Photo of the Week: Angel Place Birdcages, Sydney, Australia

  • Ryan Zaknich (photo and text)
  • 7 December 2012

This photo was taken in Angel Place in the downtown area of Sydney, Australia. It is part of an art exhibit installed by the local council to remind us of the abundant birdlife that was in the area prior to English settlement. The birdcages are empty to remind us of the birds that have long since flow away.

Empty birdcages hanging in Angel Place, Sydney, Australia

The city of Sydney was established at what is now called Circular Quay. The location was chosen because of a source of fresh water that also supplied food. That stream became known as the Tank Stream. Prior to English settlement, the Gadigal people, who had been living in the area for tens of thousands of years, also used the stream for fresh water and food; however, as Sydney developed as a town, the stream eventually became overused and the food sources living in it were depleted. The stream then became what amounted to an open sewer. Polluted, it was piped underground to preserve it. Unfortunately the water was eventually reduced to a trickle and a new water supply was needed. There is now a painted blue line on the ground through Sydney showing the alignment of the stream. Angel Place falls within it.

As the city grew, the stream became the boundary between the rich and the poor. The area known today as The Rocks grew on the western side of the stream, while the eastern side became government domains, which also contain the beautiful Botanical Gardens.

The Angel Place Birdcages were originally installed as a temporary exhibition, but they became so popular they have been kept in place. Another element of the installation is a recording of beautiful bird sounds that serve as yet another reminder of species not inhabiting the area any longer.

You can learn more about this and many other things about Sydney on our Sydney Sights Urban Adventure.

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architecture & landmarks, Australia, Australia & New Zealand, birds, cities, fine arts, local knowledge, Oceania, personal experience, photo of the week,

2 Responses to “Photo of the Week: Angel Place Birdcages, Sydney, Australia”

  1. Bird cages the way I like ’em… empty!
    Beautiful shot, Ryan, and nice background story too.

  2. Your eye for a great photo is inspiring. Well captured!

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