Here are five more places that make my city spirit soar. Some of them beautifully juxtapose time and place, others blood and survival; reminding us of the price of civilisation. In all of them, our souls connect to water, trees, sky and space. They are places that tell stories; inspiring us to remember, to think, to dream and act.
The Wharf Theatre, Walsh Bay In 1978, one of the heritage listed, restored timber wharves at Walsh Bay, became the home of the Sydney Theatre Company. This is one of my favourite theatre spaces, floating above the harbour on pylons that reach 30 meters down to the sea rock, complete with its very own rat-proof seawall! The two theatres are reached by walking the long internal length of the wharf, while watching yachts and ferries sail by, and hearing the sea swelling below. And once you reach the end of the wharf there is The Bar At The End of the Wharf; a lovely spot for a pre-show drink, or any time at all drink! http://www.sydneytheatre.com.au/your-visit/the-wharf-theatres.aspx
Newport Beach, Northern Beaches On a beautiful afternoon in January, I sat under the Norfolk Island Pines with my toes in the sand, looking at the glorious blue surf while eating one of the yummiest hamburgers I’ve had in a while. Summer in Sydney! Newport is situated along the peninsula on Sydney’s Northern Beaches. Having grown up in Western Sydney and spent most of my adult life in the Inner West and the Eastern Suburbs the north side is still a mystery and Newport Beach, with its art deco bathing shed, is the perfect excuse for a day trip. Particularly as there are some lovely seaside boutiques and food places in nearby Newport village, and a whole lot of other beaches to stop and swim at on the way home. http://www.sydney.com/destinations/sydney/sydney-north/northern-beaches/attractions/newport-beach
McKell Park, Darling Point In these beautifully manicured gardens, set amongst the ruins of Canonbury Cottage, you can wander through perfect little amphitheatres, just right for staging a play, a pantomime or a wedding ceremony. (See what I did there?) Walk along the terraces and take the steps down to the harbour foreshore. Explore Lily’s Pond, where stone frogs, lizards, snails and platypus frolic, whilst a stone dragon sleeps. Sit on one of the stonework benches by the jetty and watch the water lap in the old sea baths as the sail boats drift by on the harbour. A lovely place for adventure and discovery! http://www.woollahra.nsw.gov.au/recreation/parks,_reserves_and_playgrounds/list_of_parks_and_playgrounds/parks_and_playgrounds/mckell_park
Museum of Sydney As you walk across the forecourt of this wonderful little museum, you can see, cleverly preserved beneath your feet, and conveniently located near the museum café, the remains of the first NSW Government House. Standing at the other end of the forecourt, neatly juxtaposed against the row of Victorian terraces that still line one end of this city street, is a virtual forest of tall sandstone, wood and steel pillars. The Edge of the Trees sculptural installation by Fiona Foley and Janet Laurence, is the creation of indigenous and non-indigenous artists working together to represent that first point of contact between Indigenous and European people in our landscape. The pillars symbolise Koori clans and as you weave through them, a soundscape of Koori voices echoes the Aboriginal names of Sydney places. http://www.hht.net.au/museums/mos
Speaker’s Corner, The Domain You might have noticed a little red ladder set amongst the Moreton Bay figs in the Domain. It is part of the ‘Viva Voce ‘ Soap Box Sculptures, created by Debra Phillips, to commemorate Speaker’s Corner. This whole area was originally land reserved by the Governor as his private domain. Gradually it became a public space used for cricket matches, military parades, demonstrations and concerts. The Domain deserves a whole post to itself (and will probably get one!) But this little spot, on the Art Gallery side, was one of the most entertaining places to hang about in the first half of the twentieth century. This was a time when shops were closed on a Sunday, and so people gathered to listen to philosophers and free thinkers, pastors and politicians, and the hecklers they attracted. Anarchism, Darwinism, socialism and communism, suffrage rights, religion, temperance, war and peace were just some of the causes pleaded by orators, philosophers, idealists, theorists and poets. They stood on milk crates, ladders and soap boxes, or just on the ground. They talked passionately, while people listened, laughed, heckled or simply lounged on the grass on their day off. Today however, although there is still a lot of lounging around on the grass, you’re more likely to hear the popping of a cork, as people settle in to listen to an outdoor opera or chillax at a summer music festival. http://www.rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au/welcome/royal_botanic_garden