Saturday, 11 May 2013

Ode to landscape

To claim this is typical Australian landscape is just pretentious Sydney waffle. There is no such creature as a landscape typical of a continent so vast. This is not even typical Sydney landscape. However, cast the net more narrowly, and it may be valid to claim this as typifying Sydney Harbour foreshore pre-development. This rocky outcrop surrounded by the gnarled growth of a banksia, is very much the Castlecrag peninsula as it juts out into Middle Harbour.

And this is what so entranced Walter Burley Griffin, Marion Mahoney Griffin, Eric Milton Nicholls, and the investors in the Greater Sydney Development Association [GSDA] of the 1920s. We no longer rob the bush for our own delight, indeed, there are now laws against removal of bush rock. Not only that, but it is a very expensive way to build using this sort of material, requiring masons with specific skill-sets. Newer houses in the estates may ape the design - specifically the flat roof - but have updated the materials used, and the concept of 'nestling' is not uppermost.

The retaining wall is along Turret Walk, and the snippet of house, is 14 The Parapet, known as The Cheong House.


FigMince said...

Ah, natural sandstone. Every so often (but not often enough for us) we drive down to Bellingen and environs for a few days, and after we finally clear the Granite Belt (itself quite stunning), we take the Orara Way through Glenreagh and start seeing sandstone ridges and cliffs. For an old Sydney boy, it's one of the highlights of the trip (sniffle).

diane b said...

Actually that natural landscape does so remind me of Sydney. When I grew up there in Loftus I spent hours playing in the bush with the local kids. Barefoot and free. We clambered over rocks like those and dodged the prickly Banksias as we ran along the paths to the creek for a swim.

Julie said...

Golly, the power of an image to bring back floods of memories. Excellent.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

Can you believe it even brings back memories pour moi Julie, only not here but in Zimbabwe and Zambia where I grew up. There were outcrops like this that made a fun 'playground'..

Joan Elizabeth said...

What fascinates me is the way the landscape is a type of continuum. There are things in the natural Sydney landscape that are familiar in the mountains and things over the mountains also familiar but put Sydney against the west and they are nothing like each other. How the soil and the temperature and the rainfall dictate what's there.

I also wonder to what extent this is really like the natural landscape that was there when the first houses were built. I know from my own garden how in just 20 years how outlooks have changed because trees have grown and others felled, undergrowth thickened and other places slashed. Once again it is a type of continuum, nothing actually stays the same but you don't notice it without a point of comparison.