Martin Place In The Centre Of Sydney

Every week, iPhoneography Oz invites one of its Instagram followers to cover a topic about Australian society. Today, meet @paulabroom right in the centre of Sydney.

iPhoneography Oz: Who are you in less than 140 characters?
paulabroom: I'm a mother, artist and environmentalist from UK. I visit family there frequently, but have lived in Australia for 15 years, so have strong sense of dual citizenship.

iOz: Your photos shows a woman waiting to cross at Martin Place in Sydney. Can you tell us a bit more about this national Australian icon?
p: Martin Place is a pedestrian thoroughfare right in the centre of the CBD of Sydney, frequented by city workers rushing to or from work via the train station, or ambling visitors attracted by its delightful collection of old and new buildings. Probably the most famous building is No 1 Martin Place – the old General Post Office building – now decommissioned and converted into smart cafés, restaurants and shops – I remember getting post from its Poste Restante in the early 90s. It is a beautiful neoclassical style sandstone building designed in the late 1800's by an architect called James Barnett. It sits comfortably amongst the newer, corporate buildings around it. Lunchtime has a slower pace in Martin Place than at either end of the day, but generally there is always plenty of activity and bustle going on. All sorts of events take place there from public concerts and community carols around the Christmas Tree, to filming of movies and television shows; large outdoor screens showed off the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics there.

iOz: What does it represent to you?
p: As a young traveler on a working holiday visa in the 1990s, I felt Martin Place represented the gateway to the Central Business District and all things corporate. Nowadays, I don't work in the city but it is still my gateway and I am even more attracted by its busy-ness. I love to take street shots with my iPhone whenever I find myself there.

iOz: If you were stuck in Australia with an unlimited budget and a week in front of you, what would you do?
p: I would love to take my family up to the Great Barrier Reef, - the world's largest coral reef - all the way from Rockhampton, up past Cairns to Cape York. I was lucky enough to snorkel and dive along the reef back in the 90s, and my fear is that, with climate change and the pressures of development along the Queensland coast, we are going to lose this beautiful, natural, living monument. Being in it – swimming, snorkeling, diving – amongst the small and large sea creatures that live there, is truly spectacular and something I will never forget. I really want my children to experience that.

iOz: What was one of the best travel experiences you've ever had in Australia?
p: I've had so many wonderful travel experiences here in Australia it's hard to pick just one – from diving, to white water rafting, horse riding to bushwalking, wine tasting to skiing, driving to camping, beer drinking to sunbathing – there is so much to see and do here. I guess nowadays, traveling with my children, I particularly cherish my experiences with friends who live on the New South Wales far South Coast: Bermagui, Tathra and Merimbula. As yet, that part of New South Wales is largely undeveloped with a slower pace of life than its northern counterpart. I love its expansive, sandy beaches accessible by dirt track known only to the locals; its active art communities that scatter the environs with open studio events that always astound when you come across them; its bushwalks abound from the coast to the inland with an abundance of native flora and fauna that enthralls; the odd local market, quirky shops or even nature parks that you find in some of the local towns; and then that experience you can only have when you know the locals - the small holdings where the community grow their own food and produce, and live a much simpler, slower way of life. And of course, there's always a beer at the end of the day!

iOz: What's your favourite photo on the blog?
p: The Waterfall Way posted on Sunday, January 8, 2012. The photo, although of a gushing waterfall, has a serenity to it that I personally find only in the bush, whilst the text tells of the many UNESCO World Heritage Sites dotted around Australia. I hope through such images, and blogs like yours, we city dwellers, Australians and visitors alike, can start to really cherish and protect those natural features that are uniquely and beautifully Australian.

iOz: What kind of photos can our readers see on @paulabroom's Instagram feed?
p: I have two Instagram accounts. @paulabroom is fairly eclectic – from texture shots, to doorways and shadows, with a more recent evolution to street photography, like "Waiting to Cross at Martin Place" (photo). @theoriginalmiss is my heavy editing account where I'm far more experimental. There are a number of photos on both accounts shot at Martin Place – I really do enjoy people watching there.

iOz: What will you be doing for the next hour?
p: With this balmy weather, I'll be heading down to Bondi with the children for an early dinner and pre-Easter catch up with friends at one of the eateries at the Pavilion.

iOz: We're switching roles, ask us anything!
p: Contentious and I hope you haven't been asked before, but Sydney or Melbourne, and why?
iOz: Absolutely not contentious! Sydney for the amazing Sydney Harbour. Melbourne for its street art and its food (but not its climate). Seriously, we must admit Sydney had some troubles to meet our (high) expectations whereas we were pleasantly surprised by Melbourne. Can anyone out there send us back to Sydney to change our mind?

iOz: A last word?
p: Bondi – said to mean the sound of breaking waves in an Aboriginal language!

Photo captured by @paulabroom. To be featured, follow @iPhoneographyOz and tag your own iPhone photos with #iOz. Any image taken in Australia and tagged with #iOz is eligible.

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