|View of Sydney through the clouds, May 2013 :-)|
I have a 'soft spot' for Sydney. It was in that city that I first managed to navigate my way through a strange place when I was 18 years old. Growing up in Aussie/Italian culture, being independent was not an option. By the time I was 18 and at Teachers College, I was given a bit more freedom. So that's why I found myself travelling to Melbourne by train on a cheap ticket, with no sleeper compartment; instead it was sit up all the way (It cost $33 return ! ) . In Melbourne I stayed with a friend of my mother's. The journey to Melbourne consisted of 2 parts; firstly a train from South Brisbane station to Central station in Sydney. From there, a traveller had to then catch another train to Melbourne.
In those days, there were 2 trains each day which left Brisbane for Sydney. I caught the early afternoon train from Brisbane, the very misnamed, 'Brisbane Express', which got into Sydney Central station at about 7am. I remember how different the carriages were compared to the local suburban trains. They were just like ones I'd seen in movies; with the corridor and the compartments with 2 bench seats in each. When we arrived in Sydney next morning, the Daylight Express bound for Melbourne, left from the other side of the same platform at 7.45 am ... no problems there.
|South Brisbane station as it was in 1970; I wasn't catching that train as it's obviously a livestock train, lol!|
|The carriages on the Brisbane Express were like the ones in this photo found on the internet...|
On the return journey, the evening train from Melbourne also arrived in Sydney early in the morning, but the train to Brisbane didn't leave until 6.33pm. Some other friends of my parents, who also lived in Melbourne had given me a small map of Sydney's CBD. These friends also suggested I fill in some of the day in Sydney by catching the hydrofoil to Manly.
So it was, armed with this map, I walked out of Central Station, got my bearings and started off in the general direction of Circular Quay. On the recent short break that DH and I had in Sydney, I've found myself recalling snippets of details of that first visit.
|Photo found on the internet of a street scene in Sydney in 1970!|
I remember I walked past a Coles store (Coles variety not supermarket) and thought I'd check whether they had a cafeteria like the one did in Brisbane. They did, so I had some breakfast there. Then I continued walking and went into a few shops...I ended up buying a gift for my mum in Grace Brothers, the department store. I felt a bit tired then, as I hadn't slept very well sitting up on the train overnight from Melbourne. I happened to catch sight of a movie theatre on my walk through the city, so I decided to go in. I wanted to see the film but it was also an excellent way to have a rest! lol (I'd forgotten about that until the just the other week when we were in Sydney)
After the movie I started my walk again...I remember the frisson of excitement when I caught glimpses of that famous bridge...and I kept on walking until I got to the quay! And of course I caught the hydrofoil to Manly, marvelled at sailing past the iconic Opera House, and after reaching Manly, had a walk around there and then caught the ordinary ferry back to Circular Quay.
|Image of Circular Quay in 1970 (photo found on the 'net)|
And then I found where to catch a train back to Central and I still have this memory of being a bit scared because the doors of the carriage had been left opened and as the train raced through the tunnels, the open door made it very noisy! When I got back to Central , I was lost! I didn't recognise anything! I kept calm and walked outside and walked around the block. Then I found the right part of the station...I'd arrived back in the 'Suburban' part of the station but I needed the Interstate and Country trains platforms. Whew! Lol
|Carriage similar to the one that I rode back to Central station from Circular Quay|
Looking back to all those years ago, I'm amazed how well I did in finding my way in a new place. The term, 'spread your wings' is an expression that means, ' to do new and different things' and I know that my first go at spreading my wings is pretty low key, compared to what others did or have done, but it's still a fond memory!
The 'old train' services such as the Brisbane Express, The Limited Express, the Fruit Express no longer run of course...passengers use the XPT service which eventually came all the way to Brisbane.
Look what I found trawling the net looking for information about the old services; an old timetable, dated 1969! Now I realise that it would be difficult to read so here is a link to the page. there are actually 2 more pages of information at that site.
So that's some memories that my recent trip to Sydney evoked :-)