This weekend, the Sydney Harbour Bridge turns 75. Something for Aussies to get excited about, perhaps - but, as a Danish Star Trek fan I met recently, intimated, "Nothing built in Australia is over 200 years old. In Europe, we have churches that are over a thousand years old." Certainly puts all the pomp and circumstance into perspective.
The bridge is open to pedestrian traffic only on Sunday, and you are supposed to have booked a time on the Internet in advance if you plan to be a part of the historic walk, re-enacting an event held 75 years ago. Funnily enough - or perhaps not so funnily - radio ads and news items all week have been warning people not to cheat and attempt to do the now-booked-out walk anyway, because no one's checking booking receipts. Sadly, the ads probably give people the idea to go into the city and walk the bridge, even if they forgot to book in time.
I hope the government gets this one right, especially after last Wednesday night's train tunnel debacle, and the recent crushing crowds the evening the Queen Mary ocean liner met the QE II in Sydney Harbour. All those spectators and not a Port-a-loo in sight! For the bridge's 60th birthday, pedestrians were enouraged to walk from either The Rocks' end, or the Milson's Point end, and to meet in the middle. An English friend of mine, on teacher exchange from London at the time, took her local Girl Guides group in - and they almost got crushed because no one had considered what would happen when the two sides of walkers met in the middle. A similar thing was done for the Sydney Olympic Games celebrations in 2000, but that one worked much better. If I recall correctly, carefully selected (non crush) footage from the earlier walk event was used in the campaign to win us the Olympic bid.
I've done the Bridge walk numerous times. On my first USA trip, in 1983/84, several penpals' relatives expected me to know exactly how long the walk would take, so I had to do it as soon as I got home. It's about ten minutes for the bridge proper, but both approaches are probably longer than the bridge itself. The tower museum is worth investigating, and I really loved the amazing milk bar/lolly shop I found over at Milson's Point that first time. (It's changed a lot now, but the shop used to sell the most amazing choc-coated green-jelly frogs!; worth several return visits just to buy frogs.) And, about six years ago, teacher-librarians of ALIA School Libraries Section (NSW) walked across the bridge, from Milson's Point, to celebrate Library Week. The next time I do it, I wanna go over the arch: Bridge Climb!
The state government's organized enough big bridge walking events now to get it right; this time everyone's supposed to be walking the same direction. And, not to mention, there's a NSW election coming up. Otherwise, lightning's gonna strike!
As I was just about to upload this blog entry, a friend writing a university thesis on Star Trek fandom contacted me, wanting the specifics on Captain Therin's "official" licensed tie-in appearances in the Star Trek literature.
I had to tell her that Captain Therin has had a recreational park named after him! The novel Andor: Paradigm by Heather Jarman (in Worlds of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Book 1, Pocket Books, 2004), has the two main characters walking through Therin Park on Andor! Heather wrote in the reference to thank me for my site providing her with essential Andorian research.
A short while later, one of the unnamed Andorian crew seen briefly in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", was given the name Shantherin th'Clane - in the novel Ex Machina (Pocket Books, 2005) by Christopher L. Bennett - as a homage to me (and Therin), for providing Christopher with research on the alien races of the United Federation of Planets.
I'm in a thesis. Another one. Cool!