Santos Museum of Economic Botany: Adelaide, Australia

If you’ve ever had an interest in the history of food, clothing, and textiles,

and how they became a part of a region’s economy, you’ll want to visit the Santos Museum of Economic Botany when you’re in Adelaide, Australia.

The museum has educated the public on the sources of food, drugs, and clothing that entered the economy of Australia during the 19th century.

Unearthing the Past

When you visit, you’ll learn about the historical uses of food, seeds, and other plants that were used in Australia during the Industrial Revolution. Believe it or not, at that time it became a priority for emerging industries to hide where their products came from. In addition, for more than a century, the Santos Museum of Economic Botany was instrumental in revealing contributions made by populations of Aboriginal peoples which would have otherwise remain hidden from public consciousness.

The Pomological Collection

Many consider this feature the highlight of the collections which you can see at the Santos Museum of Economic Botany. The Pomological Collection includes models of 129 pears and 192 apples, and serves as an intriguing look into the history of economic botany as it contains varieties which no longer exist today. The models were acquired for the museum in the late 1800s and are made out of papier-mâché. 

Santos Museum of Economic Botany: Permanent Exhibits

If you visit the Santos Museum today, you’ll be able to see permanent exhibits like the Fungi Model Showcase, which features over 200 models depicting fungi in different stages of growth. You’ll also see authentic fruit models from Germany that were used in the 1880s to educate farmers in setting up their crops.  

Although interest in the Santos Museum waned during the 20th century, the museum was renovated in 2009 and is capturing the interest of the public once again. The museum is now part of the Adelaide Botanical Garden, where you’ll have the opportunity to explore over 3000 items, many of which are presented with their original labels;

If you’re visiting Adelaide, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to explore this intriguing aspect of Australia’s past. For more information about the Santos Museum of Economic Botany, please contact us.

The Charles Dickens Statue in Australia

Did you know that there are a few statues of Charles Dickens in the entire world?

That’s because Charles Dickens had very specific wishes for how he wanted to be remembered in his will. 

Charles Dickens’ Will

Charles Dickens is one of the world’s most loved and well-known authors. His will stated that there were to be no public memorials built in his memory. He wanted to be remembered through his many works instead. 

For the most part, his wishes have been respected. However, there have been a few statues crafted to honor him throughout the world. You can find one of these statues in Sydney, Australia.

History of Sydney’s Statue

The Charles Dickens Statue in Sydney is in the Centennial Parklands. It’s believed to have been built and placed in the park around 1891, about 21 years after his death.

In 1971, most of the statues in the park were removed. The Charles Dickens statue was placed into storage and moved from one location to another for about 40 years, and no one knew its exact whereabouts during that time.

Throughout these years, there were quite a few inquiries as to its location, but in 2007, a letter was published asking about the Charles Dickens statue’s location, and it was finally located.

Restoring the Statue

When the statue of Charles Dickens was located, it needed some restoration. The head had been lost due to vandals and was also missing a baby finger, a scroll, and a quill. It took a year and a few tries to find the marble that matched the original. Photos of the original statue were used to recreate the missing pieces.

The Charles Dickens Statue Today

The Charles Dickens statue was placed at the junction of Dickens Drive and Loch Avenue, its location from 1897-1971. The statue was unveiled on Dicken’s 199th birthday in 2011. You can visit the statue at any time, but if you happen to visit on his birthday, you’ll find a celebration, including cake!

Sydney’s Sirius Building is Still Standing Tall

Sydney’s Sirius building is not only striking to look at, but it has one of the most unique histories of any building in the world.

Though there are many who still wish it would go away, the building has more than its share of fans who have fought throughout the decades to keep it standing.

Below we will discuss the history of the building, as well as the best way to see it when visiting Sydney, Australia. 

Brutalist

The Sirius building is Australia’s most noticeable example of “Brutalist” architecture. This bare-bones style literally means “raw concrete”, which is probably the best way to describe the 1970s era high-rise. This style gained popularity in the 1950s and 1960s and there are many surviving brutalist structures today. 

Changing Times

When the Sirius building was erected, Sydney’s “Rocks” area was not as developed as it is today and the Sirius building’s apartments were given to displaced public tenants. The area went through a kind of renaissance, and growing public sentiment did not approve of this now valuable space being used for city funded homes. This was met with much opposition from people who saw it an attack on the working class. 

There were multiple efforts to save this landmark building and give it heritage status, but it has yet to be awarded that distinction. There are continued efforts to make the protection of the Sirius building a priority, even after it was sold to a developer, who planned to renovate the building, in 2019.

If you plan to visit Sydney, Australia, those who are in the know contend that the view from the Sydney Harbor Bridge is the best way to see the Sirius building in all its glory. 

Sydney Australia’s Sirius building has a controversial past and many would still like to see the high-rise building torn down or at least completely remodeled. However, a growing number of people appreciate the building for its unique architectural style and history. It has survived so much and is still standing tall near Sydney Harbor. 

Balls Head Reserve: A Rare Aboriginal Carving of a Whale

One of the most interesting points of interest you’ll see while visiting Balls Head Reserve is the aboriginal carving of a whale. 

You’ll find the carving at the Coal Loader Centre for Sustainability. The first thing you’ll notice is the size.

The figure of the whale is approximately 20 feet long, making it one of the largest aboriginal carvings you’ll ever encounter. 

The Discovery

Workers who were responsible for helping renovate the Coal Loader were stunned when they discovered the carving. No one knew of it’s existence up until that point. Today, it is a one of the sites most people say they must view while they’re visiting the area. While everyone was surprised by the whale carving, there is a history of aboriginal carvings in that area. There is historic data that many carvings were mapped that dates back to 1899. Sadly, most of the carvings no longer exist, which makes the whale carving even more special.

Considering that it’s very old and that the area sustained significant damage the Coal Loader Centre was originally constructed, the whale carving is in surprisingly good condition. Although some of the original, shallow carvings have been eroded by time, the bulk of the carving is highly visible.

Activities at Balls Head Reserve

The Aboriginal Carving of the Whale is just one of the things you’ll enjoy when you visit Balls Head Reserve. Additional activities include touring the community nursery, shopping at the artisan market, and taking in one of the many environmental events that are frequently taking place near the whale carving. The site is open to public tours.

Take Me There!

The easiest way to view the Aboriginal Carving of the Whale is going to the Waverton Train Station. From there, it’s an easy 10 minute walk to the carving. The walk provides you with an excellent opportunity to take in the area’s natural beauty and catch sight of the remaining pieces of the original Coal Loader Centre.

Cockatoo Island: An Overview

History

Cockatoo Island, which is located in Sydney Harbour, has a rich and varied history.

From 1839-69 the island served as a penal colony for convicts.

Most of the prisoners who were shipped to the island were second time offenders. One of the two boatyards currently located on the island was constructed by the prisoners. While there are no longer prisoners on the island, Cockatoo Island is one of the 11 Australian Convict Sites listed with World Heritage.

The history of iron being taken from Cockatoo Island dates all the way back to the 1880s when Pearl Luggers loaded heavy iron rocks onto ships. The rocks were then used for various projects. In the 1920s exploration of the island was officially started, only to draw to close during WWII when Cockatoo Island served as both a refueling center for Catalina flying boats and as a radar station. Shortly after the end of WWII, BHP started mining the island’s rich iron deposits. At the peak of the mining operation, miners collected 2 million tons of 67% Fe Iron Ore annually. At that point, Cockatoo Island was home to 350 people.

The most recent feather in the island’s history is that in 2008 it served as the backdrop for a few scenes in the highly successful, 2008 movie, Wolverine.

Visiting

While the island no longer has any full-time inhabitants, it is a major tourist attraction. The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust manages Cockatoo Island and has dedicated a great deal of time and other resources to preserving the structures that were created by both the convicts and mining families who once called the island home. 

Today tourists are invited to explore Cockatoo Island. You can reach the island via Sydney Ferries. You have the option of either spending a day on the island, exploring the old buildings, or you can take advantage of the opportunity to go glamping on Cockatoo Island. No special equipment is needed for your overnight glamping stay. You are able to stay in the pre-pitched army tents or in one of the designated buildings.

Cockatoo Island is often used for festivals and concerts that take place throughout the year.

Museum Tours and Rare Diseases?

Located in Kensington, New South Wales, the heart of Sydney, is the Museum of Human Disease.

You can find over 2,700 specimens of disease filled human tissue.

What to Know When Visiting

If you’re planning a visit to witness firsthand all of the interesting pathology that’s been studied, get excited for the low cost of touring. You’ll find that it’s only a $10 charge per adult to go through the museum and enjoy the historical platform. Teachers, UNSW staff and students get in for free, and holiday and event programs run year round. Being the only publicly accessible medical pathology collection, you’re certain to learn a thing or two.  

The museum originally opened in the 1960s to provide education to the public, regarding the importance of managing your health and lifestyle choices. Viewing displays, you’ll find diseases that no longer exist, are rare and reflect changes in our society in the present-day, as well as potential future threats when visiting. Learning about all of the diseases we have faced and are facing, gives you the upper hand at knowing your enemies. 

Rare Findings at The Museum of Human Disease

You may find specimens obtained via autopsy or a surgical removal while walking around. Each display offers information on abnormalities, history and clinical descriptions that are available. From inflammation of a gallbladder to brain tumors, heart attacks and close-ups of chronic ulcers – there are plenty of organs on display to showcase the impact we have on our bodies as well as diseases. Learn about unique diseases from around the world and what we’ve accomplished in curing them.

Before planning your visit, check out the interactive images offered by the museum online. 

You may want to leave the cameras and snacks at home though, as they are not permitted inside the museum. You can choose to settle for concessions close by, or branch out to various restaurants in the city to enjoy after finishing your tour and learning all of the amazing ways the pathology field progresses daily. 

Sources: 

Interactive Images and history – http://web.med.unsw.edu.au/pathmus/default.htm

Pricing, general rules, and booking – https://www.diseasemuseum.med.unsw.edu.au/visiting

Take a Ride Through Time at the Sydney Bus Museum

Looking for a bit of historical fun on your trip to Sydney?

The Sydney Bus Museum is home to a collection of retired buses that date back to the 1920s. What’s even better than that… You can ride them!

Here’s what you need to know:

The Museum Basics

Headed up by a team of history-loving volunteers, the Sydney Bus Museum is open to the public on the first and third Sunday of each month from 10 am to 4 pm. With your entry ticket, you get all-day access to the museum and unlimited rides for the day on the running buses. The bus ride takes visitors 6 kilometers (3.7 miles) to the Queen Victoria Building and then loops back to the museum in Leichhardt.

What’s in the Collection?

There are twenty-six New South Wales (NSW) government buses, eighteen buses that were previously privately owned and operated, and fourteen additional international buses and smaller vehicles such as tow trucks and training cabs.

The oldest bus in the collection is the Ruggles from 1924. The Ruggles was operated as a private bus by The Riley Brothers until it was retired in 1946. It took on a new life as a food truck in the 1960s and 1970s and was unused for some time until its discovery and restoration by the museum in 1978.

Buy a Piece of History

The museum gift shop has the usual items you’d expect such as model trains and collectible t-shirts, but this “Bus Shop” offers so much more. There are many original historical pieces for sale such as vintage signs, ticket machines, destination rolls, and conductor bags. Check the website for the latest items available as they are subject to change.

Volunteers 

“Working together as a team to preserve and promote Sydney’s road transport history.”

The mission of the museum is clear, and the volunteers work together to make it all possible. Every position, from the drivers and conductors, to the guides and administration, is filled on a volunteer basis. Each volunteer follows a strict code of conduct with the aim of preserving these wonderful historical treasures.

The Sydney Bus Museum is definitely worth the trip, so be sure to plan ahead to view and ride these historical buses.