Wollongong

New South Wales

Wollongong was founded as a village in 1816; its name is an Aboriginal word meaning “sound of the sea.” It became a town in 1843, a municipality in 1859, and a city in 1942. It was amalgamated with other municipalities and shires in 1947 to form the City of Wollongong, which extends for some 30 miles (50 km) along the coast. Originally dependent on grazing and lumbering, the area early became the focus of prosperous dairy farmers.

Cows in the Illawarra Region.

Wollongong was once a centre of heavy industries, such as steel production at Port Kembla, which were attracted by the rich Bulli coal deposits nearby. Steel production declined in the late 20th century and with it coal mining. Coal is still mined, but by the early 21st century it had been supplanted in importance by other economic activities, among them construction and manufacturing.

In addition to steel, Wollongong’s industries manufacture other metallurgical products, including copper, as well as bricks, fertilizers, machinery, processed foods, chemicals, clothing, and coke. A fishing fleet operates from the artificial harbour of Port Kembla. Wollongong is linked to Sydney (50 miles [80 km] north) by road and rail.

It is the site of the University of Wollongong (1975; originally [1951] a division of the New South Wales University of Technology), which is a major local employer, and of a college of technical and further education. The Science Centre and Planetarium is a popular attraction, and the Illawarra Museum, housed in a 19th-century post office building, has exhibits on the life of that period.

https://www.nsw.gov.au/about-new-south-wales/state-emblems/

London to Wollongong

Heathrow, March 4th

After a good road journey from Keynsham to Heathrow I looked forward to the 23 hour journey to Sydney.

The touch down flight BA15 via Singapore on a Boeing 777 went without hitches and luckily I had an empty seat next to me on both legs of the journey. It seemed a very short stay in Changi airport, we re-embarked in no time. Only time for a brisk yomp around the concourse to get the blood circulating.

BA15 at Changi Airport
Other passengers resting after the 12hr flight from LHR
Leaving Singapore at 20.10

After another night-time flight, the landing 20 minutes early at Kingsford Smith, was little bumpy, but not too bad, it was just getting light. I quickly progressed through customs and immigration and Maureen and Lindell arrived to greet me. We quickly got back to the car and exited the car park within the 30 minute free parking time slot.

Maureen in her sitting room
They must have known I was coming!

Sydney

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During our stay in Lane Cove, Sydney we were confined to the house by a period of the worst weather for years, this shows sand from famous Bondi Beach which had been deposited on the promenade by the high winds and stormy seas.

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Wen we finally managed to get to the shops we treated ourselves to a shared steak sandwich, this is what came, yummy! https://www.facebook.com/TheCakeManLaneCove

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Wire cockatoo, at the Sydney Youth Hostel

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Classic view of Circular Quay and the Opera House, we took the tour of the interior. House: 40 fascinating facts – Telegraph 1. The architect Jorn Utzon was initially rejected by three judges in a 1956 competition to design the Sydney Opera House, but his entry was picked out by the fourth judge, renowned American architect Eero Saarinen, who declared it outstanding. Mr Utzon beat 232 other entrants. 2. He won £5,000 for his design. 3. Mr Utzon had never visited the site of the Sydney Opera House before entering the design competition, but used his naval experience to study charts of the harbour Workers install lights on the 185 metres long, 120 metres wide Sydney Opera House 4. Work started on it in 1959, with 10,000 builders employed. 5. Mr Utzon resigned as chief architect of the Opera House in February 1966, after a new Liberal government was elected and the Minister of Works stopped payments to him. There were protests in the streets, demanding that Utzon be reinstated, but he left Australia in April of the same year, and never returned to see his design take shape. 6. The Sydney Opera House Trust took up communicating with Mr Utzon again in the late Nineties, and the architect was appointed as a design consultant for future works. 7. When Queen Elizabeth II opened the Sydney Opera House on October 20, 1973, Utzon was awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Institute of Architects Australia – but was absent from the ceremony. 8. The Sydney Opera House’s construction cost $AUS 102 million (£60 million) – the original estimated cost was $AUS 7 million (£4.1 million). 9. The Opera House’s sails were built using cranes made specifically for the job in France, each costing $AUS 100,000 (£59,000) 10. The building is 185 metres long and 120 metres wide. 11. The highest roof point is 67 metres above sea-level – the same as a 22-storey high building 12. Its roof is made of 2,194 pre-cast concrete sections. 13. These sections weigh up to 15 tons each… 14. …and are held together by 350km of tensioned steel cable… 15. …which if laid end-to-end would reach Canberra 16. The roof is covered with more than one million tiles, made by Swedish company Höganas. 17. The building has 6,225 square metres of glass and 645 kilometres of electric cable. 18. The glass used in the building is unique to the Sydney Opera House, and was made to order in France. 19. The architectural style is Expressionist Modernism – which involves innovative form and use of novel materials. 20. The entire site covers an area of 5.798 hectares. Eight Boeing 747s could sit wing-to-wing on the site. 21. The House hosts 3,000 events every year. 22. Two hundred thousand people per year take a guided tour of the building. 23. Its performances have an annual audience of two million. 24. The largest of the seven venues, the Concert Hall, has 2,679 seats. 25. The smallest is the Utzon room, which seats up to 210 people. 26. The Concert Hall’s Grand Organ is the largest mechanical version of this instrument in the world, with 10,154 pipes. It took ten years to build. 27. Total rooms? 1,000. 28. 15,500 lightbulbs are changed every year at the Opera House. 29. The 40th anniversary is being celebrated with a month-long calendar of events throughout October, including a large concert on 27th October with performances by the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, Opera Australia and Sydney Philharmonia Choirs. The Sydeny Opera House was a focal point during the Summer 2000 Olympics 30. You won’t go hungry or thirsty at the Sydney Opera House: it has three restaurants, a café, an espresso bar, and opera and theatre bars. 31. The building was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2007, and the organisation describes it as “great urban sculpture set in a remarkable waterscape, at the tip of a peninsula projecting into Sydney Harbour.” 32. Arnold Schwarzenegger won his final Mr Olympia body building title in the Concert Hall in 1980. 33. During the Eighties, a net was put in place above the orchestra pit in the Opera Theatre, after a live chicken walked off the stage during a performance of Boris Godunov and landed on a cellist. 34. The Sydney Opera House was the setting for Jon Cleary’s crime novel Helga’s Web, in which a body is found in the building’s basement. The book was made into a film starring, Scobie Malone, in 1975. 35. The building is open to the public 363 days a year, closing only on Christmas Day and Good Friday. But staff work 24/7, 365 days of the year. 36. The first person to perform at the Sydney Opera House was Paul Robeson – in 1960, he sang Ol’ Man River to the construction workers as they ate lunch. 37. The first opera performed at the house was Sergei Prokofiev’s War and Peace, on September 28 1973. 38. The House was originally a popular film-screening venue, with a particular surfing movie theme. 39. The venue served as the focus for triathlon events during the 2000 Summer Olympics. 40. Since opening the Opera House, the Queen has visited four times

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The fabulous interior of the opera house

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The Harbour Bridge http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Harbour_Bridge

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In tourist mode on Circular Quay near the Rocks.

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Scale model of Sydney, City Library users, tourists and Circular Quay passers-by are mesmerised by the 4.2 metre by 9.5 metre model of the CBD under a glass floor. It is the centrepiece of the relocated library, which is in the revamped Customs House.

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The model, whose value is put at $1 million, was built in 1998 as a tourism and information tool before the Olympics but lived in relative obscurity on the fourth floor of Customs House. It went into storage in 2003 and stayed there for 18 months while the building received its makeover. Steve Mosley, whose company, Modelcraft, was commissioned by the City of Sydney to build the piece, which weighs one tonne, said it took three months and 15 people to build, but aside from the scale it was nothing extraordinary.

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Australia Remembers Gallipoli, here an opportunity to plant a poppy. http://www.newsweek.com/photos-remembering-gallipoli-100th-anniversary-invasion-325099

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Circular Quay

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On our last outing into the Sydney Bush.

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Taking a breather, only about 2 miles from Steve and Julie’s home.

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Yes it was raining again, but we had a nice lunch at the Armchair Collective

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The ANZAC memorial Sydney

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Botanic Garden Sydney. (The Shadow is deliberate!)

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The Botanic Garden, Bridge and Opera House in one shot.

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Tambourine Bay, Maureen and Steve

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Chrissie enjoying Albert Chapman Collection at The Australian Museum. http://australianmuseum.net.au/event/the-albert-chapman-mineral-collection

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It’s nice to go travelling we’ve had a great time but it’s lovely to be back in Blighty.

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