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Sydney Harbour Bridge turns 90

This angle gives a different perspective on the famous “coat hanger” shape. And I haven’t seen a cruise ship on the harbour for two years now!

I can see the top — the very top! — of the harbour bridge from my kitchen window. Last night I was puzzled to see it lit up in blues and reds, the colours chasing each other along the arch. (Then, of course, yet another deluge began and whited out everything, again, and that was the end of that.) This morning I learned the reason for the light display: today is the 90th anniversary of the opening of the bridge. And by great good coincidence, Cee’s CFFC challenge this week is Bridges!

Here’s a photo of the underside of the bridge (and Queen Mary, berthed at the Overseas Passenger Terminal).

Taken from Milson’s Point.

The stark metal structures look wonderful when the evening light hits them.

Taken on a sunset cruise.

Looking up from the water as the boat passes under the bridge.

Two shots of the bridge lit at night.

Convenient bench from which to admire the bridge.

That’s the Luna Park amusement park behind the bridge.

I read an interesting story this morning, about the men who quarried and shaped the granite for the pylons. “173,000 blocks were cut, numbered, and arranged like a jigsaw puzzle.” Wow. The pylons do not, as many people think, actually support the bridge. You can see in this photo that the arch ends without touching this pylon.

Big gap between arch and pylon!

Here’s the bridge on a day when we were blanketed in bushfire smoke.

Looming from the murk.

The sun sets behind the bridge, which can result in some stunning photos as the metal seems to glow. (Having the opera house in the foreground doesn’t hurt either!)

Here’s a closer view of the top of the arch. If you look to the right of the spire, you can make out a group of blue-clad people doing the Bridge Climb.

The bridge plays its part during the Vivid Light Festival, too.

A good view of some of those 173,000 blocks of granite!

Most people will have seen photos of the bridge when it takes centre stage during Sydney’s extravagant New Year’s Eve fireworks display.

Taken from a balcony at the opera house, before the fireworks.

These two shots are pretty awful, I’m the first to admit it. All I can say is that they were handheld and I was in a crowd (yeah, you try pushing to the front of a thousand opera-attending partyers with your tripod, and see how that works). But you get the idea, and you can make out the bridge.

And finally, this is possibly my favourite shot of the bridge. 🙂

Distorted image in a glass of bubbly, taken at Opera Bar.

The bridge in numbers:
Width: 49m, carrying traffic, railway lines, pedestrian walkway and bicycle track
Length: 1149m
Main span length: 503
Height above sea level: top of arch 134m
Height above sea level: top of pylons 88m
Number of hand-driven rivets: almost 6,000,000

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Tree Squares: Camping

Camping on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, 1993

I started July’s extravaganza of Tree Squares with a tree photo from my overland trip in Africa, so it seems fitting to end on the same note. I have no idea what sort of tree this is, but it’s dramatic.

Two Tree Squares from me today, due to having spotted the remarkable tree growing around the power lines a few hours ago! I just had to share that.

July Squares are all about Trees. As always, a huge thanks to Becky!

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Tree Squares: Around the Power Lines

This is a determined tree!

I snapped this tree with my phone today, while out walking (exercise being one of the four permitted reasons to leave your home in Sydney these days). In the 15 years I’ve lived in this area of Sydney, I’ve never walked down this street before, so was taken aback when I spotted this. I’m amazed that the electricity company goes to the bother of trimming the inside branches of this tree so they don’t touch the lines, rather than simply cutting it back. And I admire this tree’s determination to grow up and around!

July Squares are all about Trees

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Tree Squares: Bottle Tree

Planted in 2007

Here’s another interesting tree type from the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. The trees in these photos are both Queensland Bottle Trees, one much younger than the other.

The label for this tree didn’t say when it was planted, unfortunately, but look at the size of the trunk!

It’s so large that it needs propping up.

About the trees

July Squares are all about Trees

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Absolut Blue

Absolut Ice Bar, London, 2009

Frozen, frosted, splintered blue. Vodka kept inside a chamber so cold that it became an icy slurry. The bar itself one giant freezer, in which visitors were given a quilted, hooded garment and gloves to ward off the cold. Tables made of giant blocks of ice.

And on that summer day in August 2009, the temperature outside was so warm that I was wearing whisper-thin trousers and flimsy open-toed shoes. Not an ideal mix. My toes were blue, too!

Me, modelling the contrast between the thermal wrap we were given to wear inside the Ice Bar, and my utterly inappropriate summer shoes — in a contrasting shade of blue, though!

Life in Colour: Blue

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Tree Squares: The Apple Tree

1996, and there’s a fair number of red fruit in the tree. That’s my mother’s sister doing the raking.

This is the saga of the apple tree in my parents’ back yard. They didn’t plant the tree; it came with the house when they bought it from my grandparents in the 90s, and may even have been planted by the people who owned the house before my grandparents. In 1996, above, the tree looked like your average apple tree.

Jump to 2004, and the tree had morphed into the “pom pom tree” and was used for suspending hammocks and hammock chairs. I think it was pruned like this so the tree wouldn’t waste its efforts on scraggly thin side branches. It was quite the conversation piece for passers-by!

2007, and here are my parents harvesting apples from the pom pom tree. I think by then the branches had become too unsafe to support a hanging chair.

2014, and all that’s left is the stump.

June 2021: not even the stump remains. But the ring of curved stone edging still marks out the tree’s location. (Photo courtesy of my mother)

July Squares are all about Trees