Sydney Australia: Day Four, Afternoon

by Julie Royce / Feb 13, 2010 /
Julie Royce's picture

Afternoon/Day Four Sydney: Art Museum of New South Wales and the Museum of Australia

Our first stop, to let my stomach settle from our Sydney Tower Experience, was David Jones – five floors of upscale, but discounted merchandise. Of course I wanted to start at the top.  As we stepped onto the third escalator Bob said, “They must have a lift somewhere.”  Only four days and he was speaking Australian like a native.  I perused Hermes, Coach, Prada, Kenneth Cole, Salvatore Ferragamo and Chloe while Bob hung in the background trying to be patient. We just happened on this “attraction.”  If I had mentioned it in advance to Bob, I'm sure he'd have frowned on the idea.  I tried on a pair of Dolce and Gabbana shoes, and although they were stylish and looked extremely comfortable, I couldn’t part with more than three hundred dollars to take them home.  So much for discounts and so much for a 10% U.S. dollar premium, the shoes were not in my budget. It was a real shame because the store was decorated in its holiday best Christmas trees and lights, and I really wanted to buy.  Bob was quite happy I didn't.

On to something a bit more spiritual.  St. Mary's Cathedral was magnificent. Designed in 1865 by William Wilkinson Wardell, its solemnity put our souls at rest, and the vibrant stained glass windows sent our love of art soaring.  

 

The famous twin spires of St. Mary’s Cathedral are a familiar Sydney landmark

The famous twin spires of St. Mary’s Cathedral are a familiar Sydney landmark

 

The famous twin spires of St. Mary’s Cathedral are a familiar Sydney landmark

 


Next stop:  The Art Museum of New South Wales, which is free to the public and offers works from around the world, including an impressive collection of Southeast Asian art, artistic traditions of Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander art, and a Western Collection. They also have an interesting cafeteria where I salivated over the delicious fettuccine mushroom ragu.

 

Indonesian Amitabha  Budda, Late 8th to mid-9th century

Indonesian Amitabha Buddha, Late 8th to mid-9th century

 

Art Museum, Sydney

Entering the New South Wales Art Gallery from the side entrance

Art Museum, Sydney

 

Side Entrance and outside Café at the Museum of Australia

Side Entrance and outside Café at the Museum of Australia

 


After the Art Museum we searched for St. James Church, the first Christian Church of Australia. According to the map it was right across the street from St. Mary's, but we had somehow missed it. We retraced our steps, found it, and entered to the melodic strains of organ music. A few minutes for reflection and then...

 

Walking through Hyde Park on our way to the Museum of Australia

Walking through Hyde Park on our way to the Museum of Australia

 

Hyde Park, Sydney, Australia

 


On to the Museum of Australia, which Bob had decided wasn’t such a bad idea after all. Along the way we passed a wigged barrister, but he was gone before Bob could get out our camera.  We walked through Hyde Park, enjoying Art in the Park and trying to ignore the flies. Once inside the museum we began with the aboriginal exhibit and sat spellbound during a film recounting the 1960s movement to eliminate the separation of races in Australia.  We were struck by the similarities to our Civil Rights Movement, both in goals and the timing. It was good to be reminded that the human spirit perseveres in every corner of the world.

On a less serious note, the museum had an awesome skeleton collection. I wished our grandchildren were with us to see their grandfather peddling a bicycle in tandem with a skeleton buddy. The collection of animals indigenous to Australia also caught our eyes and garnered a bit of our time. The museum was an amazing stop, but the day was rapidly disappearing.

 

Even Skeletons enjoy relaxing in a rocking chair while reading a good book

Even Skeletons enjoy relaxing in a rocking chair while reading a good book

 

Bob gets into the act, riding in tandem with a skeletal buddy

Bob gets into the act, riding in tandem with a skeletal buddy

 

 


We still hadn't visited St. Andrews Cathedral, so reluctantly left and backtracked to spend a few more minutes in quiet meditation in yet another magnificent cathedral.  I was a bit puzzled because St. James was the first Anglican Christian church in Australia and St. Andrews was the oldest Anglican cathedral in Australia, and I wasn’t sure of the distinction. Another visitor overheard me expressing my confusion to Bob, and when my husband couldn’t provide clarification, she pointed out a cathedral is the seat of a bishop; that is what sets it apart from a mere church. The distinction has nothing to do with the size of the building or its location. A cathedral is the head of a diocese.

By day’s end, with barely enough energy to walk back to the Menzies, we smugly congratulated ourselves on another day well-spent. Bob admitted that either the Art Gallery or the Museum of Australia could have each filled an entire day.

Sydney had been a whirlwind of experiences and we had enjoyed every moment - even the jet-lagged ones.  Bob and I each gave it two Thumbs Up, and hope everyone has the opportunity to add it to their vacation dream list.

We now had to move on to Cairns.

 

Don't miss the other articles in this series:

Sydney: Days One and Two

Sydney: Day Three

Sydney: Day Four, Morning

 

Julie Albrecht Royce, Travel Adventures Editor, is the author of Traveling Michigan's Sunset Coast and Traveling Michigan's Thumb, both published by Thunder Bay Press. She writes a monthly column for wanderingeducators.com.

 

All photos courtesy and copyright of Robert Royce.

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