They are dark, smelly and buried beneath Australia’s biggest city, but Sydney’s historic sewers have become one of the country’s most sought-after tourist destinations.
Demand for the underground tours is so great that people who apply for tickets have been known to offer bribes such as chocolates and flowers to try make sure they are not among the thousands turned away each year, tour organizers said recently as noted by Bahrain Tribune (article on “Sewer Tours a Hot Ticket for Sydney Tourism”).
I’ve had people calling up and offering all kinds if bribes to try and get place on tour”, said Pascale Hastings, form Sydney’s Historic Houses Trust, which runs the sewer tours. “There is a huge appeal in going underground and being in dark, confirmed spaces normally off limits.
The Historic Houses Trust, which manages some of Australia’s oldest heritage buildings, organizes tours of the old Sydney sewers only twice a year, and can take only 180 people though the drains every six months. But more than 4,000 people regularly apply for tickets to tour the drains, built to provide fresh water fir the British settlement in Sydney in about 1790 by convicts sent to Australia.
By the 1980s, the stone drains were being used as sewers. Today, they carry only storm water to Sydney Habour, running beneath Sydney’s tallest buildings and commercial centres. The drains are some of the oldest surviving remnants of Australia’s early European settlement, after the British settlers and convicts arrived to set up a British colony in Sydney in 1788.
The tours operate only two days a year because water authorities have to clear out the drains, treat lingering bacteria, and pump in air to make the tour safe.
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I remember Surabaya has lots of historical buildings, but seems no body takes care of them, the same happens to other big cities in Indonesia such as Jogyakarta, Malang, Jakarta, Medan. We found many classical mansions and river dams have been abandoned. We (you and me, and particularly government) don’t think those buildings are the main asset to boost tourism. They don’t event think simply to take benefit of it. Who care?
What about our museums? It is worse...! We don’t appreciate our culture, apparently. How can we appreciate it, if we charge visitors with only ticket Rp. 2,000 (perhaps around 20 cents). How can we pay the maintenance costs, train employees, upgrade or refurbish facilities, and et cetera. Don’t compare with national museums for example in Germany, you’ll suck to know the ticket cost.
In fact, you can witness big cities such as Paris, Venice, London, Amsterdam maintain their historical heritages. And the government is keen to spend million dollars to preserve their historical sites.
Ok, then you can visit and experience what happens with Museum Subak in Tabanan, Bali. If you really love history, education, culture or anything related to museum, you will cry to know that site.
Eventually, one of my friends whispered me... “First ask our government to feed us properly, then we can think this matter properly.”