After two days of unremitting rain, spent running for cover and taxis and getting hopelessly wet each time, this morning dawned: Sydney rose from her bath refreshed and glorious. The trees look clean and shiny, the Moreton Bay Figs majestic and statuesque in the parks and the Norfolk Island Pines stand tall and black against the blue sky.
I took another cruise, this time with my camera. Sitting on a boat floating along watching the bays, beaches and mansions on the shoreline pass silently by; what better way to see the city in the sunlight? You glide between the Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, out into the bay and out as far as the headland. When you see the sheer cliffs jutting out to the ocean, with the waves crashing at their feet, you wonder at the fortitude of the First Fleet. Even today, where the unspoilt forest trees still grow right to the cliff edge, one wonders how anyone thought to land. The few sandy bays must have seemed likely places, but beyond the beach line stood the wild forests. An awe-inspiring, daunting prospect.
Sydney Harbour, like the bay in Perth, is a wonder of nature, a natural inland sea; creating this perfect, desirable and delightful setting for a city. Cleaned up, it teems with fish and waterfowl of every sort. Some less desirable than others. Swimmers beware! Stay on the safe side.
However tragic the concept of transportation was, and it was terrible, looking back over history one cannot help but admire the tenacious hold even the worst of these men (together with the women and children) had on this land. Remembering also, that the worst in this case merely meant forgery, theft, trespass and political dissent. In those days anything worse than that met with capital punishment.
To learn more I strongly recommend the books of Mary Durrant, Kate Greville and Miles Franklin among others, Miles Franklin is better know for My Brilliant Career, which was made into a film, but another of her books All That Swagger deserves at least as much attention.
So I basked in the sunshine, clicking away at the things that interested me, and drifting dreamily along when I didn’t feel like taking photographs. By the time I got back I was ravenously hungry and stopped at one of the cafes beside the Toastracks for steak and chips. Toastrack is the slightly derogatory name for the development along the quayside behind the Sydney Opera House. (WordPress do not think this is one word, so now I am not sure myself).
One word about Australian beef – Ambrosial! Which is as it should be since this is God’s Own Country.
Thank you to everyone who has taken so much trouble and given up so much time to making my visit a success, it was wonderful to be with you again.
Here are some pictures: