The Spirit of Place 2

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!




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.


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!,_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.



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.

The Domain Speaker's Corner2


About sagesomethymes

Daniela is a writer, theatre producer and civic educator. She has had short stories and poetry published in: 'Prayers of a Secular World', Inkerman & Blunt; 'Blue Crow Magazine', Blue Crow Press; 'Knitting and other stories', Margaret River Press and Radio National’s '360 documentaries'. Her debut play, 'Talc', was produced in 2010. Her short play, 'Sicilian Biscotti', was produced for the launch of “Women Power and Culture” at New Theatre in 2011 and shortlisted for the Lane Cove Literary Award in 2015. Her second full length play, 'Friday', was produced by SITCO at the Old Fitzroy Theatre in 2013. 'The Poor Kitchen' was produced in 2016 as part of the Old 505 Theatre’s Fresh Works Season and was published by the Australian Script Centre in 2017 ( It was re-staged by Patina Productions at Limelight on Oxford in 2019. She co-wrote 'Shut Up And Drive' with Paul Gilchrist and it was produced at KXT in 2016. 'Seed Bomb' was produced at Old 505 Theatre as part of the FreshWorks Season in 2019 and has been published by the Australian Script Centre ( She co-wrote 'Softly Surely' with Paul Gilchrist and it was produced at Flight Path Theatre in 2022. She is the co-founder of indie theatre company subtlenuance ( Her published short stories can be read via the Short Stories tab on this blog.
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