Friday, 30 April 2010

Sky Watch Friday

Sydney Airport's east-west runway, closed for the past 18 months for a safety upgrade, has now reopened. the peace and quiet was good while it lasted. I was too slow to get the 747 jumbo that flew low over my parent's retirement village and only managed this smaller domestic flight.
For more Sky Watch from around the world, drop in to the home of Sky Watch Friday.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

The Sari

I didn't get her name, she was quite shy and bemused that anyone would want to take her photo but graciously let me do so. She, her husband and son were on their way to a birthday party.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Wolli Dancing

Designed by artist Blaze Krstanoski-Blazeski and costing $75,000, the sculpture represents the traditional ritual and dancing of Aborigines.

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Times Change

The road leading to the Wolli Creek development, or Discovery Point as the developers are calling it, used to be an area of small workshops and light industry. I remember standing and watching Glasson's Foundry hard at work. How things have changed, not necessarily for the better.

Monday, 26 April 2010

ANZAC War Memorial

The Anzac War Memorial in Hyde Park South has recently undergone a complete repair and refurbishment. It was designed by C Bruce Dellit (1900-1942), winning first prize in one of the most prestigious architectural competitions of the day. Twenty nine years old in his second year of practice, the young architect imagined a monumental and highly sculptured design which broke away from revivalist traditions. It caused an uproar in the local architectural fraternity.
Located on the central axis of Hyde Park South (missing the underground railway), the Memorial was made possible after a protracted fund raising program initiated in 1919. Dellit's design in Bathurst granite is highly symbolic, with representational sculptures depicting events and personnel involved in World War 1. The memorial can be approached from four directions, the North and South approaches consist of grand staircases which lead to the upper circular Hall of Memory' (with its unique wreath like balustrade). The East and West entries lead to the lower circular Hall of Silence, featuring the sculpture representing the Sacrifice. In the upper space, the visitors are compelled to look downwards, causing their head to be reverently and naturally bowed.
The statuary, sculptures and bas-reliefs were the work of English born artist Raynor Hoff. Above the east and west portals are bronze bas-relief panels which depict the activities and campaigns of the Australian Infantry Forces (AIF). Eastern Front campaigns are represented on the east portal, including Gallipoli, laying of railway, Army Service Corps, Army Medical Corps, Light Horse, Camel Corps, Signal Units, Infantry, Artillery, Machine Gunners and the Pioneers. The record of the AIF on the Western Front shown on the west portal includes the Air Force, Cycle Corps, Artillery, Army Medical Corps, Bombers, Engineers, Tank Corps, Pioneers and Infantry. Each of the sixteen granite buttresses is surmounted by cast granite figures, saddened and reflecting the loss caused by war.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Lest We Forget

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them


The army biscuit, also known as an ANZAC wafer or ANZAC tile, is essentially a long shelf-life, hard tack biscuit, eaten as a substitute for bread. Unlike bread, though, the biscuits are very, very hard. Some soldiers preferred to grind them up and eat as porridge. (For original recipe see: Australian War Memorial)

During World War 1, the wives, mothers and girlfriends of the Australian soldiers were concerned for the nutritional value of the food being supplied to their men. Here was a problem. Any food they sent to the fighting men had to be carried in the ships of the Merchant Navy. Most of these were lucky to maintain a speed of ten knots (18.5 kilometers per hour). Most had no refrigerated facilities, so any food sent had to be able to remain edible after periods in excess of two months. A body of women came up with the answer - a biscuit with all the nutritional value possible. The basis was a Scottish recipe using rolled oats. These oats were used extensively in Scotland, especially for a heavy porridge that helped counteract the extremely cold climate.

The ingredients they used were: rolled oats, sugar, plain flour, coconut, butter, golden syrup or treacle, bi-carbonate of soda and boiling water. All these items did not readily spoil. At first the biscuits were called Soldiers’ Biscuits, but after the landing on Gallipoli, they were renamed ANZAC Biscuits.

1 cup rolled oats
1 cup plain flour
1 cup sugar
3/4 (three-quarters) cup coconut
125g (4 oz) butter
2 tablespoons golden syrup
½ (half) teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon boiling water
Combine oats, sifted flour, sugar and coconut.
Combine butter and golden syrup, stir over gentle heat until melted.
Mix soda with boiling water, add to melted butter mixture, stir into dry ingredients.
Take teaspoonfuls of mixture and place on lightly greased oven trays; allow room for spreading.
Cook in slow oven (150°C or 300°F) for 20 minutes.
Loosen while still warm, then cool on trays.
Makes about 35.

A point of interest is the lack of eggs to bind the ANZAC biscuit mixture together. Because of the war, many of the poultry farmers had joined the services, thus, eggs were scarce. The binding agent for the biscuits was golden syrup or treacle. Eggs that were sent long distances were coated with a product called ke peg (like Vaseline) then packed in air tight containers filled with sand to cushion the eggs and keep out the air.

As the war drew on, many groups like the CWA (Country Women’s Association), church groups, schools and other women’s organisations devoted a great deal of time to the making of ANZAC biscuits. To ensure that the biscuits remained crisp, they were packed in used tins, such as Billy Tea tins. You can see some of these tins appearing in your supermarket as exact replicas of the ones of earlier years. Look around. The tins were airtight, thus no moisture in the air was able to soak into the biscuits and make them soft. Most people would agree there is nothing worse than a soft biscuit.

During World War 2, with refrigeration in so many Merchant Navy Ships, the biscuits were not made to any great extent. It was now possible to send a greater variety of food, like fruit cake.

ANZAC biscuits are still made today. They can also be purchased from supermarkets and specialty biscuit shops. Around ANZAC Day, these biscuits are also often used by veterans’ organisations to raise funds for the care and welfare of aged war veterans.
From: ANZAC Day Commemoration Committee of Queensland Incorporated web site.

For more monochrome images, visit Aileni's Monochrome Weekend.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Weekend Reflections

and this is what you see if you look the other way (taken a little earlier in the evening).
For more reflections visit James' Newtown Area Photo.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Sky Watch Friday

Tempe House, Mount Olympus to the left and part of the new development behind.
For more Sky Watch from around the world, drop in to the home of Sky Watch Friday.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Tempe House - Interior

The house was far less ornate than I had expected and unfortunately, at this stage, is completely empty.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Tempe House - Exterior

1990 saw a permanent Conservation order established for Tempe Estate, including the house and surrounding grounds to the riverfront. The landscape was deemed to be of greater significance than the buildings associated with the Good Samaritan Order and subsequently, they were demolished with the exception of the Chapel and the iron fencing.
The property passed possession from Qantek to Interciti Arncliffe Developments Pty. Ltd in 2000.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Tempe House - St Magdalene's Chapel

On November 23rd 1884, Tempe Estate was sold at Auction to Frederick Gannon for 4000 pounds who then sold it five] months later for the sizable sum of 6,750 pounds to the Trustees of the Good Samaritan Order, Mary Anne Adamson, otherwise known as Superior General Magdalene and Margaret Mary Byrne 

The Good Samaritan Order focused on unmarried mothers and women who were seen to be at risk of sin. By 1887, the sisters had raised enough money to build a penitentiary, laundries and accommodation. The new buildings accommodated forty ] penitents and were renamed St Magdalene's refuge, also known as The Retreat. A new Chapel was constructed in 1888, adjacent to the house, and by 1900, over one hundred people worked a daily routine in the laundry operations and an inquiry into the refuge over unpaid wages was settled in favour of the Order.
Renowned architects Sherrin and Hennessy were the principal architects employed to design the new penitentiary, laundries and accommodation for St Magdalene's Retreat. It is unclear who designed the Chapel, however, as it has a similar architectural style as the new buildings, the indication was that Sherrin and Hennessy were employed once again. Whilst further additions were made, the house remained largely unaltered until 1944-1945.

By 1944, the Retreat began to develop more into a training centre for the rehabilitation of delinquent girls, who had ended up in the court system, and in the 1940's, there were 55 girls housed at the Estate. Facilities to aid education were added in 1954, a swimming pool in 1959 and a chaplains residence in 1972. External conservation work was undertaken to repair deterioration on the verandah bays that was completed by Hurst and Kennedy architects in 1977.

(The chapel contains a small exhibition of the history of the estate and some articfacts. The photo below right is of philanthropist, Caroline Chisholm, known as "the immigrant's friend" who opened a girls' school at Tempe Estate. She is pictured on hour $5 note.)

Renowned architects Sherrin and Hennessy were the principal architects employed to design the new penitentiary, laundries and accommodation for St Magdalene's Retreat. It is unclear who designed the Chapel, however, as it has a similar architectural style as the new buildings, the indication was that Sherrin and Hennessy were employed once again. Whilst further additions were made, the house remained largely unaltered until 1944-1945.

The Good Samaritan Order remained in ownership of Tempe Estate for over 100 years and in 1989 sold it to Qantek, a branch of Qantas.

Monday, 19 April 2010

Tempe House

Lovely Tempe House is, I think, the oldest surviving house in the area. Unfortunatley the price we had to pay for its conservation and restoration was its sale to a developer and its restoration as part of a major new development at Wolli Creek. To date the property has been fully and beautifully restored but stands empty and is rarely open to the public. The house would make a wonderful function centre and the adjoining chapel (now deconsecrated) lends itself to a small theatre or art centre. I hope they are able to be more fully used in the future - hopefully by the local community. Much as I dislike the surrounding little coloured boxes, having this gracious old lady (by Australian standards) still standing and now restored to her former glory is something special.

Ref: Heritage Council of NSW
Tempe estate was named after the 'Vale of Tempe' in Ancient Greece, due to its extensive gardens, designed to enhance the view of the Cooks River. The house was commissioned in 1831 by renowned architect John Verge and is a rare example of his architectural style. The Land was first released in 1809 as a series of three land grants, the largest portion awarded to Sergeant William Packer and the remaining two grants were reissued in 1810 by Governor Macquarie. Sergeant Packer sold his land to the original owner of Tempe House, Alexander Brodie Spark in 1826 for 100 pounds. Records from the 1828 census indicate that there were six people living and working on the estate at the time, and by the 1836 census, there were thirty-one  people recorded as living and working on the estate.

Tempe Estate formed a deliberately modified natural element, identified as 'Mt Olympus', which included Australian shrubbery, and created a suitable backdrop for a house in a picturesque setting. The riverbanks were developed to lay extensive lawns, and as the property was only accessible by boat at the time, a wharf was constructed to accommodate guests, however, it was not completed until 1838. The house after completion was used extensively for entertainment purposes and the scenic gardens included up to fifty differing varieties of grape vines from France, which also attracted horticultural awards.

The construction of a dam between 1839 and 1841 was built from quarried stone in the surrounding cliffs by convict labour, and served to enhance the Estate's already splendid views. The dam allowed the area to be linked to the city by road, leading Spark, in 1841, to construct a carriage drive, a new coach house, stables and grooms quarters. The stables burnt down in 1844, and were replaced, where they then remained until 1960.

1840 saw A.B.Spark begin to face extensive business problems, with his personal borrowings seemingly insurmountable. He attempted to rectify his position by planting saleable crops, however, was eventually overcome and his insolvency was listed on the 23rd August 1843. He remained at Tempe Estate with his wife and children and attempted to sell twice, however, at the time of his death in 1856 his estate failed to meet his debts.

Tempe Estate was subdivided, and the house was auctioned to brothers Patrick and Thomas Maguire on the 24th August 1859 for 2000 pounds. The brothers never resided at Tempe Estate in their twenty years of ownership, however, leased the property out, most notably to Caroline Chisholm. In the years 1863 to 1865, Caroline Chisholm, seen as one of Australia's greatest philanthropists, ran an educational establishment for young ladies in Tempe House.

In 1876, Tempe House was leased as a private residence to Mr C.T.Richardson.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Sky Watch Friday

A tourist shot this week. Sydney Harbour early evening.

For more Sky Watch from around the world, drop in to the home of Sky Watch Friday.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Preserving the Past

For what must be the best cheap bed in Sydney, head to the new Sydney Harbour YHA, located in Sydney's historic Rocks and with views over the Harbour from the roof and some rooms. Non guests aren't allowed up to the roof so I'll have to see if I can get up there when some interstate friends stay there in a month or so. As well as the hostel being located over the dig site, artefacts discovered on the site are contained in cases in the hostel's common areas.
Sydney Harbour YHA and The Big Dig Archaeology Education Centre are located on ‘The Dig Site’ at Cumberland and Gloucester Streets, where structural remains dating from 1795 and more than 750,000 artefacts have been found since excavation began in 1994. To preserve and showcase these archaeological remains, the YHA is raised off the ground on pillars and an on-site archaeology education centre is available to education groups. The project is the largest archaeological urban development ever completed in Australia.
The site was discovered in 1994, attracting enormous media and public attention. Some 400 volunteers and a team of 20 archaeologists were involved in the excavation of the site, which uncovered the foundations of 30 homes and shops (the earliest of which was built prior to 1795) and some 750,000 artefacts. The site’s remains have provided a rare insight into early urban life in Sydney.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


I met Semi, from Samoa, on the train and was taken with his tatoos. He explained that they are very traditional but unusual because most people only have the sleeve. His other arm bore the names of his two lovely daughters.