Jun 15, 2010

Macquarie Visions 2010.

By which I refer to the man positive contributions to New South Wales of Governor Lachlan and Mrs Elizabeth Macquarie and not those of our fun loving banker friends at Macquarie Bank (an investment bank which famously produced several millionaires before the GFC and has a donut shaped logo that persists,  post GFC).  In the current economic climate, I'm not sure that banker's visions lend themselves easily to an evening of wholesome family entertainment.

Nothing like a waterfall to ease into the night's events.  There's going to be a bit of history in amongst the photos, kids.

Tonight's little feature is all about light projected on buildings.

After my walk through The Rocks, for Fire Water, I set off to explore the light projections along Macquarie Street.

Governor Macquarie was the Governor of NSW from 1810 until 1821.  The light show is a tribute to the many contributions the Governor and his wife made to NSW in this time.

The blue tinted lighthouses that were dotted around the city were designed by Joe Snell, a Sydney architect with convict ancestry.  Governor Macquarie commissioned Australia's first lighthouse at South Head.  The lighthouse was  there to guide incoming ships to the trading port of Sydney.  

Don't worry, the photos do get more interesting.  We move beyond coloured bands of light on modern buildings to some really beautiful projections on some of the more historic buildings of the city.

My first stop was the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

These images were titles Pastimes - and featured elements of the social life the Governor and his wife helped instigate for all levels of society in Sydney.

Some 200 years later, all walks of Sydney society were out in force to reflect.  There were young families, photographers and their tripods, tourists, people stopping in before the World Cup game.  The variety of life that comes out in force to support events like this really makes me love Sydney.

There was space for everyone.  The professional photographers were given plenty of space for their gear.  People wanting to take photos off the top of pylons and stairways waited patiently in line.  There was no camera snobbery.  Compacts, mobile phone cameras, DSLRs - they were all able to capture memorable images for their owners without too much difficulty.

Mrs Macquarie and her beloved cello.

The botanical gardens were referenced too.

At The Mint, Common Wealth was an installation that explored the economic wealth of Australia.

There were ASX listings as part of this installation.  There is art in those columns of words and numbers after all.

The Downer Macquarie Arch was illuminated in blue and the Sydney Tower is in the background.  The arch symbolises Macquarie's road over the Blue Mountains.  The infrastructure helped open up valuable farming land to sustain the growing population of New South Wales.

My favourite images of the display were from St Mary's Cathedral.  The title of this set of light images was 'Designing the Nation'.  The normally austerely illuminated walls of the Cathedral took on a vivid, technicoloured appearance.  From a distance, the walls shone like a fully decorated gingerbread house.

We were blessed with clear (but cold skies) which showed off the lights to their full advantage.

The theme was the influence of the Macquaries on hundreds of building projects during their time in New South Wales.

It was magical.

On a more sombre note, the theme of the walls of the Hyde Park Barracks museum was Fair Go.  Offering freedom and a chance for convicts to start their lives anew.

A modern reference was made to the inequality of women's pay to men's which unfortunately, is a reality that persists to this day throughout the world.

Visions of the past, visions for the future.  The world has changed to become a better place in so many ways but we all still have a long way to go.


  1. Amazing pics! I was so lucky to catch Vivid. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Gorgeous captures SSG! I love the Vivid festival. We almost went on the walk on Macquarie Street but errm the heels were killing me! :P


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