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A view from the top

Meet the northsider sharing his balcony with millions of people around the world…

Sydney Harbour, Sydney Harbour Bridge
Bird’s eye view: Lloyd on his balcony in Kirribilli

From cruise ship arrivals to New Year’s Eve celebrations and weird weather phenomena, 82-year-old Lloyd Gledhill sees it all from his Kirribilli apartment. For the past 36 years, Lloyd’s home has been his front row seat to Sydney Harbour’s spectacular, ever-changing show.

And since 2015, the retiree has shared those priceless views with over two million people from around the world.

Lloyd runs, the eye (very nearly) in the sky that streams Port Jackson’s constant comings and goings across cyberspace.

“Lots of people have a dream of living by the harbour,” Lloyd says. “I was certainly one of them and was lucky enough to move here.”

Lloyd first had the idea of placing a webcam on his balcony 20 years ago.

“I’ve always loved technology and wanted to share this world class view,” he recalls. “But back then the tech wasn’t good enough so I decided to leave it. But the idea was always in the back of my mind.”

That all changed five years ago when Lloyd decided it was time to go online.

“I built the initial website myself and people found it pretty quickly!” he says. “That was a bit of a surprise but good fun too.”

Lloyd’s bird’s eye view webcam now receives over 10,000 views every day with people tuning in from around the world.

“The audience is mainly from the UK and the US,” Lloyd says. “But I’ve got viewers all over the place…Nepal, Iceland, Congo, East Siberia…they’re everywhere!

“I think Sydney is of great interest to people,” he continues. “It’s a long way away for many and has great weather.

“Parents have written to tell me they log on from the UK at the time they know their grown-up children are on the train crossing the bridge or on the ferry commuting to work. They tell me it helps them feel closer to their family members.”

Lloyd’s traffic spikes first thing in the morning – “Sydneysiders checking the weather,” he laughs – and in the evening as the sun begins to set over the bridge.

Viewing numbers peak on New Year’s Eve, when the Coathanger, which is just outside Lloyd’s lounge room window, becomes the focus of the world at midnight.

“I’ve got viewers all over the place... Nepal, Iceland, Congo... even East Siberia!”

“Australia Day is very popular too,” Lloyd says, his webcam in prime position for the annual harbour festivities and famous tug boat ballet performance.

“We also get lots of people following the cruise ship arrivals and departures. They’re a sight to see! There’s some beauties of storms that roll in too.”

The octogenarian, who took up track sprinting three years ago “keeps me fit!”, has no plans to disconnect any time soon.

“I love dusk,” Lloyd smiles. “When the lights of the city are starting to come on but it’s not dark yet. That’s the golden light. And as long as I’m here, the webcam will keep going for everyone to enjoy.”

From the arrival and departure of cruise ships (above) to the many events held in the harbour (such as Australia Day, below), Lloyd’s webcam captures it all.

Words: Anna Gordon


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