Hello Cruel World
Monday, March 10, 2008
Rootedness & connection: where to live
Rootedness & connection:
At the end of the block behind my house is a site that used to be, in the late 1920s, an orange juice bottling factory. My mother was born on the kitchen table, either of the house I'm in or one in the block behind which was demolished for a warehouse, since demolished while I lived here for a block of flats.
She had to leave school at the age of 13 because she was the eldest girl and her mother had just had twins (One is the only survivor of that generation now). She was needed to help look after the other 3 children and the house. Underage, she had to go to night school, until aged 15 when she could legally leave, or a bit after, as The Great Depression hit in 1929. That juice factory so close to home was her first job. (Later, older, she would walk to another workplace in Glebe around where the Max Factor building is or was. (She walked to save tram fare. I caught the 459 bus when I worked in the area, but now you have to walk again because of the success of the Public Transport Prevention Group.)
For many years the 1920s-style building was almost unchanged, I knew it as a tubing wholesaler (tho' you could also go in & get the odd length of conduit or whatever if you needed it). As the City West development went ahead, & fancied up the place a bit (& put in rental incentives) they moved or closed and DCC (ECC?) Electrical(?) opened up, full of unaffordable & sometimes beautiful light fittings and related objects. Some years later they moved to the Eastern Suburbs, like DeCeCe and that Gallery whose name I've forgotten, which was in the top floor of the City West Building behind the park on Gipps/Harris/Pyrmont Bridge. In the moving sale I could afford the light fitting that will go into the upstairs back room if/when all the work is done.
Empty for a while, it became the Liberal Party HQ for the election that Kerry Chikarovski was leader. Lord, I was tempted to write out a screed of criticism and suggestions for them, make a hundred copies, post a few to them, scatter them around inside, tape them on the windows and power poles, etc.
Now it's been demolished and a bigger block of flats built there. It would have made a nice small block just rejigged, but that wasn't enough profit.
This is the sort of thing that makes me feel connected and rooted in a place, even though I grew up in a different suburb, and reluctant to move away. I could move back to where I grew up, which has fairly good transport. facilities and 'amenity', but is considerably further from the hospital and its services. It may have good local government social services, but I believe the local health area is having problems. Property is very expensive there, I'd go back to my parents' flat unless I could afford my grandmother's semi-detached cottage — single story with a garden (house style I'd prefer).
Another possibility is a nice place I stayed on Wigram Rd in Glebe, single story with a garden and backyard but close to transport and shops. Now the 459 bus is gone, getting to the city and on to hospital is worse, even with Light Rail added, but it's on the same side of the Harbour.
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Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.