Image Left: Australia Square designed by Harry Seidler

Image Right: Sydney Conservatorium of Music

Today I started my training as a volunteer guide for the Australian Architecture Association. I joined my group at the Customs House building at Circular Quay and despite inclement weather, was really looking forward to the following two hours.

We visited ten buildings, including several by architect, Harry Seidler and I looked at Sydney in a completely different way from the way I have done before; usually not looking up! Many of the buildings I was familiar with (QANTAS, GPO, Australia Square, Conservatorium of Music) but many I had never really “seen” before, which is amazing considering I’ve lived in Sydney for three decades (not consecutively)!

Uncovering some of Sydney’s history was a fascinating look into this city’s beginnings and although I’d heard of the “tank stream” wasn’t really sure what, or where, it was. Now I know!

I hadn’t even been inside the renovated GPO Building – and that work was carried out in the 1990s. How could that be? I just don’t go into the city that often to be honest, or if I do it’s not for a casual walk around; rather it’s to go to a specific destination.

I have now discovered places that I’ll be going back to and hopefully, taking friends and visitors to.

Left: the City Mutual Life Building is a beautiful example of Art Deco – my favourite period style.

Right: QANTAS House. Designed by Rudder, Littlemore & Rudder and completed in 1957, this is a classic early example of a curtain wall design that still takes the breath away. Photograph by Michael Miller.

One tour I am looking forward to is the Bar Tour! Discovering some of the City’s watering holes will be most enlightening I’m sure and I hear that the tour of Justin Hemmes’ Ivy is not to be missed.

During the summer the AAA runs Twilight Tours. On a balmy Sydney evening that would be a fabulous experience followed by dinner or drinks in one of the many fine establishments that make Sydney such a popular destination with both locals and visitors.

I do hope you take the time to enjoy one of these tours and discover a side of Sydney you may never have seen before; you might even join me on one.

For more information: www.architecture.org.au