This is my year of living, well… joyfully! And what better way to do that than to get out and about in this gorgeous habour side city and explore it. I found this quote (and fabulous picture) on Pinterest recently and it got me thinking about more than just going somewhere new each year, what about each month!
The picture implies packing your suitcase and ‘getting away’ and while I’ll certainly stick my hand up for a boarding pass to (almost) anywhere I realise that there is still so many wonderful places, sites and pop-ups to visit right here in Sydney. So, each month I shall go somewhere within this beautiful city that I have never been to before – maybe I’ll even go to two places, there are no rules!!!
So far there have been two firsts, I know, I’m all over this ‘exploring’ thing. One rainy Sunday after a rather large cooked breakfast Dave (husband and aka Mr Serendipity) and I were scratching our heads about what to do for the remainder of the day. My winning suggestion of a casual wander around the inner city suburb of Darlinghurst was a winner. It was perfect, we wandered, peered through fences, admired gorgeous buildings and manicured gardens and found ourselves on a guided tour of Elizabeth Bay House. If you like the old world charm of Sydney then pay a visit to Elizabeth Bay House and ask for a guided tour – the guides are excellent!
The second adventure was a solo visit to Paddington Reservoir. I couldn’t believe I had never been there before and I suggest, if you are in the area you make some time to visit too.
Paddington Reservoir is located on Oxford St Paddington (NSW). It was built in two stages, the western chamber was completed in 1866 and the eastern chamber in 1877. It was used as a holding reservoir for water from Botany Swamps and the Nepean between 1859 and 1889. Yep 1889! That’s it, life as it was intended for the reservoir was cut short due to its inadequate elevation.
During the 1930’s Paddington would have been a pretty tough place to live.There was overcrowding and I imagine it would have been pretty unsanitary in places. At the time there was concern about residents health, especially the health of the children. The council, possibly under the influence of the Parks and Gardens movement provided access to the roof of the reservoir and in so doing, provided a space for the community to come together in the outdoors. This cemented its ‘forever use’ as an outdoor space.
In 1990 part of the roof collapsed rendering the entire site unsafe and forced its closure. However, it was soon to be conserved, redeveloped and reinvented and in 2009 was officially opened as the gardens it is today. The front of the garden is very unassuming and if you didn’t know it was there you might walk right by. The garden is muli-layered and around every corner and at the end of every flight of stairs or ramp there is something to see. The iron work is exceptional and the preservation of the grey ironbark pillars and concrete wall and arches reminds us of the people that built this city in which so many live and love – even if it was at the wrong elevation, oops!
I delighted in seeing so many people using the space. If you haven’t been I suggest you pack yourself some snacks, a book, maybe your favorite picnic blanket too, although if you’re lucky you might nab yourself one of the folding canvas chairs they have available to use – cute, yes?
I hope that you have the chance to visit Paddington Reservoir Garden some day too!
Until next time