Back to the Garden

Our day started with a walk to the Royal Botanic Garden for a guided tour focusing on Aboriginal culture and history. Our guide, Darren, has Aboriginal grandparents and has lived in that culture as well as living in “European” culture; he told us a lot about the land, the history, and the culture as well as taking about the plants and animals in the garden. I wish I could remember a tenth of what he told us!

This is a bat habitat with a Native symbol for Sydney on it.

We saw many endemic birds and animals, like this kookaburra and Australian Water Dragon.

There were four different Aboriginal groups living in Sydney at the time of first contact; the one we heard the most about was the Gadigal, who are named after the gadi or grass-tree plant.

I could have spent the entire day learning from Darren, but that was not to be – he brought us to the edge of the Garden and then gave us back to our guides so that we could visit the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

It, too, was overwhelming; here are a couple of works that struck me: Ken Unsworth’s “Suspended Stone Circle II” and Grace Coddington Smith’s “The Lacquer Room”.

We had lunch at the museum and then set out to explore a little bit more of Sydney, walking past the Frazer Fountain (no longer operational), Town Hall, and finally to the Queen Victoria Building which is now a modern shopping mall.

We returned to the hotel and packed; then we went to the opening reception for the full tour group (there will be 100 of us on the tour; there were 20 on the pre-tour) where we picked up Covid tests that we had to take before we can get on the plane to fly to Broome tomorrow morning. Diane and I both passed. whew