Sunday, March 1, 2009

Sydney, First Glimpse after Eight Years

Sydney Opera House taken from the Manly ferry and one of the most
recognizable buildings in the world

Sydney Harbour Bridge, the most famous landmark in Sydney

After the long flight from Vancouver to Sydney, on a plane that had every seat occupied, we arrived at 10 am and left our bags at our hotel. So too was the hotel full and thus we were unable to occupy our room until 2 pm so somewhat groggily we set off to explore the area of The Rocks.

Actually it is an area that we know quite well, having stayed here at least three times previously but it is a charming area with many interesting stores, galleries and restaurants with pleasant outdoor eating areas. Basically it is just a few streets on the east side of a small peninsula jutting out into the harbour so easily navigated. It is the original settlement area of Sydney and restoration of the area into its current form began in the nineteen seventies. It is an area not only catering to tourists but Sydneyites themselves enjoy the many activities which take place here throughout the year.

Every weekend The Rocks Market is held with extensive displays at the various stalls selling fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables, flowers, meats, cheeses and bread. In addition there are some very talented artists and designers who sell their wares and we enjoyed wandering through and inspecting some of the Australian made articles which varied from reasonable to quite expensive.

An interesting story is associated with the redevelopment of The Rocks, rather a typical one of Australians you might say. In 1973, when the NSW government first proposed its renewal plans, those families who had lived in the community for many years were to be relocated. A local resident action committee enlisted the help of the NSW Builders Labourers Federation, the construction workers union, who refused to work in The Rocks area, thus halting the demolition.

The Battle for the Rocks as it became known, came to a head when the developer hired non union workers. This resulted in all construction workers in Sydney, around 4000, walking off the job and converging in The Rocks area where confrontations between the union and non union workers led to numerous arrests but it also brought an end to the government's development plans.

However the following year, after consultation with the residents the ban was lifted and the redevelopment commenced and the area flourishes with its mix of historic buildings and newer development.

More of our adventures in Sydney over the past two days will follow soon and hopefully with more photos.


Janice Thomson said...

It must have been a thrill to set foot on your homeland again!
Look forward to more photos of this wonderful continent.

Carver said...

Great to hear that you have arrived safely. Beautiful photographs you have shared here. I hope you are somewhat rested now after your long trip.

CherryPie said...

Thanks for the update. Lovely photographs :-)

Moggs Tigerpaw said...

JMB, Does it feel weird? Canada must feel as much home for you now, raising your family and living there all this time. If not even more.

Sort of like having two homes.

lady macleod said...

I do want to see the Opera House, I have for years. But I have NO DESIRE to go anywhere in the Outback - everything there wants to kill you!
So glad you two are making this trip.

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I'd love to see that Opera House. What an interesting story about the §"Battle for the Rocks".

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

I'd love to see that Opera House. What an interesting story about the "Battle for the Rocks".

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

PS: I meant to ask how it felt after nearly 9 years, too.