4 Hours In …

Aus­tralia’s big­gest city of­fers a glimpse into its his­tor­i­cal past with tran­quil gar­dens and Abo­rig­i­nal art

Business Traveler (USA) - - INSIDE - By Chris Pritchard



A good crime yarn is hard to beat, par­tic­u­larly if true. The ram­bunc­tious tav­ern-ofthe-seas his­tory of Aus­tralia’s most pop­u­lous city (with more than four mil­lion of the coun­try’s 22 mil­lion people) is graph­i­cally il­lus­trated in one of Syd­ney’s lower-pro­file, though easy-to-find mu­se­ums. The Jus­tice and Po­lice Mu­seum at 8 Phillip Street chron­i­cles some of Syd­ney’s most spec­tac­u­lar crimes, events plucked from a sin­is­ter un­der­belly but now largely for­got­ten. Some of this law-break­ing oc­curred in the Bri­tish colo­nial era, while the rest of it hap­pened more re­cently.

The for­mer court­house and jail is a his­toric sand­stone pile that oc­cu­pies a lo­ca­tion de­lib­er­ately cho­sen to make the crim­i­nally minded aware that the forces of law and or­der were watch­ing. Ex­hibits chron­i­cle past crimes that hit head­lines, as well as a cor­ri­dor of cells and imag­i­na­tive hand­made weaponry de­vised by no­to­ri­ous law­break­ers. It’s only open Satur­days and Sun­days 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM but if you’re in town on the weekend, it’s worth the visit. Ad­mis­sion is $10. Visit syd­ney liv­ing mu­se­ums.com.au.


Head back to Cir­cu­lar Quay and buy a ticket for a 12-minute ferry ride to Taronga Zoo ($5.00). Be­cause of the limited time, tak­ing one of the har­bor’s full-length cruises (of­fered by sev­eral com­pa­nies) is likely not on the itin­er­ary, but this is a largely ig­nored next-best-thing. The zoo is worth a visit if you have the time and you’re re­ally in­ter­ested, (it’s one of the south­ern hemi­sphere’s best). Other­wise, use the ferry ride as a mini-cruise. Af­ter ar­riv­ing, just take the next boat – they run ev­ery 30 min­utes – back to the city. Taronga Zoo (taronga.org.au), in­ci­den­tally, is much used by pro­fes­sional pho­tog­ra­phers to take pic­tures of Syd­ney’s steel-and-glass sky­line, of which it of­fers splen­did vis­tas.

Visit trans­portnsw.info.


Lo­cated to the left of Cir­cu­lar Quay, along­side the Over­seas Pas­sen­ger Ter­mi­nal and op­po­site the Opera House, is the orig­i­nal part of Syd­ney, the his­toric Rocks precinct. The Rocks’ build­ings – a num­ber of which have been re­born as bou­tiques, gal­leries and restaurants (both up­scale and cheap and cheer­ful) – are mainly sand­stone, a pop­u­lar ma­te­rial for con­struc­tion in the 18th and 19th cen­turies when they were built. Many of them were hand-hewn by con­victs de­ported to Aus­tralia af­ter be­ing found guilty of

petty crimes in Bri­tain. A prime tourist zone, it has some of Syd­ney’s old­est pubs, in­clud­ing For­tune of War at 137 Ge­orge Street, which dates back to 1828 and claims to be the old­est in the district. Pause for a schooner of beer be­fore mov­ing on to your next stop.

Visit the­rocks.com


Along­side Syd­ney Opera House, a few min­utes’ walk from Cir­cu­lar Quay, is the 75-acre Royal Botanic Gar­dens on Mrs Mac­quar­ies Road – it’s a tran­quil world away from the bus­tle. Take the har­bor-edge walk­way, which makes for a pleas­ant am­ble. The gar­dens are awash with unique Aus­tralian flora as well as for­eign plants and flow­ers. Among more than 10,000 ex­am­ples of lo­cal and for­eign species are trees planted nearly 200 years ago. The Royal Botanic Gar­dens ad­join the Do­main, an­other of Syd­ney’s green “lungs,” a vast lawn-like ex­panse crossed by paths head­ing to down­town’s high-rise rim. Ad­mis­sion is free and open­ing hours change sea­son­ally.

Visit rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au.


Along Art Gallery Road, which cuts across the Do­main, is the free Art Gallery of New South Wales. A sand­stone struc­ture built in 1896, its neo­clas­si­cal façade and old wing are pre­cur­sors to later ad­di­tions. Re­garded as one of Aus­tralia’s best, col­lec­tions in­clude Euro­pean old masters, mod­ern Aus­tralian works, Abo­rig­i­nal art, and ex­am­ples from South Pa­cific coun­tries such as Pa­pua New Guinea. Open daily 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM, Wed­nes­days un­til 10:00 PM.Visit art­gallery.nsw.gov.au.

Visit art­gallery.nsw.gov.au.


Walk to the Do­main’s down­town edge and across to Mac­quarie Street, Syd­ney’s an­swer to Lon­don’s Har­ley Street (many prom­i­nent doc­tors have of­fices here). Sev­eral im­pos­ing build­ings are in situ, in­clud­ing New South Wales’ state par­lia­ment. Nav­i­gat­ing the busi­ness district’s grid sys­tem, aim for Ge­orge Street – the city’s main drag, par­al­lel to Mac­quarie – and Mar­ket Street, where one of Syd­ney’s grand­est build­ings oc­cu­pies an en­tire block. The Queen Vic­to­ria Build­ing – with a statue of an un­a­mused-look­ing monarch stand­ing out­side – was built in 1898 to be a con­cert hall and trad­ing area. Syd­ney was in the grip of re­ces­sion and con­struc­tion of this or­nate Ro­manesque ed­i­fice was in­tended to pro­vide work for crafts­men. The Queen Vic­to­ria has since served as govern­ment and pri­vate-sec­tor of­fices, and is now a shop­ping ar­cade. A re­fur­bish­ment that was com­pleted in 2009 cost $45 mil­lion and has made it a ma­jor tourist at­trac­tion. Visit qvb.com.au. BT








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