Most modern cities have that certain place where it all began. For Sydney, and consequently Australia, that place is The Rocks.
Constructed from the native Sydney sandstone this section of the city has history literally etched into its walls. Convicts were required to hew a certain amount of sandstone bricks from the earth and to keep track scratchings were made on each brick in a person’s specific style. These characteristic bricks can be seen throughout the city, witnesses to the hard work of the early Australians.
Tuesday for class we took a tour of The Rocks and the surrounding area of downtown Sydney. The first stop was the Customs House.
Next came Foundation Park and the story of the beginning of the new colony. The most amazing part about The Rocks is the absolute transformation it has undergone. It was, at one time full of brothels, opium houses and nimble thieves. It was planned to be leveled and turned into “more useful architecture.” Citizens of Sydney vouched for its historical significance and now it has become a trendy place to go for a date on a Friday night. There is everything from costly apparel stores to tourist traps as well as unique local shops such as the Honey Shop which showcases honey cultivated around Australia. One cannot visit, let alone study, Sydney and miss out on The Rocks.
Even with the makeover The Rocks remains an important place to study modern Australia as it bears the marks of where it all began.