Day 318 of Traveling the World, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. December 15, 2018.

Incredible. We booked tickets in early November for St. Mary’s Cathedral’s Christmas Concert, which was last night. We had no idea what we were in for! As you can see in the first two photos, the Cathedral was all decked out for Christmas…beautiful and stunning, really. The Cathedral Choir is a fabulous Boys’ Choir, with the sweetest, clearest voices on earth. They were joined by a men’s choir, and with four organs and a full orchestra, it was like we were seated in heaven. There were choral selections, an organ recital, very eclectic readings, and even a short reflection by the Archbishop, a Dominican friar. The choir is celebrating its 200th anniversary this year, the oldest musical ensemble still in operation in Australia. The choir was started by Catherine Fitzpatrick, an educated Irish woman, who moved to Australia when it was a penal colony to be close to her husband, who was sent here for embezzlement.

With the success of the American Revolution and the Declaration of Independence in 1776, England and Ireland needed a new place to send its convicts. The two countries had been sending them to America! The territory of Australia had been discovered by Captain Cook in 1770, so it became the new outpost for criminals. There were no prison buildings, actually. The punishment was transportation to an isolated land, not incarceration. However, serious offenders were flogged or hanged. Thus began the modern history of this beautiful country.

As always, the other photos are from around Sydney…one day’s worth! We are here for 3 weeks, so there will be many more. Below are some of the street Christmas decorations (with a series of outdoor chandeliers, even!), the Scary Canary, and a sign for a fun name…Barangaroo. There are others…Darling Harbor is a block from our hotel, Woolloomooloo is to our east, and then there are Kangaroo Point, Illawong, Tamarama, Turramurra, South Coogee, Wahroonga, Woolooware, Old Toongabbie, Narraweena, and Yarramundi. Quite the mouthfuls!