Postcard from a Place #4


Soft mauve late October splashes of jacaranda punctuate my view east to where the Sydney Football Stadium squats: a half deflated tire, tired; between seasons: sighing for the heydays.

Look northeast to where the mid week sailors heel into the breeze out around the Sow and Pigs, far beyond the lurking menacing shapes of the battle grey ships: nuzzling against the shore which still beats a grateful heart to Jack Munday for the salvation of at least some of its charm.

The giant Coke sign at the top of the Cross will illuminate later; a beacon to the William St traffic which dodges its own intentions and musing: through the tunnel and home, or sneaking left to a guilty pleasure.

Wedged between me and Bondi Junction sit the solemn walls of the wards of St Vincents, standing in counterpoint to the old buildings of Darlinghurst Gaol.  As I look northward again over Woolloomooloo I reflect on the old population of Irish immigrants, watched over by the eye of the church, from St Mary’s cathedral to the West and the looming walls of Darlinghurst Gaol, and British authority to the East.

I remember the feeling, as a fifteen year old, walking up Oxford St from Central to East Sydney tech, in the old gaol.  The sense of wonder at a ten day poetry summer school: with people who swore publicly and spoke of opiates and ideas. Staying at Grandma’s house at Miranda, and sharing Miranda’s wonder in finding such wonderful things in such a brave new world. Sitting in the floor in the foyer, before a matinee production of Hair: a long way from Wongo Creek

It’s nice to be back in the city: there’s a palpable energy here.

The tower at the Paddo town hall begins to glow as the last rays of the sun catch the clock and the spire, flag proudly shouting at the end of the day: streaming boldly in the approaching southerly.darlinghurst2

In the distance I can see the tower at Waverly directing our gaze down past the college and on along the Frenchman’s Road to the Prince at Randwick, where we can pause and see where it points to Coogee and memories of my early career.

I swing around and look to see the tower in Sir John Young Crescent where we ‘re-orientated’ from secondary to primary.  The block thrusts skyward, alone near the Eastern Distributor, giving the finger to the nearby terraces and warehouses: an ode to the Seventies and why my generation exists as such a paradox.

We still have time: let’s make a difference.