I’m delighted to say I am back on line. My computer’s memory has been restored – although due to the archaic University of Sydney computer system, it seems to take twice as long to do anything. Some blog readers reported that when they received my last post (Not just riding ferries, drinking coffee and digging dinosaurs) they were prompted to give a password. I’m not sure how that happened, but I’m blaming the university’s internet protocols. If this happens again, just copy the URL for the blog (https://dennisschatz.wordpress.com/) into your favourite browser and you will directly go to the blog site.
This post is not an academic comparison of the University of Queensland (UQ) and University of Sydney (USYD), but a physical comparison. I was directly connected with the UQ faculty in Brisbane, but I am only peripherally associated with USYD. I am staying at the USYD International House (IH), but my research is being done at the Powerhouse Museum (http://www.powerhousemuseum.com) and the New South Wales State Library (http://www.sl.nsw.gov.au/) where I’m using their research libraries/services to understand what it was like for children to grow up in Australia in the mid-1800s and the during WWI.
I have the opportunity to stay at IH because I lived here in a “previous life” 41 years ago as a solar astrophysicist working for the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO) Division of Physics, which was on the USYD campus at that time. The building I worked in has heritage status, so still stands.
My office was in the tower – a grand location to view the surrounding area. I think no one wanted the offices because it was too many stairs to climb.
A panorama just across the street from IH – the circular building and seven story housing unit attached to it – shows that that USYD is a campus surrounded by busy streets not far from the CBD (Central Business District).
UQ is a suburban campus occupying a peninsula on the bend of the Brisbane River. A lake and pleasant walking paths exist through much of the campus.
USYD, being the oldest university in the country (celebrating its 159th anniversary this coming year), has more historic buildings, one with a highly manicured quad and ivy-covered archways.
Both universities have stately Jacaranda trees, with their intense blue flowers, juxtaposed against campus buildings and producing a bluish carpet of petals below.
But UQ has many more Jacarandas throughout the campus as you can see in the panorama view. There aren’t many campuses like UQ where you can walk to work via a pleasant path along a river, with its splendid views and places to rest and be thoughtful.
I reached my 10,000 steps each day by walking back to my college along the river. At dusk, thousands of Rainbow Lorikeets fill the trees, their chirping making so much noise you have to almost have to yell to be heard by your walking partner.
You can’t easily see the birds, although I did capture some silhouettes of them against the twilight sky. If they filled the trees in the middle of the day, the rainbow of colors on each bird would make quite a sight.
USYD may not have a river to walk along and the main sound at twilight is from the cars and buses speeding along City Road ten meters from my apartment, but a 20 minute bus ride takes you to Circular Quay (pronounced “key”) – which is not circular by square. From there you can walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, take a ferry across the harbour or walk around the Sydney Opera House.
The bridge walkway isn’t usually this busy, but this was the day that one of the local newspapers sponsored the “Seven Bridges Walk” — an event to support cancer research where you can walk 28.5 km and cross seven bridges around Sydney Harbour. I made 7 km and then stopped at a friends house for drinks and relaxation. Somehow I just never got going again, although I probably covered another 2 km to get back to IH.
For now it is off to the Powerhouse Museum to learn about netball, the game of “knuckles” and the origins of Vegemite — all good topics for future posts.