Sole Sister

Cruising in the single lane

(Sydney) life’s a beach


Thanks, Sydney. As always, you turned on another perfect day for my latest arrival – despite its being sandwiched between days of winds and downpours.

IMG_1069Every trip to Sydney is packed with the potential to explore more of its myriad fascinating facets. Although I have been a regular visitor since childhood, and once lived there for three months while in primary school, I’ve barely scratched the surface. But luckily, family members have back-of-the-hand familiarity with its endless nooks and crannies.

Sydney Harbour’s 240 kilometres of shoreline is a special treasure trove with its numerous little beaches and coves, and waterside entertainments.  On this visit I was introduced to a trendy new eatery at Mosman’s Balmoral Beach, already famous for the Bathers’ Pavilion Restaurant. The Boat House, a sister venue to another of the same name at Palm Beach, offers breakfast and lunch on a first-come, first-served basis – no reservations. We had tried accessing the Palm Beach version the day before but, as the location for Home and Away shoots, the film crew, cast and curious onlookers had packed the place out. The Balmoral Beach Boat House décor is eclectic, the food generous and of excellent quality, the coffee creative. All so tempting that the seagulls are determined to join your table and beat you to your meal.  And the view? Well, it’s Sydney Harbour – what more could you want?

IMG_1035 IMG_1036IMG_1038 IMG_1039IMG_1045 IMG_1047IMG_1049 IMG_1059 IMG_1060Just around the corner, Chinaman’s Beach, one of a number of sandy bays along the Mosman-Seaforth foreshore, is a delightful and safe spot for kids to fossick for shells, build sandcastles and splash in rock pools.  What a gift for families in the middle of a huge city.  The beach takes its name from old market gardens established there in the 1870s by Hi Tik Cho, who also distilled salt from the water. The iconic Australia artist Ken Done lives at one end and many of his paintings, created in his harbour side workshop, have been inspired by the setting with its vibrant colours. Another famous local was Nancy Phelan whose book A Kingdom by the Sea recalls her childhood growing up by that magic environment.

IMG_1077IMG_1084 IMG_1085IMG_1090IMG_1099No visit to Sydney is complete without a quick look at the Art Gallery of New South. The current feature exhibition is America Painting a Nation, an offering of over 90 works chosen for the role they played in defining the development of America as a nation. Described as the most ambitious survey of American painting ever seen in Australia it showcases masterpieces by major artists such as James Whistler, Edward Hopper, Mark Rothko, Georgia O’Keeffe and Jackson Pollock. I was living in Canberra when the newly opened National Gallery of Australia purchased Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles for the “outrageous” sum of $1.3 million to the howls of the then (opposition) political class and the media commentariat. At last estimate it was valued in a range from $20 million to $100 million. So Gough wasn’t so mad after all!

One work which caught my eye was Ken Unsworth Suspended Stone Circle, a gift of the John Kaldor Family Collection to the gallery. It defines what is so exhilarating about art – the sheer creativity of the human mind. Who would have thought a bunch of similar-sized stones, suspended from the ceiling by diagonally crossed wires, could be so mesmerising?


Author: technanna

I grew up in western Queensland, worked as a newspaper and television journalist, public relations and public affairs officer and freelance correspondent in Australia, the UK, Japan and Saudi Arabia. I have three grown children and two grandchildren. I am retired, but work to keep the brain and body fit, and to stay marginally in touch in our ever-changing technological environment.

4 thoughts on “(Sydney) life’s a beach

  1. Your articles are terrific. You should try to encourage more readers. I know I’ve said this before. Go read other blogs and comment on them and they will come to visit yours. Your photos are good too. i went to teachers college at Mosman down near the water on Middle Head.

    • Thanks as always for your encouragement. I’ll add “must comment on more blogs” to my New Year’s resolutions – I know I should but for some reason I’m always so busy. Hardly have time to blog! But I am enjoying it so – slowly but surely I’ll get into it properly.

  2. technanna

    Your pictures of the landscape around Sydney Harbour and restaurant shots just makes me want to get my watercolour brushes out again, so thank you for the fascinating stories and your good eye.


    • Thank you – I am delighted that my record of your stunning neck of the woods might inspire more Joy Campbell watercolors. There are so many possibilities for subject matter and you would capture the essence of the harbour with your usual deft touch.

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