Scenic ride to work

On a sunny and windy day, I rode to work (rather late in the day) by the scenic route. I took the camera with me, though I seem to have mis-set the colour balance. Here is a brief account, starting at a discreet distance from my home.

Above, and the first picture, is Duwich Hill Scout Hall – “Mrs Hugh Dixon’s Own.” There is also a Miss Fairfax’s own in Stanmore or Petersham. The ADB writes of Sir Hugh Dixson, who was a tobacco magnate:

Staunch Baptists, Dixson and his wife originated many trust funds for the Church, including £10,000 for aged and infirm ministers. He was president of the Baptist Union of New South Wales in 1895-96, the Baptist Home Mission Society until 1926 and of the Young Men’s Christian Association in 1900-02 and in 1909, and a director of Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. Lady Dixson was a life governor of the Queen Victoria Homes for Consumptives, the Women’s Hospital, Crown Street, Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and of the Infants’ Home, Ashfield, a life vice-president of the British Empire League in Australia, the National Council of Women of New South Wales, and the Victoria League; president of the women’s auxiliary of the Sydney City Mission and the Veterans’ Home of New South Wales and vice-president of the New South Wales Home for Incurables, Ryde (to which they gave £20,000), and the Fresh Air League; she also founded the Sydney Medical Mission. Among Dixson’s many benefactions were £5000 each to the Dreadnought Fund, the Chamber of Commerce War Food fund and the Y.M.C.A.’s building fund; and £7500 to the University of Sydney to buy a collection of minerals from the Barrier district; he and his wife were as charitable privately as publicly.

I wonder what they made of Baden-Powell’s generally disapproving attitude to smoking. Come to think of it, maybe B-P only officially disapproved in smoking in the young.

The adjacent building, possibly built to be rented out as a shop, was completed two years after the scout hall following “Mrs Hugh Dixson’s” death in 1922. I don’t know about the
“Dame” bit, though Mr Dixson became “Sir Hugh” in 1921. His wife would therefore have been Lady Dixson in normal usage. Then again, Wikipedia tells me (even if slightly out of date so far as its example is concerned) “Dame Heather McCartney could be used for the wife of a knight; however, this style is largely archaic and is only used in the most formal of documents.”

On Toothill St, Lewisham, I ride past this house, where I lived for a year in 1984:

Toothill St

The tree at the back was much smaller then.

My route takes me to the point where the goods railway which runs down Hawthorne Canal to Lilyfield and Rozelle crosses Paramatta Road. There is also a vehicular overpass, and a ramp up for pedestrians and cyclists. From that ramp I saw this:

Sleeping rough in Leichardt

A wider perspective is this:

This has been here for a while. I’m sure that it showed more signs of habitation before, because I think the tent was once pitched. Unless someone has simply left all behind and flown out of the country after a holiday, there is a sad story here. At first I wondered, “Why has he left his hat behind?”, but on a closer examination and judging also by the back pack and the boot, I think there may well still be somebody underneath the tent – alive, I hope. I shall check again to see if the hat, boot and bag move.

From a modest entry on Parramatta Road, a cycle path runs between the canal and the goods railway.

Overshadowed by trees, it always feels like my own special secret, even though it is well-used by pedestrians and cyclists.

After crossing Marion Street, Leichhardt, the vista opens up:

The route I take turns right at the footbridge you can (just) see on that picture, and goes past the rather famous “Bones” cafe – this is an off-leash exercise area for dogs and it is dog city. The path continues past the Canal Road studios, where all sorts of mysterious film-making ventures have their premises. An elaborate bridge crosses the Westlink just below the turn-off to James Street:

Then there is a steep pinch up to the ridge of Lilyfield. The reward is this pleasing view of the city from the west:

Lilyfield Road still has some traffic, but compared to the past it is really a ghost road, and very pleasant riding. At the end, you take another, rather ancient (and unprotected by wire mesh) overpass over Victoria Road, preparatory to approaching ANZAC Bridge. A newer and more cycle-scaled bridge has been built over the exit from the bridge to take traffic up towards Annandale and Glebe, as you can see.

Some RTA workers were having a smoko, and a pedestrian (looking rather touristique) snapped a shot from the other end of the bridge, which alerted me to this (rather blurry because I used the zoom):

Love the bridge, hate the name.

From ANZAC Bridge, the telling sight of the cars which are flooding into Australia. I regularly drive into the city down the Westlink, and regularly see the car-semi-trailers going down to the docks here empty or returning with their loads of cars. With the closing down of the “working harbour,” in a few years the cars are due to be unloaded in, I think, Port Kembla (though it just could be Port Botany). The squabbling over what is to be done with the land has already begun.

There is a spectacular bike-spiral-ramp off ANZAC Bridge, which I haven’t photographed. But from this ramp is this view of ANZAC Bridge.

When the bridge was built there was some grumbling about its unnecessary and brutal vastness overshadowing Blackwattle Bay, but with time (and yes, I know this sounds soppy) it seems we all love ANZAC Bridge. My aunt, who lives in Albany, WA, became particularly keen on it after a visit to Sydney to stay with us, and she is far from alone in this.

Through Pyrmont you ride on ghost streets (that is, I remember when they were main vehicular routes, which they are no longer) and through one of the very few “Bicycle” traffic lights. Pyrmont Bridge, too, is now free from the dreaded motor car, though those pesky pedestrians are a nuisance:

Only joking, of course.

8 Responses to “Scenic ride to work”

  1. Victor Says:

    Like 99% of Sydneysiders I thought the Anzac Bridge seemed unnecessarily large in its planning but like that majority too I loved the bridge once it was built. I am fascinated by the variations in its ‘look’ when seen from different angles.

  2. Ken Says:

    Nicely done, M.

  3. John Says:

    I’m worried about tent-man.

    And I’m worried about you (or maybe me, but I’ll settle for you at the moment) liking that bridge.

    More pictures please M. – thousand words etc, regardless of my liking your words very much.

  4. Tent-man update « Stumbling on melons Says:

    […] a comment on a previous post, John has asked for more pictures and expressed his concern about […]

  5. Tom Says:

    I too, lived in that house in Toothil st lewisham in 1992-94. Great house with fantastic high ceilings. Love the photo

  6. marcellous Says:

    So which room were you in Tom? I had what was probably originally the dining room downstairs.

    From this, you may gather that we had a lot of people living in that house as a group: probably too many for our tenancy to survive as a lasting proposition.

  7. On my bike « Stumbling on melons Says:

    […] On Thursday I celebrated by taking the scenic route to work.  […]

  8. The phantom clearway | Stumbling on melons Says:

    […] to Ashfield last year I have a new way to work. It joins up with part of what I used to call my scenic route. It you live in Sydney, you should be able to work out that the picture above is taken on the […]

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