Sunday, December 20, 2009

suburb No 15: Pyrmont

I was working in Pyrmont this week on a freelance job so the only way I could squeeze in 52 Suburbs 
was to make Pyrmont the suburb of the week.

I'm so glad I did - it made my head spin on so many levels. Massive old factory buildings, rows of 

small terraces and a handful of derelict buildings rub shoulders with ultra modern high rise with 
million dollar views. Here and there you are reminded of the history - the enormous sugar refinery, 
sandstone quarries and powerhouses. It's not hard to imagine tiny St Bedes Church disliking its brash 
new neighbour, Star City, the site of a former power station. The wharves survived, now filled by 
young urbans with soft hands. Then there are the surprising parks, the harbour and that beautiful 
bridge dedicated to the brave.

All the elements in one place...

Part 1: Water

Pyrmont is on a peninsula

a welcoming sight

home of diversity

proud (Centrepoint Tower)

semi-industrial feel :: 1 (Pyrmont Bay Wharf)

semi-industrial feel :: 2

worlds apart in the same suburb :: 1 (Union Square terraces. Pyrmont Bay Wharf)

worlds apart in the same suburb :: 2

past and present all tangled up

named in honour of the brave (Anzac Bridge)

high up on the bridge (James Craig ship, 1874. Anzac Bridge, 1995)

i heart u

A is for Anzac Bridge

still sees the light of day (Jones Bay Wharf)

in a merry mood

it takes all kinds

dragon boats at rest

Part 2: Earth

before and after (Clifftop, Jackson's Landing. Former Public School, 1892)

amazing what you can do with a chisel and a block of stone

a year apart (former wool factory, John Taylor building, 1893)


long-time residents :: 1 (Pyrmont Bridge Hotel. Doreen, born in Pyrmont 1925, lived in the suburb all her life.)

long-time residents :: 2

long-time residents :: 3

tiles : 1

tiles : 2

tiles : 3

is Terminus terminal? :: 1 (Boarded up after the owners' only son was shot on the premises more than 20 years ago)

is Terminus terminal? :: 2

is Terminus terminal? :: 3

a shadow of its former self (derelict buildings)

Part 3: Wind
As in the wind that whips down the clean streets of the peninsula's major residential development, 
Jackson's Landing, once the place of stinky sugar and molasses ...

then and now (Horse drawn sugar carts heading up Jones Street. Jones Street now)

Jackson's Landing all mapped out (model of area)

old and new (The Cooperage, part of CSR. Model of same building)

sharp angles

solid foundations (model and real, The Cooperage)

those balls (Equipment from the CSR days. Model of same)

more gladiator sandals? aren't there enough already?

water water everywhere (view from Jackson's Landing. Pool in complex)

Part 4: Fire

fire fire (Pyrmont Fire Station, 1906)

inside out

nee nor

heaven and hell (St Bede's Church and Star City Casino. Hellhole, the name of one of the sandstone quarries)

say a prayer

healthy diversity or playing with fire? (Row of terraces in Union Square. Pyrmont Bay Wharf residential building)

does this...

go with that?

Beauty ... of the fascinating, successful face-lift variety. Just hope they don't get rid of any more 
wrinkles or the place might start looking unrecognisable.

Next week - well, er, in between the freelance job (finishes Tuesday) and the shopping (who does 

it before Christmas Eve?) and the child wrangling (did I mention I have a child? well, I do!) and all 
the rest, I'm wondering how much of a suburb I'm going to be able to tackle. But tackle I must - so 
prepare yourself for a thinner version of 52 Suburbs please. And probably a late one too.

In case I don't post next Friday - in between the turkey and the plum pudding - Merriest of Christmases 

to you. And thanks for hanging around these past 15 weeks. Wouldn't have been nearly so much fun 
without you.

Friday, December 11, 2009

suburb No 14: Haberfield

Haberfield. Been there a few times before but like Marrickville, only to visit friends. My entire 
experience of the main street was limited to finding a bottle shop to buy some wine for said 
friends. Hopeless really. But even with eyes half shut it was impossible not to notice there was 
something different about the suburb - namely the gardens were big and the houses uniformly 
attractive and mainly Federation. So it didn't come as a surprise when I learnt this week that 
Haberfield was designed as a 'model' garden suburb.

The history in 20 words or less:

• Darug tribe first in, to be replaced by the British - two of whom made their mark on the place - 

David Ramsay and Richard Stanton
• The Ramsay family built a great old building, Yasmar, and St Davids Church (see pics below) 
• Stanton arrived early 1900s to name the suburb after some rellies and transform the place into 

a garden suburb
• The entire suburb is heritage listed, hence the uniform appearance
• The Italians moved in a little later and never left.

Random impressions: quiet, nice churches, very green and flower-colourful. Yasmar is kind of 

spooky now that it's all shuttered up. And there's a small but lethal cluster of restaurants, cake 
shops and delis on Ramsay Street - I am now much wiser about the suburb but considerably 
fatter too...

Part 1: Flowers are everywhere

flowers in the stairs :: 1

flowers on the floor

flowers in the stairs :: 2

flowers in the tiles and dresses

flowers in the tiles and dresses, close-up

flowers in the garden ladies

Part 2: This goes with that




wrap around glass

love love love

how do you like your garden path?

Part 3: Italia

Italy is shaped like a boot

proud colours

the greengrocer's dad

having a chinwag

Part 4: The food


the famous cheesecake

star :: 1

a place to meet

creamy goodness

hand made

before and after

star :: 2

Part 5: A church or three

a variety of churches

flowers even grow out of stone (St Davids Uniting Church)

inside out (Haberfield Baptist Church)

St Joan : 1 (Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church)

St Joan : 2 (Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church)

from the garden (Saint Joan of Arc Catholic Church)

open the window please (St Oswalds Church)

Part 6: Yasmar (Ramsay spelt backwards)

Yasmar :: 1

Yasmar :: 2

Yasmar :: 3

Part 7: Ciao garden suburb 

a 'model' home

flowers, in the ground and in the hands

The 'model suburb' of Haberfield was designed to be beautiful and it is - what it lacks in diversity 

it makes up for with uniformity in its homes and gardens. Even the food is aesthetically pleasing 
with pretty pastel coloured gelatos and myriad shaped pastries. So pleasing I ate half the suburb 
before I rolled down to my car and left. Stuffed but happy to be one more suburb slightly wiser 

about my own city. 

You might like to visit...

Pasticceria Papa, 145 Ramsay Street

Dolcissimo, 98 Ramsay Street

Yasmar, 185 Parramatta Road 

See you next week.