From Letterboxes To Shelterboxes

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A Rocky Start in Sydney

Hi everyone, I apologise for a whole week lapsing before writing an update here. On the day of departure I developed a brutal chest infection, and have spent the last week trying to fight it off. I am finally upright again so am gratefully detailing you with what I DID manage to do between sleeping and coughing up a lung.

My mum, Jen, joined me for this first leg of the journey and it was great to have her company. We stopped off at The Big Merino on the way to Sydney as planned. As we approached the big fella I was wondering where the door was and I thought “perhaps the entrance is around the rear?”.

This thought was followed by “are those to size?”….

We got to Sydney on Friday evening and were staying at Sydney Harbour YHA, which is situated in the The Rocks. The Rocks is a very historic area as it was one of the first European settlements in 1788 (read – convict land). Some of the oldest buildings in Sydney are here, originally made from local sandstone, which is how the area got its name. The YHA is actually built over ‘The Big Dig’ – an excavation of late 18th century houses and shops along with 750,000 artifacts dating back to that time, many of which are on display.

Our room was on the third floor and this is the view of the excavation from the walkway balcony

The architecture of the building is amazing; the way it’s raised above the excavations, with atruims leading down to the excavations and louvered windows high up in the walls to allow natural air flow. The ground floor is open to the public during the day, for free. You can learn more about the Big Dig here:

This YHA is ace. Huge kitchen and dining area, cinema-like tv room, lots of in-hostel events to meet others, quiet (despite being next to the Cahill Expressway), every room has an ensuite and towels are provided (unusual in a hostel). Best of all is the view from the roof terrace…

The Rocks markets are on every weekend and I LOVED wandering around all the food and artisan stalls. I also ambled through a neighbouring arcade and came across what is now my favourite store – The Candle Factory. They make many of their products on-site, using high quality materials. My foodie senses almost had me eating wax with this display.

They cater to all tastes….

Animal lovers

Music lovers (“musos”)


The Rocks also has some great vintage post boxes.

On Sunday we went along to the Sydney Comedy Festival held at the Enmore Theatre in Newtown. My first impression of Newtown:

If you think hipsters and zombies are synonymous, then this sign is entirely appropriate.

We had booked ourselves a double bill of laughs – starting with Stephen K Amos, a British comedian of Nigerian background. The best part of his show was when he got down off the stage to force his new ‘friend’ in the audience, Ben, to go look for someone who had walked out of the audience 10 minutes prior. Ben disappeared, and Stephen then realised there were no stairs up onto the stage so he asked another audience member to give him a leg up. The burly-looking man came over, bent down, wrapped an arm around one of Stephen’s legs and shoulder lifted him up onto the stage! Stephen didn’t expect this so ended up doing a face-plant-roll onto the stage. As he stood up, Ben returned. Alone. Holding a fresh beer. Welcome to ‘straya mate!

Afterwards we zoomed around to the Wine Bar to catch Dave Thornton, an Aussie comedian originally from Geelong. He was our favourite for the night as his anecdotal humour had you there with him thinking “oh god, I’ve been there!”. And who doesn’t like a guy who can admit that the best present he ever received was a transformer, made out of lego?? (Someone in the audience actually gasped in awe when he said this, and he excitedly responded, “I know!!”). We chatted with him afterwards and he was really personable, like talking to someone you just met in a pub (which makes sense, considering the venue…).


And that’s right people I have no shame – I managed to bring the fundraiser up in our chat, and gave him a card in case he wanted to check it out. Take every opportunity!

Lastly, I’d like to share with you my favourite postcard from this week. It went to a friend of mine in Canberra, who requested I send her a postcard of a different reptile from each place I visit (she studied biology and has a pet snake). This is the second one I sent her.

Perched on the Aboriginal boy’s head is a Thorny Devil. There are found in Western Australia, Northern Territory, south-west Queensland and western South Australia. (If you’d like to learn more about them: The bonus of this postcard is that the royalties go back to the Aboriginal communities where the shot was taken. Win-win.

I’ll be in Sydney for a few more days, before I’m off to the Blue Mountains. Watch this space 🙂


Fundraiser Stats:

  • Currently up to $677 on the goal thermometer!
  • over 50 postcard requests received so far
  • 20 are already posted – some have gone as far as Sweden, the USA, Scotland, Wales and England!
  • Some great theme requests coming in such as:
    ‘something blue (not the ocean)’

2 comments on “A Rocky Start in Sydney

  1. MikeGreenslade
    May 16, 2012

    Reblogged this on ShelterBox Australia's Blog and commented:
    Lara is back on the road having been waylaid in Sydney with a chest infection. She is well on the way to raising enough for her first ShelterBox. Why not request one for a friend you haven’t written to for ages?

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