the ferry back to Circular Quay.  I agreed, even though we didn't know how far it was and it was slow going in my flip flop sandals.  It turned out to only to a couple of miles but with all the photography we were inspired to undertake we ended up running to catch the last ferry; between my sandals and my dodgy lungs it felt like a potentially fatal activity, that sprint. 

In looking back through my photos, I wonder if it was just our appreciation of a beautiful sunny day that made us take so many pictures. 

I was till in awe about the grey and yellow tones of Australian greenery, the different styles of housing and the views of warm, blue Pacific.

Australia has always seemed to me a funny mixture of slightly American:  all the balconies, BBQs, surfing, wide streets, poisonous creatures and a gold rush in their history.  But they are also British: tea, rugby, cricket and of course they are part of the British Commonwealth.  

'Flats' on stilts!

Australia seems quite European as well:  soccer - I gather they call rugby football - nice apartments in suburban and urban areas, good public transport systems.

I took five snaps of traffic to get this cute little bus stop / shelter.
Then again, Australia is uniquely Australian:  gum trees, really poisonous creatures, marsupials, school uniforms that include broad brimmed hats...uhm...Crocodile Dundee?). 

I'm sure that Australians could come up with a far more sophisticated list! 

We could see a lot of history here as well, not to mention that we were still walking through a prosperous area.  

And I'm sure that a lot of what pushed our buttons would seem nonsense to plenty of folks, eg how many people do you know who get really excited at spotting an art deco font?  (Or for that matter, art nouveau fonts?)

We found this building called Redleaf pretty amazing, particularly as it houses the Woollahra Municipal Council

This reminded me of  when I worked up in Morpeth and my colleagues at the local authority had their District Council offices in Longhurst Hall.   

Redleaf is apparently 'Victorian Italianate', built in the 1860s. 

The council originally acquired this property because it included a popular public beach which was in danger of private development and enclosure. 

I was also enthralled by the Woollahra Municipal Library,

One can just see the bookshelves in that back room;
doesn't it look like just the best ever reading nook?

which I have since learned was a home built for a son of a Redleaf proprietor in the late 1800's. 

I spoke to a woman standing outside and it turned out she, too, was visiting from Britain. 

Entrance to the magical library.

Surely such a gorgeous building would inspire even the slowest and least enthusiastic of readers.  Sadly we had a ferry to catch and so didn't have time to explore further inside.

One of the things that tickled Bill was seeing the sign in the car park at the Rose Bay Police station.   

I wonder how many people parking there would refer to themselves as a 'customer'?


Anonymous said...

I really like all of your descriptions, I've never been but think I would like it because it's a sort of British in genes/ American in lifestyle hybrid. Reading all of the Aussie blogs has made me think, yes I could definitely live there.

I'm still laughing at your push up bra comment, without one I would have no waistline at all!

Carolyn said...

Haha, of course Australia is nearly always that sunny! And of course we do not consider ourselves to have anything in common with Americans, but have our own identity; Australian :) Although yes, we are part of the Commonwealth, and retain some Englishness, I agree. Btw, we call it rugby. Aussie Rules Football is a completely different sport, that is definitely unique to our country.
I'm glad you enjoyed your stay!

Anonymous said...

LOL. I wondered how an Australian would take to being compared to American. Although I have never been, I have always thought of Australia as another melting pot of different peoples...and they do share similarities in their beginnings with America's beginnings too. Did that make sense? I would love to visit some day.

BigLittleWolf said...

Police "customers." That's rich!

It does all look so beautiful, Shelley. Love the architecture against the blue of the skies.

Anonymous said...

I found your thoughts about your sense of Australia interesting--part American, part British, part European.

Shelley said...

Tabitha - I think you caught my meaning the best.

Carolyn - No, I'm not surprised that one would disclaim anything in common with the US, however, one of my first observations 13 years ago was that the streets were wider in Sydney than in most European cities. Streets in the US are also wider than in Britain. Now I think of it, both countries did begin with native populations which were overtaken by British colonists.

Bliss - The people on the streets of Melbourne come in all colours and accents, it's one of the things I most enjoyed about the place. The Immigration museum we visited showed Australia to be quite ambivalent about anyone other than white Brits for most of its history. The parts of the country I've seen are beautiful.

LBW - I'm glad you could see what we were trying to photograph...I wasn't sure myself!

Terri - I suppose what I was trying to convey is that it has similarities to each, but it remains different as well... Not sure I got that across.