After Hong Kong, we flew down to see another of the world’s great cities – Sydney.
The prime attraction in Sydney is of course the fantastic Opera House. As an archaeologist, I was fascinated by it. We are always talking about the importance of prestige in human societies – see Stonehenge – and here is a prestige building if ever there was one. It cost more than 14 times the original budget, and I would have voted against it at every stage of its construction, but I would have been wrong. It is magnificent – the Stonehenge of the South – and it was certainly worth every penny of it: did Stonehenge go 14 times over budget, I wonder?
The other major attraction from an older generation is the Sydney Harbour Bridge. In many ways this is the opposite of the Opera House, a massive practical construction, delighting in its sheer strength: for long it was the longest single span bridge in the world.
Today of course we would put up a suspension brige of much lighter construction, but in the 1930s when this was built, they did not have the necessary strength of building materials. But at the height of the depression this demonstrated just what could be done.
The centre of Sydney is the circular harbour, and this is the view of it from the steps of the Opera house, seeing the skyscrapers of the Central Business District.
Note the buildings on the left, the Opera Quays development, which must have a magnificent view not only of the harbour but also of the Opera House.
And there is old Sydney, the area known as The Rocks, where the the warehouses and shipping that first made Sydney great in the late 19th century are now being renovated and turned it into shopping boutiques and art galleries.
Finally of course we had to see Australia at play, so we went down to Bondi Beach to inspect the local talent. We were not disappointed . . .
And from Sydney we flew down to Melbourne