Cities of the world each hold their secrets and Sydney is no exception. This is a city we frequent, one The Man and I grew up in and it is a favoured haunt of ours. It also holds some charming secrets, hiding them in full view and it never ceases to surprise me how so many people overlook these things.
While growing up in Sydney, we had some favourite things to do and see when time and circumstance allowed us. These entertainments ranged broadly from the local beaches to rummaging through the bush, and of course the Manly Ferry ride across the beautiful harbour, particularly when there was a Southerly Buster blowing and the ride was a tad on the wild side. A much loved day out was exploring the City, looking for new wonders as well as the remnant of good ole Sydney Town at the Rocks and other places, those still haunted by the past and family memories.
Some of my Grandparents, Great-Grans and Great-Great-Grans etc. lived and worked in the Sydney CBD in the 1800’s. This was mostly in George St, Surry Hills, around The Quay and down into Chinatown and the much loved Paddy’s Markets, though they branched out later into Alexandria as the CBD became all business and bustle. In fact some of them even helped build and maintain the city. Living and growing up here, they also watched the city growth bury many of the cities charms, as history gave way to ‘progress’.
We have family stories from back into the early colony of those who built the colonial centre, early Parramatta and the Sydney Rail system which began in the 1850’s and latter included the City Circle underground. There were others who developed the cities service and utility tunnels and still others who knew well the old pushes and gangs of Rocks as they stepped along struggle street and eventually into the suburbs.
One of my favourite places to visit when we get into the city is the area around Hyde Park in the central CBD. This park has a long history that spills on up to Kings Cross and down into Glebe. It is an area graced by old churches, beautiful sandstone buildings, museums and best of all, it spills into The Domain and Royal Botanical Gardens. If you want to breathe the air of old Sydney, just for a fleeting minute, drop down into the old Museum train station off the edge of Hyde Park and take a breath of the old Sydney Town.
Another forgotten secret of Sydney is the travelator that runs from the north-eastern corner of Hyde Park travelling underground down into the Domain car park. This is a journey worth exploring as the subterranean moving pathway or travelator is one of Sydney’s hidden icons. It is over 200 metres in length, the second longest in the world. I love to stand on the moving walkway and watch the changing motifs and pictures pass of local artists, usually while on my way to visit the Art Gallery in the Domain.
The Sydney Art Gallery is one of the joys of Sydney and the Classics’ Gallery a favoured haunt. Here in the Australian section you can once again touch something of Sydney’s History. This time around I delighted in collecting a photographic selection of the paintings depicting Australian scenes. While many of the 1800’s artists rarely painted in-situ when working on their art, they did try to
depict reality in a sensory manner. One of my joys in my visit this time was to discover a painting of the Sydney Heads…. And a pleasure I have now, is attempting to find the outlook in real life, that which is depicted in each painting. As we are headed down south in the next 6 months or so, I have gathered myself a sweet little collections of outlooks painted in the 1800’s to search out.
Usually on the excursions throughout Sydney city I end up in the beautiful harbour-side Botanical Gardens, this truly is one of the cities delights. Surrounded by the Domain it is always been a place for the people since before its beginnings 200 years ago this year, and it proudly remains so today. From prehistory on into the colonial era, this was a place of meeting, a place of ancient history and ceremony. Some of which I touch on in my books in the Spirit Children Series.
The first two books of this series, ‘Lands Edge’ and ‘Through Other Eyes’ are set mainly in Sydney, though ‘Lands Edge’ begins deep in the sacred caverns of Wollumbin (Mnt Warning) in the NSW Northern Rivers region. The tales bring to life the mysteries of initiation, the legends of the Spirit Creatures and the tales of an ancient Lore.
Lands Edge is a journey of a young man, deep into the ancient Lore of Australia while the story in ‘Through Other Eyes’ is the unfolding of things, hidden in from the youth in Land Edge. Lands Edge is a tale for the young, while ‘Through Other Eyes’ reveals the adult nature of life.
The tales came about by the curiosities of some of my young teenage readers in regards to tribal lore, initiations and other hidden things. It is for this reason that I wrote ‘Lands Edge’, and then complimented the tale with the secrets revealed in ‘Through Other Eyes’. I hope that in bringing these mysteries into the light, in a writers interpretation, that my readers will be better able to understand a world that still exists within the shadows of our land.
The tales are available in e-book and print through Amazon.com. I hope that the third book, ‘Fire Mountain’ will be released by the end of the year. It is the story of the Inland, a tale never told but one that is at the core of our very society.
Travel well and enjoy