Friday, March 28, 2014

Return to Oz . . . Sydney to Be Exact!

The first three days of my current visit home to Australia were spent in Sydney. As I mentioned previously, I timed my arrival in Australia to coincide with the completion of my friend Raphael's inspiring Adelaide-to-Sydney bike ride, "Cycling to March," which raised awareness and funds for melanoma education and research. Raph (pictured at right) finished his 1900 kilometre ride in Sydney's Centennial Park on the morning of Friday, March 21. For related images and commentary, click here.

Above: On Sydney's famous Bondi Beach with friends (and Raph's siblings) Iggy and Collette – Friday, March 21, 2014.

Above and right: Views of the central business district (CBD) of Sydney – Saturday, March 22, 2014. The unusual-looking building at far right of the picture above is Sydney Tower, about which Wikipedia notes the following.

Sydney Tower is Sydney's tallest building and the third tallest in Australia (with the Q1 building on the Gold Coast and the Eureka Tower in Melbourne being the tallest). However by non-floor height or spire height, it is the second tallest in Australia. It is also the second tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere (after Auckland's Sky Tower). The name Sydney Tower has become common in daily usage, however the tower is also known as the Sydney Tower Eye, AMP Tower, Westfield Centrepoint Tower, Centrepoint Tower or just Centrepoint. The Sydney Tower is a member of the World Federation of Great Towers.

The tower stands 309 m (1,014 ft) above the Sydney central business district (CBD), located on Market Street, between Pitt and Castlereagh Streets. It is accessible from the Pitt Street Mall, and sits upon the newly refurbished Westfield Sydney (formerly Centrepoint Arcade). The tower is open to the public, and is one of the most prominent tourist attractions in the city, being visible from a number of vantage points throughout town and from adjoining suburbs.

. . . Designed by Australian architect Donald Crone, plans for Sydney Tower were unveiled in March 1968. Construction of the office building commenced in 1970, and tower construction began in 1975. Prior to construction of the tower, the height limit in Sydney had been set at 279 m (915 ft), to allow for safe overflights by flying boats.

Public access to the tower began in August 1981. The total cost of construction was A$36 million. In 1998, the addition of a lightning rod to the top of spire extended the tower's overall height to 309 m (1,014 ft), which is 327 m (1,073 ft) above sea level.

While AMP managed the Centrepoint shopping centre, the tower was officially referred to as "AMP Tower." After the Westfield Group took over ownership of Centrepoint in December 2001, the name was changed to Sydney Tower.

At very much the last minute my original plans for accommodation in Sydney inexplicably fell through. This meant that I found myself at Sydney Airport on the morning of Thursday, March 20, with no where to stay!

All I can say is thank goodness for Facebook . . . and for friends like Anne and Sarah (above).

Within an hour of sending out a message on Facebook, Anne messaged me back and extended a generous invitation to stay with her and her partner Sarah in their lovely home in Beecroft, a northern suburb of Sydney. I had attended school with Anne's sister Polly in Gunnedah.

Above: A great photo of Raph and his sister Dominica – Centennial Park, Saturday, March 22, 2014. Dom had just arrived back to Australia that morning from Cambodia, where she had been volunteering at an orphanage.

As I think most readers of The Wild Reed would know, Raph dedicated his Adelaide-to-Sydney bike ride to his sister Tess (a friend and former student of mine) who sadly died of melanoma in 2012.  I'm pictured at right with beautiful little Mabel, the daughter of Tess and her husband Victor.

Above: Raph's mum Bernie and brother and sister, Iggy and Mim.

Bernie and Mim were Raph's support drivers throughout Cycling to March.

Left: Raph's youngest sister Collette and her boyfriend Jeremy – March 22, 2014.

Above: Iggy was so happy to see me . . . but we haven't announced anything just yet!

Above: Raph and Bernie with our good friend Garth.

Above: Garth and his wife Jenya's two beautiful daughters – Saturday, March 22, 2014.

Above: Collette and her good friend Jenine on Bondi Beach – Friday, March 22, 2014.

Above: Iggy!

Above and below: Sydney's Central Park. Featuring a "living green facade and vertical garden," Central Park is billed as "Australia’s finest green space project."

Writes Josh Gliddon in the Australian Financial Review:

Inner-city developments, such as One Central Park in the old industrial inner Sydney suburb of Chippendale, have thrown that outdated logic on its head. Now the inner city is cool, and old industrial sites are being reclaimed for cutting-edge, trendy and green living.

“[We] purchased the old Carlton United Brewery site from Fosters in June 2007, with planning approval for a concept master plan in place,” said Fraser property ­manager Lisa McCutchion. “The developer achieved a modified concept plan consent – with ground-breaking green infrastructure entrenched into the master plan – in February 2009.

“Design development for the vertical gardens was undertaken over several years, with planting undertaken at the earliest stages of construction to ensure plants had sufficient time to establish before construction ­completion. One Central Park is now substantially complete,” she added.

At the core of the One Central Park plan is Vision 202020, a national program to increase green urban space by 20 per cent by 2020. And that deadline is less than seven years away, say the people behind One Central Park.

The core of One Central Park’s green vision is a 6400-square-meter public park, called Chippendale Green, which is located right in the heart of the development.

“Chippendale Green is now listed on the 202020 Vision Map of Australia’s finest green space projects,” said Ms McCutchion.

“One Central Park’s vertical gardens and planter boxes have also added 1200 metres of green space to the 202020 Vision Map.”

The public park at the heart of the precinct climbs the side of the floor-to-ceiling glass towers to form a lush canopy, Ms McCutchion said in a statement.

“Using 250 species of Australian flowers and plants, the buds and blooms of the vegetation form a musical composition on the facade.

“Vines and leafy foliage spring out between floors and provide the perfect frame for Sydney’s skyline.

“It’s surprising and delightful to see a soft green facade in this highly urban context,” she said.

See also the previous Wild Reed posts:
Raph's Inspiring Journey
Raph's Journey Continues
A Surprise for Raph . . . Well, Somewhat!

For more images and commentary on Sydney, see the previous posts:
An Afternoon on the Harbour (2012)
Leichhardt (2012)
Sydney Sojourn (2010)
Strathfield (2009)
"Harbour City" Sights (2008)
Newtown (2008)
Travelin' South (Part 1) (2006)

Notes Wikipedia: The name Australia is derived from the Latin australis, meaning "southern." The country has been referred to colloquially as Oz since the early 20th century. Aussie is a common colloquial term for "Australian."

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