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I am spending a couple of days in Sydney enjoying myself. Sydney is my home town and, despite my affection for Melbourne, I always get a kick out of this place. Sydney Harbour is spectacular enough to make the city comparable to other great harbour-based cities I have visited (Vancouver, San Francisco, Stockholm). But the presence of Sydney’s great beaches makes it better than these competitors.

I went to my old undergraduate university, Macquarie, today and then had lunch at a spectacular nursery-cum-restaurant, Eden Gardens on Lane Cove Rd. Its a shame that, in providing a whole set of gardening design templates, that Eden Gardens don’t make an effort to incorporate Australian native plants into formal garden designs. This involves some effort but it can be done. Let’s hear it for foliage and texture and end the tyranny of water-hungry European weeds with their insipid lolly pinks.

In the evening I had a great Vietnamese meal in (of all places) Marrickville.

I’ll get back to some serious posts later this week. In the meantime please use this post as a site to express anything you like on any topic. I am reading my blog even if I am taking a well-deserved 2-day break from posting.

13 comments to Sydney

  • Lee

    A nursery specialising in garden design that lacks Australian natives sounds bizarre – I would have left immediately! At the weekend I discovered and bought some Eremophila plants (“Emu” plants), indigenous to WA. The beauty of these is that they are extremely drought-tolerant – you can see and read about them here: I was told that if they droop on a hot day, nevertheless resist watering as they will greedily drink up the water and suffer as a consequence – ideal, I would think, for our parched gardens this summer.

  • conrad

    I worked in Sydney for a few years (MQ, oddly enough), and I actually thought the best bit about it was the national park going so far into the city, rather than the beaches — although I think I am probably an outlier here. Say hello to those ducks (Australian wood ducks?) that sit in trees for me if you back to MQ again.

  • Bring Back EP at LP

    Harry you, I and derrida derider all share graduating in ecoonomics together possibly around the same time.

  • hc

    Lee, The nursary has natives and even has them ion its designs but not in ‘formal’ English-style garden settings. Important since lots of people thinking that this style of garden (and only this style) is a real garden.

    Conrad, Homer and DD, I graduated from Macquarie quite a while back – 1972 – and tutored there for a few years before going to ANU. So no secrets…when were you there. I could even stage a nostalgia post…

  • Anonymous

    Harry, I can see why it is easy to be romantic about Sydney. After all it is visually very beautiful. But do you have any fond memories of the transport system? Or house prices? Today, Sydney has a chronically malfunctioning train system and roads that are badly congested and riven with certifiably insane drivers. (Amongst those most needed to be institutionalised are a large fraction of Sydney taxi drivers, whose belief in their entitlement makes them feel that they have a right to stop at random on a busy road as long as they just turn on the hazards.)

    As beautiful as its beaches are, Sydney is a badly noise-polluted city with a truly rotten transport system, and houses so expensive as to make escape from these things near impossible…

    Any hints on making this city more liveable would be greatly appreciated!

  • hc

    Anonymous, Sydney’s house prices are high because lots of people want to live there – its an affirmation of city quality.

    The train system is better than Melbourne’s and is being upgraded. I don’t know the details of recent trends in environmental quality but suspect they are positive – better air, cleaner water.

    One ‘bad’ is the serious traffic congestion which should be addressed (where possible) by road congestion tolls – being lined by the Harbour easy to do. In suburbs – where congestion can also be serious – harder so need ‘traffic calming’ measures etc.

    It isn’t perfect but, its an exciting modern city with high-quality, extensively-renovated housing and obvious affluence.

  • conrad

    I think I was still learning to speak in 1972 🙂 I worked there from 1998-2002 if I remember correctly. Incidentally — I don’t think the train system is better than Melbournes. It might be bigger, but it is constantly falling apart (including important lines), which is a complete pain.

    Anonymous : I don’t think Sydney does have bad noise pollution (it depends where you live). There are cities like HK, Singapore (basically anywhere in Asia) where there are almost no quiet places, anywere.

  • Bring Back EP at LP

    Harry I finished in 1982 the first of the Bec brigade however I was a mature-age student.

    It seems however you outage me.

  • Anonymous

    I can tell you haven’t lived here for a while!

    Sydney’s house prices are high in part because its too damn expensive to live far from the centre due to its crap transport infrastructure. Also, Sydney is not a better place to *live* than anywhere else, because the net benefits of living in other cities in Australia are arguably equalized, other things unchanged, due to movement of labour between cities. Actually, I’d say Sydney constantly delivers lower net benefits than other cities because it is the first city migrants live in when they arrive — these migrants naturally have less information about quality of life in other places than long term residents.

    The asthetic beauty of our flagship city is negated by the byproducts of excessively condensed population. This is exacerbated by poor infrastructure planning by negligent governments such as Carr’s which have led to noise and traffic pollution and a high cost of living.

    Thats precisely the point!

  • Anonymous-turkey

    I’ve lived in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Darwin. For me it is difficult to rank these cities. My preferences seem to be incomplete.

    In terms of pollution and traffic congestion Darwin was by far the best. I enjoyed the cultural life in Melbourne and the beaches in Sydney. Of course, Brisbane now has the best group of economists in Australia 🙂

  • hc

    Rabee, My preferences are also incomplete but who needs to order them completely. Brisbane economics has been doing well – I read their annual reports and they are a very focused, quality department. Plenty of money too I understand.

  • anonymous-turkey

    I’m perplexed by how you guessed my identity. Was it the user name? I’m offended. I’m now wondering who’s is the anonymous person without feathers?

  • derrida derider

    I too was a mature age student at Macquarie – started in 82.

    Yeah, the rise of the Brissie faculty has been noticeable in Aust economics in the past decade or so – they’re seriously threatening ANU and Melbourne.

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