Sydney, 21 May 1893

After a quite cool night spent in the wagon, we returned to Sydney after 7 o’clock on Whit Sunday. The otherwise beautiful and vibrant city, however, looked quite dead as due to the strict Sunday laws all shops were closed and nobody was in the streets, some sleepy street cleaners excepted.

On board I answered the mail and said good-bye to Schleinitz who would return to Vienna with Leopold.

Catholic St. Mary’s Cathedral where I wanted to attend High Mass was packed with devouts. Built in the Gothic style and complete except for the roof and the towers, the Lord’s house whose artistically designed glass windows are remarkable is in the mean time covered with a provisional wooden roof. Mass was celebrated by the auxiliary bishop with many assistants as the most prominent church dignitary of Australia, Cardinal and Archbishop Patrick Francis Morran was currently in Rome. The celebration took quite some time: namely from 11 o’clock sharp in the morning to half past 1 o’clock in the afternoon. I had not yet attended such a long sermon and certainly not one in a language I did not understand like today’s in English.

After the conclusion of the service, a great crowd assembled in front of the church. The throng around me was so thick that I hardly managed to reach the wagon. A number of persons, among them many Irish, touched my clothes as this was said to bring luck. Very pleased about this innate power that I had not divined before, I had to remain in place in the wagon while the crowd shouted one „Hurrah“ after the other, as the horse of the cab was totally perplex due to the great shouting and would not move until it was led by the reins. At that moment a wooden dais with a considerable number of humans on it collapsed with a big noise beside my wagon. Fortunately nobody was hurt. Only a particularly cheeky boy was thrown head first into an empty barrel standing nearby which created a moment of hilarity. The scene would have been worthy of Wilhelm Busch’s pen!

Hardly back on board, I received a visit of all the ministers of the colony of New South Wales during which consul general Pelldram acted as interpreter. With good conscience I could tell the gentlemen about my enchantment with the beautiful country and the lovely city which seemed to be received with great satisfaction. At least the mood during the reception was very animated, especially when the consul general made a mistake and continued to answer in English instead of in German the laughter seemed to go on forever. The prime minister Sir G. R. Dibbs, a stately tall man and father of six blooming daughters made a very sympathetic impression on me not only by his imposing physique but also by his character. The gentlemen had arrived in a small steam yacht and invited me to a drive to the most beautiful spots of the harbor — an offer I could hardly refuse, all the more so as the little I had already seen I have found to be extraordinarily pleasant.

If one drives alongside the individual bays, to a certain extent to get closer to the intimate details of the scenery, one’s wondering eyes see the development of panoramas that are so enchantingly lovely. Everywhere a colorful mix and variety of water and land, ships, gardens and lovely villas. Azure blue waves crash into the mainland’s shore and the islands. The shore and the islands are covered with rich vegetation and surrounded with glittering rocks. Deep bays intrude into the land while extended land tongues jut out into the dark sea plowed by numerous ships and boats. Above all this stands the serene clear sky and the clean fresh air.

The yacht set course first around Dawes Point past the Darling harbor that cuts deeply into the Southern coast where the large merchant ships are moored. Following the turns of the bays North-West of Darling Harbour to Waterview Bay and the bay to the North of Morts Dock we reached Cockatoo island where we visited the large dry dock that had recently been built at the expense of many millions and offered easily enough space for two ships of the size of our „Elisabeth“. This island presented a lovely view of the extended city, the green hills with their countless villas that peeked out between large trees. In various places in the bays lay decommissioned war and merchant ships that are contemplatively awaiting their end of the days and provisionally serve as depots and magazines. From Cockatoo Island we drove into the Parramatta River, the Western branch of Port Jackson.

At the end of this bay that extends 29 km into the land into which the unimportant small Parramatta river flows lies the city of the same name at a blooming shore. The two villages Hunters Hill and Gladesville are famous for the beauty of their landscape as well as their splendid orangeries and fruit gardens situated in the bay. Exiting the Parramatta River we turned north and reached Woodford Bay, passing by the land tongue of Greenwich. Woodford Bay forms as far as the scenery is concerned the most beautiful part of the surroundings of Sydney and made me believe to be at the shore of our own country’s lakes.  With sparkling champaign a number of toasts were given that for us always ended in praise for the charms of Sydney. The extension of the beautiful excursion was constrained by the announced visit of the auxiliary bishop who was to come on board for an audience with me at 5 o’clock.

The heads of all administrative departments had been invited to an evening gala dinner hosted by the lieutenant governor in Government House. I need to mention one act of gracious hospitality by the lieutenant governor who announced the toast to His Majesty the Emperor in German despite being only partially conversational in German — for the first time in a long row of dinners I attended up to now in British colonies.


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