Category Archives: Australia

Lane way covered in graffiti

Graffiti in Melbourne

Melbourne has a reputation for graffiti and street art. Specific lane ways and surfaces appear set aside for covert artists. These walls are not cleared or white washed of artwork, and over time the walls have been covered in vibrant and visually arresting creations.

Lane way covered in graffiti

Lane way covered in graffiti

Detail of a graffiti covered lane way wall

Detail of a graffiti covered lane way wall

Opposite side detail of a graffiti covered lane way wall

Opposite side detail of a graffiti covered lane way wall

Graffiti image of a young woman

Graffiti image of a young woman

Graffiti covered art supply store

Graffiti covered art supply store

Layers of tagging and street art

Layers of tagging and street art

Commercial entrance decorated with street art

Commercial entrance decorated with street art

A doorway hidden among the graffiti

A doorway hidden among the graffiti

A recessed doorway in a lane of graffiti covered walls

A recessed doorway in a lane of graffiti covered walls

Japanese style cafe wall

Japanese style cafe wall

Small street lined with graffiti

Small street lined with graffiti

Pub wall decorated with street art

Pub wall decorated with street art

Detail of an owl on a pub wall

Detail of an owl on a pub wall

Stencil artwork of Federation Street Station

Stencil artwork of Federation Street Station

Tagging continues to appear in Melbourne but it must be harder to make the desired blunt impact when all around artists are creating fun, bright, and outlandish images.

University bins covered in tags

University bins covered in tags

Sydney Opera House

Photogenic Sydney

Sydney is an undeniably photogenic city. The city is bathed in a strong Australian sun that rewards the point-and-shoot camera. It feels easy to point the camera in almost any direction and end up with a vibrant set of photos.

G'day Welcome Home - an emotional banner

G’day Welcome Home – an emotional banner

Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

New buildings loom over old in the centre of Sydney

New buildings loom over old in the centre of Sydney

A stunning place for a wedding

A stunning place for a wedding

Fountain in the Royal Botanic Gardens

Fountain in the Royal Botanic Gardens

Flaking and peeling tree bark

Flaking and peeling tree bark

A weather front moves in over Sydney's southern suburbs

A weather front moves in over Sydney’s southern suburbs

Jellyfish in the water at Darling Habour

Jellyfish in the water at Darling Habour

Sculpture of a car crushed by a rock

Sculpture of a car crushed by a rock

Sydney is a massive city. The suburbs stretch for hours from the centre. However, the inner city houses many older residential terraced homes. Over time these properties are being replaced by apartment blocks. Thankfully the transition is slow.

An inner Sydney suburb

An inner Sydney suburb

Looking down a residential street of an inner Sydney suburb

Looking down a residential street of an inner Sydney suburb

The centre of the city focuses on the stunning harbour. A harbour I am delighted to think that I once lived near and could incorporate into my running routes. I doubt I will ever be able to match the feeling of running across the Sydney Harbour Bridge; the experience never failed to boost my flagging energy.

Looking up at Sydney Harbour Bridge

Looking up at Sydney Harbour Bridge

A view across Sydney's harbour

A view across Sydney’s harbour

Walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Walking across the Sydney Harbour Bridge

Happy Christmas banners adorn the city of Sydney

Christmas Decorations Around Sydney

Decorations started appearing around the city of Sydney in November. As we sped from one event to another around the city, it was difficult to resist stopping and taking the odd photo.

Happy Christmas banners adorn the city of Sydney

Happy Christmas banners adorn the city of Sydney

Myer Food Court - Christmas trees line the entrance

Myer Food Court – Christmas trees line the entrance

Manly - decorations wait to be unboxed

Manly – decorations wait to be unboxed

Manly - decorations wait on a bench

Manly – decorations wait on a bench

Darling Harbour - Father Christmas looms over a boat

Darling Harbour – Father Christmas looms over a boat

Darling Harbour - Father Christmas looks down on shoppers

Darling Harbour – Father Christmas looks down on shoppers

Darling Harbour - Father Christmas looks down from the shopping centre

Darling Harbour – Father Christmas looks down from the shopping centre

Darling Harbour - Father Christmas hangs onto the Convention Centre

Darling Harbour – Father Christmas hangs onto the Convention Centre

Sydney City Westfield - a light decoration

Sydney City Westfield – a light decoration

MCA living Christmas tree

MCA living Christmas tree

The Rocks - MCA's living Christmas tree of plants

The Rocks – MCA’s living Christmas tree of plants

The Rocks - two Christmas wreaths

The Rocks – two Christmas wreaths

A year ago, I was photographing Christmas decorations in Melbourne.

A captivating but disturbing room; the audio loops an awkward conversation

NSW Art Gallery

Arrangements did not go entirely according to plan and I found myself with some time alone in Sydney. With this fragment of time I visited the NSW Art Gallery near the Royal Botanic Gardens.

I avoided trying to see all the gallery had to offer. I had been before many times and have learnt to focus on one or two sections per visit. To do more, is to risk becoming fatigued and souring the visit.

The gallery’s collection has grown since my last visit. I left uplifted and delighted with the time I spent slowly moving around the exhibit space.

An organic wooden sculpture

An organic wooden sculpture

Reflective bowl

Reflective bowl

Mould of the artist mounted on a bronze block

Mould of the artist mounted on a bronze block

A hyper real sculpture

A hyper real sculpture

A captivating but disturbing room; the audio loops an awkward conversation

A captivating but disturbing room; the audio loops an awkward conversation

Ignore the body, it is not important

Ignore the body, it is not important

A blocked/bitmap sculpture of a human

A blocked/bitmap sculpture of a human

A vase of flowers

A vase of flowers

Vanity

Vanity

NSW Art Gallery is home to more traditional paintings

NSW Art Gallery is home to more traditional paintings

A close up of the painting above shows the ability of the artist

A close up of the painting above shows the ability of the artist

A selection of works by popular artists is casually displayed

A selection of works by popular artists is casually displayed

Manly ferry terminal

Manly and the Corso

Manly often plays second fiddle to Bondi. Both beaches are within Sydney and easy to access using public transport.

When I lived in Sydney, I did not visit the beaches often; I am not a bake in the sun type of person. Despite this, after traveling all the way back to Australia we knew we had to visit at least a couple of beaches during our short stay.

Over the years, I have come to prefer Manly. The approach on the public ferry is stunning and the streets around feel less crowded. It was at Manly that I heard my first public announcement warning swimmers of jelly fish. It was at Manly that I spent my first New Years Day in Australia many years ago. It felt good to return and wander aimlessly around for a few hours.

I put together a short film to remind myself of the beach. The film is embedded below and available on my YouTube channel.

Beautiful expanse of sand at Manly beach in Sydney

Beautiful expanse of sand at Manly beach in Sydney

The Corso leads from the ferry terminal to Manly beach

The Corso leads from the ferry terminal to Manly beach

The Corso is lined with shops and cafes

The Corso is lined with shops and cafes

Manly is home to a mix of older and more recent buildings

Manly is home to a mix of older and more recent buildings

Manly ferry terminal

Manly ferry terminal

Muffin Break Choc Mousse Cake and calorie count behind glass

Counting the Calories

During the months since we left Australia, the large fast food brands have started putting calorie information in their menus. In Australia, this dietary information was previously available in the outlet or online, but now the values are next to individual items on the above-counter menu displays.

Gloria Jeans - coffee choices with calories

Gloria Jeans – coffee choices with calories

The effect for me was dramatic. We enjoyed meals from a couple of fast food outlets – in particular, those we can not get locally in Lyon, Oporto and Gloria Jeans. Seeing the difference in calories between a small, medium, and large was enough for me to consistently pick the smaller size of any two I was comparing.

This shift to showing the calories does not appear to be a legal requirement. Smaller food outlets are not displaying this information but most of the larger brand outlets are. Is this an attempt at self regulation and responsible food retailing?

One choice is to realise that the calorie information displayed often assumes a zero calorie drink with any meal option. A can of sugary 375ml drink can easily add another 675kJ to a meal.

Unchanged is the notion that these types of meals are to be enjoyed sparingly and as part of a balanced lifestyle. I wonder if having the calorie information immediately on display will change the way people see these food types and the available choices.

Oporto chicken burgers and calorie counts

Oporto chicken burgers and calorie counts

Subway sandwiches and calorie counts

Subway sandwiches and calorie counts

Muffin Break drinks and calorie counts

Muffin Break drinks and calorie counts

Muffin Break cakes and calories on display

Muffin Break cakes and calories on display

Muffin Break Choc Mousse Cake and calorie count behind glass

Muffin Break Choc Mousse Cake and calorie count behind glass

KFC meal choices and calorie counts

KFC meal choices and calorie counts

KFC chicken burger and text about calorie choices

KFC chicken burger and text about calorie choices

MacDonalds meals and calorie counts with fries or salad

MacDonalds meals and calorie counts with fries or salad

A palette of Coke bottles showing different names (2011)

Coke by the Numbers

It appears Australia is being used to test Coke’s latest marketing ideas. Australia is a small isolated market of twenty something million people. Products and brands can be trialled, tested, and measured without affecting other larger markets.

In 2011, Coke started selling bottles with common first names printed on the labels. The marketing worked and I saw numerous friends on Facebook posting about buying the bottle carrying their name. It was undeniably fun.

Cokes bottles with common first names in Sydney, Australia (2011)

Cokes bottles with common first names in Sydney, Australia (2011)

A palette of Coke bottles showing different names (2011)

A palette of Coke bottles showing different names (2011)

As a marketing scheme I wondered if it would go international. It did not. There are a number of problems Coke would need to overcome. What names do you pick in each country? How localised will your choice have to be? Are you going to cover multiple spellings of each name? What about different scripts and dialects?

In 2012, Coke has iterated on their notion of unique labels. This time the scheme can scale globally. Bottles of Coke in Australia are now carrying years. The marketing calls on customers to buy the coke with a year relevant to them – be that a birthday, anniversary, or other notable year. A clever iteration on the original personalisation.

Coke iterated to showing years (2012)

Coke iterated to showing years (2012)

I also notice Pepsi has released a new brand in Australia that I have yet to see in France, Pepsi Next. This lower suger edition is being heavily pushed. It contains Stevia as a partial sugar alternative. Stevia is available as a niche sugar substitute here in France but I have seen little comment about its benefits or otherwise.

Looking up at the captain's wheel house

Ferry to Bundeena

We joined Megan‘s grandparents for a ferry ride from Cronulla to Bundeena. The ferry we took was called “M.V. Curranulla”. The operators claim this ferry to be the oldest commuter ferry in Australia working to a regular timetable.

A short film of the ferry painted in Australia’s national colour scheme, gold and yellow, is embedded below.

Preparing to board M.V. Curranulla at Bundeena

Preparing to board M.V. Curranulla at Bundeena

M.V. Curranulla docked and awaiting passengers

M.V. Curranulla docked and awaiting passengers

Inside M.V. Curranulla

Inside M.V. Curranulla

Looking up at the captain's wheel house

Looking up at the captain’s wheel house

Looking out from the bow of M.V. Curranulla

Looking out from the bow of M.V. Curranulla

Ferry docked at Cronulla wharf

Ferry docked at Cronulla wharf

Close up of two ants in Sydney, Australia

Australian Ants

Australia’s reputation for large insects and dangerous animals is well known. In daily life encountering the nastier creatures however is unlikely. What does surprise me is the size of the more mundane animals.

Ants in particular stand out as both bigger and smaller than those I know from the United Kingdom. There are multiple sizes of ants and they appear to be able to nest in overlapping regions.

Close up of two ants in Sydney, Australia

Close up of two ants in Sydney, Australia

I have frequently watched tiny swarms of ants walking around larger single ants. They do not interact and seem not to be from the same nest.

This afternoon I noticed a larger pair of ants and took the opportunity to take some footage. The resulting film is available on YouTube and embedded below.

The larger ant follows the smaller for most of the time.

The larger ant follows the smaller for most of the time.

The scale of the ants is difficult to judge.

The scale of the ants is difficult to judge.

The ants have no problems scaling vertical surfaces.

The ants have no problems scaling vertical surfaces.

Close up of a chandelier hanging in Sydney Town Hall

Town Hall Lights

I had a few minutes to spare outside Sydney’s Town Hall. The main door was open and I took the opportunity to venture inside with my camera in hand.

The beautiful cut glass chandeliers caught my attention.

Crown like chandelier hanging in Sydney Town Hall

Crown like chandelier hanging in Sydney Town Hall

Close up of a chandelier hanging in Sydney Town Hall

Close up of a chandelier hanging in Sydney Town Hall

Ring of lights around a chandelier in Sydney Town Hall

Ring of lights around a chandelier in Sydney Town Hall