The inner west. A different world. Our friend’s sandstone steps at the back thread down
through a garden filled with exotic plants and Asian sculptures and onto the river at the front.
Black mud clutches the woody mangroves at low tide. We follow the path along the river’s
edge. Kayaks pass, kids play, but sadly, the river is polluted - there is erosion, silt build up
and the accumulation of chemicals all the consequence of past discharges. They say if you
go in you have more chance of dissolving than drowning. The good news is the river
is being cleansed, revitalised. Wildlife is increasing and water quality improving.
The river path becomes a footpath along narrow streets - older, original, inner city
streets lined with cars and Federation brick homes (not yet renovated or destroyed). Old
fashioned gardens and rickety carports. Down laneways where splashes of colour
explode and street art on what seems like every surface. Some good some bad.
Our friend knows many of the works so we get commentary, interpretation,
insight. Many of these areas are tucked away, out of sight, attracting youthful congregations,
less care. The downside is rubbish. Discarded, blown around, caught up in wire fencing and
doorways. A blight …. and yet strangely in harmony with the surroundings: the disused
warehouses, scrawls on roller doors, images on dirty brickwork. So many repurposed
industrial factories with old signs still visible are now cool bars, diverse eateries, trendy pubs
and funky breweries.
We pass The Bob Hawke Beer and Leisure Centre. Gold letters set in floor tiles at the
entrance greet you: Any boss who sacks anyone today for not turning up is a
bum. There is a pool table in a room modelled after the PMs own pool room at his former
home. Glass cabinets hold the memorabilia and the walls are covered in photographs. The 80s
vibe is strong.
We eat and drink at a recently renovated corner pub after what had been a serious fire.
Modern, stylish, upmarket food and quirky décor. Thank goodness the exterior yellow glazed
tiles survived, along with the Reschs Pilsener billboards retaining that local watering hole
Our journey home twists and turns and meanders through back roads, parks and footways, as
well as main roads boasting decorated council bins and display awnings in various
languages. The place is busy, lively, eclectic. The railway station prominent with shiny
tiling and multiple tap off machines. I chuckle thinking of our railway line which you
actually cross on foot.
A ten kilometre walk, not a maze, a maze has an ending, but a labyrinth of discovery.
Changing, endless. We sit back, drink tea, chat and munch on Greek pastries.
Yvonne lives in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney. She enjoys bushwalking, birdwatching and the four distinct seasons. Living in such a pristine natural environment is both a delight and a privilege. The community atmosphere, the colour, the prospect of a snowfall, the haunting mists, the vibrancy of small towns with their eccentric and creative inhabitants, all make for a nice lifestyle. Yvonne dabbles in photography, writing, mosaics, family history, crosswords and gardening. Travel has taken her to many countries and on numerous road trips within Australia. She looks forward to discovering much more.