Friday, September 25, 2009

suburb no.4: Cronulla

To be fair to all points of the compass 52 Suburbs headed south this week, to the beachside suburb 
of Cronulla. Again, my lack of knowledge about the suburb was astonishing. The extent of it? A 
vague memory of a history lesson about Captain Cook and a more vivid recollection of the 2005 riots. 
Clearly time for a visit – and my usual ‘exhaustive’ research:

• Cronulla is from the Aboriginal word 
Kurranulla, meaning "place of pink seashells"
• First bit of Australia’s eastern coastline to be checked out by Europeans (Captain Cook, 1770)
• Sits on a peninsula with the longest surf beach in Sydney on one side and a quiet bay on the other
• The only Sydney beach accessible by train.

On the 40 minute drive down to Cronulla I was struck by how exciting it always feels just before I 

arrive in a new suburb. Partly it’s the shock of the new - what will I see, who will I meet (and eek, 
will I find any 'beauty' to photograph?). But I also realised I find the process of filling in the blanks 
about my own city and expanding the mental picture I have of it to be quietly thrilling.

Speaking of pictures…

catch a train to the beach


surf's up

'protect me'

yin and yang

Ms Hepburn, meet Mr Tansley

on their last legs


follow your dreams

even the bricks have ripples

and so do the windows

heart on his sleeve

shades of Miami

young and old

things of stone

rough diamonds

by the seaside

local colour

'fancy a walk on the beach?'

net net

i see green, i see green, i see green



in the eyes of some

Cronulla turned out to be far more naturally beautiful than I'd imagined. I know it's not high 
season yet but it's also appealingly 'empty' and spacious, especially in comparison to its more 
northern friends. 

As for the built environment, the bits I like best are those that are fading, peeling and generally 
disintegrating due to the constant assault by salt and sun. And that foamy, minty jade-like green. 
All of which probably drives the locals mad but there you go.

Next week, 52 Suburbs will be travelling west and east at the same time, to Cabramatta...


  1. Truly beautiful photos! Your pics literally tell a story and I can't wait to see more.

    I notice your motto was a search for beauty in Sydney 'burbs? Perhaps a great challenge for you would be to venture out even more further west around Blacktown or Mt Druitt. I'd love to see what kind of beauty you could capture in the Western suburbs where the lifestyle isn't as... well... affluent? As for beauty in the west, check out Windsor (for the history) or my suburb of Glenwood, where it's newly developed.

    Just a thought. Keep up the good work :)

  2. gorgeous images, loving your blog...

  3. Hi Karen
    I absolutely intend to venture out to the 'far' west and yes, I'm sure it will be challenging! This week I'm visiting Cabramatta which is pretty interesting.


  4. Such a great idea, and what beautiful photographs! My family and I have recently moved from Wiley Park to Tamworth, so it was lovely to see Lakemba through your eyes!

    I would love to know what kind of camera and lens/es you use (if you don't mind sharing the details)....

  5. Hi javajive
    Thank you. I use a Canon EOS 40D with a 16-35mm 1:2.8 LII USM lens - which I love! Hope Tamworth is fun.


  6. Wonderful! Im hoping this sets off a global chain reaction and other people do the same in their city.

  7. Great blog. I'm looking forward to visiting every last suburb with you. I'm a Marrickville boy, so I'm hoping we're on your list!

  8. This is fantastic! I found you through Inside Out's blog - I will definitely watch for your next suburbs - I love how you put two disparate photos together with a theme. Perfect!

  9. Brilliant stuff! Look forward to next one!

  10. Excellent ... I'll be with you every burb of the way!

  11. Oh boy oh boy am I glad I found your Blog! I love the way you put your photos together and I love your sense of humour :-) You have me wanting to follow in your footsteps but I don't need to it's all there and it's much more interesting seeing these suburbs through your eyes.
    I've put you into my GoogleReader already!

  12. Have just discovered your project through the Inside Out blog. I totally agree with you how we get stuck in our own little worlds and should get out more. I will be keen to see more of Sydney I don't know about and hopefully desk-chair-surfing will get me out more too! P.S really love your captioning!

  13. I love your blog. Your photos are brilliant - you have a superb eye for colour, detail and humour. Keep going. This will be a definite weekly visit for me.

  14. I just found your blog via a friend's blog. I saw Cronulla - where I grew up in the 70s and immediately checked it out.

    I urge you to do Como, Gymea, Bundeena & Maianbar.

    The Sutherland Shire is a truly beautiful place that has been treated -like the Western Suburbs- to a very myopic portrayal in the media. Cronulla beach, as you discovered, has no parallel in Sydney. It's huge. It's natural. It's healing.

    Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful photos with us.

  15. Hi Amanda
    Just saw your comment - thank you for those suggestions, had thought about Como so probably will get down there.

  16. Those photos are far too poetic to depict Cronulla. Should have taken a snap of the drunk teenagers stumbling out of Northies.

  17. fantastic series of representational images of a beautiful place, well done to you, Louise.
    Love how you made the images as pairs, works so very well!!

  18. This is the suburb that I spent many of my days as a kid. My friend and I caught the train from Sutherland. We had two shillings each. It paid for the train, the change rooms and lunch. The beaches were empty compared to today.My friend loved the surf and I loved the sea pools. So we did the surf in the morning and the pools in the afternoon. I often lost my knickers. Everything was new and clean then but like me it looks old and wrinkly now.
    Love your blog.

  19. Anon - Ha ha!

    Anon - Thanks!

    Diane - I love your comment, especially the bit about losing your undies! Such an Australian thing - well, was anyway, maybe not today when there are less undies on the beach and those that are have probably got some sort of new fangled stay-upness factor. Thanks for taking us back to an older Cronulla.


  20. I was searching for the species name of the little pink seashells Cronulla is named after. Stumbled onto ur site, it brought a tear to my eye cos i lived in cronulla then south cronulla as a teen in the 70s, i remember all the pics but not exactly where they were. Where's all the sand gone? I shud go back and have a look around i guess, love to know who amanda is, im robyne.

  21. Excellent.
    I grew up in Cronulla and your mention of the minty jade like green made me so home sick. Yeah it's aweful, but awesome at the same time.
    Thoroughly enjoyed this.
    My favourite is the Lifeguard and the Tatt....'protect me'. But they're all great.
    Will keep checking in here at the suburbs...
    I am a little late on the uptake...but that's what photos are great for.