Shoalhaven Bushwalkers in the City
It was going to be a hand full, taking 22 members of our club to the big smoke. Luck was on my side, the weather was good, very good in fact, the train was on time, and nobody was late for the 8.10am train for our day in the city. Nice trip to Central, but my first hint of trouble started on the platform when I tried to ask Russ Evans to do the circle for the name calling ceremony. (What in the city, we'll look like country hicks!) Off we went to Circular Quay nameless.
Wow, all these tall buildings, all these beautiful people hassling about the place at high speed, but not my group - off to the toilet they all went. I stood there on the curb, groupless.
Not being daunted I proceeded (after counting all the toilet goers) to get everybody to admire our first highlight which was Customs House at the Quay. Fine sandstone carvings were pointed out and every one said Ah! Off to the next stop, but turning around I realised the end wasn't near, nor to be seen. How can people get lost in one block without corners being turned?
Getting to the Museum of Sydney, the head guide, Mark started his spiel about the museum. Either his voice was not loud enough or our group need to have their ears checked, hearing aids turned on, or both. Not to worry. He whisked us to an elevator, which held the whole group, and up we went. Mark the guide had summed up the group (the wrong way of course) and figured by our looks and dress that 3 floors were too much for this lot. After a good introduction he let the Cedar lovers from down south do their own thing looking at all there was to offer.
Time flew and before long it was time to meet for lunch. Hundreds of wonderful eating places, but not for us - true tradition had us in the Macquarie Park, with the Anchor of the Sirius, sitting on the grass munching on our vegemite sandwiches, taking note of the obelisk where all the mileages started from in Sydney.
So many ex-Sydney dwellers looking at where they came from. Alan Roper started here in the Bank of NSW. Russ Evans started here too, by sitting his surveyor's exams at the Lands Dept building. After lunch we started also, to circle the Lands Dept building, checking out all the explorers that are dutifully standing in the niches which grace this fine building. We noted too that there were empty niches, possible spots for Shoalhaven Bushwalkers perhaps?
Deeper into the city we went. Stopping at each traffic light I would check the numbers, but couldn't figure how at each light from a standing position I could lose half the group to the following red light.
Up Castlereagh St to see a Harry Seidler building with the sky viewable from inside and palm trees at every 10 floors. Down Hunter St to see where the Tank Stream ran. Checked out the Australia Square Building, heard stories from our Harry (Croft) about working on the building back in 1966.
Then the finale, the GPO in Martin Place. Loads of stories here about the building, its stone carvings and artwork, went inside and down under to see the remains of the Tank stream. The opulence of the restoration work and staircase, thanks to Sussan Blackwell we didn't miss a thing. Leaving there however, we did miss something - three people from our group, more than the allowable 10%. Worry, worry! We took off and tried to lose them, but failed - they proved to be getting city-wise and caught us up before the Town Hall.
I was at this stage wet with perspiration and worried I would lose more to the shops along George St. There were so many tempting places, but everyone behaved and we got back to Central with time for a coffee and toilets of course before our train back home. More than a few had naps and thought how lucky we are to walk each week in our area free of all the excitement of the city.
A day away makes us appreciate what we really have and sometimes take for granted.