Greetings and salutations,
This week we’ll visit a Sydney memorial to the veterans that have died and served from New South Wales. Before that we’ll take a ferry ride over to Manly where we’ll see the lovely beaches where lots of folks go to sun bath, swim, surf and relax.
Last week you met John, my guide from cityunscripted.com. Before his guiding session ended, he recommended that I take the Harbor Ferry over to Manly for lunch, to see the beaches and check out the many tourist shops between the wharf and the beach. Since I was hungry and wanted to see the city from the harbor, I proceeded to Circular Quay and boarded the ferry on Wharf #4 for the forty minute ride over to Manly. As we pulled away from the dock and passed by the humungous cruise ship, the Opera House and Harbor Bridge made their majestic appearances. I couldn’t resist taking a series of photos as we got on our way.
We soon came upon Ft. Denison, a former penal site and defensive facility on a very small island located in the middle of Sydney Harbor. In days past, it was also known as Pinchgut Island, because convicts were sentenced to the Island for a period of time depending on their offense. They were only fed bread and water thus returning with a “pinched gut.” Love those Australians with their clever names!
Pinchgut Island also was the site of a convict hanging where his skeleton was said to have hung for four years after the deed so as to serve as a warning to future scofflaws. It was said the convict had the best view of Sydney Harbor from his high spot on the Island! Ft. Denison at one time held defensive weapons and a garrison of 25 men to fend off invaders, however they were removed with little evidence they were ever used. Here’s another view of Ft. Denison on the return trip from Manly.
As we entered the Manly harbor, we passed what is known as North Head, the site of a former military base and a key part of Sydney’s defense system. During WWII, North Head was the site of large artillery placements in the event of a Japanese invasion.
Our approach to Manly Wharf was slow and smooth to give passengers an opportunity to view the beautiful marina and city. As a historical aside, Manly was named as such by Captain Phillip of the First Fleet after meeting the indigenous people and observed that they were confident and “manly.” Thus it was so!
After disembarking, I stopped at the nearby information center for a map and directions to Hemingway’s, a restaurant suggested by John. The very helpful women helped me find it on the map and made a few other suggestions if it was closed. Well, since the time was nearing 2 PM, I was famished and headed down The Corso (a wide promenade named after the Via del Corso in Rome), that connects Manly Wharf with the beaches on the Pacific side of the peninsula. Well, Hemingways closed just before I arrived, so was alternative two and as luck would have it so was the third option, the Boathouse at Shelly Beach. By this time, I had walked a long way from any other options so I took some photos and headed back towards the Corso where I had passed a lot of restaurants earlier. This is Shelly Beach, a north facing beach protected area for marine life that attracts a lot of snorkelers. Since it was early spring, the water was still pretty cold but that didn’t stop the sunbathers and few brave people from dipping in the water.
On my way back towards Manly Beach, I came across this water dragon hanging out along side the path. He/she was right near the sign that protects these critters.
Back at Manly Beach and The Corso, I finally scored some lunch at one of the many fish and chips joints that front the beach. I have to say the fish and chips did meet my exceptions and so did washing it down with a cold beer. After my leisurely lunch, I walked up and down Manly Beach to take in the beautiful water and white sand. First, I looked to my left.
Then to my right.
And finally to the nearby!
After enjoying the beach and the warm sun, it was soon time to make my way back to the Wharf for the return ferry ride to Sydney. But one more look at the beautiful beach.
Before leaving the beach area, I saw what looked to be newspaper headlines from the local newspaper painted on the sides of buildings. I found this one particularly humorous!
I checked out a few shops along The Corso, most not unlike the stores one finds near other tourist attractions around the world. As I was about the cross the street to the Wharf, I saw this monument to those from the Manly area who lost their lives in service to their country. The second photo are those who perished on the service of Britain during WWI. During my travels around Australia, I encountered these memorials in almost every village, town and city much like one finds around the UK today.
The ride back to Sydney was rougher than the ride to Manly. The waves rocked for about 15 minutes until we were safely in Sydney Harbor. Again, the Opera House and Harbor Bridge again attracted my attention and camera lens as we made our way to the dock.
There was some daylight remaining so I walked along the Harbor to do some people watching and further take in the sites. I liked the late afternoon light on the Opera House.
I also walked up to the area called the Rocks, once the city center of Sydney where much of the commerce was done in the early days. Now in the shadow of the Harbor Bridge, it’s filled with restaurants, drinking establishments and shops, some of them quite high end. Stay tuned for my post next week where I’ll take you on a walking tour of the Rocks but for this week here are a few photos.
During my walk about, I took this photo of a group of photographers. A few minutes later, I talked to another photographer who informed me they were part of a three week class, this was their second week with a shoot in the Rocks. It was good to chat up a little photography.
As dusk approached, I decided to make my back to my lodgings. All totaled, I logged more than 32,000 steps that day, my Fitbit high!
Now I’m going to take you back to my first day in Sydney. After landing, stowing my bags, and having some lunch, I had a few hours to explore before my abode was ready for occupancy. On my list of things to see and do was to visit the ANZAC Memorial, the memorial to those from New South Wales and Australia that served in the military. The Memorial was built to honor the ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) landing on Gallipoli, (in present day Turkey) on April 25, 1915. The strategy was to weaken the Ottoman Empire by taking the Straits of Dardanelles thus cutting off the supply lines between Asia and Europe. That effort failed so the Allies landed on Gallipoli to attempt to capture Istanbul. After several months of fighting and about 250,000 casualties on each side, the invasion force was withdrawn creating a victory for the Ottoman Empire and a significant defeat for the Allies. Over 11,000 men from Australia and New Zealand were killed in action with another 25,000 wounded during this campaign. This service by these two countries during WWI gave rise to a national consciousness and likely led to their later independence from Britain although the monarchy is still considered the official head of state. After the failure in Gallipoli, the ANZACs went on to battle the Germans on the western front distinguishing themselves in their service. At the time, Australia only had a population of around 4.5 million but provided over 400,000 men for military service. Of those 60,000 were killed in action and 167,000 injured. Australia recognizes ANZAC Day every April 25 as a national holiday as a way to honor all veterans (much like our Veteran’s Day). By the way, Australians have fought along side American troops in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, for that I thank them for their continued help and friendship.
As I walked from Central Station up Elizabeth Street, I admired some of the scenes and architecture along the way.
Located on the edge of Hyde Park, the Memorial is of a Art Deco design.
Once inside, the heart of the Memorial is this sculpture title “Sacrifice” a stark reminder of the sacrifices communities and countries make to preserve their freedoms and way of life.
Along with the Memorial is a very recently opened museum, an excellent addition. If you note the benches in the photo below, these face a wall of screens that show photos and videos from conflicts long ago and those more recent. I was fortunate to listen in while a fellow museum goer narrated to another person, detailing the locations of the conflicts as well as weapons used. His knowledge was encyclopedic and for his presence I thank him, it added to my understanding and knowledge.
The center of the museum revolves around the Gallipoli Campaign although also covers other eras of service.
Outside the museum, the Memorial continues recognize the service of veterans from New South Wales.
One of the highlights of my visit was a conversation with two of the Memorial staff who gave me further background and suggested other things to do in Hyde Park on this beautiful sunny afternoon. However, since I’d been traveling for 30+ hours, I decided I needed a shower and to rest my feet. With a last look, I departed the Memorial.
At this point, took the train back to Central Station as I didn’t think I had the energy to walk the mile or so.
While these experiences took place on different days, both we fun and rewarding adding to my strong positive impression of Sydney and Australia.
Next up, one last day in Sydney before departing to the Red Center.
Until then, happy travels!