We were in Sydney's city centre doing our tourist thing the day a lone gunman held coffee shop staff and patrons hostage; a serious situation with a tragic outcome. Just fresh from hanging out with gentle Pacific islanders for the last year it provided my family an arresting splashdown into modern Australian society.
As the drama started unfolding we were just finishing a guided tour of the Sydney Opera House – and were unceremoniously ejected from the site with no explanation. The security people were quite unpleasant. We proceeded up to the Mitchell Library to see a special Lindley Dobbs exhibition - unwittingly walking towards the seige site. Part way through viewing the exhibition we were again (politely) ejected without explanation. Undeterred we headed for the Hyde Park Barracks Museum - conceivably placing ourselves in some danger as we passed quite close to the seige site. After some time in this museum we were once again ejected, but this time we finally received some explanation.
Unsurprisingly, thwarted at every turn in our tourism endeavors, the response of working Sydney-siders, most particularly their press, their security and their law enforcement agencies to this situation became a major focal point of our outing.
|From left to right: Opera House, ejected, no explanation; Michell Library, asked to leave, no explanation; Hyde Park Barracks, asked to leave, explanation given.|
|We knew something big was happening – people everywhere were glued to their mobiles (yes, even more than usual).|
|As we passed by the top of Martin Place we saw press people arriving in force, frantically setting up and doing live reports back to base.|
|At Hyde Park a small army of friendly constabulary were also assembling ...|
|… with bikes!...|
|… highway patrol vehicles???!!...|
|… incident control vehicles and assorted emergency response vehicles.|
Tasmania might'n have any jobs, but it's definitely looking better and better!
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