Our second day in Sydney was beautiful.
We had gorgeous blue skies, which was a nice change from the rainy day we had on our first day in Sydney.
So we quite enjoyed our 30 minute stroll from our hotel to Circular Quay.
We even stopped to check out the monuments and statues that we passed.
We should all do that more often as there are some amazingly interesting things to see and learn this way.
For example, we stopped to look at this anchor, just a block or so from Circular Quay,
to discover that it was the anchor of the Sirius.
Yes, THAT Sirius! The flagship of the First Fleet!
The Sirius carried Captain Arthur Phillip to Australia in 1788.
Sadly, the Sirius was shipwrecked two years later off the coast of Norfolk Island.
This anchor and several other artifacts have since been recovered from the Sirius.
So do stop to look at monuments wherever you find then.
It’s well worth your time.
With our nice blue skies, we were able to get some much nicer photos of the views around Sydney Harbour.
So, we spent the first hour of our day wandering around Circular Quay taking photos.
First of the Sydney Harbour Bridge
and then of the Sydney Opera House.
Isn’t she pretty?
Oh yes, and we took a couple of typical tourist shots too
where we placed ourselves in front of the icons.
Okay, well not directly in front of.
No, we didn’t catch a show at the Opera House.
There was nothing on that appealed to us, the prices also didn’t appeal to us.
Even the tour prices were outrageous,
so we settled for a walk around and a quick read of their teeny tiny Visitor’s Centre,
which is really just a wall of photos and info and a gift shop.
Simply walking around the Opera House is lovely
and there are plenty of views to be seen.
But we didn’t dally long at the Opera House.
We had a long list of places to visit
and we’d be coming back to the Opera House later in the evening.
Our next stop was the Sydney Harbour Bridge Pylon Museum and Lookout
….IF we survived all of the stairs.
First, there were the Argyle Stairs,
then there’s the Cumberland Street Stairs
to get you up to the road level of the bridge.
Thankfully, there’s a nice little view half way up
so you can stop and pretend to check out the views
or take a dozen pictures or so,
while you catch your breath.
Inside the Pylon, there is a museum and a lookout
and about 200 more stairs.
No, there are no lifts.
BUT, the price is much much better than the Sydney Tower Eye price
and we thought the views were amazing.
We started at the little museum, halfway up the pylon.
It really is only a ‘little’ museum,
but it’s a nice break before continuing your climb.
These lovely stain glass windows show some of the bridge workers –
a surveyor, a stone mason, a riveter and the silhouette of a ‘dog-man’ way up high,
(a dog-man is a bloke who rides on the crane lifted materials to direct them),
a concrete worker, a rigger, and a painter.
These workers had none of our modern day protections from work place hazards.
No, safety rails or rigging.
Not even hard hats or ear muffs.
Consequently, sixteen men lost their lives while building the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Bridge construction began in 1924, during economic boom years,
however, a few short years later, the Great Depression hit.
The bridge would keep the economy alive during those difficult years.
In fact, the bridge was often called the ‘Iron Lung’
because of the role it played in keeping the economy going
and keeping so many men in work.
The bridge was finally completed in 1932.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the largest steel arch bridge
although not the longest.
The chief engineer was John Bradfield.
He helped determine the most suitable type of bridge for the span
and then supervised the bridge’s design and construction.
Bradfield is referred to as the father of the bridge.
(Brisbanites might be interested to know that Bradfield was also in charge of the construction of Brisbane’s Story Bridge).
I was impressed to learn that Bradfield admired both purpose AND beauty in his work.
Beauty in construction seems to be a long forgotten idea
so I was thrilled to learn that the pylons were constructed
merely for their aesthetic properties.
Apparently the granite pylons added immense cost to the construction of the bridge,
however, beauty held such importance in those days,
and particularly to Bradfield,
that the pylons were added
merely because they made the bridge beautiful.
I couldn’t imagine the bridge without them.
After a quick movie about the building of the bridge,
we started climbing again.
Lesser fit folk will appreciate the little displays on each landing
that allow tiny breaks between climbs.
These are the ceremonial scissors (well, a replica) that were used to open the bridge.
Pretty aren’t they?
Not that they actually did the FIRST cutting of the opening ribbon.
After two hundreds steps we made it to the pylon lookout
and it was worth all that wheezing, panting and thoughts that I might die.
Just check out the views!
You could walk all around the top of the pylon
and get 360 degree views of the city and the harbour.
It was beautiful.
Here’s one of the approaches to the Sydney Harbour Bridge
and here’s the bridge itself.
Some more gorgeous harbour views.
Oh and my men again.
Even the views from inside the top floor of the pylon were lovely.
Check these out.
Peeking out at the bridge,
and then the harbour and the Opera House.
I took sooooo many pictures of the views.
Our next stop was the Rocks Discovery Museum,
a lovely, tiny and FREE museum
in the heart of the Rocks area.
At this museum, the building itself was an artifact.
It was gorgeous.
I loved the sandstone walls.
Apparently the different markings on the stones,
are the different work gangs’ identifying marks.
There were lots of hands on displays in this small museum.
There were also a number of videos to watch and interactive technologies,
which are always a hit with the kids.
Me, I liked the simple things –
an old shoe,
a broad arrow marked brick,
this bear’s grease hair cream
(made from the fat of Russian bears!),
and these very well worn rickety stairs.
A topic that I found interesting at the museum,
and that I’d like to read more about,
was the plague in Australia.
Too often we think of the plague as something that happened during the Middle Ages.
We spent about an hour or so at the Rocks Discovery Museum
before heading off to find some very overdue lunch.
After lunch (which we had to defend from the hungry seagulls!),
we took a ferry over to the Sydney suburb of Manly.
We’d hoped to take one of the cute, slow green and yellow ferries
but instead we ended up on a Manly ‘fast’ ferry.
It was quite a fortuitous change in plans.
and we LOVED it.
(Except when it reversed and its engines threw buckets of water over those of us at the back of the boat!)
When you visit Sydney, you have to take a ferry ride.
The harbour views are lovely.
(The price…not that lovely, when you factor in four people and a return ticket, but, oh well.)
The speedy trip to Manly was definitely a highlight for us.
We chose the Manly trip because we wanted to go past the headlands to the harbour.
I didn’t realise that it was so small.
In Manly, we didn’t have any big plans.
We just strolled around and enjoyed the waterside
until it was time to board our cute, slow, green and yellow ferry
(yes, we finally caught one)
back to Circular Quay.
The plan was to cruise into the Quay at sunset or thereabouts.
Our timing was perfect!
The city was awash in the final rays of the sun.
It was lovely.
The ferry went extra slow coming into the city,
making us wonder if it was a special sunset tour.
The tourists were crowding the front of the ferry
snapping up the gorgeous scenes.
And who wouldn’t, when the city looked like this…
As we turned into Circular Quay, the night lights had taken over
showing us different pretty scenes.
Did you spot Luna Park tucked under the Harbour Bridge?
After our spectacular sunset ferry ride
(worth every penny of those tickets!),
we wandered back over to the Opera House
and climbed the stairs once again;
this time to wait for a special light show
to be projected on the sails of the Opera House.
The show was called Badu Gili and it bathed the Opera House sails with images from Indigenous artists.
It was spectacular
and a lovely way to end our day and our time in Sydney.