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.
One of my fondest childhood memories is riding the Sydney Monorail with my mother and siblings. We spent an entire day going around the 3.6km track. I remember playing I spy as the city rolled by and meeting lots of people who hopped into the same carriage as us.
Sadly the monorail took its last spin on the 30th of June 2013. The track has been removed, all that remains is a few of the hauntingly abandoned stations. I was on my way over to darling harbour when I saw the abandoned monorail station hanging there.
Darling Park and Harbourside stations are on either side of the Pyrmont Bridge. Locked up tightly, safe and abandoned. Through the glass windows and holes in the doors, the stations look exactly the same as when they closed. Even the ticket gates are still in place. Outside the Harbourside station, the network map is still displayed in its case.
There was much debate in the 1980’s as to whether Sydney should invest in a monorail or light rail. Although the light rail would have been cheaper and would have served more customers the monorail won out. I can only imagine the meeting that decided that. In my mind it would have gone a little like this:
The stations are in good condition but are vastly underutilised. I would love to see these spaces turned into an art space or perhaps micro music venue. They would make awesome information centres because of their locations close to tourist hot spots.
Did you get a chance to ride the monorail while it was still active? Leave a comment down below and share your memories of the Sydney Monorail!