This is the top of the Christmas Tree in Martin Place, Sydney. Photographed on 7 December on my way to work, especially for this post.
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.
“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)
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.
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.
Update: How did the vote turn out?
The results were announced on 15 November: 61.6% of the votes were for yes (including mine). Almost 80% of eligible voters took part.
So, we’ve taken a step towards ending at least one kind of discrimination in Australia.
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.
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.
Hunters Hill Arts Festival
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.
An occasion firmly associated with May.
An afternoon of wine in the sun
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. 🙂
Markets in May
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.
It’s not even possible to pretend that sunlight is still hitting the west end of Martin Place at 5:30pm.
Over at Sandringham Garden in Hyde Park, the 1pm shadow gets longer and longer. The wisteria is still looking lush and green.
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. 🙂
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.