Australia

Australia’s Tortuga

Today we set out to learn more about Sydney, Australia and the Australians. The best I thing I found out is that Sydney used to be a rum colony!

After the first fleet (aka the first British settlers, mostly convicts) had arrived in Australia,  things started to get a bit wild out there. So, having survived the mutiny of the Bounty, William Bligh had been appointed Governor. Unfortunately for him not everybody agreed with his governing style and so the good man was disposed off – again. Why, you may aks, was this called the rum rebellion? First of all, because it was arranged by a corps of soldiers that was also known as the Rum Corps, because they were a major player in the rum trade in the colony. And not just any kind of rum trade – apparently people in these days people liked there rum so much that it served as currency..!

A good read to start the day! Our first physical stop was of a more cultural nature:  the New South Wales Art gallery. Boy, that was nice! And not just because there are no admission fees, or because they have two beautiful Picassos hanging there (and Waterhouse and Van Gogh and Alma-Tadema..).

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They also have a really cool section with Aboriginal art. A lot of this art actually depicts memories from the painter(‘s former lives) and is made on tree bark.

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Also quite interesting was the modern Australian art. I had never heard of any of the painters (for example Charles Blackman or Arthur Boyd) but their works did catch my attention.

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Next stop was the State Library of New South Wales. This one also has no admission fees and holds a number of exhibitions. Amongst one of these I came across the diary of our friend mr. Bligh that he wrote in the aftermath of the mutiny on the Bounty. Apparently he and his few loyal crew mates were put in a boat and actually all survived the seemingly impossible 3,618-nautical-mile (6,701 km) from Tahiti to Timor.

After the library we had a small lunch at Circular Quay and visited the Sydney museum. I had good hopes to find out more about how the Australian society evolved from convicts to rum colonists to what they are today. Unfortunately the museum is small and not very informative. It holds only very little information and mostly is about city development, and of that a large chuck is about modern times (construction of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and housing for the ever growing number of citizens). So unfortunately no more tales of rum. Luckily we met up with Till again that evening and he and I took it upon ourselves to continue that typical Sydney tradition of rum-drinking.

 

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