Friday, 11 October 2013


Anyone who has read my blog for a while may have noticed that I hardly ever post a blog on Tuesdays.  That is because since the beginning of this year I have been travelling down to Sydney on Tuesdays to work on a research project at the Mitchell Library.
The day begins early, well for me anyway, as I like to be on the 7.25 bus to the station.  If I leave much later, then it is a late start and not much gets done.  About 9.30am I emerge from the cavernous railway tunnels of commuterland, into daylight at Martin Place.  Martin Place is a pedestrian mall, which runs east/west from George Street up to Macquarie Street.  For those unfamiliar with Sydney that is 4 city blocks. 
This is looking back towards George Street from the station entrance.
In the centre background, you can just about make out the clock tower on the GPO, and on the left is the Reserve Bank.  Most of the major banks have their head office in this short stretch of roadway.  Out of the photo and in front of the GPO is the Cenotaph commemorating the fallen soldiers of the two World Wars.  Also not visible, is the small amphitheatre in which there are often free concerts during lunch hour.  
Martin Place is often the home of various displays.  This time I came out of the station, to be confronted with this:
This was part of the Sydney Art & About Festival.  The website states that it is a festival of art in unusual place, and the snails are Snailovation display.  I came across another of these outside the Mitchell Library.
These flower beds which are dotted up and down the mall are changed to reflect the floral displays of the season:  

I had to giggle - the lush green foliage on the left is actually parsley, and the blue grey in the front is sage!  I also spied some mint in there too amongst the marigolds.
Turning around to face up to Macquarie Street you spy Parliament House.  The oldest part of the building, which you can see here is a two storey Georgian building.

Walking down Macquarie Street towards Circular Quay (north), one of the first buildings you come to is St Stephen's Uniting Church.  The congregation began in 1842, and moved to the present building in 1935.  I was lucky enough to walk past it one day recently when the choir & orchestra were practising for a recital, so I slipped in for a freebie concert.  The interior is wonderful, with some truly stunning stained glass windows.  The choir was pretty good too!
I loved the contrast of the old and new architecture as you look up. 
A plaque set into the footpath in front of the church told me that this was the site of Burdekin House, built in 1841 for Thomas Burdekin, an ironmonger and alderman.  It was one of Sydney's most fashionable houses in its day.
I like to look up when I pass an old building, and the one next door is No. 193 Macquarie Street, or Hengrove Hall which is home to a bevy of Medical Specialists.  Looking up this time was a bonus!
The Sydney Morning Herald of Tuesday 25 February 1930, tells me (in part):
"The architectural treatment of Hengrove Hall, Macquarie-street, the recently completed building of medical and dental suites, strikes an interesting note. It carries out the
spirit of an English manor house of the Sixteenth Century, with panelled interior walls, parquetry floors, and hand-wrought period lighting fixtures and door furniture.
One of the most striking fixtures is the entrance doorway, which is closely modelled on the design of the Gate House of Hengrave Hall, Suffolk, a manor house of the early English Renaissance period, completed In 1538. ....... The central coat of arms is composite, embodying the original coat of arms and the crest of Hengrave Hall."
Across the road, and almost opposite is the modern State Library.

And next door to that, connected by a walk way is the Mitchell Library, built in 1910 to house a growing collection of rare original manuscripts.

In front of the library and facing Macquarie Street, is a statue in honour of Matthew Flinders.  Matthew Flinders was a prominent explorer an the first to circumnavigate Australia and identify it as a continent.

If you look down (not up this time!) you just might notice some cute little paws which meander around the base of the statue and lead you to.....
A statue of Trim, Matthew Flinders' beloved cat, who accompanied him on all his voyages. 

Rounding the corner you see the imposing columns of this lovely building

This pair of bronze doors depict the explorers.  The other pair show aboriginal scenes. 

And this is the vestibule

Looking down, this is a marble mosaic reproduction of the Tasman Map,  which "is hand drawn on delicate Japanese paper. It bears the arms of the City of Amsterdam. Just below the Tropic of Capricorn are the tracks of Abel Tasman's two ships Heemskerck and Zeehaen.  The map combines the results of Tasman's first (1642-43) and second (1644) voyages with those of earlier Dutch navigators. It shows a surprisingly accurate general outline of Australia."

And this is the library itself, where I spend the next 5 hours, in the hallowed manuscript section.

So now you know why I don't blog on Tuesdays.
Til next time ........Keep on stitching

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