To Sydney and Beyond


This would be my second farewell to Sydney since my days as a supernumerary steward on the Manutea in 1973.   At that time,  the Manutea crew spent a month in Sydney as the ship was fitted out for a charter to supply the Freeport mine in Iryan Jaya (now West Papua).  During the day, I sometimes wandered in the City.  (Some older guy stalked me in a square and offered me a job…I cut him off saying I was already employed.) On other days I ordered and stored our food supplies for our three week course to Iryan Jaya.  I often took the night shift when we were docked.  And frequently the Captain, a wayfarer of old who was drinking himself into oblivion, would ask me to keep him company in his cabin and talk about world affairs. He was lonely, craved good conversation and missed the island life.  And after he nearly ran us aground rounding the tip of Queensland, he was sent home.  [I will post a page at a later date about this trip out of a Joseph Conrad novel.]

As one can see from the photo of the gentrified pier, much has changed in Sydney harbor. Now all the docks have been converted condos and restaurants, and marinas afford space for luxury yachts.  A waterfront building has transformed into an new arts center.  No able bodied seafarers in sight.


For our last night in Sydney, Michele and I went to see HAIR at the Sydney Opera House.  West Side Story was also playing.  It is fascinating how many restaurants and institutions were playing American music, mostly from the 70’s and 80’s.   Australian cultural ties to America seem to be stronger than the ties to England, even if they still drive on the left side of the road.

Though the production of HAIR was given a dismal review by the local paper, we enjoyed letting the sun shine in with peace and love.

It has been a whirlwind trip, sampling various places and trying to catch a glimpse of various facets of Australia.  Next time perhaps we can stay a while in Darwin and get to know the outback again.

About Whittoons

Cartoonist, and community organizer who has covered the globe as a doodlebugger, gandydancer, supernumerary steward, Able Bodied Seaman, Wireman, monkey man, Night Baker and dishwasher, Hobo, hitchhiker and husband.
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