Exploring Sydney, where does one begin?
Sydney holds so much of what is our history, both our colonial history and the stories of our ancient culture. We’ve been showing one of our Grandies around this great city, which saw the birth of the modern Aussie culture. It was a journey from the very beginnings of the penal settlement and then on through to Sydney’s current position as one of the great cities of the world.
It was the place of birth for our nation and I had to do it justice for an important young mind. It was to be an adventure that could tell the story of our indigenous culture and its emergence and marriage with the European incursion into what is an ancient land and then on into what is modern Australia, as well as the tale of the growth of this multicultural city.
I thought that the best way to introduce a youngster to our history, that which had built their world, was to find amongst the many stories those that would best represent their own experience and that of their family. So when planning this tour we divided our days into family journeys through time, dragging the stories of our forefathers and mothers with us.
You have to at first though give into curiosity and entertainment, so our first foray into the city of Sydney was to Taronga Park Zoo… and what a day it was. Anyone who has ever had the opportunity to explore Sydney’s Taronga Park Zoo will recognize the iconic picture at the top of this post that can be taken from near the giraffe’s home but the best pickie of the day for my money goes to that of the sun bears, what charmers they were lounging back where I wished I could be.
You can’t talk of Sydney though without waxing lyrical over the crossing of the busy harbour on another icon, the Sydney Harbour Ferries and going to Taronga on the ferry is without doubt the only way to go, particularly when dragging along a youngster from the Far Northern Qld rainforest region.
We are going to be spending a lot of time on those wonderful ferries and what memories they stir. My own childhood memories of rolling with the ocean swell as you cross the heads on the way to Manly. Then taking in the beauty of the harbour as you roll into the Circular Quay terminals between the old ‘coat hanger’ and the Opera House cradling you within their arms as you slip into the wharves.
Our second foray was into cultural Sydney, with visits to the Sydney Museum and the wonderful indigenous gallery to tell the story of our ancient culture and then onto the dinosaur gallery which details our unique prehistoric story. Finding a representation of the Australian Marsupial Lion was a special delight as it is so rarely recognized as one of our unique prehistoric mega-fauna. This majestic predator from the Kadimakara has been drawn into the tales of the Dreaming Series stories in Book 2, Sky Song and it was great to see him on display.
The Australian Art Gallery, sitting snuggly in the Domain is on the agenda. From the indigenous galleries through to the Australian classic galleries were each a delight to explore. Contemporary Impressionists were difficult to explain to a young teen but the scope of the works made the journey through the mind easy to map. Our last gallery was into the classics and what a real delight they were as we visited and discussed many of the more famous art works. I loved the Australian works and stepped easily through the historic tales they told. These of the Shearing Shed, gold prospecting and social scenes and panoramic views painted from the past.
Taking a young mind along on the journey through the galleries of the Museum and Art collections has been a particularly rewarding gift to myself and I am very much looking forward to our next adventure.
You can’t tell a social history devoid of commerce and that means a trip to Paddys Market and the docks area… Yesss!!! We are off to explore colonial history and this includes a touch of the old markets and China town as well as a tour around the Rocks district. We will also be on a hunt for the Tank Stream, now buried beneath the city, a stream that once watered the young penal settlement as it struggled for its survival and looking out for the convict marks left by another age.
Join me in my next few posts as we venture back into the nations foundation of our rich Aussie story. You can also find more adventures as we tour Aus. in “Oldies at Large” and venture into our colonial and indigenous history in the page dedicated to tales from “Australia an Ancient Land”
Discover more about Australia’s ancient culture in the fictional tales of
The Dreaming Series.