Australia – Sydney

Greetings from Down Undah!  John and I arrived two days ago, and have been staying with good friends (I met Gary originally in Calgary, then they were our “home away from home” in Houston).  They have a new house near the water in Woolwich, and I can’t imagine a more wonderful place to recover from our jet lag!

Our first stop?  A quilt shop, of course!  Anne and I visited Kathy Doughty at Material Obsession.  She had just moved into a new location, had worked a booth at a quilt show on the weekend, plus hosting Kaffe Fassett and lots of other things.  It was amazing how busy she’s been!  Then we went over the Quiltsmith in Annandale – a huge shop, with a nice big classroom.  We’re hoping that they will be interested in sponsoring a show for us before we leave. 

On our way back home, we stopped in at Hunters Hill council offices, where we saw a magnificent quilt on the wall.  It was made in 1988 by Judith Burgess and members of the Hunters Hill quilting guild.  A lovely tribute to the historic buildings in the area. 

Here’s a detail of the quilt: the worksmanship was wonderful.

And here’s the first coincidence of the tour:  Judith Burgess, the maker of this quilt, just happened to be in the building!  She was delivering a new quilt of photo transferred and hand-coloured images of historic buildings in the area.  She’s an artist first, and that certainly shows in her work!

Judith Burgess and her new quilt

We are hoping to see her again at her guild before we leave.

We haven’t spent much time in Sydney in our previous travels – we always love getting out into the country – but we’ve had a couple of days here, and I decided to do some exploring yesterday.  The ferry system here is magnificent, and rather than driving through the traffic, I hopped on one that dropped me off in Circular Quay – the mecca for tourists and locals alike. 

My chariot to take me into the city.

I visited the Museum of Contemporary Art there, then took myself on a long walk around the area.  Into The Rocks, where the first settlers landed.  There’s lots of convict and maritime history here.  Then around the Quay area to the Sydney Opera House, one of the most iconic buildings in the world.  I continued on to the Botanic Gardens, which includes a large area adjacent to the Opera House.

Hibiscus flowers

The flowers were wonderful – it is autumn here, so there are frangipani (my favourite) and hibiscus in bloom everywhere.  The banksia flowers are indigenous to Australia, and very beautiful – I want to try to quilt them sometime.

Banksia flowers

They have made the Botanic Gardens very accessible to people.  It is free admission, and we were encouraged to walk on the grass (sorry, I didn’t take a picture of that sign…).  There are also lots of birds: sulphur-crested cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets and other parrots screeching everywhere.  I become a birder every time we get to Australia.  I love to see the ibis, too – we don’t have any in Canada.

A couple of ibis in the underbrush.

The view from the Gardens back towards the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House is amazing.  Well worth the walk to get there!

On the walk back, I found a large collection of “sleeping” flying foxes – fruit bats.  They’re quite large here, like we had in Darwin.  They weren’t doing much, just “hanging around”.  They come out at night and raid all the mango and fruit trees.

Flying Foxes

It was time to head for home, so I booted it back to Circular Quay and hopped on the ferry again.  We went right under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, and I saw a group of people making the climb to the top.  I don’t think you’ll ever find me up there — too high! But they do a brisk business of taking people up.  I’m sure the view from the top is very good.

Almost at the top of the bridge

It’s really good to be back in Australia.  We’re looking forward to seeing all our friends while we’re here, and meeting some new ones.  Our suitcases are full, so I won’t be buying any fabric until we get rid of some CDs.  Today, we drive to Canberra.  There is a new exhibit opening tomorrow at the Museum that will include the Rajah Quilt.  This will be the first time I’ve seen it in person since 1999, so I hope the lineups aren’t too long and we can go tomorrow.  The exhibit is called “The Irish in Australia”.  Fitting that it will open on St. Patrick’s day!!!

I’ll be blogging about our tour regularly while we’re on this tour.  You can get it delivered to your email inbox by subscribing. Be sure to check back regularly for updates!

6 Responses to “Australia – Sydney”

  1. Mary Says:

    I’m SO glad you are spending a little time in Sydney. It’s one of my favorite cities to walk around. Plenty to see and do plus good coffee shops to recharge. 🙂

  2. Michelle Says:

    See you guys tonight! Hope you have big appetites!

  3. Peggy Freeman Says:

    Thank you for blogging about your interesting trip. I will travel with you this way since you know how I am about getting very far from home. While you are having autumn, we are finally just beginning to have spring. Weird, huh! I’ll be checking back for new posts.

  4. Tony Says:

    Glad you’re enjoying Sydney, where I grew up.

    Do you have a gig at the National Museum in Canberra? Or at the National Folk Festival?

    See you in 12 days!

  5. Wendy Says:

    I’d love to climb the bridge! I’m kind of crazy that way! I’m so excited that you get to see the Rajah…. just thinking about it gives me goosebumps!

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