The US Capitol was quiet and surrounded with barriers when Bort Edwards rode his bike past it only hours before Trump supporters stormed the building on Wednesday.
By evening, an eerie atmosphere had descended on Washington, D.C. as a curfew followed the insurrection that temporarily halted members of Congress certifying Joe Biden's election win.
Dr Edwards, who was raised in Canberra and works in the US capital, witnessed Trump supporters gather for their rally at the National Mall.
Riding there out of curiosity, he saw no sign of the violence and unrest that unfolded after he returned home that morning.
"I like to keep an eye on things and keep a finger on what's going on," Dr Edwards said.
"I was massively surprised by how many people there were on the mall."
Before he returned home, the rally appeared to be a peaceful event, attended by families and children.
However it was clear watching news coverage at home of the ensuing violent unrest at the Capitol that this was something different to other protests held in Washington, D.C.
"To actually have this happen is incredibly unsettling because there are some things you don't do, and this is more than one bridge too far. This has endangered people's lives, it's endangered the reputation of the country," Dr Edwards said.
He noticed emergency services vehicles flash past his home and, after the Capitol building was stormed, Trump supporters walking around his neighbourhood putting their hats and flags away.
"My social media just exploded and all my friends in D.C. were just trading updates and anecdotes and Twitter feeds, and just trying to keep abreast of what was going on," Dr Edwards said.
But he didn't fear the violence spilling over to his neighbourhood.
"I feel safe. I've never felt unsafe in D.C.," Dr Edwards said.
His neighbourhood, including a nearby thoroughfare of bars and restaurants, was subdued during the curfew that began at 6pm on Wednesday.
"It's very eerie," he said.
An atmosphere of tension and stress had descended on the city, one that was unusual for Washington, D.C.
"To have such a bubbling city just clear out like that is very unsettling."