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!

Toronto Music Garden: A Work of Art

Inspired by the classical music of Bach, this exceptional garden is the collaborative vision of cellist Yo-Yo Ma,

and Boston landscape designer Julie Moir Messervy.

Echoing six musical movements, Toronto Music Garden depicts Bach’s First Suite for Unaccompanied Cello in its design. The garden’s intended home was Boston, but plans were scuppered by city regulations and red tape. Toronto Mayor Barbara Hall, Director of Parks Susan Richardson, and philanthropist Jim Fleck rescued the garden and provided the site for its creation.

Toronto Inherits Beauty

In the late 1990s, Yo-yo Ma had a great interest in the French-German theologian Albert Schweitzer. Their shared love for Bach’s music gave birth to a beautiful idea. Yo-Yo Ma began a film, now called “Inspired by Bach”, based on the six dance movements within the work. The cellist felt that nature was intrinsic to the music. A beautiful, artistic, magical garden was needed to create this musical environment. The lakeside property was perfectly located, stretching along the western edge of Harbourfront. Julie Moir Messervy transformed the site into a garden using natural elements to evoke different moods describing the six musical movements. 

Visitors Begin a Musical Journey

Prelude describes a flowing river. Evenly spaced Hackberry trees visually divide the land, imparting tempo and rhythm to the environment. The visual riverbed flows into the Allemande. A thickly planted Birch forest gives the German Dance a European setting. Visitors see a Maypole and find themselves in the lively, spiraling French Courante. Calming the Courante, Serabande brings serenity and stability to the garden. Pine trees form an arc-like grove around a large rock with a reflecting pool. Guests then enter the fifth movement, Menuet, symmetrically designed, with a circular performance area. The last movement, the triumphant and lively Gigue, opens into an amphitheater with grass-covered steps and waterfront views.

Toronto, on the northern shore of Lake Ontario, is the perfect site for this award-winning garden. From conception to realization, the garden is a celebration of life. There is nothing like it in the world.

The Green Bazaar: A Kazakh Immersion Experience

In the former capital of Kazakhstan, Almaty, stands the Green Bazaar, a coruscating swirl of bright color and exotic scents above the cacophony of good-natured haggling.

The carnival atmosphere spins you through a bewildering array of stalls displaying anything from ripe sweet melons to sheep heads to embroidered cloth and souvenirs. There is something for everyone, and if you go with an open mind, you never know what you may find!

A Feast for the Senses

Inside the Bazaar, or Green Market, vendors offer samples of traditional Kazakh foods, from fermented mare’s milk, kymyz, to horse meat sausages, to dried figs and apricots and sheep-head soup over noodles. In fact, a variety of foods from countries throughout Central Asia can be found among the crowded stalls and stands. Once you have eaten a hearty meal, peruse the stalls of spices, medicinal herbs, cut flowers, and soft embroidered cloth hats in a riotous feast for all your senses!

A Cultural Experience

Almaty, the “city of apple trees” is the largest city in Kazakhstan, with a population of 1.4 million in 2010. As a cultural and commercial center for the country of Kazakhstan, the city offers unique opportunities for visitors to immerse themselves in Kazakh culture. The city itself was established relatively recently as a Russian military outpost in 1854, on the site of a former city razed in the 13th century Mongol invasion. Not long after the city was established, the Zelionyj Bazaar appeared in 1875, as a stopover for traveling merchants. Over the past 100 years, it has grown from a small market for a few merchants to a two-story bazaar, the largest in Almaty, with the most diverse selection of food and trade goods in the city.

Sources:

Rohini Chacki. “Zelionyj Bazaar – Almaty, Kazakhstan”. Gastro Obscura. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/zelionyj-green-bazaar. Accessed 24 August 2019.

Charles Baudelaire. “Green Bazaar in Almaty”. Silk Road Adventures. https://silkadv.com/en/content/green-bazaar-almaty. Accessed 24 August 2019.

“Green Bazaar”. Explore Almaty. https://www.almaty-kazakhstan.net/attractions/entertainment/green-bazaar/. Accessed 24 August 2019

https://www.lonelyplanet.com/kazakhstan/almaty/attractions/green-market/a/poi-sig/1384125/356858

Explore Kazakhstan.https://www.almaty-kazakhstan.net/. 2017. Accessed 24 August 2019.

Editors of Encyclopedia Britannica. “Almaty”. Encyclopedia Britannica. https://www.britannica.com/place/Almaty-Kazakhstan. Accessed 24 August 2019.

Forgotten Songs at Angel Place

Forgotten Songs is a striking visual and audio sculpture located at Angel Place in Sydney, Australia.

The sculpture combines the jarring image of bird cages suspended above the walkway with recordings of 50 native birds that formerly inhabited the Sydney area.

It provides an eloquent object lesson concerning the changes humans have wrought in their thirst for development, and encourages the observer to consider their own place in the birds’ former habitat.

It Takes a Village

Forgotten Songs was conceptualized by artist Michael Thomas Hill to draw attention to the many species of birds who have lost their homes due to habitat destruction since the arrival of European settlers in 1788. The resulting artwork was fully realized through the efforts of a team of scientists, artists, programmers, designers. Dr. Richard Major, the senior research scientist on the project, analyzed the habitat, soil, and water availability in the area to determine which birds would likely have existed in the area prior to European settlement. He further determined which of the birds were diurnal and which nocturnal, so that the sculpture could be programmed to play the songs of the birds that are active at a given time of day. Actual audio recordings of the birds were procured in the field by Fred van Gessel.

In addition to Hill’s artistry, van Gessel’s recordings, and Dr. Major’s research, the final product can be attributed to Lightwell (Audio System Design and Programming), Freeman Ryan Design (Graphic Design), and Aspect Studio (Landscape Architecture). The result is a haunting and ghostly composition of bird songs and imagery to remind us of birds who no longer grace the trees of central Sydney.

A Call To Action

According to the Australian Department of Environment and Energy, 50 species and 81 subspecies of Australian birds are currently endangered, including 8 species and 14 subspecies that are categorized as extinct. The primary cause of animal endangerment and extinction worldwide is loss of habitat due to human development. Forgotten Songs is meant to recall the beauty of the habitat that has been lost, and to remind the observer that we must all work together to take action before it is too late. 

Sources:

“Forgotten Songs”. City of Sydney City Art. https://www.cityartsydney.com.au/artwork/forgotten-songs/. Accessed 25 August 2019.

“Numbers of Living Species in Australia and the World”. Australian Department of The Environment and Energy. https://www.environment.gov.au/science/abrs/publications/other/numbers-living-species/discussion-chordates. Accessed 25 August 2019.

The Butterfly Room: Tasteful Taxidermy

The Singapore House of Frewville, South Australia offers an exciting mix of Asian tropical and British Colonial decor.

The Butterfly Room has proven to be the crowning glory of the Singapore House’s diverting style.

The Butterfly Room has proven to be the crowning glory of the Singapore House’s diverting style.

Asian Fusion and Eclectic Decor

The creative geniuses behind Singapore House’s unique cuisine and fascinating design are Montie and Hailey Waraich. The Singapore House combines the dishes of Montie’s North India home with Southeast Asian fare to create flavor combinations that will satisfy even the most ardent foodie. The design of the restaurant cultivates an atmosphere of casual eclecticism, with ornate Persian rugs, flowery hanging lights, and wicker and hardwood furniture. The colonial-era obsession with taxidermy as decoration is tastefully evident throughout the restaurant, but nowhere is it more striking than in the Butterfly Room.

A Fascinating Exhibit

The Butterfly Room features a dark hardwood decor, which lends the private dining area a more intimate appeal. However, it is undeniable that the most striking aspect of the Butterfly Room is the butterflies. More than 600 shimmering butterfly specimens adorn the walls, pinned to boards singly or in pairs, and placed in display frames in a continuous layer from ceiling to bar. The delicate, preserved bodies of butterfly species from around the world offer a dazzling exhibit as intriguing as it is delightful. The Butterfly Room is large enough for various private events, and has its own small bar. It serves as a unique venue for private parties and events year-round, and has become a must-see for people from around the world.

Sources:

“The Butterfly Room – Frewville, Australia”. Atlas Obscura. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/the-butterfly-room-frewville-australia. Accessed 25 August 2019.

“About Us”. Singapore House. https://www.singaporehouse.com.au/. Accessed 25 August 2019.

“Singapore House”. Event Scene. https://www.eventscene.com.au/function-venues-adelaide-listings/203-glen-osmond-rd-frewville-sa-5063-singapore-house/. Accessed 25 August 2019.

Jenny Butler. “The Butterfly Room”. Apartment Therapy. https://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-butterfly-room-123726. 5 August 2010. Accessed 25 August 2019.

Neely Karimi. “Restaurant With One of the Coolest Walls Is About to Turn Ten, The Singapore House Story”. Glam Adelaide. https://glamadelaide.com.au/restaurant-with-one-of-the-coolest-walls-is-about-to-turn-10-the-singapore-house-story/. 7 June 2019. Accessed 25 August 2019.

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.