Stop all the clocks

No man has the power to tell just where the hands will stop, at late or early hour.

“No man has the power to tell just where the hands will stop, at late or early hour.”

A mix of quotes in this post: the title is from a W H Auden poem, the photo caption is from “The Clock of Life” by Robert H Smith. This particular stopped clock is on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour: convict prison; industrial school and reformatory for girls; ship building site; dockyard; and now urban campground and cultural events venue. From 1857 to 1991, Cockatoo Island was Australia’s primary shipbuilding and repair facility. I find something quite poignant in this clock, its frozen hands hinting at a time when the cavernous building in which it hangs bustled with noise and work.

December Squares #timesquare

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Random Fridays: Could I ever have belonged to the heavens?

Icarus Container, Yukinori Yanagi

Icarus Container by Yukinori Yanagi

This photo shows part of an art work at this year’s Biennale on Cockatoo Island. Viewers walked through darkened shipping containers with mirrors on which were etched extracts of Icarus from Sun and Steel by Yukio Mishima. (While Mishima’s version is not that of the ancient myth, in which Icarus flew so close to the sun that the wax holding his feathered wings together melted and he fell to earth, it nonetheless evokes that story.)

The viewer’s perception changed as they walked through the containers, turning corners and looking back; the experience was very affecting.


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June Roof: Anyone for Tennis?

Tennis court on roof

Tennis court on the roof

This tennis court in the sky is very near where I work in downtown Sydney — in fact, I took the photo from the 15th floor of my office building. I’ve never seen anyone actually playing tennis here, but the entire court was recently substantially refurbished, so it must get used sometime. Despite that netting, I can’t help but imagine balls falling on the heads of unsuspecting pedestrians below!

June Squares: Roof If you have a photo (or two!) of a roof, join in!

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Anzac Day 2018

Floral tributes at the cenotaph, Martin Place.

Yesterday (25 April) was Anzac Day in Australia. Ceremonies are held across the country at dawn and throughout the day.


A poppy on a gun.

Cenotaph sculpture and Australian flag, Martin Place.

There are parades too, of veterans and serving military personnel, and family. And bands, of course. The “massed pipe bands” march past is always a crowd pleaser.

What did we ever do without camera phones?

Snap!

Something that strikes me about these bands is their make-up. Old and young, male and female, military and civilian, they all come together as one. I think you can really see that in these next two photos.

Old and young, male and female, military and civilian.

Old and young, male and female, military and civilian.

The particular band that I know (through a friend) is the Sydney Thistle Highland Pipe Band. They played at a separate ceremony in Martin Place at 12:30pm.

Friends and family often join them after the official proceedings, as the band visits a few pubs for some well deserved refreshment. They play at the pubs, too, which always draws a crowd!

There’s a pipe and drum band behind that crowd!

Bagpipes in a pub window.

The band is 100 years old this year.

100 years of piping, drumming and marching.

I have other Anzac Day posts here.

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La Perouse Headland Walk

This walk in the area around La Perouse (a southern suburb of Sydney) starts in the Botany Bay National Park. (If you’ve ever flown in or out of Sydney, you’ll know Botany Bay — it’s the large body of water that the runways jut into.) The walk is only about 5km long, and not difficult. I think you could call it a stroll, in fact. It begins in typical forest in the national park.

According to the signpost, I’m headed in the right direction for Henry Head and Cape Banks. That’s reassuring. 🙂

On track

At Henry Head there is an old artillery battery. “Constructed between 1892 and 1895 with two BL 6-inch Mk V disappearing guns, the fort operated until 1910, when it became obsolete. The battery along with two 6-in gun emplacements and observation posts was re-utilised during World War II to defend the approaches to Botany Bay. During WWII, it was armed with two 18-pounder Mk IV field guns and two QF 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns. The underground bunker and tunnel complex consisted of vaulted ammunition storage rooms with double walls and ceilings. The doubling up of walls and ceilings was a preventative measure meant to stop the walls from collapsing in the event of a direct hit.” (source)

Covered with graffiti now (of course) they still reveal how strategic their position was, covering the entrance to Botany Bay.

There were hundreds of birds, huge flocks of them darting swiftly in the sky and keeping up a constant chorus of tweets and chirps. In the first photo, the black-and-white bird at bottom right is a New Holland Honeyeater. The other bird, a sort of brown with striking yellow, I’d never seen before, which surprised me given their sheer numbers here.

Is a bird in hand really worth two in a bush?

An online search revealed that the mystery bird might be a Yellow-faced Honeyeater. Here’s another one, with a definite yellow face.

Yellow-faced Honeyeater?

Lunch with a view!

Water, orange, egg sandwich — and a view.

Henry Head was as far as I’d intended to go, as I wanted to visit the La Perouse Museum and I knew it closed at 4pm. But sitting here having my lunch, I thought how enticing that path snaking out towards the far cape was … so off I went.

Who could resist?

Follow the path.

I know we’re not “doing” benches any more, but I had to snap this one. It’s made of the same heavy metal mesh as the walkway! (And is not especially comfortable.)

No place to linger.

If you’ve read my previous walks, you’ll know I’m not a fan of stairs. However, I hate sand even more. Especially going uphill in sand.

Sandy path, uphill.

And now for something completely different! You round a corner and suddenly there’s a golf course.

She is NOT a walker.

This is hole 6 (par 3) of the New South Wales Golf Course, officially opened in 1928. According to its website, “Golf Digest currently ranks the NSW Golf Club as the No. 9 golf course outside the United States and the No.1 golf course outside the United States and the UK.” Click this photo to see a larger version of hole 6 with the tees marked — the men’s, the ladies’, and what I’ve dubbed the maniacs’ tee.

Hole 6, NSW Golf Club.

This is the same hole, looking at the flag (circled) from the maniacs’ tee. They must lose an awful lot of balls in the sea here!

You’d better have a spare ball or three for this hole.

Sound advice on this sign, especially given that the golfer is in mid-swing.

Fore!

This footbridge (you can just make it out in the first photo of the sixth hole, and more clearly in the larger photo) leads to Cape Banks, presumably named after (Sir) Joseph Banks, the botanist/naturalist on Captain James Cook’s voyage of 1768-1771. They landed at Botany Bay on 29 April 1770; Cook writes that he named it so due to “The great quantity of plants Mr. Banks and Dr. Solander found in this place”. (source)

Footbridge to Cape Banks.

No more time for dawdling, that 4pm museum closing time was looming, so I hot-footed back along the trail. I paused at Congwong beach to take a photo looking back at where I’d been. The circled white dot on the headland is the white tower visible in the gun emplacements photos farther up this page.

Looking back.

I know what you’re thinking. What is this “La Perouse” I keep referring to?? Why would anywhere in Australia have a French name? The area is named after Jean-François de Galaup, comte [count] de Lapérouse, who commanded a convoy of two French ships that sailed into Botany Bay in January 1788, only days after the English First Fleet had arrived to establish the penal colony that became Sydney. After leaving Botany Bay six weeks later, La Perouse and his ships were never seen again. (What happened to the French ships? In 1826 evidence was found indicating they foundered on reefs in the Solomon Islands. Some survivors were killed by local inhabitants; some built a ship from the wreckage and sailed away, but their fate is unknown.) (source)

This monument was erected in the area where the French camped. It’s the focal point for gatherings by French expats on Bastille Day.

And here’s the museum! It features displays and artefacts about the area and the early visits from the French and English visits, heavily weighted towards the La Perouse expedition naturally. The museum is housed in the historic Cable Station building, completed in 1882. When telegraph operations transferred elsewhere in 1913, the building was subsequently used for telegraph company staff accommodation quarters, a nurses’ home, soldier accommodation, and a Salvation Army Refuge.

La Perouse museum

This improbable looking construction is the Macquarie Watchtower, also known as the Barrack Tower, built around 1821. Originally a military station, it later became a customs post and housed a schoolroom. It subsequently fell into disrepair, was mostly destroyed by fire in 1957 and restored from 1961.

Watchtower

No luscious ice cream to finish off this walk, I’m afraid. Maybe next time!

For more walks from all around the world, head to Jo’s Monday Walks.


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