The ticket to the Sydney Architecture Walks include entry to the Museum of Sydney. It was part of my plan to visit at least one of the museums in Sydney, so I took the inclusive entry to the Museum of Sydney as a clear sign that this was the museum to visit.
However, I figured I could get myself lunch before visiting the Museum of Sydney. Somehow, I ended up near Wynyard Station and treated myself to take-away sushi. I sat down at one of benches along the pedestrain walkways for a simple lunch. Spring was delightfully beautiful under such good weather conditions and a timely lunch.
After the lunch, I strolled steadily towards the Museum of Sydney. The museum sits on one of Australia's most important sites. It was at this very site that Australia’s first Government House was built in 1788 as a home and office for the colony’s Governor, Arthur Phillip. I later learnt that the museum's forecourt preserves the remaining foundations of the first Government House.
Inside the Museum of Sydney, one of my favourite exhibits was that of the model of the First Government House that used to sit at the same site. Although I had other plans to visit other places, I decided that since it was of historical significance to learn about the first Australia's Government House, it was well worth my time to put aside the time to view the exhibit and learn more about the First Government House. As I took the time to appreciate the exhibit, I also learnt about how people started to realise the importance of the site and how they subsequently decided to develop it into the Museum of Sydney which we see today. I thought the videos were pretty well thought out and made. I was pretty happy with my choice of making time to learn about the first Government House in Australia.
At the museum, I came across what I thought was quite a significant exhibit. It was an exhibit that listed the "Ten Sydney Visionaries". While in many sense, the success of a visionary is often dependent on the people who support their vision and campaign their cause, I thought it was nevertheless important to acknowledge the contributions of a visionary. In doing so, we acknowledge the efforts of the many unsung heroes who have made the work of a visionary possible. Here is what I have learnt from the exhibit. The Ten Sydney Visionaries are:
- Arthur Philip
- Lachlan Macquarie
- Henry Parkes
- Florence Taylor and Annie Wyatt
- John Job Crew Bradfield
- Jørn Utzon
- Harry Seidler
- Bob Bellear
- Jack Mundey
Some of the exhibits at the Museum of Sydney reminded me of my learning points from The Rocks Walking Tour that I had attended the day before. For example, there was an exhibit on the bubonic plague that had hit Sydney in 1900. At another part of the museum, there was an exhibition on the First Fleet to Australia. It reinforced my learning that the arrival of the First Fleet was a response to the American War of Independence in 1775.
One particular exhibit intrigued me very much visually. It was a exhibit featuring two contrasting photographs of Sydney that were taken at different eras. One photo was of the Darling Harbour and Parramtta, taken by Freeman Brothers 1864. The other one was taken by Christopher Sharin in 2008. I saw how Sydney has evolved over time, and how two magnificent structures (namely the Harbour Bridge and Sydney Opera House) had spruced up over the course of history. Perhaps I would not be wrong if I say that Sydney in many ways represented the Australian spirit because of its special place in Australia's history.
I wished I had a bit more time to view the exhibits in greater depth. Nevertheless, I was very glad that I had visited the Museum of Sydney. It gave me a good overview of the history of Sydney and the first Australia's Government House.
People and moments that I am grateful for:
1) I am grateful in my decision to visit the Museum of Sydney. It was a good choice because of the historical significance of the site that it is located on.
2) I am thankful to the organisers of the Sydney Architecture Walks and the Museum of Sydney for including the entry to the Museum of Sydney with my ticket to the Sydney Architecture Walk. I thought it was a great idea of generosity and good will.
New things that I did:
1) I visited the Museum of Sydney for the very first time.
2) I saw photographs of Sydney's paranomic harbour view taken decades ago for the first time, thanks to my visit to the Museum of Sydney.
My learning points:
1) I learnt about Australia's first Government House. What more could a history bluff ask for?
2) When touring and visiting a place, sometimes what matters is not how much we have seen, but the meaning and significance of what we have learnt and experienced.
3) At the First Government House, I learnt the value of historical significance to a community. Acknowledging the historical significance of a place may not have visible economic value at first sight, yet it has a transformative power to remind the community of the positive attitudes and values that have served to bring the community to where it is today. This alone inspires the community for further meaningful endeavours.
Museum of Sydney
Corner Phillip and Bridge Streets, Sydney, NSW 2000
Tel: +61 02 9251 5988
Operating hours: Daily 9.30 a.m. — 5 p.m., closed Good Friday and Christmas Day