Sydney Harbour and Goat Island

Well, after being home for just over a month I have finally finished up reviewing, tossing and adjusting in Lightroom close to 4000 pictures I took on our long adventure to the other side of the world. The last few posts I have shared some of the shots from one of my favourite cities ever, Sydney, NSW.

On the day we were ready to leave Sydney (but we would return), yep way back on March 28th. We decided to take a 3 hour cruise. Fortunately for us, this one was unlike the one Gilligan and the Skipper took way back when! Our journey today would be on the ‘Wangi Queen showboat’. The Wangi Queen is a 1922 restored showboat and our destination would be to “Goat Island” for a history lesson on some of the convicts who, not by choice, called this place home.



Over the years, Goat Island has served as a quarry, convict stockade, explosive store, police station, boat yard and film set.  Today, this Island forms part of the Sydney Harbour National Park. The tour provided a buffet lunch and was “all-inclusive’ with wine and beer and champagne available if desired. Oh and yes it was desired.

I have always been a bit of a history buff so the opportunity to visit this site, I found rather appealing. Did I mention about the open bar? Once on the island, we disembarked the Queen and headed for a lunch of shrimps, fish, salads, ham and roast beef. The temperatures on this day was upwards of 26-27c and very humid. Did I mention beer, free beer is always good on a hot and humid day?

After lunch, our tour started by walking the path and footsteps of the early Australian convicts as we headed toward the early structures forged and built by these convicts in the early to mid 1800’s. All in all the walk would be about 1.5 km around the island. Our first stop was the powder magazine, built by the convicts who also quarried every piece of material used.  The walls of this building were so thick that the building was not only bomb proof but the outside temperatures were never a concern inside.



 Below our guide provides some fascinating tales of how the building was built. I kept an eye out for ghosts of the past while snapping shots…..



Goat Island was also know (according to our tour guide) as the first place for mobile homes in the world. Although I am sure our tour guide said this with ‘tongue in cheek’ he was referring to the mobile cells the convicts were kept in. These unique prison cells were used to house the convicts because the convicts were building in different spots on the island and as they moved from spot to spot they would be required to pull their cells along with them so they were never to far from their work spot. At the end of the day, they would simply pile back into the cell and rest for the night. When 4:30 am arrived the next morning, they would be up and out and back to work. When I mentioned they piled into the cell at the end of each day I really meant piled. Each mobile unit held up to 20 prisoners on two levels. I am about 5’10 in height and had to duck my head to walk in the door and could not stand upright once inside.



As you can see from the interior there was not much room for 3-4 men let alone 20.  A single bucket was placed in the middle and used for a latrine. 20 sweaty convicts and a bucket full of human waste…wow!


We will leave you to ponder this for today and in the next post I will continue with our tour of Goat Island in Sydney Harbour.

Cheers all


5 thoughts on “Sydney Harbour and Goat Island

  1. What an elegant looking boat.
    I shudder to think what those convicts went through. I am sure that cramped space made them regret whatever got them there in the first place.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s