Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year

Happy New Year from Sydney, Australia to all my blogging friends in New Zealand who have just tipped over into 2017!

The 9pm fireworks in Sydney are smaller than the more famous midnight ones, but they're great for families.

All the harbour pontoons synchronise their displays, so that fireworks light up the sky all around the various coves and bays of the city.

Our Inner West suburb is dotted with wonderful viewing spots.
We haven't been here for years to celebrate NYE - I'd forgotten how exciting it is.

The suburb is closed off at lunch time, so that only residents can drive in.

All the parks start to fill up with families about 8.30pm. 
Parties seem to ooze out of every second house to watch the fireworks.

Everyone oooh's and aahhh's, a few young children cry, we all applaud at the end. 
Then everyone takes the kids back home and put them all to bed.

The parties continue, the young adults start arriving, the pubs fill up, party boats dooff dooff around the harbour & Mr Seasons & I meander home to put our feet up under the air con, with a beer in hand & watch the Robbie Williams in Talinn concert until it's time to meander back to our secret viewing spot for the midnight display.

Pop back just after midnight for some pics of the big display!


WOW! The midnight display is always so much better in real life than the TV.
It's nice to have the occasional Christmas and NY at home so that we can enjoy these fabulous Sydney events up close and personal.

All the the booklets are home safe and sound now, so I'm off to bed.

Happy New Year one and all, whatever your time zone, may your new year be joyous, healthy and full of grace.

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Merry Christmas

Our local council provided some Christmas cheer in our Square this year for the first time.
Some scoffed - it was too small.
Some thought it a waste of money - bah humbug!

But I love our graceful little tree - in all weathers and lights - it was a lovely way to start and end my work day.

However, no-one in their right mind would dare call the Christmas tree in the QVB too small!
Moving up into the dome from the ground floor, through three levels, this tree is truly majestic and magnificent. Covered in Swarovski crystals it sparkles from its tippy top to its glorious base.

Christmas in Australia means the flowering of the native Christmas Bush - one of my favourite bushes for its glorious colour and delicate flowers.

The neighbours cat showing off his Christmas cool!

Seasonally silliness as our old Sydney buses get pulled out of retirement to become party buses!

My bosses grandson and his friend, graced our doorstep with Christmas carols for the first time this year. It was a lovely way to work our day. It was such a delight to see how poised and assured this young man has become. Our customers were thrilled and my boss was beaming from ear to ear.

Merry Christmas one and all.

However you spend your 25th of December, may it be filled with family, friends and love, at the very least. And may your Christmas Eve be filled with fun, laughter and good cheer.

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

The Royal Hall of Industries

The Royal Hall of Industries at Moore Park holds many fond memories for me.
During my childhood, when the Royal Easter Show was held in this area, the Royal Hall of Industries was the showbag pavilion.

Officially opened in February 1913, the RHoI only took nine months to build.
With vaulted ceilings and cathedral windows, this Greco-Roman style building is majestic and imposing.

Used as an exhibition space from the beginning, the Hall was later commandeered by the government during the 1919 Influenza as a morgue.

Throughout the roaring twenties, it was affectionately known as the Palais Royale by the young party goers and used for balls, dances and roller skating.

During the Depression, the Hall was turned into a boxing ring.
The army then took over the space during WWII.

Now the Hall is used for special events like the Big Designer Market (which is why we visited recently), the Mardi Gras Party and for the filming of Masterchef Live. 

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday, 10 December 2016

White Rabbit Gallery

I've been meaning to visit The White Rabbit Gallery in Chippendale for years, but it was spotting a friends post on Instagram from the Vile Bodies exhibition that prompted me to finally go.

I'm not sure I can say exactly why the mass hanging of nude male figures was the prompt I needed except perhaps I was feeling in need of being challenged.

Zhang Dali's, Chinese Offspring is challenging to all your senses whichever way you look at it.
And there's plenty of viewing options - it fills the air space in the main entrance foyer and it can be seen from each level of the staircase.

Cheng Dapeng's Wonderful City was an amazing collection of body parts and hybrid creations artfully displayed on a 9.6m long lightbox. The mutant forms were strangely appealing.

Yang Xin's, Original 5 mixes organic and inorganic pigments to "produce multicoloured blobs that resemble living cells".

Xu  Xinping's clasped hands were a calming feature in this rather startling exhibition.

"Gigantic clasped hands, rendered in white chalk pastel on red paper in twelve separate panels, loom out of the black charcoal background, like a monumental sculpture. Is this a gesture of prayer, of supplication, or of patient resignation?"

Exotic Flowers and Rare Herbs Series by Cang Xin features a "menagerie of invented, hybrid life forms, with luxuriant plants growing from the bodies of creatures including porcupines, cockroaches and scorpions."

The Gallery also contains a Tea House - the bird cage ceiling display, whilst sipping one's green tea, was far more relaxing and rustic than the exhibition.

Vile Bodies was surprising, bizarre and confronting at times.
I'll be curious to see what turns up in the space next year.

"The White Rabbit Collection is one of the world’s largest and most significant collections of contemporary Chinese art. Founded by Kerr and Judith Neilson, it focuses on works produced after 2000."

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Crowded House Encore

I have loved Crowded House and their music from day one.
I purchased their first album the day it was released in Australia - I was at uni, in Wagga and I still remember how happy I was to be the first in my dorm to have it!
Don't Dream It's Over was my first favourite song, but very quickly, every single song won it's way into my heart.

Over the years, I acquired every single album that Crowded House released.

Twenty years ago I was devastated when they announced they were breaking up.
And I was utterly  heart broken when I realised I wouldn't be able to attend their free farewell concert on the forecourt of the Opera House.

In 2005 when Paul Hester suddenly and sadly died, I gave up all hope of every seeing them play live.

Fast forward to 2016 and the unexpected announcement that the remining members of Crowded House would perform an encore concert at the Opera House to celebrate their induction into the ARIA Hall of Fame.

Two encore concerts blew out to four very quickly as ticket sales went ballistic!
Mr Seasons sat online for an hour or so, to finally secure us tickets for the final nights performance.

It's almost impossible to describe how excited I was!

We arrived a couple of hours early, to find this line snaking it's way back down Circular Quay.

But we were still early enough to secure a fantastic viewing spot on the steps. 

I won't bore you with a zillion blurry photos of the stage - mostly because I was too busy dancing and singing to think about taking photos!

After a brilliant evening, with a guest appearance by Neil's equally famous older brother, Tim, the skies above our heads lit up with a fireworks display.

The concert was televised live around the world - I hope you were lucky enough to see it too.
It was a special night for many of us - including this reporter - Jamila Rizvi - who summed up perfectly what we all experienced on Sunday night.

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Sydney Observatory

From my Top 10 Sydney Eyewitness Guide:

"The 1858 Italiante building was converted into a museum of astronomy in 1988. The Tower's time-ball still drops daily at 1pm, while a cannon is fired simultaneously from Fort Denison."

"Lieutenant Willam Dawes established Australia's first observatory on the point that now bears his name. In 1790 he earned Governor Philip's displeasure when he refused to join a reprisal attack against Aborigines. His refrusal sprand from a relationship with an Eora woman, Patyegarang. Dawes' journals detail his converstaions with Patyegarang and document the vocabulary and grammer of the Eora. Dawes was shipped out in 1791 and spent years campaigning against slavery in the west Indies."

I've always thought it was such a shame that men of cultural sensitivity like Dawes were not encouraged to stay in the colony during the early years. Our troubled history with the Aborigines may have proceeded quite differently if men like dawes were in charge, or had a say.

In 1797 a windmill was built on the hill above the first settlement. This was the highest point of land in the early colony consisting of a rocky, steep ridge. The windmill deteriorated quickly - the canvas sails were stolen, a storm damaged the machinery and by 1800 the foundations were crumbling. The area was named Windmill Hill, but now the surrounding Millers Point is the only reminder of this earlier history.

View from atop the Observatory looking towards Balmain.

In 1803 the name of the hill changed to Fort Philip. Governor Hunter built a fort to defend the new settlement against a possible attack by the French and also from rebellious convicts.

The fort was never required. The eastern wall of the fort was converted to a signal station in 1825. Flags were used to send messages to ships in the harbour and to the signal station on the South Head of the harbour.

By the 1830's the sandstone cliffs at the bottom of Observatory Hill were being cut into to make way for the shipping industry developing in Cockle Bay, Darling Harbour.

Mortimer Lewis (colonial arcitect 1835 - 1849) began building a proper signal station on the site in 1848.

A few years later, Governor Denison agreed to build a full observatory next to the signal station.
The first official astronomer was William Scott, appointed in 1856.
His new observatory, was designed by William Weaver (during his time as colonial architect 1854-56) but built by his successor Alexander Dawson (1856 - 62). 
It was completed in 1858.

The southern dome contains an equatorial refracting telescope, installed in 1874 to observe the Transit of Venus. The dome is made from a Muntz metal - a copper-zinc alloy and sits atop an octagonal tower.

 The time-ball was the new Observatory's most important feature.
The only change to the ball since it's first use on the 5th June 1858, is the motor that now mechanises the raising of the ball in preparation for the 1pm drop.
I took a brief video of the time-ball dropping but, I can't seem to make it work here.

Inside the south dome

The north dome was added in 1878 to allow for a view of the eastern sky.
It now houses a modern computer controlled 40cm reflecting mirror telescope.

"Observatory Park: Given its location beside the southern approach to the Sydney Harbour Bridge, this small park below the Observatory is surprisingly peaceful. It offers great views of the working harbour. Near the bandstand is a memorial to the Australians who served in the South African War (1899-1902)."

The Museum of Applied Arts and Science website is here.

The Gadigal peoples were the original inhabitants of the area around Observatory Hill, Millers Point and Dawes Point. They co-existed with the European invaders in this area, that became known as the Rocks, until about 1840.

In 1788, it was estimated that about 1500 Aborigines lived in the area, but more than half probably died after the 1789 smallpox epidemic.

View of the Parramatta River from Observatory Hill in 1789 (image courtesy Australian National Maritime Museum)

View of Sydney from North Sydney by Conrad Martens 1841 (courtesy State Library NSW)

View of Millers Point and Darling Harbour c. 1870 (image courtesy of State Library NSW)

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot

Saturday, 19 November 2016

Supermoon Monday

Monday night, very fittingly, was Supermoon night.
Unfortunately, though, Monday was also a cloudy day in good old Sydney town.
Not ideal for watching a supermoon rise.

However that didn't stop lots of local luna lovers from gathering on the foreshores of our peninsula, just in case.
There's always plenty of picturesque views to admire regardless of the moon.

The cloud cover hung low, so we did miss the moon rise.

But we did get a break as the moon reached the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
People cheered, cameras clicked and #supermoon2016 trended!

The middle of the bridge! How lucky!
How perfectly picturesque!

How lucky to have your Bridge Climb walk booked for the night of the supermoon!
You can see one group crossing the centre of the bridge and another group beginning their descent.

The Australian flag and the flag of NSW were flying tonight.

And there she goes!
45 minutes of la bella luna, before the clouds obscured her pretty face once again.
I'll be 66 for #Supermoon2034 - I wonder where I will be?

This post is part of Saturday Snapshot.