Power, Beauty and Little Beasts (Part 2)


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Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Sydney
March 16th 2014
Published: May 3rd 2014
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Royal Botanic Gardens, SydneyRoyal Botanic Gardens, SydneyRoyal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

The enormous "plastic" cactus.
We left Government House and headed back through the Royal Botanic Garden towards our next port of call – the Art Gallery of NSW. The Botanic Garden is the oldest in Australia, established in 1816, and houses 9000 species of plants mostly from Australia and the South Pacific. There were an amazing variety of begonias of all shapes and sizes, some like large leafed shrubs; a Kauri tree from Queensland (I thought they only came from New Zealand so that was a surprise); a lovely fernery area and lots of colourful flowers under trees. We also saw an enormous cactus that looked very strange (I overheard a lady asking her companion if it was real! Duh – this is a botanic garden – they don’t do plastic plants!!).

Much to Barry’s great delight there were also HEAPS of very large, occupied, spider webs hanging above our heads, some over the pathways. He thoroughly enjoyed himself scaring a group of girls that were passing by, pointing out when they were standing underneath one especially large spider and web! He tried it on me, too, but I’d already noticed them earlier and made a point of not being directly below – I’m not silly!

We got to the Gallery with only 45 minutes to look around so I suggested we started with the Australian artists, which we both like. They had some nice paintings by Eugene von Guerard and also the Heidelberg School artists (Tom Roberts, Frederick McCubbin, Charles Condor, Arthur Streeton etc.), favourites of mine in the Gallery of Victoria collection in Melbourne. One other painting I particularly liked was by Luke Fildes, 1875, "The Widower", who was sitting forlornly in a rustic kitchen nursing a dying child surrounded by his other young children – obviously trying to cope while still grieving – it was very powerful. Barry’s favourite was a large dog holding vigil beside his dead master’s laid out and armour-clad body, "Requiescat" by Briton Riviere, 1888.

We left the Gallery and headed back through the Royal Botanic Garden again for a last look on our way back to Circular Quay, where we were surprised to see that the white liner had been replaced by an even bigger black one, the Holland America Line’s “Oosterdam”. Feeling in need of a rest (I was amazed that my legs had held up all day) and a cuppa, we stopped
Royal Botanic Gardens, SydneyRoyal Botanic Gardens, SydneyRoyal Botanic Gardens, Sydney

A low down one of the spiders Barry scared the girls with. Most were over our heads!
at Ace Cafe and sat outside to share a HUGE piece of raspberry and pear bread (yum – and moist) and listen to a didgeridoo player nearby. While we were there the liner began to move so we watched it reverse away from the Quay, swing on its own axis under the Harbour Bridge and then pass behind the Opera House. I was astounded that such a large vessel could manoeuvre, unaided, so easily in such a short distance (Barry wasn’t, and knew all the technical details about how it was done – show off!)

We eventually caught the odd double-decker train back to Central Station and had our last trip home on those awful buses – a sad way to finish a good day!



Additional photos below
Photos: 8, Displayed: 8


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Art Gallery of NSWArt Gallery of NSW
Art Gallery of NSW

"On the Wallaby Track", painted in 1896 by Frederick McCubbin
Art Gallery of NSWArt Gallery of NSW
Art Gallery of NSW

"Requiescat", painted in 1888 by Briton Riviere - Barry's favourite picture.
Art Gallery of NSWArt Gallery of NSW
Art Gallery of NSW

"The Widower", painted in 1875 by Luke Fildes - one of my favourite pictures.
Circular Quay, Sydney HarbourCircular Quay, Sydney Harbour
Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour

The huge liner "Oosterdam" turning on its axis and heading towards the Opera House


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