04 July 2009

Dawes Point

Recently I published this photo on Sydney Daily Photo, wondering what the little sandstone building is. Fellow Sydney blogger, Julie, took up the challenge and has been doing some sleuthing. See her post here. It was taken at Ives Steps Wharf at Dawes Point, just on the western side of the Harbour Bridge.

It may have formed part of a fort, built under Governor Macquarie's instructions to fend off prospective invading French or Russians (Napoleon remained interested in Sydney after his Man At Sea, La Perouse, was pipped at the post by Captain Cook.

Today I went for another poke around the area, and while there's isn't a plaque or signboard indicating what it is, I think Julie may be correct. The only thing I did find was these pieces of sandstone embedded in the pavement. Further up the hill, where I took the photos below from, there are cannons in the park, but much of it is fenced off as some sort of work is going on.

26 April 2009

Breakfast Point

Breakfast Point is a brand new, still-in-progress housing development between Mortlake and Cabarita, on the Parramatta River. The site used to be a gas works. Environmentalists and some residents say that the formerly heavily industrialised site still contains toxins, and that clean up plans are inadequate. See here.

It's an interestign development, on a huge site. Lots of people would love it, but when we drove around my son just kept saying "It's so clean!" In the end he said "OK, enough - let's leave - it's just too.....American looking."

It does have that manicured-edge look of a Pleasnatville or Stepford or Wisteria Lane of the Desperate Housewives. The houses and apartments are cookie-cutter perfect, every blade of grass manicured.

And I think the fake-New England church, which is a community hall is just too "cutesy" for words, and makes me laugh. The Country Club lendss that air of exclusivity, and I think is meant to evoke the "romance" of Connecticut in the 1950's, when only "the right sort of people" were allowed to join, and housing covenants ensured none of the "wrong sort" appeared - Blacks, Jews and the like.

Of course, none of that would apply here, and the few people I saw getting in and out of cars (I was the only person walking anywhere) were very diverse. But it all just looks far too twee for me to be happy there.

I think one of the most interesting aspects is that many of the residents have turned NIMBY and oppose the proposition of a marina for luxury boats in the bay upon which this development is located. There are "No Marina" signs adorning various balconies. But in keeping with the overall "look" they are uniform, neatly blue and white - no hand-painted individualistic placards and protest at Brekky Point!

Below: The fake - church Community Hall
Below: The Village Green

Below: the sign featuring the Country Club
Below: The Country Club

Below: View to central Sydney, and there's that bridge!
Below: No Marina
Below: Looking to Cabarita Park

28 January 2009

More photos from the Australian Open

Above: The stage is set... for a new era in Open tennis

Above: Frank, Michelle and Ben

Above: Margaret Court Arena and Melbourne city in the background. We watched a "legends" doubles match here: Henri Le Conte and Mark Phillipousis playing Mats Wilander and Joakim Nystrom. In my view, Melbourne should be the permanent home of the Olympics and every other major sporting event. I can't think of, or don't know of another major city which has its magnificent sporting venues so close to the city and the lovely river setting. And with efficient, free public transport (tram shuttles) to move tens of thousands of people in a matter of minutes.

Above: Serena Williams serves to Victoria Azarenka of Belarus. Azarenka couldn't complete the match due to illness, so Williams won 3-6 (yes, she lost the first set) 4-2

Above: Victoria Azarenka serves

Above: Rod Laver Arena and Garden Square

Above: French supporters in Garden Square, wearing their flag cape-style in the best tradition of Australia Day flag-wearing jingoism (taken on Australia Day, 26 January)

Above and Below: Melbourne Park and the Yarra from the Grand Hyatt 19th floor

Above: Rafael Nadal (Spain) serves to Fernando Gonzales of Chile

Above: Nadal has a habit of pulling at the back of his shorts, as if his undies don't fit right. Some suggested Pat Rafter, who adorns buses and trams selling Bonds "Very Comfy Undies" should have a word to him.

Above: Fernando Conzales goes for a shot.

Above: Line umpires and 1.5 ball kids. for every match there is a chair umpire, 9 line umpires and 6 ball kids. I expect no less next time we take to the court at Malua Bay.

Above: Part of the crowd in Rod Laver Arena

Above: Jim Courier, who commentates for the Australian broadcast talks to Nadal after his win over Gonzales. No use being shy of the media if you're a tennis superstar. It's part of the deal.

Above: This building is a gym complex opposite the tennis centre, but in 1956 it was the Olympic Swimming complex. The pool eventually leaked and was taken out. A new international aquatic centre was built in another part of Melbourne.

Above: The Players Box near where we sat. It got occupied by Tsonga's contingent.

Above and Below: Wendy Turnbull, former Australian chammpion of the 1970s and 80s, and World No 3 was inducted into the Australian Tennis Hall of Fame on Australia Day. A bust is made of each inductee and displayed in the grounds. She was 3 times runner-up in Grand Slam singles events, and a four time doubles winner (11 times runner-up), 5 times Mixed Doubles winner (1 time runner-up).

Above: French supporters in the crowd cheering on Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Tsonga beat American James Blake in this fourth round match.

Above: Tsonga on court

Above: Jim Courier interviews Tsonga after his win.

Above: The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) opposite.

Above: "Our" court - Court 4 where we had a hit between 8.30 and 9.30 am on Tuesday. Ben serves.

Above: Our fans Daniela Hantuchova (Slovakia) and Ai Sugiyama (Japan) came down to watch and just because Hantuchova has her back to us and her people are all absorbed in their own world doesn't mean we didn't put on a dazzling display....of incompetence.

Above and Below: The only one looking anything like the real deal was Ben. It cost me a lot of money to make sure he could look this good on a tennis court.

Above: Hantuchova and Sugiyama on court winning against Cara Black (Zimbabwe) and Liezel Huber (USA). We thought we could perhaps offer some tips on play....

Above: Serena and Venus Williams, who won against Su-Wei Hsieh (Taipei) and Shuai Peng (China) in 3 sets. They weren't listening to us early on.

Above: Venus Williams

Above: Michelle and Ben mull over the two days' events in Garden Square.