Having generalized thus far, let us now look more closely at the cities and scenes in this world. We shall begin our sight-seeing in Sydney, on George street, the principal thoroughfare for business and There are some imposing edifices along its course.
First we notice the general post-office building, with its lofty clock tower. It is a very substantial and beautiful structure of stone, surrounded by a colonnade of polished granite pillars. In this colonnade are located the stamp and delivery windows, and a11 business is transacted from outside the building, as is the case with all post-offices in this country. Farther along we pass the Victoria Market, which we enter on a tour of investigation.
The stately building shown on the opposite page is owned by the government, and is comparatively new. It stands on the grounds of the old city market, whence its name. It is largely occupied by offices and small shops, dealing in all sorts of wares. The shops open upon the street and also into the arcade which runs through the building. The structure is of brown stone most substantially put together, and is pointed out with pardonable pride.
Still farther along, upon a commanding height of ground, stand, side by side, the Anglican cathedral and the town-hall. The latter building is an attractive one, both inside and out, though its architecture is perhaps a little too ornate. Its principal feature is the grand organ it contains, which is claimed to be the largest in the world. Passing still farther on, we descend a gentle slope to what is called the Hay Market, but which is now the general market. These buildings occupy two small squares, and are owned by the government. They are allotted to farmers and dealers in small spaces or squares for so much a day or month. Here we will find at different seasons of the year a full array of the products of this and the surrounding countries. Fruits, flowers, vegetables, produce of all kinds, are presented for sale. There are fruits from Tasmania, Queensland, the Islands, and from the more immediate vicinity.
Near the markets the new railway station, costing over one million of dollars, stands on a broad expanse of ground that was cleared for it a few years since. From here trains run to Melbourne, 615 miles, to Brisbane, 725 miles, to the far northwest, to the south coast, and to all the surrounding country. On Saturday nights George street presents a striking scene. It is then crowded with pedestrians and sight-seers who practically take possession of the street. No one seems bent on business except to see what other people are looking at.
But in the more natural features of Sydney and its surroundings, we find its principal attractions. The glory of the city is its harbor, which the Sydneyites are not backward in calling the finest in the world. It terminates in the Paramatta River. The old town of that name lies fifteen miles up the stream, but pleasure-steamers can only approach to within about three miles of it. This trip is one of the most delightful in the colonies. The shores of the harbor are very irregular, and generally bold and rocky. They afford many magnificent building sites, which are occupied by fine buildings, public and private. As we near Paramatta. the country becomes flatter, and extensive fruit farms are seen. It would be difficult to find a more lovely landscape than presents itself in this region of fruit and flowers. The orange and lemon groves are particularly luxuriant and prolific.
If one does not care to go outside the city, he may still see nature in its loveliest forms, adorned and assisted by art. The Botanical Gardens equal in beauty any others in the world. Their situation upon the grassy slopes of the harbor, which is here indented by a bold cape, and there invades the gardens with a deep bay, adds very much to the landscape. Then the sculptor’s art has been liberally employed to embellish the walks and nooks of the place with statuary. Under the influence of the genial climate and skillful care, trees, flowers, and plants of every clime thrive with vigor. The nicely kept walks and living green of the lawn, with bright and many-hued flowers and birds of still brighter plumage, combine to form a scene never to be forgotten. One thing that adds to the comfort and attractiveness of the place is the absence of warnings to keep off the grass. The parks in Australia are made and kept for the public, who have full liberty to use them within the bounds of propriety. Public notices calling upon people to assist in caring for their own property supply the place of all those impertinent notice-boards which stare the visitor in the face in so many of our parks, telling him that “this means you,” though he may be walking in the middle of the road, with his hands behind him. Bevies of children roll and romp on the grass, helping to fill up an already beautiful picture with the idea of comfort and healthful exercise.
Adjoining the garden is a large open park, or common, called the Domain. Here assemble, on Sunday afternoon and evening, multitudes of people. They walk about or listen to various speakers who, stationed at short intervals over the green, are discoursing upon their favorite themes. Here the gospel is preached, there a temperance lecture is given, yonder a politician harangues, or a socialist rants against government and restraint. Upon one edge of the Domain stands the city Art Gallery. The building, recently finished, presents a fine exterior, and upon entering, the visitor is gratified to find himself in a gallery of large extent and superior merit.
Hyde Park is a grassy and shady enclosure of perhaps thirty acres directly in the heart of the city. It furnishes a convenient breathing place for many thousands, and the lawn is usually strewn with men to whom the world ” owes a living, ” A trip around the lower harbor in one of the many pleasure-boats that run for that purpose is a delightful way to spend half a day. The beautiful village of Manly is situated near the entrance of the harbor on a- narrow neck of land which divides the bay from the ocean, and it enjoys the distinction of having two fine beaches – one in smooth, protected waters, and the other open to the broad Pacific, where the magnificent breakers roll in continually. A visit to the South Heads, where we are permitted to inspect the defensive fortifications and the celebrated light-house, forms a memorable part of the trip. Against the foot of the cliffs, which are nearly two hundred feet in perpendicular height, the waves are continually dashing themselves to spray. It was here that, in 1857, the steamer “Dunbar,” mistaking the opening into the harbor, was utterly wrecked, and went to the bottom with her two hundred passengers and crew, of whom but one was spared to tell the tale.
The trip around the harbor reveals many nooks of quiet beauty, some of which lie nestled close by armaments of war. The view of the Botanical Gardens from the water is enchant ing, and that of the neighboring suburb is almost equally so, until we are told that its name is Woolloomooloo. Shark’s Point and Shark’s Island are names that cause a shudder, in spite of their beauty.
Having taken this trip, we next want to visit Sydney’s Zoological Park, which, however, is not equal to some others, we also take a tram to Coogee Bay, and perhaps to some other neighboring seaside resorts, and then our sight-seeing in Sydney is nearly done.