Australia, the ‘Lucky Country’, is a country steeped in history. From ancient Aboriginal landmarks to sites associated with the more recent colonial era, to buildings celebrating its ethnic diversity, there is plenty to keep any history enthusiast busy on a trip to Australia.
Iconic Structures and Immigrant Heritage
One of Australia’s most famous landmarks is the Sydney Harbour Bridge, located in the heart of downtown Sydney. Sometimes referred to by locals as ‘The Coathanger’ due to the arches which dominate its design, crossing the bridge can be done by car, on foot or by rail and it’s a journey which every visitor to Sydney should make. The view of the Sydney Opera House alone makes the crossing worthwhile. Built in 1932, the bridge is the widest long-span bridge in the world. Eight lanes of traffic cross its span.
The North Head Quarantine Station in Sydney is another iconic Australian location. This range of heritage-listed buildings occupies a special place in Australian history, as it was where many recent immigrants were housed during the 19th and 20th centuries. Many of the early equipment and tools used by immigrants have been preserved and the stone buildings remain almost in their original state. Legend has it that many of the building are haunted and that ghosts lurk behind the ancient walls…
Hands Across the Sea to China
A different kind of immigrant contribution to Australia’s past can be found at the Chinese Garden of Friendship. This monument was donated to the city of Sydney by Guangdong City, its twin cuty in China, to commemorate Australia’s bicentenary in 1987. This quintessential Chinese garden, modelled on the private gardens which were prevalent in China during the Ming Dynasty, is a peaceful and serene place to visit. One important feature is the Dragon Wall, a sign of the bond between New South Wales and Guangzhou Province. Visitors can also enjoy refreshments at a Chinese tea room.
Barrenjoey Lighthouse is another 19th century Sydney landmark, having been constructed in 1881. Located in the Sydney suburb of Palm Beach, it is located on an island which is linked to the mainland by a sand spit. This beautiful sandstone feature is a very well-known landmark on the New South Wales coast. As well as the building itself, a visit is worthwhile for the remarkable views of the ocean and coastline that the island affords.
New South Wales Seat of Power
Anyone interested in the political history of Australia should be sure to visit the beautiful Parliament House in Sydney. The original building dates back to 1816 and it now houses the Parliament of New South Wales. The main building is a two-storey Georgian affair, with two neo-Gothic buildings on its flanks. Interestingly, its design and construction was fraught with difficulties and problems relating to building short-cuts were still being found as late as the 1980s. The building can be found on the east side of Macquarie Street and public tours are held on a regular basis.