(HMAS) Sydney day trip

Darragh Christie, 21 November 2019 · #

Five years ago I started on this project with a post about the 100th anniversary of HMAS Sydney’s victory over the SMS Emden on 09/11/1914. Much has been written since, but I thought it would be nice to mark the date by visiting the Sydney / Emden sites around the Harbour. My initial idea of visiting all sites in one day did not eventuate, but a travel guide (of sorts) follows.

Under the Bridge

Above: bow of HMAS Sydney at Milsons Point. Photo by the author 9/11/15; and below, 09/11/15

Above: The HMAS Sydney Bow under the Harbour Bridge, at the end of a very hot day. The city had been obscured by bush fire smoke. It was clearing with the southerly wind change but enough haze remained to turn the setting sun red, creating an atmospheric orange glow. In stark contrast to Nov. 2015,when I was forced to seek shelter under the Bridge after a torrential storm swept through whilst taking photos:

On the Headland

Near the bottom of North Sydney pool it is possible to board a 230 bus to Mosman. Its terminating stop is a short foreshore walk from the Bradleys Head Mast memorial.

An alternative and recommended way to get to the Mast memorial is by ferry from Milson’s Point to Circular Quay then change for the Mosman Ferry service.

Above HMAS Sydney mast at Bradleys Head seen from Watsons Bay to Circular Quay ferry. Photo by the Author.

From the Taronga Zoo wharf it is again a short scenic stroll to the Amphitheater and Mast overlooking Sydney Harbour.

It is hard to reconcile the horror and carnage onboard the Emden and the suffering of her crew in such an idyllic setting. The words of Alderman Jack Carroll’s speech at the official commemoration ceremony in 1934 offered hope for the future:

This mast of the ex-HMAS “Sydney” under the shadow of which we now stand, is dedicated with no militant spirit; with no idea of perpetuating the alleged glories of war, and, least of all, inculcating any sentiment of national boastfulness. Rather it is a dedication in a spirit of peace and of respect and gratitude to the great and many sacrifices of that silent but efficient service… My fervent wish is that the mast will become a treasured memorial for our people and one from which future generations may absorb inspiration and guidance to fulfill their destiny …

Photo of Sydney Mast take by ‘Doing Our Bit’ founder Bernard de Broglio. Bernard contributed many articles to the site and continues original and interesting research, especially in the area of early aviation.

If you have time, a break at Athol Hall is nice. Travellers beware! Keep an eye on your food or a renegade Kookaburra might swoop down and gobble it up. They’re almost as bad as the seagulls at Balmoral Beach…;)

There are some wonderful foreshore walks around this area. You can download them from the Mosman Council site, or pop into the Library for a hard copy (while stocks last!)

Oh yes, the walk around Cremorne Point, Neutral Bay is also highly recommended…

In the Park

A ferry ride back to Circular Quay or 247 bus from Taronga will take you into the city. If you have time take a walk through the Botanical Gardens, past the “Art Gallery.” If not one of the new trams will take you up George St. After a pleasant stroll through to the Hyde Park you will arrive at the ANZAC Memorial. Nearby the Emden gun, ‘unveiled’ in December 1917, points eastwards up Oxford St.

Sydney memorial in Hyde park. SMS Emden Gun pointing up Oxford St. Photo by the author. Taken on 100th anniversary of its unveiling 21/11/2017.

The ANZAC Memorial has been extensively renovated. The exhibitions a are a must-see. Look out for other events. Consider taking a guided tour.

The Royal Australian Naval Heritage Center at Garden Island has Sydney / Emden artifacts on display (and a part of a Midget Sub sunk in 1942). The National Maritime Museum at Darling Harbour, is also recommended for the nautically inclined.

Hyde Park ANZAC Memorial seen from above. The Emden gun is located in the top left hand corner of this photo. Source: Wikicommons

Links to relevant DOB 14-18 articles

A day at Hyde Park Memorial

Sydney v Emden, a century later

HMAS Sydney’s mast dedication, 80 years ago today

Sydney’s mast not destined for ‘Sow and Pigs’

After Cocos: Sydney-Emden memorial unveiled!

After Cocos: HMAS Sydney’s progress

After Cocos: Holsworthy Concentration Camp