A Summer City Walk by Colleen Keating

A summer city walk

We might live up in the hills amongst the trees and birds
but a pleasant train trip has us in the heart of the city
in just on a hour

Our walk into Hyde Park past the Pool of Reflection
through the War Memorial past the Mary McKillop tribute
along Macquarie Street to our first coffee stop


like a Narnia cupboard our State library
is a portal to another world.
we begin with Cafe Trim for a morning coffee

Had to smile how famous is this cat Trim *
statues in his honour in England and here
books written and now a cafe in its name

a quiet walk through the displayed collection
one painting catches my attention
Maria Little c. 1895 worthy of a poem *

across into the Botanical gardens
where the same tree pulls us up every time
its presence so grand that one’s memory

cannot hold it as such and so each time
we meet it one stops and sighs deeply
as if in its presence for the first time

the Calyx was where we walked and sat
amidst a kaleidoscope of colour
plants and passion

close up of the Wollemi Pine
had me in adoration before nature
its early place in evolutions

looking close up at its binary nature
a tree that lived and survived before
even insects evolved

used wind only for pollination
needing the updraft from valley floors
to secure its continuation

Hildegard would’ve given her approved nod
to The Green Wall
and its 18.000 plants

with shades of green in great variety
and spelling out the word Diversity
this ambience gave us a restful vibe

Further on we walked in a wild English garden
mesmerised by the colours
and enterprise of bees and butterflies


a shady spot midst sandstone outcrops
and sparkling vista of a busy harbour
our picnic tasted delicious


    The best and most illustrious of his race
    The most affectionate of friends,
    faithful of servants,
    and best of creatures
    He made the tour of the globe, and a voyage to Australia,
    which he circumnavigated, and was ever the
    delight and pleasure of his fellow voyagers
    Written by Matthew Flinders in memory of his cat

    Memorial donated by the North Shore Historical Society
  • Maria Little    c. 1895  by Tom Roberts.
    This captures my attention..
    Who is she really? What is she hiding?.Is she just shy?
    What sadness she knows!
    what has the invasion of our civilisation
    done to her peeopls !
    Archivists from the historical Yulgilbar Castle in the Clarence Valley Northern, NSW have recently identified the woman to be Maria Little , a local Bundjalung woman, who worked  in the laundry at the Ogilvie family’s Yulgibar Homestead. Maria’s mother, Queen Jinnie Little, also worked at Yugilbar, along with many other Aboriginal people from the near by Baryulgil Comminity


Note below my gorgeous blue monarch butterfly


So that was my day in the city and here is another interpretation of the same day

Saturday 21st January 2023

from the diary of  Michael Keating

Today we set out for a solid walking tour of the city. I took the Fizan Explorer Walking Pole. We drove to the station and just missed a train. It is so good to get off at Normanhurst on the return journey and have the car waiting for the last 300 metres of up hill. There were plenty of people on the train and in the city.
The Lunar New Year brought a wide range of people into the city. Many were in fancy dress (Rabbits Ears for Year of the Rabbit) and groups were chasing Pokémon type targets. Colleen was amazed by the range of women styles, fabrics and designs.

We alighted at Town Hall and used the Woolworths vintage escalators to make our way towards Hyde Park. We misread the changed pedestrian conditions towards Hyde Park and chalked up a few extra criss-crossing steps. We did the full stretch of Hyde Park. We walked down to and through the Anzac Memorial and around the  Pool of Remembrance. Colleen took a photo of myself reflected in the pool. We were at either end and I was standing in front of the Anzac Memorial. The Anzac Memorial deals with WWl specifically with various acknowledgements of later encounters.

There are four sections of wall where mention is made of  every town, village, suburb from where men signed up to join the various Armed Forces together with samples of soil.

It was intriguing to wander along and note places of interest – Coonamble, Moonan Flat, Wanaaring (Paroo), Quirindi, Bega – amongst hundreds of others. The Cooee trail is iconic in NSW legend. Since I was last there, they have  added a significant water feature on the southern side (Liverpool St) of the Memorial.

From the main steps of the memorial one sees all the way to the Archibald Fountain at the northern end of Hyde Park. We walked down  the Hyde Park Avenue and made a detour past St. Mary’s Cathedral. The sculpture of Mary McKillop drew our attention. I would have liked to have wandered inside the Cathedral but I had a hat and was unable to disentangle mask, sunglasses, hearing aids, hat cord. We walked down Macquarie St to the NSW Library where we had a cup of coffee.  Thence took some time in the Portrait Gallery. It is interactive and I always like to wait for some inspiration from someone gazing down at me and then doing some basic interactive research. Today the subject was Maria Little – the  indigenous daughter of ‘Queen Jinnie Little’. Colleen was quite intrigued.

From the art gallery  we walked through the Botanical Gardens. We spent some time at the current Calyx flower exhibition. One of the Volunteer Guides was very pleased to answer our queries.

We had taken some food for lunch. As we walked down through The Gardens we kept a lookout for a shady seat. We are beyond just looking for shady grass. We were almost at the Opera House when we managed to find a seat. It was a great spot and we watched  a wide variety of boats. There were no Cruise Ships in today.

We walked around to MCA to use the bathrooms. This enabled us to have another look at some of our current favourites. Colleen did have to take a rest at  MCA and then we were on the Light Rail to Town Hall, through Woolworths and thence to Normanhurst via Hornsby.

Evening meal was a mixture of selective cheese, leftovers and a Lite’n’Easy meal.

We watched a French film called Amour. The film was from 2012 and had taken out some awards for that year. It was typically European film with subtlety and tension. The ending was both unexpected and predictable.

Thanks Michael, such a gorgeous day we both enjoyed. The venue 5 star. The company 5 star.