Sketching St. Mary’s Cathedral in watercolors was a nice way to start the day. I can’t draw worth a hoot, but that’s why the smudgy, ethereal dreaminess of watercolor pencils is so appealing. Then it was off to the Royal Botanic Gardens for some exploring. The gardens abut the library, so let it be known I want gardens like this in the Keep.
I walked over to the Maritime Museum on Darling Harbor my last afternoon in Sydney. Restaurants ring the harbor and the museum had a fascinating exhibit on the similarities between America and Australia. Yay! It featured news coverage of The Great White Fleet, Roosevelt’s idea to send the US Navy off around the world on a peaceful display of diplomacy and power in 1907. It had no plans to stop in Australia, but the Australian Government was all excited and specifically requested a port call. The Fleet pulled into three Australian ports and was met by 600,000 people in Sydney. The entire city was decorated and parades and celebrations went on for days. Australians were so taken with the American Fleet that it inspired them to create the Australian Navy. The UK had granted the Australian Colonies independence as a Commonwealth in 1901, and a treaty between the UK and Japan left protection of the wee continent exclusively to the Japanese. This made the Australians a wee bit nervous, so after the Great White Fleet sailed by, they went about building their own. I paid for my admission by buying a bunch of postcards of 1908 posters welcoming the Great White Fleet and a mug for Chris that says, “Hands Across the Sea” with Australian and American flags and two hands shaking over the continent of Australia. He loved it! Sydney is so delightful!