In Which I Take Some Photographs

Last month I bought my very first camera, so that I could take some photos of the setting of my next novel. This work-in-progress doesn’t even have a title yet. All I’ve done so far is read a lot of books about the subject, fill a folder with research notes and think up some fairly silly jokes and snippets of dialogue. The next step – organising all of this into some sort of coherent plot – seems so overwhelming that I’ve been avoiding it. However, today I decided to go for a long walk around the place in which the novel is set, in the hope that this would inspire me to do some work. I took my camera along and here are some of the results.

First, the Lion:

The Lion

His ferocity is slightly diminished by the fact that a few of his front teeth have fallen out. Actually, I’m not sure if the Lion is going to make it into my book, but the cute little gargoyle in the top left corner of the picture definitely is.

And then, the Unicorn:

The Unicorn

I’m assuming it is a Unicorn (and not just a horse with a weird lump on its forehead), because it’s helping the Lion hold up a coat of arms. Poor Unicorn has lost most of its horn, but hey, if you were a hundred and fifty years old, bits of you would probably be falling off, too.

Next is Mephistopheles, spitting into a fountain:


Unfortunately, he’s missing most of his nose, but he still looks quite evil. He was (supposedly) designed by Australian architect Leslie Wilkinson in 1925, and possibly inspired by Australian artist Norman Lindsay. (I accidentally typed ‘Normal Lindsay’ just then, which I’m sure he would have found highly insulting.)

And then there’s Gilgamesh, who is either hugging or strangling a lion:


I have to admit that I don’t yet know much about Gilgamesh, except that he was the king of Uruk (now Iraq and Kuwait) in about 2500 BC and was regarded as a demigod in Mesopotamian mythology. He also went on a ‘quest to seek immortality’, which is very useful for my purposes. I’m choosing to believe he is embracing the lion, even though the lion doesn’t look very happy, because Gilgamesh also found ‘compassion, friendship, courage, love and peace’ on his quest. That’s nice, isn’t it?

Tomorrow: More photographs from my expedition, and I’ll explain where you can find Gilgamesh and his friends. (Shh, Sydneysiders, I know you’ve already worked out where the photographs were taken! But I’m trying to create some suspense here!)

4 thoughts on “In Which I Take Some Photographs”

    1. I’m wondering what I’m going to be writing next, too! At the moment, it just seems like a gigantic mess.

      Yes, the cover of The FitzOsbornes at War is lovely. I hope you enjoy it.

  1. Hi Michelle

    I wondered if I could get permission to reproduce your photo of the Mephistopheles/Norman Lindsay gargoyle to illustrate an article by our President, Peter Stanley, on the Faustian bargain struck by military historians. To give you an idea of circulation our mailing list for advice of updates is at present around 500 and the website (launched Nov 2013) is moving from niche to boutique status. By the way, the gargoyle is located where? I could not see this in the article. We would, of course, acknowledge your website when reproducing the picture. David Stephens, Secretary, Honest History. PS We will be putting the article up on Tuesday next 18 Feb but can always put the illustration in later.

  2. Hi David,

    You’re welcome to use the photo with a link to my blog, and thank you for asking permission. (Let me know if you’d like me to send you a better-quality image.) The stone head, thought to be Mephistopheles, is part of a fountain in Science Road at the University of Sydney’s main campus. You can find more information about it here at Sydney Architecture’s website.

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