Friday, June 26, 2009


We woke at dawn (not easy for this family) so David could take Daisy to a special event at Sydney Aquarium featuring a cartoon called SpongeBob. I spent the hour-and-a-half they were inside sipping a coffee and watching the scenes at beautiful Darling Harbour.

As a long-term resident of Sydney, I'm not used to thinking of Darling Harbour as 'beautiful'. Frenetic, bustling and colourful maybe - but beautiful? It's odd how the pre-peak hour rush casts a different glow on familiar city sights. It really is the best part of the day. It wasn't perhaps the most peaceful place on earth. The monorail went over my head every few minutes and the occasional plane circled (no doubt with delighted passengers getting an incredible harbour view). But even the throng of commuters rushing to work couldn't diminish my enjoyment of the scene.

I've lived in Sydney for many years and I've had a love/hate relationship with her. She's a city that has been very good to me and continues to amaze me with her fascinating, beautiful and surreal sights.

Like the sight of several large cartoon characters spilling out of the Aquarium to delight a large group of passing schoolchildren. I don't know these modern cartoons. I'm more used to Porky Pig and Tom and Jerry. As I was watching, two glamorous television personalities holding their children in arms that looked as if they could snap (they were both very, very thin) and teetering on clog heels, rushed to the event, obviously late.

When you see Darling Harbour so built up with its multiple tourist attractions (Imax, Aquarium, etc), it's difficult to imagine when the land's original owners living and flourishing along the harbour. They were the Cadigal people, and they knew Darling Harbour as Tumbalong, meaning where seafood is to be found. Tragically, within a few years of the First Fleet arriving more than half of the Aboriginal Cadigal people were dead from viruses from the outside world.

It's heartbreaking to read William Bradley's journal entry: “From the great number of dead Natives found in every part of the Harbour, it appears that the smallpox had made dreadful havoc among them."

And this from another journal of the time: "It was truly shocking to go around the coves of this harbour...where in the caves of rocks were to be seen men, women and children, lying dead."

Nothing could be further from those horrific scenes on this morning with happy children dancing and posing with SpongeBob and company as I sit waiting for David and Daisy to complete their tour.

Sydney seems as bold, surprising, eccentric, bright, outrageous and kooky as she always does. Although she swishes a dark history under her glitz and finery.

And Sydney shines her brightest in the early hours - if you can drag yourself out of bed early enough to watch her awake.

Hope you have a brilliant weekend. And I hope you spend some time nourishing the child within in your life and creative play.

"All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up."
Pablo Picasso


  1. I have always wanted to visit your fair city! Daisy is adorable. Have a beautiful weekend.

  2. Ah this brings back my childhood... I loved going to the Aquarium. And I have never heard that quote by Picasso- that is so brilliant...

  3. Hi Josephine - I would love to visit Sydney some day. It seems so far away, and yet here we are emailing and blogging with one another. Technology can be so wonderful. Your blog is beautiful. Thank you so much for visiting me earlier.


  4. Hi! Lovely post. Curiously, I too when I visit a place try to imagine it as it once was. For example I spent a day in Florence, Italy last week (as part of my holiday) and there was so much commotion, buzz, crowds and general unpleasant noise that it made it so difficult to appreciate the beauty. I tried to see past this to days of old. Hey, this is a trait of a true writer /artist.

    PS Thanks for leaving comments on my blog. :)

  5. I felt quite nostalgic for Sydney reading this post's time I came home for a visit. xv

  6. Firstly, I adore this quote. So very very true. 2nd, I was born in Sydney and I have a love/hate relationship with it at times. I like the older parts that have almost remained untouched like Taren Point. Hope you had a great weekend. xx

  7. Wow, I just discovered your blog and it's fabulous! I would love to someday visit Australia, and especially Sydney. Thanks for the beautiful image!

  8. enjoyed this, we often stop by Darling Harbour I think I have a love/hate relationship with it, the kids have fun there though and on a nice day a great place to sit and just people watch


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