The upper levels of the Queen Victoria Building in Sydney is home to a few clocks. None quite as cool as the Royal Clock. Suspended from the ceiling, this clock hangs above the heads of the unsuspecting shoppers below. From the lower levels, it seems like an ordinary clock that chimes on the hour. From the upper levels, the clock comes alive from 9am to 9pm and performs 6 different scenes from the English Royal History. Trumpets play for a few moments before the first scene lights up in the viewing window and plays. The Royal Clock was designed by Neil Glasser and made by famed clockmakers Thwaites & Reed.
The clock performs these six scenes in order:
- King Cnut commanding the tide to halt
- King Harold dying on the field at the Battle of Hastings in 1066
- King John signing the Magna Carta in 1215
- Henry VIII and his six wives
- Queen Elizabeth I knighting Sir Francis Drake in 1588
- King Charles I execution in 1649
In the heart of Sydney’s business district lies a monument to Australia’s first school and church. Built by The Revd. Richard Johnson in 1793 out of mud bricks with a thatched roof. The building was only around for five short years before it burned down in 1798.
The monument stands today over shadowed by large high rises on a paved park with a couple benches and a few sparse trees. As an added bonus there is an old street lamp post located in the same park.
It was a reasonably warm winters day when I ventured out to find Foundation Park. With a vague memory of visiting it as a child, I decided it wouldn’t be difficult to find. I was wrong!
I walked around The Rocks for half an hour before I saw it! Hidden through a passageway behind a row of shops was the park. Absolutely elated I ventured forth to see what hidden treasures this park had to offer.
Foundation Park is unique as it is created around the old foundations of long demolished terrace houses. It’s a multi-level space with plenty of different vantage points to view The Rocks and other sections of the park in. Chairs, tables, dressers and even a bathtub are carefully set up to create a sense of homeliness in an otherwise sparse set of ruins.
Even though it was a busy Saturday afternoon in The Rocks the park was dead quiet and cold. It is very well kept with no graffiti or rubbish. During my stay I didn’t see any other people utilising the space, this added to the eeriness of the place.
The park was one of the last sites to be built on in The Rocks because of its challenging terrain. Cheap houses were built on the site and by the 1940s, all the houses had been demolished. The site wasn’t built on again and was transformed into a park.
Winding my way through The Rocks today I came across this lookout. It’s a micro lookout with a bench and a plaque . I enjoyed watching the busy foot traffic from the markets below . Due to its elevation, it isn’t very noisy which is perfect for a busy Saturday afternoon. This charming little spot can be accessed from the Gloucester Walk close to the old abandoned Sirius building.
The Pacific Aria started its life as a Holland America Liner in 1994 as the Ryndam. It was sold to P&O and received a total renovation. In November 2015 it took its maiden voyage as the renamed Pacific Aria. Although the ship still has elements from its past life it now looks refreshed and ready to start anew. This cruise was from Brisbane to Sydney, being so close to the land was a unique experience.
Cruising is a lot like being stuck in a floating shopping mall. It can be both a fun, relaxing break as well as completely overwhelming. As someone who values personal space and quiet, I endeavoured to find some tranquillity.
The first place I checked out was The Dome. At night, The Dome is a nightclub but during the day its quiet and hands down has the best view. The huge glass windows really opens this space up to a nice panoramic view of the ocean. Usually very quiet and full of people drinking coffee and reading books. When a seminar about beauty started I decided it was time to find a new quiet place.
I next attempted to sit in one of the lounge/bars called Blue Room. It is nicely decorated with a deep blue theme. One of the strange things about this bar is that anything that could move is bolted down to the floor (I’m sure for safety reasons). All of the flowers are fake albeit high quality and even in fake water. The temperature in Blue Room was absolutely freezing and when it got unbearable I left.
I decided that perhaps inside wasn’t the answer to the best quiet space. Starting at the back of the ship at the very top deck I descended down the decks. I landed on Deck 6 and rejoiced when I saw some deck chairs already set up. Deck 6 was my happy place, the only sound was from the wind and waves. Looking over the railings I saw some dolphins swimming along with the ship! Personally, I had never seen dolphins in the wild and found this to be incredibility cool.