Go Back  Fodor's Travel Talk Forums > Destinations > Australia & the Pacific
Reload this Page >

Suggestions for a day or two of exploring Sydney but not the usual tourist areas we will seeing.

Suggestions for a day or two of exploring Sydney but not the usual tourist areas we will seeing.

Feb 15th, 2004, 05:43 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 935
Catholic church

St Brigids 14 Kent st The Rocks

Have a drink with half the congregation at the captain cook hotel across the way.
johhj_au is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 01:56 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
John, what about the other half of the congregation - why wouldn't you drink with them? Or do they patronise another pub? Surely they're not Methodist moles?
Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 01:57 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
You poor old bugger Neil - how utterly boring! I reckon I did my bit against the Vietnam war in my own way. I had the ear of a medico who used to do the examinations for eligability in my home town and would you know that all those people who were my friends were too ill to go? Just shows what a pathetic circle of friends I had eh!
I reckon too that I should be allowed a shot here and there at the Irish seeing my maiden name was Devlin and I once was neally as rebellous as my name sake - Bernadette. However as one gets older one tends to step to the right more and more ( depending on what is happening with the pensions and superannuations etc ) and I have even been heard to preface a sentence with "in the good old days..........." I think the shift to the right is more of a rebellion against my children in my case and/or their compatriots and a real shift against political correctness - well it is for me.
I actually went to a Pauleen Hanson rally at the Gold Coast and the reason the Asian press wrote so much was that they were allowed to be on the stage with their video cameras. It was much more of a press beat up than anything and I actually went to that because it was most anti-establishment to do so. I went with three other great senior heros, one guy who was a Veteran of WW2 - another old age pensioner and a guy who was against gun control. The Veteran was arrested because he attacked one of the rent-a-crowd because the person called him a facist pig - unbeknown to the r.a.c person he was also a black belt. Anyway we sprang him out of clink and got into the hall on time, sang some stiring Australian patriotic song, listened in surprise that there was actually no really bad stuff said by poor old Pauleen, just missed out on getting arrested again because some poor old lady was harassed by a camera reporter which made her fall so we had a "go" at his camera and I managed to get on all the TV channels that night and even on Qantas Air in the morning.......sigh! this is my one and only claim to fame and my only scrape with rallying. We were going to let the tires of the R.A.C bus but cops were everywhere so went home instead. Since then I have changed the colour of my hair and don't hang around with old aged pensioners any more because they really can steer you away from the straight and narrow.
Poor Pauleen, as you know, went on and became more unhinged, thinking that she had the backing of the people and coming up with more and more stupid ideas. Anyway at least if we can't have Prime Ministers who have affairs with their staff or prostitutes to keep us giggling when reading the newspapers we have Pauleen who, in just being herself, is a laugh a minute.
lizF is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 02:05 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
I think you've trumped me, Liz. Sympathetic doctors are always a big help, especially to those spry people with permits to park in the "disabled" spaces at the supermarket.

Maybe these digressions from the normal run of advice will interest visitors who like to get to grips with the culture of the country they're visiting. Hope so, anyway.

For anyone confused by Australian politics, it's pretty simple, really. The Liberal Party is conservative and the Labor Party is liberal. The National Party is confined to rural areas. The Australian Democrats are nothing like the US Democrats. The One Nation party is nationally divisive. The Greens are like other Greens. The Republicans have no similarity to their US namesake, as their sole mission is to sack the Queen.

We borrowed the Westminster system of parliamentary democracy from the UK and our federal structure, complete with three levels of administration, from the US.

The Governor-General doesn't actually govern anything. He's nominated (in practice appointed) by the Prime Minister and so can be sacked by the PM, but he can dismiss the PM too, so if there's a falling-out it might come down to who can get on the phone to Buckingham Palace first. In fact, in 1975 the GG dismissed the PM without asking the permission of the Queen, who is supposed to be Head of State, and got away with it because while the Constitution doesn't say he has the power, it doesn't say that he hasn't either.

We don't have hanging chads, though. That's because voting consists of writing numbers beside candidates' names in the order of your preference. This makes for an interesting count, and we get more for our money - if your preferred candidate gets fewest votes and is therefore eliminated, your vote flows on to your second- preferred candidate, and so on.

Australians are also confused by Australian politics, which is why our governments encourage us to participate by fining us if we fail to vote. In Australian parlance this is known as an appeal to the hip-pocket nerve.

Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 02:24 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
Just realised my last post was misleading - voting as such isn't compulsory in Australia. What is compulsory is that you have to turn up at a polling booth, have your name ruled through in a copy of the electoral roll and take your voting forms from the returning officer. You can then proceed to write obscenities on them, if that's what you want to do, and in fact some do.

Once, as a party scrutineer, I found that one disillusioned citizen had written across his ballot paper, "The only person who knew what to do with politicians was Guy Fawkes!"

(If you didn't do English history, in 1605 Fawkes led a botched Catholic plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament. The politicians got their own back and he was hanged the following year.)
Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 03:29 PM
Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 3,680
Hi - let me second JJ727's comments about Sydney's northern beaches - do try to see them - they leave Bondi and Manly (I know Manly is north, but not north enough) for dead. There's a restaurant on beach at Whale Beach, called, strangely enough, The Beach Restaurant. The Newport Arms is a famous pub in a terrific setting overlooking Pittwater on the western side of Newport.
pat_woolford is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 03:43 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,637
Well, watching an Australian election would be an "off the beaten path" activity. Are there any scheduled for mid April? Can visitors vote?

At our Democratic caucaus, really a primary organized by the Democratic party, it was possible to vote multiple times, so I could have given any of you an extra ballot.

AndrewDavid is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
Multiple votes? Looks like I've been trumped again. There used to be a saying, "vote early and vote often", but it was never legal. Some recently-deceased citizens not yet deleted from the electoral roll have been known to cast one last vote - that's party loyalty for you. But visitors can't vote, I'm afraid.

Primaries are one complication we don't have. The prime minister is by convention a member of the House of Reps. As with the British system, the government falls when he/she can no longer command a majority in the House. As for elections in April, I'm not sure when the various states are likely to go to the polls. With the exception of one state, or maybe more, can't remember, there are no fixed terms - the PM can call an election if he comes up with what sounds like a half-decent excuse and the governor-general (the one we can't find at the moment) agrees.

When that happens we don't get much more notice that the time it takes the Electoral Commission to organise the logistics (6-8 weeks maybe) - there's no point in giving your opponents too much time on the soapbox.

There are six states and two territories. A federal election is expected to be held around November. The federal government has been a Liberal-National party coalition since 1996 while all of the states and territory governments are Labor. Ideologically, if you think Republicans vs. Democrats you won't be too far off the mark. A significant difference is that the "religious Right" in Australia is nowhere near as big an influence as it is in the US.

Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 06:12 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
As a follow-on to the last little sermon - I meant to say that in Australia the religion, or lack of religion, of a party leader has never been a deciding factor in his/her success.

We did have one successful PM (Bob Hawke, the son of a Congregational minister) who confessed to being a (reformed) drunk and adulterer, and I think he didn't make any secret of his agnosticism. He was forgiven because he was entertaining, and is partly remembered for calling a persistent questioner a "silly old bugger". Perhaps he learnt this phrase during his time at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar (but probably not from that other well-known Rhodes Scholar, Bill Clinton).

If Parliament is sitting you'll be welcome to visit and observe a daily ritual known as Question Time. Government MPs ask Ministers questions known as "Dorothy Dixers", so called because the Minister has fed the question to the questioner in the first place. By contrast Opposition MPs who ask questions have their parentage, loyalty and personal morals brought into question. In Canberra, Question Time is what we threaten small children with if they misbehave, but we never follow through with the threat because it would set them too bad an example.

You might think from all this that the general politeness that characterises debates in the US Congress isn't reflected in Australia. You'd be right.

I can't resist quoting from a couple of past PMs to pass on some of the flavour:

Interjector (to PM Menzies): "Tell us all you know, Bob. It won't take long!"
Menzies: "I'll go one better than that: I'll tell you all we both know. It won't take any longer."

PM Keating, on being asked if a former opposition leader (Andrew Peacock) might be about return to the role: "Not possible. A souffle doesn't rise twice."

PM Keating, responding to the said Andrew Peacock (yes, during Question Time): "Mr Speaker, I have to say that being attacked by the Leader of the Opposition is rather like being savaged by a dead sheep."

Peacock was thought by some to be a bit of a fop, squired Shirley MacLaine for a while and was christened "The Sunlamp Kid". Ended up as Ambassador to the United States.

Unfortunately such exchanges are rare and never equalled the one between two members of the British House of Lords in the 18th century:
- "Your Lordship will die either on the gallows or of the pox!"
- "That will depend, Sir, on whether I embrace your Lordship's principles, or your Lordship's mistress."

Absolutely unbeatable.

Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 06:16 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,637
Neil, Do you mean to tell us after loosing your tallest mountain, you've now lost your governor general?
Rather careless don't you think?

AndrewDavid is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 08:08 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
There's a lot of land to watch and only 20 million of us to keep tabs on things, but I agree we get careless from time to time. But you can easily lose a governor-general if you're not watching (and who is?). We lost a prime minister, Harold Holt, once - he went for a swim off a beach in Victoria, and we never saw him again.

As Bill Bryson recounts in his book "Down Under" (I think it's published in the US as "A Sunburnt Country"), a Melbourne acquatic centre was named after Holt. A pretty dry touch (sorry about that).

President George W. Bush was obviously alert to the danger that the Aussies might inadvertently mislay him when he visited Canberra a few months ago. He brought several 747-loads of assorted guards, reporters and assorted minders along to keep an eye on him, supplemented by Royal Australian Air Force FA-18s. The Chinese president breezed in a few days later, but obviously nobody had told him of the dangers. He even took a risky boat ride on Sydney Harbour.

Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 16th, 2004, 11:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 2,108
Well - you've all given me a good laugh! I wonder how Michi's going?
margo_oz is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 12:29 AM
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 9,922
Michi who?
Neil_Oz is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 12:32 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
I think Neil has been off his medication too long - hi nasho mate!
lizF is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 01:00 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 16
Recently here on the forum we have bashed the staff member of a major airline because the staff member or
the passenger checking in was having a bad day. We will never know which, as it is a one sided argument.

We have condemned a large hotel in the middle of Sydney because the hotel staff made some patrons walk
up seventeen stories with their luggage.

We have bad mouthed an other hotel because it,s management made patrons sit out side the hotel for twenty
four hours before they would hand over the keys to their rooms.
(You know about that one Alan)

We have bashed a small town in the blue mountains ( oberon ) for no other reason than they have only one motel.

We have bashed an other hotel up North because they blow the leaves out of the hall ways too early.

Pat wants to start a fight with me because I,m a Kiwi and I can,t spill ,Woops I mean speell peeenadol.

A lady came on to the forum asking about places tourists do not go much.
( Michi ) Well Her and her Hubby are,
I think 71 and 72 years old or similar.

Since she asked that fateful question we have told her about Pauline Hanson, ( who ) Menzies ( who ) Guy Fawkes
( well Ok ) some one else, that was attacked by a dead sheep, the Vietnam war, HA !!! I did my bit !!!
FA-18 super hornets,
Keatings Scum Bags,Dorthy Dixer,s renta crowds, black belt,s, explanations of the political systems in Ireland, England and Australia.

Are you still there Micki, and are you still reading, or have you nodded off.

There was an interesting movie made about us once, you might like to watch it if there are any copies left in

It,s called They're a weird mob.

You might learn more from that movie than the book by Koch ? Did I spilled that correctly ?
jj727 is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 01:58 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 61
Suggestion for a day or two of exploring Sydney:

Meeting Alan, Liz F., Neil oz in person!!!
leniram is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 02:52 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
Well Leniram, Alan and LizF are meeting next Monday so if Neil would like to leave the hallowed halls/walls of Pollywood we can have a menage a' tois du Fodors ( my computer won't do those fiddly bits up top those letters). Unfortunately as "They're a Weird Mob" was only written about Aussies we can't invite old jj727 if he's a kqey weie, cause we may only be able to get fushn'chups 'fer lunch.
lizF is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 10:25 AM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,637
If we bring George back w/ us in April, do you promise to loose him? I imagine Michi being Canadien might find that as entertaining as we would! And certainly not the usual, bridge, opera house, Spit to Manley walk routine to set us poor tourists to.

Perhaps since loosing things is a national pastime for you Down unders, we tourist could be set on a sort of reverse scavenger hunt where we loose things rather than find them. In that way we'll feel like locals, definetly not the usual tourist thing.

In the last few months I've lost my car keys., shopping list, right to operate a motor vehicle in California and hopefully my younger brother. I'm currently working on loosing Mt. Wheeler our tallest peak. I think I can sneak it over the border to Colorado , the night of the next full moon.


PS to Michi: johnj has recommended to us , off the beaten track , sailing on Pittwater. It looks beautiful in pictures.
AndrewDavid is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 10:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,603
Pittwater is beautiful and certainly worth a sail on.
Bring George as we Rednecks in Queensland will sort him out for you. Probably could do with a George in some ways since we lost our Redneck leader some years back. Pollys have never been the same since!
lizF is offline  
Feb 17th, 2004, 11:58 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 2,288
You all have definitely made my day!!

Liz, it's greast to see you back offering your great, dry humor to all. I'm not quite certain if I'm listening to Aussie humor with Neil or a bit of the Blarney from his Irish ancestors.

Please don't stop!! Oh, and where's Alan?
LN is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 06:04 AM.