Monday, April 2, 2018

In Search of Flinders’ Cat, etc.

Flinder’s Cat, Trim

Today we went in search of Sydney’s public art.  It’s easy to find; it’s everywhere.  Near our apartment is a small enclosed street, Angel Place, where a multitude of various styled and sized bird cages hang about 30-40 feet above the pavement.  From each cage a bird song plays.  The cages and the songs represent birds that once lived in Sydney, but have disappeared due to human encroachment.  The area is only a pedestrian pass through, which adds to the isolation and loss.  

Forgotten Songs at Alice Place

From Alice Place we walked through Martin Place past the Lloyd Rees Fountain.  Rees was an Australian artist who was very civic minded.  He partially funded the fountain in this pedestrian mall.  There is beautiful architecture here in this rather civic space that cuts north to south through the CBD. The fountain was featured in the film The Matrix.  

Lloyd Rees Fountain, Martin Place

Our next destination was the Public Library.  But we had to stop and rub il Porcelinno’s nose again before arriving at the spot where the sculpture to the memory of Trim stands.  Trim was Captain Matthew Flinders’ cat who traveled the world with him.  They circumnavigated Australia and even went to prison together when Flinders was arrested for espionage.  Trim sits on a library window sill behind a sculpture of Flinders.  A more detailed accounting of Trim’s adventures can be read at

The State Library of NSW is a large reference and research library.  It is the oldest library in Australia, established in 1826.  An addition, The Mitchell Building, has an ornate vestibule and a marble mosaic map.  It was here we entered and began to explore.  There is a very modern addition that houses large computer labs filled with people.  (Not all were pursuing high minded goals on those machines either.). We wandered through, took a look at the closed Shakespeare room, and exited at Shakespeare Place to find the Memorial to Shakespeare. 

Memorial to Shakespeare

On the way home we found Frank Stella art in a Harry Seidler building, an Alexander Calder stabile sitting on a corner, and a small child hanging at another corner.  The most interesting find was the Tank Stream Fountain which paid homage to the stream that once provided water to the European settlers.  It was this stream that caused Admiral Phillips to choose Jackson Port rather than Botany Bay as the area to settle. Other than a culvert, the fountain is the only remaining evidence of the stream. 
Pictures at flickr.

Tank Stream Fountain