Continuing on from my last post which my iPad stopped me adding to.
Immediately across Macquarie Street from St. James’s Church is Hyde Park Barracks.
The first thing that I discovered when I went in was that the Barracks are nothing to do with the military. The building was where convicts were housed when they were working. Some convicts were given leave to live outside the Barracks but most remains inside. They slept in hammocks which were hung close together.
I found it difficult being confronted by the hammocks: there was very little space between them which made me think about the lack of personal space – both physical and mental. Conditions were harsh. Most of the convicts had come from towns and cities and were completely unused to the physical labour involved in working the land, building roads and so on. Then, of course, there was the weather! Many people enjoy the sunshine but how used are they to very high temperatures? All of that and the unlikelihood of returning to one’s home or family.
I left Hyde Park Barracks feeling ill at ease and walked along to Parliament House. I considered visiting the Mint but decided to leave that to another day. As I entered the security station there was a young chap in front of me who asked if it was possible to go into the chamber. When I heard the reply I decided to loiter near to him in the hope of also going in.
When the chap asked about seeing the chamber I was also invited to go in, by the receptionist. The young man had moved to Sydney two weeks ago to study Politics for a year at the university. He asked if I would mind taking a photograph of him in the chamber: I readily agreed and he returned the favour. We did this in the lower and upper chambers and each sat in the President’s chair.
|The Lower Chamber|