A Travellerspoint blog

Attack of the Sydney seagulls

Modern art, convicts and a traumatising event


It’s mainly Rachael writing the blog today as Alex is rocking back and forth in his chair, trying to come to terms with what happened to him this morning. There we were sitting by Circular quay enjoying the sun and our McMuffins, that we’d decided to treat ourselves with. Alex has had bad experiences with Australian birds as they seem to have some kind of radar for whenever he has food and lo and behold along came some seagulls to pester us. Alex is normally a knight in shining armour and will chase them away and he did so on this occasion. He hadn’t, however, prepared for a rear attack and was taken off guard when a seagull launched itself at the back of his head and swooped for his McMuffin. A piece of his egg escaped and was pounced on by the seagull. A bewildered and heartbroken Alex turned round to me and wailed, “He took my egg!!!!!”

After he had recovered enough we took the ferry across to Cockatoo Island for something a bit different. Not many tourists have heard of or been to the island across the harbour. It’s only because of a few select Sydneysiders that we’d even found out about it. The once industrial island had also been home to a number of convicts so we expected a morning of glorious historical tales. How wrong we were. At the moment there’s an event going on called the Sydney Bienniale and has led to a number of modern art exhibitions being displayed in a range of different locations across Sydney. Cockatoo Island was one of them and a free ferry service was trawling back and forth so we took advantage of it. Scattered throughout old industrial buildings were selections of modern art, ranging from light displays, talking furniture and sculptures. As we’ve mentioned in previous blogs, Rach isn’t the greatest of modern art fans and Alex was forced to once again agree when we came across rocks just thrown on the floor which was described as showing the individual and the emotion....it’s just rocks! We left after a few hours to go back to the mainland and try out a museum.


The museum of choice was Hyde Parks Barracks, the location where convicts would be housed on their arrival in Sydney. Unfortunately by the time we made it across there was only two hours before close so we only really saw a few rooms. The rooms we did see however were fascinating. One in particular concentrated on the experience of the convicts and showed us what type of crimes they could be exiled for, the food they ate, the occupations they took up and what life was like for them in the barracks. On the very top floor they’d set out dorm rooms with hammocks as they would have been in the day but unfortunately this was the point at which we were thrown out.


It was still daylight when we emerged so we thought it would be a good opportunity to have a wander through Darling Harbour. Rach’s parents had stayed in that area when they came to Aus and had absolutely loved it so we thought it may be worth a peek. It certainly was. It’s very cosmopolitan but the harbour itself seems so peaceful even though it’s surrounded by trendy bars, a Chinese garden and various museums and attractions. We’d only been standing on the bridge for a few minutes when the heavens opened and descended on us. Bearing in mind this was the first time it had rained for the entire of August we didn’t mind so much and walked back to the apartment. Our host was at work so we had the place to ourselves so we unwound, watched some TV (it’s been so long since we’ve seen My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding!) and stuffed ourselves with doughnuts. We’d forgotten how nice it is to just completely and utterly relax. It was exactly what we needed.

Rex’s Rules of the Road

  • Modern art is not art if it’s just a pile of rocks. At least pile them in a unique way, not just scattered on the floor.
  • If you’ve only got a short amount of time in a museum do a quick run around first and see which parts are actually the parts you’re interested. Don’t waste time on boring bits.
  • The temptation whilst backpacking is to be on the go all the time, make sure that you make some time for some relaxation. If you’re staying in dorms all the time, it might be worth treating yourself to a private room every once in a while just to get away from the noise and the people and de-stress.

Posted by rexontheroad 21:36 Archived in Australia

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents

Be the first to comment on this entry.

This blog requires you to be a logged in member of Travellerspoint to place comments.