|The business district spread out along Oxford Street in the Paddington neighborhood.|
I spent the winter of 2022-23 in New Zealand and Australia. At the end of my trip I stayed for 9 wonderful days in Sydney. Blessed with near perfect weather I fell in love with this dynamic metropolis and could see myself living there. Warm almost tropical weather tempered by the proximity to the harbor and sea, it seemed like paradise. Towards the end of my stay I spent a day at Bondi Beach, a beautiful arc of golden sand in a suburb. The city has some beautiful beaches and this is the most famous. Flying home to the still chilly Pacific Northwest of the US made me wonder why I didn't stay longer.
When I boarded the bus from the beach to return to Surry Hills where I was staying, I got off so that I could walk through the Paddington neighborhood, which I hadn't explored yet. I found the distinctive facades of turn of the century buildings painted in pastel colors to be quite charming. Sydney has a variety of great neighborhoods spreading out from it towering central business district. Paddington got its start when a road project was built that went around a land grant that the owner wouldn't allow to be crossed, pushing it in to this area In 1822, Juniper Hall was the only building on what became Oxford Street, the main thoroughfare that passes through the neighborhood.
|The Reservoir Service Station and the Walter Read rooftop garden on Oxford Street in 1964|
|Giant Fig Trees create a tunnel of green on a side street in Paddington|
Walking along Oxford Street, suddenly I was looking down in to a sunken garden with arched arcades and the filigree umbrellas of tree ferns. What I discovered is a repurposed reservoir that was built in the 19th Century to supply water to a growing city.
|The Paddington Reservoir Park|
In 2006 the architectural firm of TonkinZuliachaGreer Associates were hired to design a new urban park here. The city's original concept was to recap the collapsed sections and build a new park on top, but the firm was rightfully captivated by the ruined look and the possibility of building a sunken garden crossed by an elevated walkway. The Tree Ferns play off the Victorian fernery, which was a popular trend during the time Paddington was being built.
|A rectangular pool intersects with columns in a lush setting of Tree ferns and sedges.|
|An isolated section of roof makes an island hanging garden over the pool.|
|Repurposed stone arches outside The Studio at the Sitio Burled Marx in Brazil|
|This Sitio Burle Marx wall was built using salvaged stone architectural pieces. It was an inspiration for the creation of the Rajasthani wall I built in my garden.|
|Informational signs tell the history of Sydney's reservoir system and of the Paddington Reservoir site.|
|A section of the original walls is repurposed to create a large raised planting bed at street level.|