Tuesday, 27 January 2015

8. What wouldn't I miss? Our ignorance of historical significance ...

The top image was taken from the far-eastern end of the Cahill Walk, as soon as I alighted the lift from the quay. I am facing west. The bottom image was taken during 1931. The bridge itself has been constructed - now for the fit-out and approaches. It is one of the images displayed in The Pylon Museum, which is worth your attention. There are 200 steps, and walking is the only option. As a Senior, it cost me $8.50. But only bother if there are NO cruise ships at the Overseas Terminal!

So, why do I feel a need to whinge about our collective ignorance of historical significance?

Sydney Cove is the birthplace of European civilisation in this city, nay, this nation. And LOOK how we honour it! (Must remember not to overdo the exclamation mark in this little rant.) Sure, Sydney has always been a working harbour, and I respect the history of our harbour, and the people who have worked it. But really what we have here is a developmental pig-sty. Once the Cahill Expressway cut across the head of the cove in the mid-'50s, the die was cast.

The First Fleet anchored out there.
Captain Arthur Phillip raised the Union Jack 50m behind me.
The convicts pitched their tents on the left.
The soldiers, and military bureaucrats, pitched theirs on the right.

And today we have el-cheapo eats, not-so-el-cheapo eats, buskers, convenience stores, ice-creameries, and assorted stores purporting to flog mementos to gullible tourists!

If I had to, or chose to, leave Sydney, I would not miss our attitude to the past. But this attitude, is a national characteristic, I am afraid.

10 comments:

Halcyon said...

Things will change, whether we like it or not.

Dina said...

Oh I see what you mean. The harbor looks so much more open and nice in the old photo.

FigMince said...

Not to mention the art gallery monstrosity beside the Customs House, and what they’re doing to the Hungry Mile, Julie.

Julie said...

I am not against change, Halcyon. I am against mindlessness.

Julie said...

FigMince - I tried to be generous with the MCA at the beginning, but now feel embarrassed by that generosity. Not that I feel any affection whatsoever toward the old MSB building that is the core MCA building. The designers of that need to be in the stocks!

Julie said...

Dina

The shores of Sydney Cove bear little resemblance to what existed in 1788, or even 1888. However, I think the developments over the years have simply sold out to the highrst bidder with little thought of the overall effect, and "meaning".

William Kendall said...

It is much the same attitude I feel towards too many developers and city planners here as well who seem to have no regard for the consequences of their actions.

Jim said...

I wish they would demolish the Cahill Expressway and put the railway line underground. The city could be reopened to Sydney Cove again. It would cost big bucks but Sydney deserves it.

Julie said...

Me so, too, Jim. Put both the rail and road underground from York St/Southern approaces, with the road joining up with the tunnel to the east. That area is riddled with obsolete tunnels, used to store all sorts of secret-government-business.

diane b said...

Interesting post and comments. I agree with you and Jim.