Postcards from Australia: Sydney

This is a guest post by Willie for the Notes from Africa Photoblog.

The photographs in this post were taken on a recent trip I did to Australia to attend a forestry conference. After spending a couple of days in Sydney, I flew to Canberra to start the pre-conference tour – essentially a road trip between Canberra and Melbourne, stopping off to look at forestry areas along the way. From Melbourne we flew up to Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast, and travelled up to Mooloolaba where the actual conference was held.

To see a map of the area most of the Sydney photographs were taken in click here.

Government House in the peaceful Sydney Botanical Gardens. ©WMB/

For more information about Government House see this Wikipedia article.

Sydney Skyline with the Sydney tower towards the left – taken from the Botanical Gardens (Twin Ponds area). As always, the botanical garden offers views of unusual and interesting plants. ©WMB/

Sydney skyline with the Sydney tower towards the left – taken across Farm Cove from the Yurong Gate of the Botanical Gardens. The path along the rim of Farm Cove is very popular with runners and you have to be careful when taking photographs. ©WMB/

The iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. Taken from a very popular spot for photographers at Mrs Macquaries Point. The day that I was there, some wedding couples were queuing up to pose for photographs. ©WMB/

Walk way taken from Mrs Macquaries Chair area in the direction of Woolloomooloo Bay. ©WMB/

Nice tree at Mrs Macquaries Chair with Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House in the background. ©WMB/

Again the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House taken from the viewpoint of Mrs Macquaries Road. I had to take a quick photo before Japanese tourists overran the site. ©WMB/

A large number of boats, like ferries and sailboats, are active in the Sydney harbour. ©WMB/

The signature shapes of the opera house buildings make for interesting photographs. When I was visiting, work was being done on the steps and the area around the opera house. The large number of visitors were not deterred by the construction work. ©WMB/

Up close, the structure of the shells of the opera house becomes clearer. Impressive for a building that was designed in 1957. ©WMB/

Another view of the concrete arches. ©WMB/

A nice view of the outer skin of the shells. ©WMB/

“The shells are covered in a subtle chevron pattern with 1,056,006 glossy white- and matte-cream-coloured Swedish-made tiles from Höganäs AB,though, from a distance, the shells appear a uniform white.” [from Wikipedia article]

Climbers using ropes to climb inside the front façade of one of the shells. ©WMB/

View of the bridge from the opera house platform. ©WMB/

View of Darling Harbour and ferry terminal; also take from the opera house platform.

Entrance of a section of Chinatown in Sydney. This area caters for the large Asian community in the city. The restaurants are not limited to Chinese but excellent Thai and Malaysian restaurants can be found as well. ©WMB/

Sydney Town Hall ©WMB/

Reflecting of the old and new – St. Andrew’s Cathedral ©WMB/

Located in central Sydney, the cathedral is one of the city’s finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture. Designed by Edmund Blacket, it was ready for services and consecrated in 1868, making it the oldest cathedral in Australia. Joan Kerr described St Andrew’s as “….a perfect example of the colonial desire to reproduce England in Australia in the mid nineteenth century”. [ From Wikipedia article]

Sydney Town Hall with modern buildings in the background. ©WMB/

Another view of the area around the St. Andrew’s Cathedral, but the focus was more on the tree with the different buildings around it. ©WMB/©WMB/

Details of the cathedral walls and windows. ©WMB/

Fish eye view of the St. Andrew’s Cathedral. The repetition of forms, strong vertical lines and gothic detail lends itself well to special effects like these. ©WMB/

The area around the Sydney Town Hall and St. Andrew’s Cathedral circa 1900. Image via Wikimedia from The Powerhouse Collection.

In the Postcards from Australia series:


About Willie

I am a forestry scientist living and working in the Southern Cape, South Africa.
This entry was posted in Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Postcards from Australia: Sydney

  1. love Sydney..been there many times, have great friends there. the botanical garden is spectacular eh? thanks for sharing Lisa. continue…

    • Willie says:

      Yes, Sydney is splendid, but I also liked Melbourne and Brisbane. I guess in part that is because we have very few cities with waterways in South Africa. As a (forest) botanist the botanical garden was really great and one of the highlights of my visit there.

  2. Fascinating closeups ups of the Opera House shells. Thank you for bringing them to us.

    • Willie says:

      On a “nuts and bolts” level the construction of the shells was in bit different than expected. Most pictures create an impression that the skin is smooth and it was certainly interesting to find the tiles creating a much more scale like effect. Apparently the tiles had to be “glossy but not too much, they had to capture the sun light but not to reflect it”.

      Article Source:

  3. Debra Kolkka says:

    Great photos of Sydney. You were lucky with the weather.

    • Willie says:

      Thanks Debra. Yes the weather was great. That was until I got to the Sunshine Coast, where in 7 days I saw the sun for one afternoon.

      Thanks also for the excellent visit with you and Jim, your time and effort was much appreciated and an excellent ending to a great trip !!

  4. Amazing photos, Willy. Thanks for sharing them with us, Lisa. Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to both of you.

  5. GeoRoMancer says:

    Great and interesting pics, as always!
    Opera house: I remember reading (Bill Bryson?) that, back when the project was in planning and under construction, it was the subject of hot debate – a lot of people found it very ugly and totally silly. And now it’s one of Australia’s prime landmarks.
    The Eiffel Tower was also much criticized when it was built.
    Just goes to show: people hate unusual new things (like cats?), but grow to love them in the end!

    I wish everyone all the best for the Festering Season and a Happy Nude Year!

    • Willie says:

      Thanks. Interesting that the opera house concept won the design competition in 1957, but the construction was only completed in 1973.

      A bit of useless information that you may enjoy; Australian mines (one of the most important industries, which accounts for 15% of Australia’s GDP) cover 0.02% of Australia’s land mass – more Australian land is occupied by pubs!
      I suspect that the pub’s contribution to the GDP is not too shabby either.

  6. jacquelincangro says:

    Great pictures, Willie. Looks like you had beautiful weather. Thanks for this tour around Sydney. I enjoyed the traditional tourist views of the harbor and opera house and the interesting architecture of downtown, especially that cathedral.
    Merry Christmas to you and Lisa!

    • Willie says:

      Thanks. The weather was just right, sunny but not too warm. Yes I had a very quick tour of the city. Would have loved to have explored the outskirts and the coastline a bit more. I hope you had a good Christmas as well !!

  7. Paul James says:

    Indeed great pictures, Willie. The photos of the cathedral remind me of the Gothic type churches in Kenya which the Europeans built even in the 20th century. They loved them in order to stay away from them! Happy New Year to you and Lisa!

    • Willie says:

      Thanks Paul. Your story of the Kenya churches made me think of a visit to the St Peter’s Cathedral on Likoma Island in Lake Malawi – a remarkable building on an island of massive baobab trees. The contrast between the European building and the dry African landscape was very striking.

      Wishing you a happy 2012 as well !!

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