We actually thought we would have to labor on Labour Day Monday which is the first Monday in October in Australia. We had made an appointment with a sister missionary to meet her at Liverpool Stake House to talk about education. But when she called us and said she was being transferred, we found ourselves with a free day – a commodity for us lately especially when much of our work is done on weekends.
What to do? Head for downtown Sydney, of course. The Church leases downtown headquarters across from the famous Hyde Park in a multistory building. The missionary offices and some conference rooms are on the ground floor with the chapel, cultural hall, and teaching rooms on the stories above. But first we had to maneuver our car into a tiny angular, but much coveted, downtown parking space.
After getting a tour of the building and taking a photo off the roof which has a swimming pool for the other tenants, we walked around Hyde Park while waiting to join our cohort missionaries from downtown, the Asplunds and the Hendersons.
Then we hopped on a train to get to Circular Quay where we boarded the Harbour Ferry to Watson’s Bay. The trip across Sydney Harbour is an event in itself with all the views of the Sydney Opera House and the Bridge from the water. It was a magnificent day – and hundreds of other holiday goers thought so, too.
We ate Fish and Chips at the famous Derry’s which is supposed to be the best fish and chips in all of Sydney. I actually think the best fish and chips are at Monte’s in Gosford. But Derry’s was fun and quite efficient despite the hordes of people.
The plan was to board the ferry again and ride across to Manley Beach, one of the more famous beaches of the area. But alas, we found that the ferry did not go to Manley. We had to go back to the Quay and catch another ferry.
The ferry ride and the fish and chips lulled us into a sweet stupor. Bottom line, we would wait to do Manley on another day. We parted ways with the Henderson’s and Asplunds who went back to their downtown flats for a nap, and we headed back to Carlingford for our nap. Except I had mine on the way back in the car. Joe has learned to drive on the left side quite well, now, and I trust him.
Yes, it is Labour Day and not Labor Day, but it has some things in common with the yank holiday in that it celebrates the workers to commemorate the 8 hour day. In fact it’s called the Eight Hour Day holiday in Tasmania. Most workers do not work 40 hours per week, though. They have negotiated a 35 hour week, in many cases. The next paid holiday for Aussies is Christmas. They don’t have Thanksgiving. Of course, all the missionaries pay to work instead of working to get paid so that doesn’t mean much to us. Funny Elder Allen is known to drop in our offices on a Friday afternoon and insist that we take the rest of the day off, “with pay!”