JACARANDA CRUISE ON SYDNEY HARBOUR
on Wednesday 6th November 2019
FROM PURPLE RAIN TO PURPLE CARPET: Jacaranda mimosifolia
After exiting Wynyard station, our group of nineteen took the impressive Wynyard Walk for fast and easy access through to King Street Wharf No. 1. We were amazed at the number of people using the harbour-side eateries or just taking in the ambience. We were lucky to have a glorious sunny day, little wind or cloud, and a sparkling serene harbour.
We gathered together to board and take our seats at the booked table. Our commentator was Graham Ross, horticulturist, plantsman and garden media presenter, who referred to his long career in horticulture, starting the Garden Clinic Radio Show on 2GB in 1980 and gardening presenter on Better Homes and Gardens since 1995.
Leaving the wharf we cruised past the high-rise buildings of Darling Harbour, along the foreshore including the new Crown Casino’s complex, admiring the lush plant growth at the Barangaroo Reserve. Graham commenced his very comprehensive description of the passing parade of Sydney’s best views on the southern side of the harbour, along ‘millionaires’ row through to Rose Bay. Near Shark Island we crossed to the northern shoreline past Bradley’s Head and the Zoo, Neutral Bay, designated for foreign ships as a safe harbour, a close view of Admiralty and Kirribilli House and Ball’s Head and Ball’s Bay.
When we entered the Lane Cove River the jacaranda trees became more prolific and, as the afternoon progressed, the light changed and the flowers seemed to become bluer. Those painterly canopies contrast beautifully against the warm yellow of Sydney sandstone and the scarlet flare of the Illawarra flame tree and the occasional crimson bougainvillea – often planted in close proximity. Graham described the development of the white jacaranda, named by him ‘White Christmas’, as it flowers close to Christmas.
We continued within sight of Riverview College and the Lane Cove Bridge before sailing along the southern shoreline of the river. Everywhere we could view lilac canopies happily growing amongst suburban housing and gardens. Many foreshore sites have been redeveloped into expensive residential homes all of which have magnificent harbour views.
Hunters Hill and Woolwich had excellent displays of purple magic. As we left Balmain, we had a close look at the Cockatoo, Spectacle, and Snapper Islands, important when Sydney was a working harbour. An example of changes to harbour use, we were amazed at the redevelopment of White Bay as a cruise terminal, so close to the Anzac Bridge.
En route we were served tea or coffee and a muffin, while Graham continued his commentary, including comprehensive information on the First Fleet and Captain Arthur Phillip. As we disembarked we thanked him for his excellent commentary covering a wide range of topics.
A delightful day was had by all, with thanks to team leader, Robbie Ford.
© Arthur Phillip Chapter of Fellowship of First Fleeters 2020-
Source: https://www.google.com.au; www.rosstours.com
Images courtesy of G. Doyle