Thursday December 30, 1977
Awoke early – Joe was wandering around. Dressed, had paw-paw, waffle and sausage and coffee (cost $3.75 – prices are so high here in restaurants).
Left the hotel at 8:15. Went by bus to The Opera House. Walked around. Saw a Russian creamery shop. A tour started at 9:15. We learned that the building was designed by a Danish architect (on the outside) but was completely on the inside by an Australian. The cost was 1.5 million dollars (raised by lottery) and it took 14 years to build. Natural local granite, woods (especially birch) were used. We visited The Opera area first. Seats 1,550 people. It was modern. Seats cost $200 each – of white birch plywood with red leather seats. Viewed the Bennelotg restaurant. On to the Concert Hall – tremendous! Seats 2,700 people. Ceilings as well as chairs were of white birch. A massive organ is partially installed. It has 10,500 pipes and 5 keyboards – cost $750,00. Crew was setting up the stage for Aida. Also viewed The Drama Theater and Music Room before rushing to quay. This was a truly impressive building. It looks like a group of various sized beehives to me but a guide later pointed out the similarity to sails of a ship. The grand areas enabled views of the Harbor Bridge, harbor, etc.
We rushed from the Opera House to Circular Quay where we boarded The Captain Cook Coffee Cruise. We left the deck and sailed thru the harbor viewing The Harbor Bridge and Opera House. We cruised along as the guide told us of the various bays, coves, beaches (a nude one on the beach and one nude snorkeler came out of the water). Some of the history was told of battles, lighthouses. Were served tea and cookies. Back to the dock at 12:30.
Walked to The Ole Spaghetti Factory for lunch. Waited. Didn’t get seated. Rushed to pizza place – had prawn pizza. Different and good. Took the rest to the hotel.
At 2:15 our bus driver guide picked us up and drove us past Parliament House, Town Hall, various churches, Hyde Park, Kings Cross (night club area). Many buildings are of native sandstone so new ones are light brown, older ones are dark brown. We glimpsed many harbor views with all types of Sailboats. Our guide told us that many people come by ferry into the city for work or shopping & travel home via same method at end of day.
We drove thru lovely residential areas and went on to Vanduse House built in 1803. We walked thru the house and the yard. As we viewed the city and harbor from various spots, the red tile roofs impressed us again. We glimpsed an especially built shark proof pool. Drove along several beaches – Bondi Beach (largest one on south side), Tamarama (smallest but deep). There are 34 beaches in the city. Most have a pool. Most have nets to keep out sharks or special ways of protection. We came into Paddington – where small houses with metal grillwork
Were so run down. Now persons are buying these – removing cement of 1850s from view, sandstone brick – exposing brick, redoing in nice fashion. On to the hotel.
Joe and I looked at souvenirs and opals for 1 hour – had a milkshake at McDonalds. Went to the hairdresser’s at 6PM. We started walking along George Street, soft rain came. Walked along movie street. Saw 1 building with 7 shows going at once (almost all American). I had a salmon sandwich (70 cents – nothing but bread and salmon) and cappuccino (60 cents). Joe had iced coffee (50 cents). Back to hotel. I wrote some.
Friday, December 31, 1977
New Year’s Eve! Awoke at 6:45. Walked for bus. Transferred to another. Now at 9:30 (we’re waiting at the circular quay). Have not seen as many men in shorts as anticipated. As we took off our driver told us that Sydney is the 7th largest city in the British Empire. There are 3 million people. There is an underground subway with 4 stops. We drove over The Harbor Bridge—built between 1923 and 1932. We saw evidence of drilling thru the sandstone on which the city is built. It may be ½ a mile deep in some spots. There is little soil on the top. From high above we looked down on the red tiled roofs. They are of tile of shale and clay with some coloring added—brown, blue, gray, and red. They are working on cement and aluminum tiles now.
As we drove along we saw gum trees. There are 760 different types. Eucalyptus have rough bark, gums have smooth bark. Koalas eat 6 kinds only. We saw growing in growing in yards the Jacaranda trees, palms, Norfolk Island Pines (not native to Australia but brought in to prevent erosion because of extreme root system), Hibiscus, and blue Morning Glories. We came to St. Ives where doctors (salary $30,000.00 on average) live.
We came to bushland settings with many gums growing. In the preserved Warringah Forest we saw where one tribe of aborigines lived. We stopped at Church Point, where there were boats docked, tennis courts, stores for boat activity, golf course nearby (there are 93 golf courses in the city—metropolitan area). We viewed some of the Pacific Ocean Beaches—called New South Wales beaches. At Palm Beach we boarded the Niuriggini for a sightseeing cruise of The Hawkesbury Estuary. We had a smorgasbord lunch. This area was beautiful with houses nestled al up the hillside. We stopped at a Baban Temple (others located in Uganda, Frankfurt Germany, Panama, and Sydney-Australia). We went on to a wildlife sanctuary and there petted the koalas (only 3 seen in the area), fed cheese snacks to kangaroos (most were not hungry and were itchy with flies), fed emus, ducks, saw wombat in cave and one lying on his back sleeping. Back to the hotel by 5 o’clock.
Joe was awakened by the phone. He got up—went out to eat at MacDonald’s, I slept. Then I dressed, he waited while I had ice cream at Hilton’s Coffee Shop. We then boarded a bus to The Opera House area where we mulled around listening to 2 free concerts. We left before midnight, back to the hotel via bus, to bed. Joe awakened me to hear celebrating and from the hotel window we could see fire works from The Opera House.
Had phoned the Wolfe’s early in the morn. They invited us to join them for a New Year’s Eve Party. I phoned back at 5 declining. They wanted to meet us for a drink before 9 but I said “no.”
Saturday, January 1, 1978
Up at 6, packed, bags on by 6:45. Ate breakfast of lamb chops, broiled tomato, potatoe and paw-paw. Left the hotel around 7:30 for the airport. Are now flying on a DC-9 for 40 minutes to Canberra.
We were met by a driver who took us to a very modern looking government city. It is the capitol of Australia with 206,000 people. 60% are under 30 years of age. In the 1900’s, as a result of a search for a site for the capital, tours were led and in 1908 Canberra was settled. In 1912, Walter Burley Griffin won the international competition for the design of this city. Excavation started in 1923, it went until 1958.
We drove to an information center and saw slides on the area and photographed a formation in a lake with the National Library behind. We visited the National Library and saw Capt. Cook’s Journal of 1770’s (in replica), drawings of native birds, a floor dedicated to catastrophes of the area (flood, fire, typhoon, etc.), a nice gift shop (I bought three). The windows were of stained glass. Tapestries hung on the walls inside.
We passed through the embassies area and saw park lands of natural vegetation. We drove to the top of Red Hill from which we looked down on Canberra and on the adjoining satellite communities. There are 100,000 people in each.
We then headed into the country to Tralee. This is a 3,500 acre farm. There are 3,500 sheep and 300 cattle on the farm. We were first shown Jack Griffiths and his Border Collie “Snow.” Border Collies came to Australia from Scotland in 1870. Since then the Collie has been bred for hot and cold climate. We saw “snow” round up 4 sheep. Instruction for the dog begins at 6 months, dog is trained for 6 months. Each dog can handle 1,000 sheep. Dog watches eyes of sheep in mesmerizing fashion. Dog is very good—wont bark or bite the sheep. Value of dog is $600. Works for 10 years then sheep become faster then dog is running. Dog works 7-8 hours, can work up to 16 hours.
Bernard Morrison came on the scene. He told us that his grandfather came from Ireland in 1856 and owned flats where Canberra is now located. Bernard’s father was a sheep shearer. Bernard showed us how to hold a sheep.
We moved into the shed to see Tom Grebble shear a sheep. An average sheep shearer handles 150 sheep a day. The shearing is done once per year. Electric shears have replaced hand shears. The fleece is kept in one piece and spreads out to large size. Outer edges are removed rolled for inspection. About 30 rolls are placed packed for shipment. The merino sheep is the favorite type. It’s coat is thick and individualized hairs are crinkled.
We entered a shed and had a beer, orange juice, and whiskey drink. Then had a barbeque of steak, bread, beets, chopped salad, cold bean salad, pineapple and fruit cup. Had white or red wine with the meal. Afterwards, Bernard talked on boomerangs and showed us how to use one. We went outside to try our luck. I had been given one because of my Irish eyes. We were with a large Japanese group.
We meandered to the Tralee zoo and fed bread to a wombat and kangaroo. Bought some towels, a boomerang for Monty, and 2 shell koalas. It started to rain, we said “adieu” and drove to Canberra to the Parliament Bldg. Visited the House of Commerce room (127 members) done in green and the Senate (64 members). On to the War Memorial where we saw paintings and panoramas of the wars in which the Australians participated. Also handsome statues. In the basement were clothing and uniform supplies. The main center was a hall of marble with a mosaic roof and 4 frames in mosaic each depicting a hand of the armed services. To the restaurant—had a passion fruit milk shake. To the airport for a 55 minute ride to the Melbourne. We checked in and walked downtown—few people on the street—it’s New Year’s Day. Could find no good restaurant. Back to the hotel and ate in the room. K—chicken soup and apple preserve—Joe—tomato soup. Watched a couple of things—will finish and retire for the night.
Sunday, January 2, 1978
The town was not very exciting last night. In reading about it gothic buildings are mentioned. Perhaps we’ll see more exciting sites today. Our Old Melbourne Hotel has a lovely center balcony off the room—hanging flowers, fountain. We had breakfast. We’ll leave on the bust at 9 am for tour.
We passed thru University of Melbourne—founded in 1853—8 separate colleges on 100 acres (there are 3 universities in Melbourne). We passed low income flats at $135 per month.
In 1835 John Batman settled Melbourne. He bought land from the aborigines. Today there are 2 ¼ million people.
There are many parks, we visited Fitzray Park on the Capt. Cook College. Cook landed in Australia in 1770, his parent’s home was brought over from Yorkshire.
We passed the Melbourne Cricket Grounds and saw people entering for the matches. We entered the Toorak area and saw on one side of the river the wealthy homes and on the other the poor persons dwellings.
We stopped at the Como House built in 1851. It became the property of Armytage family a few years later and was built to accommodate the 9 or 10 children. Now the property is owned by the National Trust.
We stopped at the Shrine of Remembrance—a Victorian war memorial built to honor the Australian war dead of The Great War. The eternal flame was burning.