Sydney, true urban jungle.

By James Wall.

Being a Melbourne boy, I am always besotted with the climate in Sydney. Sure, it might be a bit muggy in summer; but in Winter, it’s a veritable greenhouse for growing plants. Yes, while Melbourne is shivering at 14C for a usual daily max, Sydney regularly cracks 20C in July. Because of this, plants grow well, whether they are cool climate, or sub tropical. Ok, maybe a few things don’t grow quite as well without a bit more chill. But alas, one can truly say that inner Sydney however, is a true urban jungle.

Sydney is made up of sandstone and shale – formations raised to their present heights by by earth movements, starting in the Jurassic period some 200 million years ago. It’s creates a dimension with its vertical spaces that can be embedded with nature.

Then there is the human embedding of construction into this environment of land and sea. Much of it with architects sympathy, but some such as the Sirius building with architectural brutality. Yes, this is Sydney, true urban jungle.

Staircases appear in the cracks of Woolloomooloo. Half way up you turn and see green. The inhabitants here don’t splash about weedkiller – they just go with the green. They co-habitulate.

Then there is the formal with touch of style – non complete without the splash of colour of grandmas geranium.

Contrast this with the brutal, banal yet soothingly beautiful Sirius Building. Plants here taking on the buildings struggle to survive. You see the state government wanted to demolish this building but it would not be without an outcry. The people will go down fighting so that the building itself does not go down. As Wikipedia opens with about this place:

“The Sirius building is an apartment complex in The Rocks district of Sydney, Australia. Designed in 1978-1979 by architect Tao Gofers, the building is a prominent example of Brutalist architecture in Australia. It has striking repetitive geometries in reaction to the Japanese metabolist architecture movement. The complex was built to rehouse public tenants who had been displaced after a controversial redevelopment of the historic Rocks suburb during the 1960s and 70s.” source: Wikipedia.

Like many cities, some householders don’t think about the heat sink effect of a concrete metropolis. Thanks to their neighbours plants are shading us and keeping us cooler.

Yes, so this is all getting a little loose; yes by this stage I was just walking around zombie like shooting the vaguest thing that was growing. But just then….

the epic Sydney Harbour Bridge infused with Gymea lily shot appeared just in time.

Lavender Bay, the home of Wendy Whitely and her communal garden. Her husband had iconic art, and she now has an iconic garden. A garden that is open 24 hours a day, seven days per week. Yes, a garden is there all the time. 

Of course Brett painted from his balcony at Lavender Bay his famous The Balcony 2 back in 1975. It now resides in the Art Gallery of NSW.

Brett Whitely 1975:

“Windsor and Newton Deep Ultramarine oil colour has an obsessive, ecstasy like effect upon my nervous system quite unlike any other colour.”


In the end, there is art in that urban jungle. More than ultramarine blue, there is green……urban jungle green……may it live on.

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