Saturday, 28 March 2015

Royal North Shore Hospital - shades of the times


Royal North Shore Hospiatal (see how British we still are!) is the closest public (government) hospital to where I live. I was there yesterday, but arrived by foot rather than ambulance.

I was struck by the contrast of the "new" hospital when compared with the main building of the original 1909 hospital. Both my children were born in this hospital. Indeed, I spent the last month of my second pregnancy in here twiddling my thumbs, because I was losing weight.


North Shore means north of the harbour. Sydney is thought of in terms of north, south, east, and west, each area having its own stigma. This is not definitive, just my take: North is for the well-off middle classes, the professional elites; south is for the would-bees, the cashed up middle classes; east is for the monied-class, who primarily inherited it all from dadda; and, west is the hoi-polloi, the great-unwashed, the aspirational working class.

Hah! Oh boy, is THAT gunna get me into strife ...


Friday, 27 March 2015

People Watch - SOH


It seems to me that, once people are actually in the forecourt of the Sydney Opera House, they cannot believe their eyes and their good fortune. A bit like wandering The Mall, and wow, there is Buckingham Palace. Or standing aways down the Champs-Elysees, and wow, there is the Arc de Triomphe.

And there are no cars. Very few in the forecourt, none around the foreshore.

The entire Sydney Cove thing still blows my brain each and every time I wander down there.


Thursday, 26 March 2015

Classified by the National Trust - 83 York Street


"Paul Reader" is a winter sport's store at 83 York Street, in the city. The firm was established in 1956 by Paul Reader, who tried most of the major north-south streets, before settling on York Street in 1987, when son took over from father.

Classified by the National Trust, this ten-storey building was built in 1913 with a brick and sandstone facade. It was refurbished by Lipman's in 2001 and is currently valued at $90m.

The dyadic neon sign caught my eye. They are not much in fashion nowadays, this style of neon sign.

There is a very small winter sport industry in Australia, as the arrival of snow is unreliable, as is its quantity when it does arrive.


Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Hyde Park - St Marys Cathedral then


What we have in Sydney today, IMO the grandest church in our City, is the third attempt to construct a home for the city's catholic faithful. Although Australia was conquered, and settled, by Britain in 1788, the foundation stone for the first catholic church was not laid until 1821. Britain was wary of the catholics in the First Fleet as they were overwhelmingly Irish, and had been sent to the ends of the earth for political insurrections. For the first 25 years of the colony, catholics met covertly.

Left: Sketch by John Rae, 1840 Right: Sketch by John Rae (1840-1850
Both inages courtesy Dictionary of Sydney

Governor Lachlan Macquarie laid the foundation stone for the first St Marys, in October 1821. This was on the same site as the current Cathedral. It ran east-to-west (whereas the current cathedral runs north-to-south). At the same time, Macquarie was involved with the Anglicans. The Church of England was the "established" church and had a life of its own in the colony. However, its cathedral (St Andrews) got off to a spluttery start, with the first foundation stone laid in 1819, the second in 1837, before being consecrated in 1868.

Left: After the fire Right: After the fire, c. 1870
Both images courtesy Dictionary of Sydney


After a range of alterations, this Macquarie-inspired catholic cathedral was badly-damaged by fire in November, 1865. They rebuilt in stages, with the first service being held in 1882, with more construction work being completed in 1900, 1928, and even as recently as 2000, when the two spires in the original plans, were added. Embiggen the old image on the left to see, that even then, those with drug-addictions made their home in Hyde Park.

There is only a miniscule portion remaining of the cathedral that burnt. This is around the back (east) of the cathedral but easily accessible by the public. There is a plaque on this ruin which reads:
This pillar is all that remains of the original St Mary's Chapel, the Foundation Stone of which was laid by Governor Lachlan Macquarie on 29 October, 1821. Father John Joseph Therry celebrated the first Mass in the partly completed chapel on 5 December, 1833.


This is the southern forecourt of St Marys. It used to be a lawn bowling club at which my father played. It is now a concrete park with a swimming pool and fitness centre below. At my back as I took this phtotgraph is The Australian Museum, which I will cover next week.