The Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney


As they look now, and as Anthony Trollope described them:

“I know that the task would be hopeless were I to attempt to make others understand the nature of the beauty of Sydney Harbour. I can say that it is lovely, but I cannot paint its loveliness. The sea runs up in various bays or coves, indenting the land all around the city, so as to give a thousand different aspects of the water, — and not of water, broad, unbroken, and unrelieved, but of water always with jutting comers of land beyond it, and then again of water and then again of land. And you, — the resident, — even though you be a lady not over strong, though you be a lady, if possible not over young, — will find, unless you choose your residence most unfortunately, that you have walks within your reach as deliciously beautiful as though you had packed up all your things and travelled days and spent pounds to find them. One Mrs. Macquarie, the wife, I believe, of Governor Macquarie, made a road, or planned a road, or at any rate gave her name to a road, which abuts on the public domain, and is all but in the town. A mile and a half from the top of Hunter Street carries the pedestrian all round it Two shillings does as much for him or her who prefers a hansom cab, — and the Sydney hansoms are the very best cabs in the world. At the end of it is Mrs. Macquarie’s chair, — with a most ill-written inscription, but with a view that affords compensation even for that. The public gardens, not half a mile from the top of Hunter Street, beat all the public gardens I ever saw, — because they possess one little nook of sea of their own. I do not love public gardens generally, because I am called on to listen to the names of shrubs conveyed in three Latin words, and am supposed to interest myself in the locality from which they have been brought. I envy those who have the knowledge which I want; but I put my back up against attempts made to convey it to me, knowing that it is too late. But it was impossible not to love the public gardens at Sydney, — because one could sit under the trees and look out upon the sea. There is a walk from the bottom of Macquarie Street, — not Mrs. Macquarie’s Road, but the old governor’s own street, — leading round by the fort, under the governor’s house, to the public gardens. The whole distance round may be a mile and a half from the top of Hunter Street, which opens on to Macquarie Street. It runs close along the sea, with grassy slopes on which you may lie and see the moon glimmer on the water as it only glimmers on land-locked coves of the ocean. You may lie there prostrate on the grass, with the ripple close at your feet within a quarter-of-an-hour of your club.
Your after-dinner cigar will last you there and back if you will walk fairly and smoke slowly. Nobody ever is there at that hour”

Excerpt From: Trollope, Anthony. “Delphi Complete Works of Anthony Trollope.” Delphi Classics, 2012-01-22. iBooks.
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