Hello, I’m Editor Des. I spend most my life buried away in the boring old Blue Mountains…and I don’t even eat gum leaves!  However,  Pauline Conolly, (she’s my guardian and employer) took me on a little tour of Sydney recently.  We only went for a couple of days so I didn’t need to pack much.

Well Pauline wrote a story about the trip, but I had to cross out  lots of rubbish  she wanted to put in. Oh dear, my red Editing Pen almost ran dry!  In the end I decided to delete her effort and  write one myself. Ha ha!


We started off at the 19th century Queen Victoria building in George Street. It was quite something to  peer up into the central dome, made of stained glass

Central dome of the building.
Central dome of the building.

Just near the dome is a secret, sealed letter written by our very own  Queen Elizabeth. It’s not allowed to be read until 2085. Poor old  Pauline will be a wobbly 135 by then, but I’ll only be  76.  Then we went to see the hanging, sandstone clock. I was ever so  impressed. It’s mechanical, and a ship sails around past views of Sydney harbour.  Above that  are scenes from colonial life. The one in the picture below is very sad as it shows Aboriginal children being taken away from their families. Pauline said the authorities were very misguided.

Mechanical, sandstone Clock.
Mechanical, sandstone Clock.

The  four levels of shops are very trendy and expensive.

Queen Victoria Building

We didn’t buy ANYTHING, not even fudge, although I asked  for some very politely.  Pauline was astonished by some of the accessories. She said these shoes looked as though they had exocet missiles in the toes. To be fair, she usually wears gumboots.

SydneyTouristEtc 016

Outside the building  is a statue of Queen Victoria (because it’s really her own building) and a sculpture of her little dog. He is begging for coins for deaf and blind children, so we threw some into the wishing well. I made a secret wish. There is a stone in the wall of the well, from Blarney Castle in Ireland.  Well I wouldn’t let Pauline near that, because  her partner Mr Rob says she talks too much already.  So glad I was wearing my British jumper….it might help  my wish come true.

Queen Victoria rescued from an Irish Field
Queen Victoria – rescued from an Irish Field
Little Islay begging for coins to be thrown in the wishing well.
Little Islay begging for coins to be thrown in the wishing well.

And well I forgot to say that the lavatories in the Queen Victoria building are very stylish and worth going to even if you are not desperate.

Here’s the building from the outside. You can see the big, copper coated dome.

The Queen Vic building takes up a whole city block.
The Queen Vic building takes up a whole city block.

This is the person who basically controls my life. She does love Sydney;


Then we went to the historic Strand Arcade. My guardian looked for  antique pillboxes, but they were all too expensive as well.  Authors don’t make much money, though a fair bit more than editors like moi! We took a photo from the top level.

Strand Arcade in Sydney.
The beautiful Strand Arcade, our answer to London’s Burlington!!

At Christmas time it looks really pretty. All of Sydney does in my opinion.

Gum leaf Christmas decoations in Sydney's Strand Arcade.
Featuring our wonderful gum trees at Christmas

P.  wanted to show me something special at the  GPO…..that’s the old Post Office. There are carvings on the Pitt Street side (very high up) There was a lot of  trouble when these were first seen, especially over the postman handing a letter to a lady. They said the lady looked far too friendly and might be going to invite the postman inside!! I’m not sure what would be wrong with that myself.

Carving on the Sydney GPO
Too risque for the Victorians!


We walked up to Maquarie Street next, because the boss said she  wanted to do some research at old Sydney Hospital. It was built by  Governor Lachlan Macquarie  in 1815  (I think he  got the convicts to build it really). Rob’s cousin, the lovely Dr Bruce Conolly, was a hand surgeon here. And in another part they fixed his Mum’s bad eye! We walked up a very nice old staircase.

Inside Sydney Hospital
Inside Sydney Hospital

Outside is a  big bronze boar with water dripping from his tusks. His nose is polished like gold because people rub it and make a wish. I wanted to have a go  but Pauline said I’d already  made one with the Queen’s dog,  and now  it was her turn! I bet I know what she wished for, but better not say.

The boar with the shiny nose! You can find him in Macquarie Street Sydney.
The boar with the shiny nose!

Well we ended the day  further down the street at one of Pauline’s  favourite places; The Mitchell Library. There was a free exhibition on,  so at least we could afford that. ..ha ha.  Here’s something special we saw. Pauline thought it was special anyway, because it’s Macquarie related. I think she’s writing a story about it.

Travelling Medicine chest which belonged to Governor Macquarie's son and probably to the Governor before that.
Travelling Medicine chest (circa 1820) which belonged to Governor Macquarie’s son, and probably to the Governor  himself before that.

You know what? They  started to take lots of   books out of the library’s  big reading room to make more space, but all the writers and researchers complained so they put them back!  Pauline says that’s  Australian people power!

The historic Reading Room at the Mitchell Library in Sydney.
The historic Reading Room at the Mitchell Library.

Also, did you know that a robber tried to steal some paintings from the Library once and shot at a poor librarian? When his revolver  didn’t go off he hit her on the head with a piece of book shelf. Her name was Joyce Cocks.

If you are very special you can go into the beautiful Friends’ Room. Wot can I say….I’m one of the chosen!

Editor Des in the Friends' Room....Historic Sydney

I bought a pretty  new editing pen in the Library shop,  and then we had coffee and cake  in the cafe.

Carrot cake and coffee, and a good sit down in Sydney.
Carrot cake and coffee, and a good sit down.

It was a very nice day really.   Before I forget, here is another story about Sydney and Queen Victoria, written by Pauline.  Not as good as this one, but if you want to read it, click HERE. 

I might as well tell you what my wish was now, because it didn’t come true anyway. It was for a red sportscar, not very original I know, but my heart’s desire.  Meanwhile I have to ride my old bike.

Oh dear, how embarrassing. I look like a COMPLETE dork!

What do you think might be in Queen Elizabeth’s secret letter? The person with  the best answer gets the chance to publish  their own little story on Pauline’s website. If they want to, that is. But if you leave a comment you have to complete the sum under the comment box. DON’T FORGET NOW….Editor Des. xx

  1. Dear Ed Des
    Thank you for a very comprehensive and interesting report of your trip into the City. I was especially enamoured with the stunning photography and wondered if you had to lie on your back to take the shot of the central dome? It is something I’ve had to do myself once or twice; once in the Doge’s Palace in Venice, and another time in the Sistine chapel in Rome. It is however frowned upon by the security at both venues, so one as to be a bit nifty in getting down, and then up again. I feel I should also mention the shoes which I acknowledge were an unusual design, and I can understand perhaps Pauline’s reluctance to indulge in yet another pair this time. I wouldn’t normally mention it, but I know she has a bit of a fetish with shoes! Keep us posted on your future travels, and my fingers are crossed that your wish comes true (unless of course it is something detrimental to do with me)
    PS: Did you slide down the bannisters at the old Sydney hospital? I think I might have well been tempted…

  2. What a lovely trip you had to Sydney. The big cities are always so exciting aren’t they? And soon you will be off to Paris and London. We shall have to rename you “Jet-setter Des “. As for that secret letter our lovely queen has written and hidden, I bet it reveals what Alice and Christopher Robin did when they went to Buckingham Palace. That has long been a question of mine.

  3. Dear Editor Des I think your article is just wonderful and very well written.
    When I first came to work in Sydney in 1963 the Queen Victoria Building was the City of Sydney’s library where I spent many happy lunch hours.
    I am glad you walked down Macquarie Street. It is my favourite street in Sydney. I love looking at the first historical public buildings that were built in Sydney and I am so glad they have been preserved.
    I think that Queen Elizabeth has written in her secret letter that if the people of Sydney ever erect a statue of her in future years that she would be very happy if it were to be erected in Macquarie Street.

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