One of the wonderful things about taking the unbeaten track on a travel adventure is finding treasures along the way. I learned that back in Assisi almost a decade ago. The Rocks – www.therocks.com has been one of my favourite destinations in Sydney since I first traveled here in the mid-90s. It is steeped in history and full of surprises every time we visit.
The school holiday break provided the perfect opportunity for us to jump on a train and head to Circular Quay. We promised the kids Pancakes on the Rocks but left everything else up to chance with the only caveat that we needed to find FREE adventures beyond our lunch date. I figured that with so much history in this precinct we were bound to come across lots of points of interest….and that we did. You see, I’m starting to think that cobblestone paths always lead to a treat.
We came upon The Rocks Discovery Museum quite unexpectedly. We’ve actually passed it numerous times but has always been closed. Today it wasn’t so we pushed the door open and in we went.
The Rocks Discovery Museum is housed in a restored 1850s sandstone warehouse. We could see the original hinges of huge warehouse doors and window spaces in some of the walls. At three storeys high, the museum covers four distinctive historic periods: Warrane (pre-1788); Colony (1788–1820); Port (1820–1900) and Transformations (1900–present).
Our visit was perfectly timed for NAIDOC week. The Metropolitan Aboriginal Land Council was consulted to develop at least four of the exhibits which share the stories, history of the area and impact of European settlement. We learned how the aboriginals in the area created fish hooks and a little history about the area which was incredibly fascinating.
We were excited to be invited to a school holiday workshop where the kids created aboriginal flags guided by an aboriginal worker. My kids have a basic understanding of the symbolism of the aboriginal flag: black for night, red for earth and yellow for the sun. Our guide built on this teaching them that the ochre was not only for the earth, but for the blood lines and spiritual connection to the land; the black the aboriginal people themselves, and the yellow, the giver of life and protector. A little local aboriginal language was passed our way too, with both kids learning the original name of the area.
You will find the Rocks Discovery Museum on Kendall Lane in the Rocks. Entry is free and the site is open every day from 10.00 am – 5.00 pm. It’s a great pit stop between other attractions or if you are looking for something to pass the time.