Schlagwort-Archiv: Sydney

Sydney, 17 May 1893

The most rewarding excursion out of Sydney because it is leads to the most beautiful part of New South Wales is the one to the Blue Mountains — a place that is in fact incomparable in its delightful scenery.

The Blue Mountains run nearly parallel to the coast at a distance of 40 km to 200 km delimited in the North by cross running Liverpool mountain ridge, that is it runs from West to East, and in the South by the mountainous area next to the Australian Alps whose highest elevation is Mount Beemarong (1230 m). This mountainous area rises sharply out of the plain to create an extended high plateau on which are set individual mountain ridges. Covered with woods and otherwise infertile but rich in mineral wealth the Blue Mountains split the undulating grass rich grazing grounds of the interior from the fertile luxurious alluvium strip on the East coast.

At the rather distant Redfern Station of the Western Line that from Sydney crosses the Blue Mountains in a Western direction, the minister of public education, Mr. F. B. Suttor, the guide and organizer of the journey as well as the German consul general Pelldram were awaiting us.

The day’s weather was wonderful, the atmosphere clear and clean. Even though the special train was driving at English speed it still took quite some time to get out of Sydney and its far extending suburbs and smaller settlements so that a visitor can well appreciate the extensive space and the growth of this young city during the last few decades. Everywhere there was cleanliness and prettiness. The houses in the suburbs are usually ground floor only, small and covered in corrugated iron. When the train finally had passed out of this labyrinth of houses, large orange gardens and also eucalyptus groves reach close to the railway line which then ascends the mountain ridge that is covered with pine wood. We find here Californian pines (Pinus insignis), Pinus Strobus (Weymouth pine) and now and then mighty rubber trees.

In these woods too there were numerous settlements as these outlying areas of the Blue Mountains serve as summer retreats for the Sydneysiders. All the richer inhabitants of the city own a country retreat here so that all the pretty points of view, all idyllic  spots in the valleys and gorges are covered with villas that are built in the spirit of cosiness and joyfulness. In all the gardens of the villas  a vast variety of Chrysanthemums and late blooming roses are flowering.

Having passed through a long tunnel the railway line ascends more steeply and the scenery starts to look like a mountain landscape. Valleys alternate with wooded mountain ridges and from time to time grotesque rock formations appear. Due to the clean atmosphere the more distant hills and mountain ridges appear in an intensive blue color which explains the name of „Blue Mountains“; this faint blue mist lies over the valleys — a strange spectacle of nature that I observed here for the first time.

Towards 1 o’clock we arrived at Wentworth Falls station, 871 m above sea level,  climbed into the waiting wagon and drove to a beautiful sightseeing spot as our guide modestly called it.  The drive might have taken half an hour through the eucalyptus forest, when suddenly after a turn of the road a mountain panorama opened up in front of us that could not be compared to anything else in its originality and impact.

Surrounded by steep, craggy heights, a wide deep valley bottom extends at our feet, covered in might mighty trees and ferns, bathed in an aromatic blue. A clear mountain stream descends as an impressive waterfall down into a depth of 300 m with great noise and sprays over three rocky ledges only to collect itself there in a basin to form a lake and gushingly continue its path down the valley. Fine water mist envelops the descending water like a shaking, swinging and floating cloud and turns into a colorful rainbow in the sunlight.

„Über allen Wipfeln ist Ruh'“ (‚Above all the peaks it is quiet‘), and only when a slight wind draws above the tree tops, they nod with quiet whispering their approval to the smashing accords of the waterfall. No twittering birds are audible and only now and then a predator bird is circling in the blue air.

Advancing up to the edge of a small rocky ledge on a stone cliff that descends for multiple hundred meters to the valley below, we enjoy the delightful spectacle to the full. The size of the height difference between our position and the bottom of the valley is best illustrated by the fact that the tall rubber trees that must be up to a hundred meters tall look like small bushes from above. The virgin forest stands so close that not even a spot of the ground is bare and the eye can only sweep across a blanket of tree tops. Everywhere luxurious plants are growing. Epacrideae and ferns glance curiously out of rock crevices at the wonders of nature. Even the most sterile ground is ornamented with all kinds of greens and contributes its share to embellish the view. Heavy dew that had fallen in the morning transformed itself under the force of the sun’s rays into many millions of pearls that now were glittering playfully in all colors on each blade.

Under the overhanging parts of a rocky face of the valley are installed small stair steps. They lead up to various rocky peaks and ledges that offer the most splendid views of always changing new scenes.

Only the constant insistence of our minders who were concerned about the possible delay of our special train made us take leave from these majestically beautiful paintings.

The train then drove past a number of lovely places among them the small village of Katoomba where multiple beautiful valleys meet and is one of the most popular summer retreats of Sydney.

At Blackheath station we stopped again to go to the waterfall of Govett’s Leap 5 km distant past delightfully situated villas. There we had a similar view as we had seen at Wentworth Falls.

Here too we viewed from the edge of a vertically descending rock face into a deeply cut valley that was surrounded by sharply pointed rocky heights and covered far and wide with green tree tops. The giants of this valley seemed to be even smaller than those at Wentworth Falls, as the rock face as if chiseled by man is descending even farther down. In an arc, here too, crashed down a mountain stream while a second smaller water course falls down to the valley in myriads of separate drops like a veil. The last rays of the setting sun offered magic light effects; the tender blue of the atmosphere blended into the rosy breeze of the illuminated mountain peaks. Above the dark-green woods descended in time a violet mist. Even the coolest critic of nature must be enthusiastic about Wentworth Falls and Govett’s Leap. As I believe it is right to boldly state — disregarding my existing preference and predisposition for natural beauty —  that this joy of viewing the Blue Mountains alone is compensation enough for the arduous seaborne journey to Sydney.

Apart from Wentworth Falls and Govett’s Leap there are also a number of other points here that are distinguished by their great beauty. But unfortunately the meagerly allocated time for our stay in New South Wales did not permit to visit all these remarkable places in this mountain area.

Back in the train again we soon reached the highest point of the railway line shortly before Zigzag  station at an altitude of 1025 m above sea level. For the part of the Western Line that crosses the mountain — called Zigzag Railway — the constructor Mr. John Whitton made use of zigzag lines in a similar way as this was the case at the mountain railway leading to Darjeeling. The zigzags start at Lapstone Hill and continue until a place 31 m below the highest point where the line starts to descend towards Bathurst.

While we descended towards the valley, there were quite a few signs that we were moving towards the interior of the country and its large farms. The freight trains mostly consisted of long rows of cattle wagons. Each of these wagons was filled with living sheep and thus loaded train after train moved towards the docks and slaughter houses of Sydney. The dry sheep pastures in the interior have forced the breeders to produce firstly fine wool producing animals and only at a lower priority sheep for meat production. Nevertheless despite the production centered on breeding sheep and on huge quantities of valuable wool in New South Wales the export of sheep for meat production is still considerable. The importance of the ship trade in this colony can be assessed by the fact that in the year 1892 1,583.666 heads of sheep were exported from here and 520.660 heads were imported into New South Wales.

At sunset we arrived at the other side of the foot of Blue Mountains. Before the train fully entered the plain it crosses an extended area rich in coal mines in which coal is found in mighty beds and everywhere one could see mining shafts, a sign of busy mining activities. Around the shafts are numerous quickly built settlements, the houses of the workers and mine owners. Some walls of corrugated iron or wood, the roof sometimes only formed out of the strong wood-like bark of the rubber tree — and a house is complete. In this manner the towns and villages of Australia grow in short time, as if they had been produced out of the ground by magic.

At Bathurst station dinner was served in the train. Towards midnight we reached the destination of our journey in Narromine where it was planned to hunt the next three days under the guidance of the farmer Mr. Mack.

Links

Sydney, 27 May 1893

All Sydney today was talking only about the ball of the „Austrians“. In the streets, photographies of „Elisabeth“ were sold; the newspapers devoted multiple columns to reporting about our party and our cabin was overflowing with flowers which ladies had sent on board. Some ladies were said to have planned to send a delegation on board — led by a particularly beautiful spokeswoman — in order to effect a delay of departure for „Elisabeth“. Unfortunately this flattering request could not be granted due to the strictness of the travel itinerary from which we had already departed by extending the stay in Sydney harbor. I believe that nobody on board the ship would not have heartily welcomed to extend the stay in gorgeous New South Wales and namely in happy Sydney. Everywhere there was hope said as a joke that machine damage would force a prolonged stay which was not possible according to the official program. Various ladies were under suspicion — if the gossip were right — to have tempted our engineer to cause such machine damage.

I used the last day of our stay in Sydney for visits and shopping. I also went again to the museum to look more closely at the in fact interesting collection of ethnographic objects of the native territories of Australia and the South Sea. Apart from numerous weapons made only out of wood and cut stones as in those territories iron is partly unknown I also found as original as horrible dance and war masks. Many of these had been made out of human scalps and in many territories it was common to use parts of the slain enemies to produce various objects such as jewelry, hollow ware, weapons etc.  Martial decorations, products of a very primitive local industry and a whole collection of canoes with carved and painted oars offer a good image of the cultural level of their creators. I also browsed through the bird collection to determine more precisely various species of which I had bagged individual representatives during the hunting expedition in the country.

I managed to buy a large part of the ethnographic objects of a private collector whose objects exclusively were made by the original inhabitants of Australia called „Aborigines“ who are at the lowest cultural level and are in the way of dying out. In 1891 there were in total 8280 „Aborigines“ in New South Wales — 4559 men, 3721 women — who stood under the protection of a special association called „Aborigines Protection Society“, that was tasked to civilize as far as possible the former masters of the land and to atone for many of the atrocities inflicted upon them.

During the dinner we took again in the excellent Australian Hotel a funny scene happened which was typical of the naivety and also confidingness and, I might say, cosiness here and thus merits to be remembered. While I sat at a table with Clam and Sanchez, two well dressed gentlemen approached, introduced themselves as owners of a Sydney company and asked pointing at me whether I were the prince. When this was answered in the affirmative, they requested to shake my hand and when Clam indicated that this was not proper, they requested that I at least take a drink to their health — an impertinence that I however still complied with due their entertaining originality after which the satisfied gentlemen calmly went away.

The evening we spent in a circus that had arrived in Sydney two days before. It offered, filled to the last densely packed seat, performances that one had to appreciate even though one could naturally not expect anything new in this much practiced art. A special mention deserves an Aboriginal boy captured in the interior of the land who had accepted his new fate and showed feats of astonishing skill. The condition and quality of the horses however left much to be desired. During a break the director came to me to invite me to visit the stables where he proudly presented me two horses with special consideration as these animals the director valued so much had been ridden by Sarah Bernhardt. It seemed that the circus master qualified this as a special sign of the horses‘ talents for their current occupation. That actress was doubtless more familiar with tragedies than with horseflesh. Her former chargers were quite nasty and rich in flaws.

In his tent the director presented me — what turned out to be no less comical — one after another all his male and female artists whose colorful but quite used costumes ornamented with all kinds of glitter were a strange enough contrast to the artistic self-esteem expressed in the faces and stature of this masters and mistresses of their trades. Among the ladies the snake girl was especially notable for her pretty face. A fast steeple chase ridden through the whole circus which included a few good jumps concluded the show.

Links

  • Location: Sydney, Australia
  • ANNO – on  27.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Faust“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet “Die goldene Märchenwelt”.

Sydney, 26 May 1893

At 2 o’clock in the morning we steamed out of Moss Vale and towards Sydney. Despite the severe cold and the bad bed I slept splendidly. We had made good use of the day before being on foot without interruption from 6 o’clock in the morning to midnight.

I found everybody on board very busy with decorating our ship most brightly for the ball in the afternoon, the officers and the men competing in the effort. Tents had been set up on deck, electric lighting effects prepared, flowers, plants, flags and carpets lay ready to be used for decorative purposes. As much as the noise caused by these preparations permitted, I tried to sleep a little bit longer, and then drove towards 10 o’clock on land where the kind minister of education was waiting for me to watch a demonstration of a machine shearing a sheep. Even though it was not the season for such a procedure, one of the big wool companies had set up one of their machines to show me the procedure — a sign of the friendly reception we enjoyed everywhere in New South Wales.

The sheep shearing machine was similarly constructed as our horse shearing machines and are powered by steam and work exceedingly fast without harming the animal in the slightest. Something that happens very often during a manual shearing. Furthermore the resulting wool is very smooth and it shears off everything to the last atom. A man is capable to shear 120 to 150 animals per day. The highest performance that a very skillful and worker is capable of achieving is shearing 200 sheep. I tried personally to shear a ram and thus was able to personally witness how simple it was to handle the machine and how splendidly it worked. My example found many imitators among my gentlemen and other spectators so that the elegantly dressed group of gentlemen engaged in shearing sheep provided quite a comical sight. In the large magazines of many floors we passed through are stored many thousands stapled wool bales awaiting to be shipped out, representing an enormous capital value.

From here the minister accompanied me to a large meadow in a public garden where the natives were to demonstrate throwing boomerangs and spears. A black man from Western Australia, a truly hideous sight, demonstrated this art of his people in throwing the boomerangs made out of iron and wood and shaped like a scythe in different manners so that they always returned to him. Soon these projectiles rose straight up into the air, rotating constantly, soon they formed a circle or an ellipse and fell down at the feet of the thrower. Then they flew for an extended distance swooshing a meter above the ground only to suddenly rise high up etc.

Finally the Australian discus thrower threw two boomerangs at the same time in opposite directions, so that their paths crossed before they returned to him. A correctly thrown boomerang kills a human due to its enormous flying speed. The long distance spear throwing was as interesting. Even at a distance of 200 paces the thrower was very accurate in his throws.

An object of great pride for Sydney is its art gallery whose collection has only started a few years ago, and I gladly followed the desire of the city to pay it a visit. As neither effort nor cost have been spared for the acquisition of art works, the gallery already contains a great number of sometimes very remarkable pictures.

The signatures of Franz Ferdinand and his gentlemen Wurmbrand, Pronay, Clam-Martinic in the visitor's book of the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Courtesy of the museum.

The signatures of Franz Ferdinand and his gentlemen Wurmbrand, Pronay, Clam-Martinic in the visitor’s book of the Art Gallery of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. Courtesy of the museum.

I found here many works I already knew from the exhibitions in the Viennese Künstlerhaus. Especially an impressive battle painting by Detaille caught my eye, a cavalry attack of French hussars in the year 1809 [actually 1807] which has recently come into possession of the city.

Edouard Detaille (France 05 Oct 1848 – 23 Dec 1912): Vive L'Empereur - Charge of the 4th Hussars at the battle of Friedland, 14 June 1807, 1891.

Edouard Detaille (France 05 Oct 1848 – 23 Dec 1912): Vive L’Empereur – Charge of the 4th Hussars at the battle of Friedland, 14 June 1807, 1891. Art Gallery of New South Wales

Then a much admired picture of the Queen of Sheba’s visit to Solomon, in which the figurative part is well done, namely the queen whose dress the artist has seemingly interpreted quite freely. Otherwise the picture makes, for my taste, a too colorful, given the richness of the colors an almost screaming impression.

Edward John Poynter (England 20 Mar 1836 – 26 Jul 1919): The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, 1890

Edward John Poynter (England 20 Mar 1836 – 26 Jul 1919): The visit of the Queen of Sheba to King Solomon, 1890, Art Gallery of New South Wales

The most modern aberration, open-air painting is represented by audacious master works, while among the pastels there are only few of them but those of a very good standard. It is worth mentioning especially a study, the head of a young girl. In the comprehensive and quite solid water colors department, landscapes are given prominence.

The visit to the gallery demonstrated to me that in Sydney there is much interest and understanding for art so that the city will soon own a very comprehensive collection of high artistic value if it continues to follow its current path.

Breakfast was eaten in the formidable Australian Hotel whose director, a Saxon, asked us after the lunch to go up to the tower of the hotel to enjoy a truly splendid view of Sydney and its suburbs. From a bird’s perspective Sydney impressed me by its large extended area. The city lay in front of us like in a large scale painting surrounded by a ring of hills, gardens and bays, coming alive by the stream of humans and vehicles. Unfortunately we could not enjoy this view for long as it was time to return on board where the last preparations for the ball had to be made.

After 2 o’clock the ship was in full gala. Everything was ready and we could calmly await the arrival of our guests  as the artists on board had exceeded even our audacious expectations and the ship indeed looked most splendidly. The middle deck had been transformed into a richly decorated ball room by the erection of a tent in which were placed flags, palm trees and other plants. The interior was ornamented with blue-white linen, while the outside ship parts on deck were covered with black and yellow canvas. This produced a very friendly and cheerful impression. For the music band a high stand had been erected above the stairs and the bridge from which both our, the English and the Australian coat of arms were displayed while the companion deck was surrounded by small tables as it was intended as a buffet for the dancers. All kinds of objects had been transformed into elegant seating furniture. Even the large carpet covered containers in which the corals collected on Thursday Island were stored in water had to serve as canapés.

In a lovely way the iron deck had been turned into a saloon. Heavy carpets lay on the floor and a dense wall of palm trees and flowers closed off the room towards the exterior. in each corner were spots that invited tired dancers to rest there while in the middle of the saloon a happy spring fountain splashed water out of a tuff basin. Strange in the midst of this room dedicated to a happy conviviality stood out the large 24 cm gun — an earnest contrast to the cheerful event that was soon to happen here.

In the battery was a buffet for the older gentlemen and the non-dancing members of society. The prepared large buffet in the officer carré however was only to be opened after the cotillion to provide ample refreshment to the hungry and thirsty on small tables. My saloon was serving as a wardrobe. The cabin of the captain as the ladies‘ wardrobe. Here only we had the assistance of a woman, a marchande de modes who was in charge of arranging the dresses and assist the ladies. Everything else, even the binding of the flowers and the most delicate decorative embellishments had been prepared by the rough sailors‘ hands. Our cook Bussatto was in charge of all buffets and displayed all his art — this time in good mood which was not always the case with him — most brightly exploring all his culinary fantasies. A legion of bowls of cold dishes that he had given the most varied perfectly executed were standing on the tables: rigged ships whose full sails were imminent for departure, palaces, basins with fishes, crowns, all kinds of imaginative land and sea monsters stood in a colorful row, so that the buffets almost resembled a toy store. Our Mahmood was at the head of a group of sailors acting as cupbearers and waiters. In his gold laced gala uniform he was an object of interest for all guests and he appreciated the curiosity especially of the ladies with a dismissive grin.

With uncommon punctuality the arrival of the guests started at 3 o’clock partly in our barges and boats that we had sent out to land, partly in their own vehicles. To send out the invitations we had asked an English admiral who knew Sydney’s society more closely than we and only limited the number of invited guests to 300. Soon, however, there were 500 guests on board as many of the invited had taken relatives along.

We however were not displeased as the ship had the capacity to easily host all those who had come on board and had considerably augmented the ring of beautiful dancers. Apart from the most honorable dignitaries of the city almost only ladies and gentlemen eager to dance had come and I have to admit that I had never before seen so many beautiful girls and ladies assembled on a ball. The ladies of Sydney combined the beauty of the motherland’s country with the Southern graceful moves and the perfect elegance in appearance.

While the music band played some numbers, the ship was closely inspected by the guests. Then the dance started to the sound of the „Blue Danube„. For the dance besides our officers and cadets were also invited all the officers and cadets of all the ships of the Sydney squadron and the Spanish corvette which had arrived two days before in Sydney. As the foreign sailors were nearly inseparable from the buffets and the smoking rooms during the whole ball, only our own gentlemen gave the honor of dancing without being able to fully satisfy the dancing desire of the numerous ladies who had arrived from Sydney despite the eager support by the local gentlemen. The dancing was enthusiastic. Even our captain and Wurmbrand joined in. Thanks to the attractive ladies, some of which were able to speak German or French so that I was able to engage in lively conversation with them, it was a pleasure to dance.

We encountered a courtesy among the gentlemen and ladies of Sydney which did not fail to make its effect. The open unaffected character is combined with a natural kindness — qualities which ease the exchange all the more as despite the honoring the ruling social norms a more open concept of conventional forms was practiced than it is common at home. Thus ladies addressed the word to gentlemen who had not been introduced to them beforehand without inhibition — which could happen all too frequently due to the number of arriving people — and greeted both in meeting and leaving everybody with a handshake.

Shortly before our arrival a banking crisis that had been looming for a long time had hit Sydney caused by overtrading and other reasons which deeply shocked the markets in all areas and was not only reported in the European newspapers but was also felt by the London stock exchange by wide fluctuations. All tiers of the population were negatively affected and had had to bear important losses. Even during our stay, the economic calamity was still going on. Even though our guests seemed not to be affected in their good mood and  cheerfulness, so that one could even hear some witty remarks about the crisis but no laments or complaints.

The cotillion arranged by Ramberg — a new choreographic spectacle for Sydney — pleased our guests immensely. The oldest figures of home such as the tunnel, the eight, columns etc, attracted the most vivid applause and with the final rounds with bouquets and the black and yellow bands the excited mood reached its high point.

Accounting for the cool weather at the moment and having no gifts of meteorological divination to know that the evening would be so mild we had announced the ball to take place in the afternoon and set the time of the event from „3 to 7 o’clock“. In Sydney they seem to respect punctuality both in the time the guests arrive as well as when it is time to leave in order not to create a hint of appearing immodest in staying too long.  Towards 7 o’clock began a general movement of departure. Our insistent pleas and words were in vain. The girls and young ladies were on our side; Mothers, fathers and husbands showed no mercy. Only a tiny group of faithful stayed behind with us, enjoying the dance for a long time and only leave „Elisabeth“ at an advanced hour after happy hours spent cosily on the iron deck.

We can rest well on the honestly and eagerly won laurels and be proud about the unanimous praise of the guests that no warship that entered Sydney had given such a party that was as beautiful and as successful as that on board of our „Elisabeth“.

Links

  • Location: Sydney, Australia
  • ANNO – on  26.05.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is playing „Torquato Tasso“. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera “Freund Fritz”.