At fist glance these Edwardian railings appear to be an integral to Sydney’s Hyde Park. In fact, clever planting, neutral paint colour and repairs to the sandstone encircling the area tell a different story. 

They mark the entrance to an early 20th century underground men’s toilet. Most of these facilities were demolished or filled to ground level in the 1990s. 

So many euphemisms attempt to conceal the identity of these essential services. This testament to the past almost succeeds.

Prickly Prima Donna

Ninety five percent of day, The epitome of calm;

Open, helpful, time for all.

As tiredness and workload mounts,

Only takes a look, a word:

(Grim genie unfurls slowly);

Heat building or voices too loud;

(Edging closer to release);

Interrupt or stand too close;

(Darkness oozes to stifle

My relaxed disposition). 

Prickly Prima Donna’s out! 

Unending madness ensues:

Unworthy; shame; guilt; despair.

Exit, take drama along.

Penning this poem is perfect

For regaining control. Back 

Towards the bottle she goes.

Those were the days

  Once upon a time there was a tavern

Where we used to raise a glass or two

Remember how we laughed away the hours

And dreamed of all the great things we would do

Those were the days my friend

We thought they’d never end

We’d sing and dance forever and a day

We’d live the life we choose

We’d fight and never lose

For we were young and sure to have our way.

La la la la,

Those were the days, oh yes those were the days
Then the busy years went rushing by us

We lost our starry notions on the way

If by chance I’d see you in the tavern

We’d smile at one another and we’d say
Just tonight I stood before the tavern

Nothing seemed the way it used to be

In the glass I saw a strange reflection

Was that lonely woman really me
Through the door there came familiar laughter

I saw your face and heard you call my name

Oh my friend we’re older but no wiser

For in our hearts the dreams are still the same

Sung by Mary Hopkins, 1968. The photograph is detail of UTS Business School designed by Architect, Frank Gehry. I can imagine this building as a 22nd century tavern.  


 It is so easy to slip into automatic pilot for the journey to work. Today was different. I would like to thank the driver who welcomed me to his bus with a chirpy “good morning”. 

Since prepaid fares have been introduced in Sydney there is little need to interact with the driver. Being greeting was part of the story; the driver also played familiar songs and wished everyone a good day as they alighted. 
I tell others about the beauty of Australia, usually referring to the beaches, outback and rainforests. Today I was given several moments in urban paradise. 
The songs included Don’t you forget about me by Simple Minds, Really wanna know you by Gary Wright and Paradise by Coldplay. 

New flag

There has been lots of chatter over the Tasman in New Zealand about a new flag. I like the curls on this local railing so much that they inspired me to create a flag-like montage.  

Urban Revitalisation

I’m fascinated by local history; while having lunch at Capriccio today we wondered what the story is behind the building across the street from where we were sitting. Until about a month ago the ground floor of The Harold Hawkins Court was adorned with flaking beige paint and graffiti. The colourful abstract mural is a welcome improvement. An Internet search revealed a Uniting Care media release from June 2014. 

Dame Pattie Menzies opened Harold Hawkins Court in August 1964. At the time, it was a state-of-the-art facility providing a home for up to 120 senior citizens. However, Harold Hawkins Court, which is located in the heart of Leichhardt’s iconic Norton Street, has stood empty and neglected for most of the last 10 years.

By continuing with my search I hit the jackpot a few webpages later, it turns out the building started off as a theatre.

Large inner west theatre running typical suburban double bills. It was situated on busy Norton Street just off Parramatta Road in the Leichhardt suburb of Sydney. The Marlboro Theatre opened in June 1920. When CinemaScope arrived the Marlboro Theatre had the widest screen in the area. It was a favorite for action pictures. The Marlboro Theatre was closed in July 1960.


The above image is taken looking south along Norton Street towards Paramatta Road. The parked cars on the left are approximately where outdoor seating is provided by cafes and restaurants, including, one of our favourites in the area, Aperitivo. 

The new mural was painted to commemorate the revitalisation of this area. 

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