Today we took a historic and educational tour that took us all over Sydney with our guide, Nigel, who worked for Australian Luxury Escapes. We loved Nigel,and loved the tour. It was like an all day history and architecture lesson from someone who knew everything we asked. He was a really nice guy, and he knew everything about Sydney, from Captain Cook’s landing in 1770 to the penal colony beginning to Governor MacQuarie and even to today’s cricket match against the English that has all of Australia watching and cheering. I hope we get to see Nigel when he comes to San Francisco, he was not just a private guide but is a friend we will miss.
We started off the day by learning about the history of Sydney and Australia. After that, we drove through some neighborhoods and looked at some buildings made by forced labor from convicts. During the colonial period Australia was used as a penal colony because the jails back in England were full. In Australia, convicts were used for labor to build the cities and towns, even kids and women. The area near our hotel, named the “Rocks”, is really historic and beautiful.
Next, we looked at some neighborhoods that were built in the colonial periods that the government wanted to tear down. After we learned about Australia’s history, we saw the oldest observatory in Australia. Around the historic Rocks area, many people that lived there were protesting because they don’t want the government to sell their low rent apartments to kick them out and then sell the historic properties for a bigger price. I get both sides of the argument, but it is sad to get kicked out of your house.
Later, we saw the parliament building, state library and biggest art gallery in New South Wales (NSW is the state we are in.) Next, we explored the botanical gardens. We also got to see the largest vessel in the Australian Navy. For lunch, we went to the Cruising Yacht Club and saw a ton of racing yachts. After we went to lunch we drove through a bunch of cool neighborhoods and we learned a lot about why some neighborhoods have their names and the history of some houses. Then, we went to the first lighthouse in Australia. The lighthouse was really tall but it looked super cool and we took a family picture there. It was designed by a freed convict named Greenway, who ended up being a famous architect after his freedom.
After that, we drove to Bondi beach which was huge. There were these hotels where a giant wave would splash into the pool so you would have pool and ocean water in the pool, and just be swimming laps while the ocean water crashed over the wall and into the pool. There was also this really cool skate part with a deep bowl, we watched a kid about my age skate and do tricks, which was fun.
Nigel was an awesome tour guide and he was really descriptive about everything we saw, and he was also really kind. Our tour was awesome and we learned so much. It’s interesting that Australia was a colony, like America, but that it’s history is a little shorter. Since they didn’t have a revolution, like we did, there are no heros or famous historical people like we learned about on the Freedom Trail (Washington, Franklin, Adams, Jefferson). The Australian people are very friendly, and it’s a fun place to learn about.