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En Australie, Ce Sont Des Choses Qui Arrivent

My weekend had a bit of a French theme. On Friday I decided to check out La Perouse, a suburb 14km south of the CBD.

A bit of history: La Perouse is known for its old military outpost at Bare Island and the national park of Botany Bay (where Captain Cook first landed in 1770.) Captain Phillip and the first fleet of convicts landed there in 1788, and two French ships on a scientific expedition arrived just a few days later. They were led by Jean-François de Galaup, comte de Lapérouse. The French stayed six weeks before departing to explore the Pacific further, but their ships were wrecked in a cyclone off the Solomon Islands. C’est la vie.

Anyway, there was a lot to see and I went photo-mad as per usual.

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Bare Island, built in 1877 for protection against seaborne attack
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Bare Island fortifications
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Botany Bay
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Lapérouse Monument, erected in 1825 by the French
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Barrack tower dating from before 1820. It was the centre for a small group of soldiers who kept watch for smugglers and directed ‘stray’ vessels

Having bought a bacon and egg sandwich for lunch, I decided to check out the three main beaches in the area. The beach to the right hand side of Bare Island was called Frenchmans Bay. It looked quite inviting – despite the view of the unappealing Port Botany Container Terminal, which doesn’t feature in this photograph.

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In the end I decided to head down the little track on the left hand side of Bare Island called the Congwong Beach Walk. This decision had nothing to do with the funny name.

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The first beach I came to was called Congwong Beach. Storm clouds were approaching on the horizon, so I didn’t linger, but it would have been perfect for some beach time away from the crowds.

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I continued along the track, and came to the second beach. Little Congwong Beach was an absolute beauty of a place…

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…Unfortunately, Little Congwong Beach was also an unofficial naturist beach for middle-aged gentlemen.

Whilst I have no problem with people denuding themselves, I do like to be given some prior warning of the fact. I didn’t even get the benefit of the no budgie smugglers allowed warning sign that this woman found. Maybe it got nicked by the fashion police.

Anyway, I had walked halfway along the beach when I spotted a number of people in their birthday suits (behind the bushes in the photo). No doubt this would have been a more interesting blog post if I had got into the spirit of things… but instead I beat a hasty retreat, along with the other bewildered backpacker wearing boardshorts on the beach. It was, I reflected, time to leave La Perouse.

On getting back to the CBD, I visited one of my absolute favourite places in Sydney: the Art Gallery of New South Wales.

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I spent a happy hour looking at my favourite artwork before returning to school to watch the students’ latest musical production. This was about a group of Australians who emigrated to Paraguay in 1893, as described here. It seems slightly ironic that people were so keen to leave a country which now is very hard for migrants to access, but times have changed…

Saturday was very chilled out, partly due to the rain that had started the previous day. I spent the morning writing up blog posts, then met Bianca to eat sushi and watch a French film called Les âmes de papier. The screening was part of the Alliance Française French Film Festivaland you can find out more about the film here. I struggled a bit (er, a lot) with the Parisian accents, but fortunately there were subtitles and I really enjoyed the film.

Sunday would bring an early wake-up… but I want to start and finish this blog post on a French note, so au revoir for now.

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