In Sydney last week for the AMP Innovation and Thought Leadership Festival where I’d been invited to facilitate a couple of workshops, one on Web 2.0 “for dummies” and one on Blogging 101. Great group of people and it was stimulating to be in an environment where people were taking time out from their regular work commitments to participate in such an event.

From the hotel room in the excellent Four Seasons (for people who haven’t been in Sydney for a while that’s formerly the Regent), I had a great view of Sydney Harbour, especially the Sydney Opera  House. That was actually the evening before the announcement of  the Sydney Opera House’s listing on the World Heritage register.

The few pictures I took through the glass may not win prizes but show the opera house as Sydneysiders and visitors see it, not so much as an icon standing alone (as in tourist brochures) but as a place people visit, perform in and are entertained in (see the people on the forecourt) and as situated within a working port (hopefully it will stay a working port and not lose its character in the cause of the enrichment of property developers crowding the foreshore with yet more apartment buildings).

For many Sydneysiders, the ferries like the green and gold one on the mid left of this picture are the vehicle of daily commuting. The other, white vessels in the picture are I think tourist craft.

I thought this picture was interesting because it shows the opera house in relation to one of the ships that pass regularly to and fro. The ship is about to pass under the Sydney Harbour Bridge, out of shot, to the left of the picture.

The picture reminded me that one very pleasurable experience is to be in one of the opera house bar areas, glass of bubbly in hand, watching through the floor to ceiling, full length glass, at interval in a concert or other performance, when a ship passes by.

The ferries in the forefront of this picture are the newer, sleeker government ferries. I don’t think they have the charm of the older ones but no doubt they are more efficient.

The small segment of building with the flag flying, in the bottom left of the picture, is part of the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA). It is housed in a building that was a heritage challenge, the Art Deco, former Maritime Services Board building, which a lot of people thought not very prepossessing but which was also thought by various experts to have such heritage value as not to be eligible for the knockdown treatment. Interestingly, the MCA “history” page does not record the drama of the process – or the lobbying – whereby the building became an art museum.

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