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The Rocks used to be one of the most notorious neighborhoods of Sydney, full of larrikins (I love that word!) and other disreputable types who would happily separate you from your money, your virtue (should you have any), or your life. Now, however, it is full of shops, who have no interest in your virtue or your life.

T. and I began our exploration at The Rocks Discovery Museum. Neither of us were inspired by its collection, having seen similar or better samples in other museums. On the plus side, it is free.

Historical preservationists did battle to preserve some of the buildings and some of the character of the area. This photo gives an idea of the warren it used to be:



We walked to the Susannah Place Museum, but didn’t go in because I didn’t notice that it didn’t open until 2 p.m. or that we had to see it via guided tour. It is, however, near the Sydney YHA, which is built on a historical site. The builders worked with archaeologists to preserve and explore the underlying historic foundations and to incorporate views of them into the new building. We saw, for example, a well belonging to a local man later used as a dump. In it, the excavators discovered, among other things, an illegal still.

Gannon House is another relatively old Sydney building. At present, it contains a pastry shop and an art gallery. I lust after aboriginal art. Something about the style and vision speaks to me. I went in and drooled and plotted to spend my Christmas present money from my parents on some small piece of the gorgeousness, but I want to look widely before I actually buy. Anyone have any advice?

Cadman’s Cottage is the oldest house in Sydney. With the elegance that I have come to realize is typical of exhibits here, the building is largely left to speak for itself, revealing its history through its layers:





From there, we continued along to the Dawes Point Battery. T. was happy to see cannons and impressed that the battery included 42-pounders. The area was less than normally attractive due to large swathes of construction and bridge painting paraphernalia blocking off the foundations of the upper battery, but the view of the harbor is lovely. Down the slope we went, crossing under the bridge to investigate a little kiosk for Morse signalers.

And then we walked back along the water to the quay to catch the ferry home.

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