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Marriage Equality: Vote Yes

The “YES vote” campaign is highly visible in Martin Place (downtown Sydney).

Here in Australia, we’re in the throes of an emotionally charged postal survey to discover people’s opinion about changing the law to allow same-sex couples to marry. The YES camp and the NO camp are putting their messages in front of the voters. The survey is not a referendum, not a plebiscite — the result will have no binding consquences and will not force the federal government to take any action.

It’s not just banners, there are ads in Martin Place too.

“This means that even if a majority of Australians vote ‘yes’ in the postal vote, it doesn’t ensure same sex marriage will be legalised. Instead, [Prime Minister] Turnbull says that a ‘yes’ vote will prompt a free vote based on a private members’ bill in Parliament. A ‘no’ vote will not trigger this action.” (source)

I walk through this avenue of banners every morning, just one more faceless drone scurrying to the office.

So we have our say in order to determine whether Parliament will even consider passing a law. Tortuous, but the only option at the moment.

Quite apart from the serious message, the banners are, well, pretty! Their bright rainbow colours are a cheery sight.

I don’t normally take an overt political stance, but this issue is a no-brainer. Love the person you love; marry the person you love, if that’s what you want. The state should have no right to dictate such matters.

An Australian flag behind a YES banner.

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Random Fridays: Busy as

7,000 bees doing their thing.

7,000 bees doing their thing.

I know there are 7,000 bees in these jars because I asked the keeper. He added that 10,000 bees weigh about 1kg, so there is your interesting factoid for the day! I saw this display at a pop-up market in Martin Place, and couldn’t help imagine the shrieking chaos that would ensue among the hundreds of browsing office workers if that display was knocked over and the glass broke.


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The Changing Seasons – Sydney: May

May in Sydney this year has been warm, dry and sunny. As changing seasons go, autumn is looking a lot like summer!

Smoke gets in your eyes (and your hair, and your lungs, and your drying laundry … )

Sydney is flanked on three sides by national parks (and an ocean on the fourth), which means a LOT of trees — which all pose fire dangers during hot, dry summers. So in autumn and winter, “hazard reduction” is carried out. On the day I took these shots around the harbour, the pre-emptive fires were in the Blue Mountains, some 125 km (80 miles) to the west. A weather phenomenon called an ‘inversion’ helped to keep the smoke sitting over the city.

It did make for days of glorious sunsets and sunrises, and interesting skies.

Smoky skies over the harbour bridge, 3pm

Smoky skies over the harbour bridge, 3pm

Hunters Hill Arts Festival

Festival of Art

Festival of Art

My goal on the smoky May Saturday was an arts festival in Hunters Hill, the smallest local government area in Metropolitan Sydney. Founded in 1861, it is one the oldest European-settled areas on the north side of the harbour and retains a number of large and impressive stone mansions. For the past 60 years, this Sydney suburb has held an annual arts festival.

Night comes early now

After the smoky ferry rides and the arts festival, and a friend’s birthday drinks, it was time to head home. It gets dark early now, and looking at this deserted train station you’d be forgiven for thinking I’d been out partying until the wee hours of the morning. However, it was only an extremely respectable 6:30pm when I took this photo.

Waiting for the train, 6-30pm

Waiting for the train, Erskineville station, 6:30pm

Mother’s Day

An occasion firmly associated with May.

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day

An afternoon of wine in the sun

Mudgee comes to Pyrmont

Mudgee comes to Pyrmont

Mudgee is a renowned wine producing area 265km north west of Sydney. I don’t know what the connection is between Mudgee and the harbourside suburb of Pyrmont, but I heartily approve of this festival! What a marvellous way to spend a sunny autumn afternoon.

Red wine, and white! My two favourite kinds.

A good time was had by all. 🙂

Raise a glass

Cheers! Raise a glass

Markets in May

Markets in May, Martin Place

Markets in May, Martin Place

I walk along Martin Place to get to/from my office and the trail station, so it’s easy to keep up with the ever-changing program of events on this pedestrianised street in the heart of the Central Business District. During May, a different Sydney market set up each Thursday. A great excuse to escape the office for a while.


Season Markers

It’s not even possible to pretend that sunlight is still hitting the west end of Martin Place at 5:30pm.

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Over at Sandringham Garden in Hyde Park, the 1pm shadow gets longer and longer. The wisteria is still looking lush and green.

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Whew, and that’s it for a busy May! Despite the sunny days, winter is definitely coming. Nights are chilly (dropping below 10C/50F) and I’ve swapped my light bedding for my snuggly down/feather duvet, and sweaters and jackets (and even scarves!) are the fashion statements now.

I’ll be away from Sydney for most of June, so next month I think I’ll opt for the version of the challenge that only needs one photo. 🙂


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The Changing Seasons – Sydney: February

Here is February's cruise ship. Compare this beautiful blue sky with the imminent storm over January's ship.

Here is February’s cruise ship. Compare this beautiful blue sky with the threatening storm that hovered over January’s ship.

The season of summer continues in Sydney. After the storms and humidity of January, February has been generally delightful: clear blue skies, normal humidity and lots of warm but not scorching days. Today is different — although the sky is a flawless, cloudless blue, the temperature is climbing to a forecast 39C (that’s 102F). As you can imagine, the beaches will be mobbed even though it’s a Thursday!

Hot summer day at Brighton Beach

Hot summer day at Brighton Beach a couple of weeks ago. This wide sandy reach runs along the western edge of Botany Bay.

This February brought the beginning of the Year of the Monkey, and Sydney (as usual) threw a party. You can see my other Chinese New Year photos here.

Chinese New Year flags and lanterns, Martin Place

Chinese New Year flags and lanterns, Martin Place

In the run-up to the The Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras Festival, ANZ Bank gets into the spirit and converts some of its ATMs to GAYTMs.

Dance flash mob!

I was walking down Martin Place to the train station to go home on Monday, when suddenly music started thumping and apparent passersby began to dance.

Dance flash mob, Martin Place

All together now, big finish! Not sure about the guy in the red shirt, though.

If you can remember the opening sequence of the film “Footloose”, you’ll know why I took these two photos. Well I had to, really, because that song was playing!

Season Markers

These two locations will appear regularly in my monthly posts. As I said in my January post, it’s hard to tell what season it is in Sydney because there are no dramatic changes such as snow and ice. However, these plane trees in Martin Place do lose their leaves, and as I intend to take this shot around 5:30pm each month you’ll see it get darker and darker, and then light again as spring and summer creep up. And while I don’t think any trees in the photo of Sandringham Garden in Hyde Park lose their leaves, the wisteria certainly does, and the flower displays change with the seasons.

Martin Place, 5:30pm

Martin Place, 5:30pm

Sandringham Garden, Hyde Park, 1pm

Sandringham Garden, Hyde Park, 1pm


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Girder grid

ANZ building, Martin Place - steel skeleton

ANZ building, Martin Place – steel skeleton

The ANZ building in Martin Place, Sydney, is undergoing a revamp — although “revamp” is an understatement in this case. The existing building was stripped back to nothing but the grid of its steel skeleton, then a new structure was built onto that. Unusually, it was not swathed in scaffolding and netting during the dismantling stage, which gave the public a rare insight into how such buildings are constructed. I walk past this building to get to and from work, and was fascinated to see more of the skeleton revealed each day. Now that it’s just one more shiny-sided glass office tower, however, I’ve lost my interest.

ANZ building, Martin Place - steel skeleton

ANZ building, Martin Place – steel skeleton

Here it is during the Vivid light festival in May 2014, lit in rather lurid purples and magentas.

ANZ building, Martin Place and tree, Vivid 2014

ANZ building, Martin Place and tree, Vivid 2014

Blur: the train now leaving

Martin Place Station, Sydney, 9:14pm

Martin Place Station, Sydney, 9:14pm

After my evening at Opera on the Harbour last Tuesday, I found myself with 10 minutes to kill before my train arrived. What to do, what to do? I had my camera because I had taken photos at the opera, so I pulled it out and looked around. Hmm, limited possibilities: water fountain, ads, walls, fire extinguisher, benches … benches! Lovely metal benches, perfect for HeyJude’s bench challenge. I could hear a train coming, and thought it would make an interesting backdrop to a shot focused on the bench. But that photo was no good (too cluttered and too many people), and the train was slowing down so it dominated the shot.

Ah, but when the train left, it was perfect. You can make out the station name of Martin Place reflected in the blur of the train at high speed. The woman appeared just as I pressed the shutter button and my first thought was that she had ruined the shot, but she actually added a wonderful human element and a splash of colour. So I ended up with two examples of blur, one intentional and one not. (If you can’t make out the train, have a look at this photo (not mine) which shows one at rest, and you’ll understand the dark shiny look, faint stripes along the top and the pronounced horizontal line.)

I was saving this photo to use in September, when HeyJude’s theme will be metal benches, but it fit this week’s Weekly Photo Challenge too well not to use.