As the title suggests, this post will be a very miscellaneous set of pictures that I still wanted to share, but aren’t enough material to fill a post on their own! Continuing where I left off two posts ago, here are some photos from our days in Sydney, at the end of our Australia trip last year.
The Australian National Maritime Museum in Darling Harbour has a fascinating set of vessels you can board, often under guidance of enthusiastic volunteers.
The HMAS Vampire is a gun ship built between 1948-1958 and was commissioned into the Royal Australian Navy in 1959. It was used in exercises during the Indonesian Confrontation with Malaysia in 1965 and for troop escort runs to Vietnam in 1965-67 and 1969.
The museum also owns an Oberon-class submarine, the HMAS Onslow, which was commissioned into the Navy in 1968. Its purpose was to collect information without being detected during the Cold War. It was involved in operations tracking Soviet vessels all over the world.
But my absolute favourite of the three vessels at the museum, has to be the HM Bark Endeavour Replica, a replica of James Cook‘s famous ship the HMS Endeavour, which he used on his first journey to Australia in 1769-1771. This replica was finished in 1994 and actually works: it has sailed over 20,573 nautical miles (~ 38,000km) since 2005.
Even though James Cook is often considered the discoverer of Australia, landing in 1770, Dutch explorers actually came across it more than a century before him! Willem Janszoon and his small Dutch jacht Duyfken sailed along the northern Australian coast as early as 1606. In fact, Australia was named New Holland until the term ‘Australia’ was coined in the early 19th century.
And now for some more animals, as promised in my last post! Below are a few pictures I’ve taken at random spots in the city as well as at Taronga Zoo.
That’s all of the Australia pictures I wanted to share with you! Onto a completely different topic: this summer, I visited Brighton for the first time.
My main reason for visiting was to see The Royal Pavilion, King George IV‘s totally bizarre pleasure palace built 200 years ago. Unfortunately, photography wasn’t allowed inside, so I don’t have much to show you. The palace was designed by John Nash, the architect famed for many iconic designs from the Regency Era (named after George IV’s reign as Prince Regent), such as Regent Street in London. It is the only Royal British Palace that isn’t owned by the state or the crown, as the town bought the palace in 1850.
I think this palace can be seen as a major example of cultural appropriation in history. In decorating the exterior and interior of the building, no consideration was given to any sort of consistency: the exterior uses both Indian and Arabic symbolism and patterns, while the interior is mostly inspired by Chinese designs. George IV never even visited India or China and must have had a very limited understanding of their respective cultures. Sadly, sometimes I find not much has changed today, and people still use symbolism or traditions from other cultures without understanding them to appear ‘exotic’ or fashionable.
Last July I went on a short trip to Bournemouth. I had a wonderful time there: the weather was marvellous and there is much to see and do in the area.
One of the most impressive places I visited was Corfe Castle, the romantic ruins of a stronghold destroyed by Parliamentarians after a 6-week siege in 1646. This castle is 1000 years old: building began under William the Conqueror in the 11th century for his son Henry I. It’s height was 21 metres and it was one of the first stone Keeps to be built. There is much evidence suggesting people already lived here much earlier than when the castle was built. For example, remains of Roman pottery have been found here. It is thought to be the place where King Edward the Martyr was murdered by his stepmother in 978, who wanted her own son to be king! Corfe Castle was owned by English monarchs for 500 years until it was sold by Elizabeth I to one of her favorite courtiers and dance teacher Sir Christopher Hatton. The village next to the castle was formed as a result of the many workers and resources needed to build the castle over 8 to 9 years: essentially it is a construction camp that developed into a small town.
I also visited the New Forest, a National Park famous for its ponies which supposedly are descendants of the horses of the Armada. There are a bunch of really nice hop-on hop-off open-top buses to get around the park. They enabled me to see as much of it as possible while still enjoying the magnificent weather!
Confusingly, the New Forest is actually very old! In the Middle Ages, the term ‘forest’ was used to describe hunting grounds. William the Conqueror had declared the New Forest a royal hunting ground in the 11th century. Today still much of the territory belongs to the Queen, but some of the people living here – called ‘commoners’ – have acquired the rights to use its resources. They also own the ponies and cattle in the park.
Finally, the most phenomenal sights I’ve seen during this trip were undoubtedly those at the Jurassic Coast, part of the south coast of England and a World Heritage Site. I was most eager to see the famous Durdle Door, an impressive limestone arch formed through millions of years of erosion. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t as great as it had been on the other days: it was so foggy I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to see Durdle Door at all!