Thursday, September 22, 2005

History Week #2 - Audience Participation

Went to a talk on 150 years of railways in NSW yesterday. It was in Globe Street in The Rocks, which was a bonus. The Rocks is one of my walkies areas for my 19th Century Sydney Walk.

The train trip into Sydney is always nice. Providing you don't sit next to someone who picks their nose the whole time or yells into their mobile (cell). This time there was one yeller but we went through a tunnel and they got cut off.

Anyways, the line goes along beside Mullet Creek which is a wide still creek off the Hawkesbury and in the middle bit of Broken Bay. It runs between two long folding ridges at Brooklyn and it's cut off visually from the rest of the world. It's beautiful at any time of day or night but my favourite is when the clouds are low on a winter's morning and the water's like a mirror.

The closest station to The Rocks is Circular Quay (which, in the way of such things, is actually rectangular). Next to the Quay is First Fleet Park. I trotted through it on my way to Globe Street. It was chockers with tourists and crocodiles of kids on school outings. There was a busker on a didgerdoo surrounded by mesmerised tourists and the toots and honks from the ferries coming and going from the Quay. Just glancing at them as I went past I realised they're named after the ships of the First Fleet. Cool! And very apt, what with Circular Quay being the site of the First Fleet landing in Port Jackson.

There was a bust of Arthur Phillip out the front of the MCA and a full figure statue of Bligh up the other end. Phillip was the first Governor of NSW and the guy in charge of the colony in 1788. Bligh's statue was cocky but defensive. He was the captain whose crew mutineed off Hawaii and put him off the ship in a small boat. As Governor of the colony he became the one and only Australian leader to be removed by armed uprising.

Okay. The talk. It was good. Lots of great photos like 'Garratt' locomotive going across the Hawkesbury Bridge and heaps more. There was plenty of detail about funny, sad and otherwise interesting stuff that happened. But I'm way too tired to tell you about it now. Have a gander.

The audience was plenty entertaining as well. It was full of trainspotters, former rail workers and model train owners. Some of them were all three. They constantly interjected. The speakers milked them for extra info and we got a lot of detail from them.

After the talk I fossicked about in the Records Centre looking at photos and maps. They've got some beautiful photos in their current rail exhibition and some random 19th century ones from round Sydney. Picked up a sheaf of info sheets and another walking tour thingy then got the train back home.

Right. I'm off to bed. Walkies tomorrow.


Suzanne said...

Reading your blog gives me lecture-envy.

Spike said...


Yers. I've got the best of both worlds here in beautiful downtown Woy Woy. Being out of the city but still close enough to enjoy stuff like History Week and the rest of it. You're hours from such mod cons, you poor thing.

There's a thingy next year BTW. The 400th anniversary of European discovery of Australia. It'll be a map-fancier paradise. Can't hardly wait.