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Wednesday, 3 December 2008

The Rocks - Living History

I don't want 70 Plus to turn into a tourist trap but so many of my bloggy mates have been interested in my Sydney pix, I'll give it one more turn ...

The Rocks (above) is regarded as the most historic part of Sydney unless you are of the view held by the Australian Aboriginal - a race that had been here already for thousands of years.

Governor Arthur Phillip, his soldiers and the convicts they brought with them from Britain here began the settlement to be called Sydney Town, in 1788.

Naturally enough mayhem and massacre followed as the British spread further inland, with the result that the Aborigines were dispossessed. Even today they fight for their land rights through the courts.

This sad history was the root of Prime Minister Rudd's historic and welcome 'Sorry' statement in the Federal Parliament earlier this year.

Mercifully, much of The Rocks of the 19th century remains today and the place has been cleverly transformed into restaurants, bistros, pubs, boutique shops, markets and with music and entertainment along its main streets and squares.

The area nestles beneath the Sydney Harbour Bridge and on the shores of Sydney Cove, opposite the Opera House.

On my most recent visit I wandered into this alcove and down a corridor to find a small coffee shop with wonderful ambience and yummy cakes. This is the way of The Rocks these days, with surprises around every corner.

Many of the imposing and seemingly sombre 19th century wool stores, the centre of the colony's famous industry for so long, have also been transformed, with interiors now shops and offices.

There are still reminders of even earlier times with convict workmanship in evidence on some of the original buildings.

Music, art and buskers add to a fascinating precinct.

Here standing guard is one of Phillip's soldiers carved in relief from Sydney sandstone - a contrast to the visitors and locals.
In the distance in this shot is ...

One of the week-end markets that draws crowds seeking arts and crafts and souvenirs.

The Rocks is a great place to meet your friends for a lazy afternoon ...

It's a fun place for everyone.

Including the greatest scavengers of all - the seagulls.

This is George Street North, one of the oldest of Sydney thoroughfares. You can see the entrance to the Ken Done art gallery known for the artist's colourful paintings of the harbour and environs.

And next door is The Bakers Oven - with its luscious cakes and slices on tempting display.
The Rocks has it all.

Has your home town left its history for future generations?


  1. June, you know the alcove that you show in the post ? Well, to someone who has been on a traumatic high, bombarded with troubling news, blogs and visuals, your different, cheerful post, was like that alcove; a small peaceful resting place ,where one slips in, to rest a while, organize your thoughts and worries, have a sip of something, and then go out again, to face, what appears to be an unbalanced world....Thank you.

  2. Be my guest at The Rocks any time Suranga. It is that sort of place - so long as you don't think of the history.
    The past week or so has been such a big one for everyone in India. I can feel it in the blogs.
    Take care.

  3. June June June.... you're making me homesick... I used to love wandering thru the Rocks area, and all around those little backstreets in the CBD...

  4. Braja - come home - even for a visit! Sydney is in your blood.

  5. What a great place. The Rocks reminded me of the French Quarter in New Orleans with all the little alcoves and quaint shops to visit and great food. I have not been back to New Orleans since Katrina. I just hate to see all the devastation. Thanks for the tour. I wish I could be there and really investigate it all.
    Your description of these places is so real.

  6. Rocks certainly has charisma Judy. Although I'm sure the music is not quite so pervasive here as in New Orleans. I would love to go there - when it's not raining! At least I wouldn't know what it was like in the past.
    Thanks for the kind words too.

  7. I will never tire of your photos and your blog! Don't worry about the tourist part. Just keep on posting all you can on here. Thanks! It lets me know places I want to see when I go there. Eventually I'm going to visit my friend in Adelaide and take some side trips. Thanks!!

  8. I don't mind the pics at all, June! I would love to go visit Sydney one day, but until then, I'll just live vicariously through your photos. :D

  9. Hi again Joy
    Adelaide is a lovely city and you'll enjoy your visit. Sydney is quite a side trip however - long way - but worth it! These days I live 12 hours drive or one hour plane trip north of Sydney ... There is amazing variety in Australia - I suppose in the same way as the USA.

  10. Hi Jeannie
    I'll do something different next post.
    I think it is interesting to learn about other countries from the local's point of view.

  11. I may come home soon for a visit; but this is my home now, actually. If I come I'll let you and a red in the Rocks, ok?

  12. Braja:
    Wouldn't that be fun! We'd have a ball.I hope I'm in town ... like you my living place is elsewhere - on the NSW North Coast. But so far as I am concerned Sydney is still my home as well as my birthplace.

  13. I have always held within me a fascination with Australia, your “tours” are a wonderful narrative that one does not find in “travel books”; please keep posting travel entries for those of us that love Australia without ever being there to see all of its wonders.

  14. Thanks A.J. It does seem Australia holds a fascination for many. We say we are 'The Lucky Country' and in many ways I think we are.

    Until recent years we had always looked after each other, but we strayed from this path and hopefully we are finding our way back again.

    Human beings are not alone in needing care however. Now I hope that we begin to spend more time and effort on saving our environment. That is the next big task for all of us - everywhere.
    My goodness I'm getting all philosophical!

  15. PS - I am not underestimating the problems involved in the present economic crisis - of course they are crucial. But where will we be if we do not find a way of working on methods of dealing with environmental change? It seems to me that we are at a watershed right now, on many fronts ...

  16. Hey, the pics of The Rocks are so good I'm homesick and I haven't even left home. Those Jacaranda's are magnificent and the seagulls amongst the fallen petals are just like here in Victoria. Funny about that! Thanks for all your visits June, much appreciated. :)

  17. Ooops, commented with the wrong ID. Should have been Eaton. And yes we do have grubs, I just refused to take more than one shot of their handiwork. :)

  18. June, thank you for these wonderful photos and for the glimpse into life in Oz. I think that is one of the greatest things about sharing our blogs with each other--we all get to see another part of the world with our own personal tour guide.

  19. Ah - Eaton! Right. Couldn't place 'Byz'.
    Yes I could see where the grubs had been in that garden shot ...
    Just added a touch of reality. Quite arty too.
    I suppose you've seen Grafton's jacarandas at some time? The whole place has been planted with them and they've been a tourist attraction for donkeys years.

  20. Clair - yep that's surely what it's about (even within our own nation). Otherwise, why bother?
    How are things over there mate?
    Hugs June

  21. I really enjoy a photo essay such as this, with just the right amount of history, explanation, and personal commentary. You must not think of it as a tourist trap! Some of your readers will perhaps never get to visit; and seeing it through the loving eyes of a local is a trip that cannot be replicated in any tourist guide or documentary. Please take me along your Australian byways whenever you can.

  22. That is such a sweet comment TROPIGAL - thank you. Sometimes you wonder if you are being self engrossed but I think my number of visitors and comments are demonstrating that people believe otherwise. There is a great interest in Australia. But then I LOVE to hear about all other countries myself.

  23. Oh - lovely pictures. Little secret nooks and crannies, and delicious bakeries! I lived in Cairns once (20 years ago) for a year. My baby sister moved from the UK to Perth (as a nurse) and has now become an Aussie citizen.

    I've lived in many tropical countries and really enjoy Christmas on the beach!

  24. LADY FI you've got it with the nooks and crannies. The Rocks is full of nooks and crannies!
    You must come to visit your baby sister ... although Perth is a world away from where I am in the Northern Rivers of NSW. Even Cairns is a good plane ride ...


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