Boy Scouts Beyond The Seas
New South Wales—What Sydney is Like
I had long heard of the Sydney Heads. Ever since I was a boy I wanted to see the Sydney Heads; and now I have seen them.
They are two great bluffs or steep cliffs between which lies the entrance to Sydney Harbour.
As you come to them from the seaward, you see a long line of cliffs which have an opening at this point in which there is apparently an ordinary small bay with cliffs all round it. That was what Captain Cook thought of it when he first sailed up the coast of Australia.
He sailed past it, just as Sir Francis Drake sailed past the Golden Gate of San Francisco Bay, without knowing that it was the entrance to a great natural harbour.
And, like Drake, Captain Cook landed at another bay close by; this he named Botany Bay because of the wonderful variety of plants which grew there.
At Botany Bay the first British settlement was made, and a convict prison established. But Captain Phillip, who had charge of this, soon discovered the splendid port which lay close by. He found that if you sailed boldly into the bay between the bluffs it ran off into two creeks hidden behind the cliffs, and these creeks ran for some miles inland with many small creeks leading from them among the low wooded hills around, and all of deep clear sea water.
So on this beautiful natural harbour the new settlement was started, and was named Sydney after Lord Sydney, who was at that time Secretary of State for the Colonies in England.
Sydney is now a great city of 600,000 British inhabitants, and is spread over much more ground than most cities of that population, so that, although the business part of it is much like that of any other modern town with its streets and public buildings, the part where people have their homes is spread about on beautiful wooded hills, or along the shores of endless pretty creeks which make it a delightful place to live in; nowhere crowded and everywhere pretty.
If you started in a boat to row round the harbour and rowed for twenty miles in a day, it would take you a week to get round, and yet you would never be more than six miles away from the centre!
When you walk through the town you are continually surprised by the sight of ships’ masts or funnels across the end of the street; you turn off in a different direction and you find the same thing again; creeks and wharves everywhere, and great ocean-going steamers or menof-war anchored in deep water close up to the houses.
Such is Sydney. The Scouts of New South Wales
And what a place for scouting! All around the town and even in it are the wooded hills and thick bush; while the harbour with its islands and creeks and innumerable boats gives the finest field for sea scouting that I have ever seen. Lucky beggars those Sydney boys!
When I went to see them, they did not parade on a flat open lawn and march past like imitation soldiers, but they were camped in the scrub among the rocky hills, each patrol in its own little spot very much hidden from view.
They had rigged up crow’s nests of poles from which orders could be signalled to the different tents. Also they had put up a mast for signalling with flags to ships in the harbour in addition to a wireless telegraphy installation with which they could talk with. the men-of-war or with their own headquarters in the town.