Thursday 24 September 2020

Winter Wanderings Series: Rushcutters Bay

Looking down into Rushcutters Bay,
With the wilds of Darling Point beyond.

It was a modest little outing we last took, perambulating around Elizabeth Bay. The result, really, of so much of the foreshore's inaccessibility to mere plebeians. To see more of some waterfront and to make a better impression upon our smart(alec)phone pedometers, we need to continue on much where we left off and head down into Rushcutters Bay where, Dear Reader, parklands encircle and we plebs can skip about.

Rushcutters Bay one winter's day in 1937.
About fifty years after the parklands were inaugurated, it still looks a bit bare.

The marshland rushes for which it was named by the first convict settlers are gone, as are the vegetable market gardens which supplied the colonial settlement for around fifty years in the mid-1800s*. It's all a bit more solid under foot now, as land was reclaimed and a sandstone seawall enclosed it all before 1900.

People? Dogs? Where for art ye?
Falsely advertised, in this instance.

Ah, Tatiana Riabouchinska of Colonel de Basil's Original Ballets Russes
Will have to demonstrate the park's amenity, circa 1938-40.

On most any given day, it will be filled with People & Dogs alternating between indolence and vigour, as it provides for much of the recreation for Sydney's most densely populated peninsula on one side (and which some of us refer to as The Island) and a slightly posher class of urban dweller** on the other. 

Clivias putting on a show these days
Under a Moreton Bay Chestnut - Castanospermum australe.

A clump of Yesterday-Today-and-Tomorrow - Brunfelsia pauciflora -
Doing its spring-time thing.

We come down into the parkland from the west, where it's a bit more formalised and flowerbeds underplant the mature trees, providing more of a garden feel for the neighbouring apartments.

The Reg Bartlett Oval & Grandstand.
The tennis courts are beside and beyond.

A rather large Moreton Bay Fig specimen - Ficus macrophylla -
With a 28m diameter span, apparently.

The cricket oval and grandstand date back to around the time of the park's inauguration in the late 1800s.

Another glimpse of tennis courts, where Brother can these days be found on a Friday afternoon,
Behind which lies the clubhouse and café.

And the tennis courts have been going strong since the 1920s, when they replaced the earlier croquet lawns that have evidently gone out of vogue. I won't distract you at this juncture to say that to turn right, this way heads to Aldi!, but this is a shopping-free zone, according to my blog's creed, so try to contain any excitement and let us head instead to the waterfront by taking the leftmost path.

High tide in the harbour looking east.

The eastern point of Elizabeth Bay is seen to the left, behind which is Beare Park.

Extensive grassed areas lay beyond, where there is a popular kiosk
And playing fields materialise in the football seasons.

Hmmm ... Nanny State markings - there are lanes now!

Have you noticed there is a bit of a Theme going on?

Yes, it's a marina ... specifically, the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia,
And starting point of the Boxing Day Yacht Race.
So we must skirt around it ...

Pausing briefly to admire some cups and medallions in the window,
Pass the chandlery and what-not ...

... Make a note of the handy clinic, if need be,
Making use of the old Naval drill halls ...

... And skirt past assorted launching ramps and paraphernalia
Left over from the former Naval Base at this site and the Olympics in 2000.

After which we can continue on our merry way into Yarranabbe Park, which runs along the eastern flank of the bay, following our sturdy sandstone seawall.

The fenced tree is a closely guarded replacement for a previous fig tree,
Scandalously poisoned by Person/s Unknown, seeking an improvement in their View! 

I think it was this general thing they were wanting to see to a more fulsome degree.

Looking back into Rushcutters Bay,
We see Oceana on the far right, marking the edge of Elizabeth Bay.

And this is the end of the path,
The park, and the eastern edge of Rushcutters Bay.

So now all that remains is to turn around and head back to the buildings in the distance, where lies Home!

* Not to mention the many Aboriginal people who called this home for around 6000 years.

** Darling Point, of which I speak, marks the beginning of what is loosely referred to as The Eastern Suburbs, and has a whole other medley of flavours and connotations of its own, and is for another day.

Image credits: 2: via Flickr; 4: State Library NSW; all else: Flying With Hands


  1. I only live 5 ks from the beach, but imagine waking up every morning with a view over Rushcutters Bay. The yachts look so lovely, I would stay on the water's edge all day.

  2. Hels: No views from this casa's windows but I agree, it would be lovely to gaze out as so many others do. There's always lots to look at with the yachts coming and going and very pretty at night, too, with all the lights giving shape to the harbour. I will admit I'm a fair weather visitor and I know that on a windy day, like today, it's rather too invigorating!

  3. It's a beautiful neighbourhood, very clean and well kept, with not a convict in sight. Just kidding, of course. The parks are lovely and something that is sorely lacking in this country. It is becoming a country of (ugly) buildings.

  4. Loree: We're pretty lucky in that green spaces are almost everywhere in this city; the downside is that it sprawls to the point where some neighbourhoods are utterly unknown to us. Don't be fooled by my telephone's inability to photograph the fine detail, there are riff-raff and eyesores galore here, too! This blog is only for focussing on the beautiful things in my world.

  5. I did like the tour and have been wondering quite a bit of late if our American Big Cities will ever recover after this ridiculously oversold pandemic thence riots and looting. At present there is a stampede out of NYC, Chicago, SF with many of us having at least one foot out the door.
    Has Sydney experienced similar trauma?

  6. GSL: It sounds positively dire in your neck of the woods! No trauma here, except for those businesses that have gone under and anyone who's somehow not qualifying for welfare. There's a quasi-socialist support system in place for now, which has kept the wolf more or less from the door for most people. Around here, there have been plenty of shop closures, but there are new places opening and tradesmen have been fully occupied since the very beginning. There are few issues that get us wound up, as a culture, so despite some glum faces on the Youth & Party-types, and some generalised restrictions regarding travel and nursing home visits etc, it's more or less situation normal when you step outside, and for most people, the social changes qualify more as Inconvenience than grounds for Apoplexy. I gather some people, mostly renters, have moved out of the city into country areas, or deeper into the suburbs where they get more space and/or it's a cheaper cost of living, but no-one we personally know. Melbourne has its own issues, but as for revolutionary action, I think the present state government could fall, but not before its legitimate time.

  7. Reminds me so much of Southern California!
    How lucky you are to call this HOME!


Thank you for commenting, it is greatly appreciated.

It can be a challenge to persist in the matching up of street signs and other exciting pastimes this comment feature may send your way, so if it gets too annoying, feel free to email your comment to me at pipistrello (at) flyingwithhands (dot) com and I'll post it for you.

Bats In The Belfry