Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Suburb No 23: Eastwood

After my recent forays into suburbs that are arguably more urban than suburban, it was time to lose
myself in deep suburbia. It's been a while since I've cursed my lack of navigation expertise or fretted
over fuel consumption. And I wanted to drive far enough away from the city's gravitational pull to
somewhere you could feel time stand still and hear the hum of nothingness.

So I chose Eastwood. I'd never been but I had driven through neighboring suburbs that just seemed
to blend into one another without any defining characteristics. Surely Eastwood would be more or
less the same. A true suburban suburb.

It isn't. Maybe once. But not now. Admittedly I did find a scout hall. But I also found two buildings
just minutes from Eastwood that were extremely un-suburban, a colourful Chinese and Korean
community, and on my last visit, this Sunday, anything but peace and quiet... 

Chinese New Year in Eastwood from Louise Hawson on Vimeo.

Part 1: Kung Hei Fat Choy - Lions, lisee and lunch

1st day of Chinese New Year

lisee for me

scaring away the bad spirits - and the children

the chef and the cook

takeaway BBQ meat for Chinese New Year lunch

hanging delights

long time residents and more recent arrivals

 when dinner was meat and three veg.

dotty about dumplings

rosebud lips

Part 2: Eye candy in suburbia

classic symbols

screening my view

 complex and simple



sun protection

frills and flounces :: 1

frills and flounces :: 2

brown and white

nice lines

making news

a peaceful place

Part 3: A castle and a church - A tale of two buildings

I was driving along just minutes away from Eastwood when this mansion/castle suddenly appeared

looking like something out of a storybook. Curzon Hall it turned out to be, once a private home, 
then a Catholic seminary for the Vincentian Fathers (1922), now a fancy place to get hitched.

After sticking my nose into every nook and cranny, hoping to find I don't know what - ghosts,

hidely holes? - I noticed a low-lying building on the other side of the road, 'St Anthony's Parish'.

Not much from the outside but walk in and it's like being transported back to the 1960's and, if

you really crank up the fantasy, the kind of church you might find on the moon. If it was inhabited.
With religious people.

Anyway, both buildings captivated me - and I loved that there in the middle of 'suburbia' were these

two great but very different buildings sitting right across from one another.

direct opposites, directly opposite

the odd couple

concrete and stone

making an entrance

satin vs cotton

the glow

a stepped arrangement

a cross to bear

body of water

windows to the soul

Curzon Hall is impressive but I really loved the spacey, concrete heavy, red and orange church
interior. And while I'm not religious, I liked the fact that unlike many churches that are forced
to shut their doors between services, this church is open from dawn to dusk, for anyone who cares
to drop by.

fabulous curves



the confessional :: 1

the confessional :: 2

Beauty... I didn't really snap any examples of Eastwood's federation homes but there are some good
ones. I think I was too seduced by the castle and the church - and those crazy loud lion dancers,
ridding the suburb of its ghosts one supermarket at a time.

You might like to visit:

Curzon Hall, 52 Agincourt Road, Marsfield (the next suburb to Eastwood)

St Anthony's Parish, across the road from Curzon Hall on Agincourt Road

See you next Monday.


  1. Visiting Sydney for 6 weeks soon and looking forward to seeing some of your 52 suburbs. Truly wonderful blog.

  2. Oh i do love your comparisons. I've been a lurker for a little while, but as Eastwood is round the corner from me, I just had to comment :) Thankyou for all of your lovely inspiration!!

  3. It may have escaped your notice, Louise, that the "cook" in "the chef and the cook" photo is the local Federal member, Maxine McKew

    Tim H

  4. Love "dotty about dumplings" and the simplicity of the fabric detail in "satin vs cotton"
    I've eaten in Chinese restaurants in Eastwood and walked the main streets. Excellent.

  5. Anon/Tim - I did actually realise it's Maxine - used to watch her all the time on the ABC - just thought I'd be understated about it! I had a quick chat with her about my blog and in case you're wondering, her chicken dish was very tasty.

    This Artist's Place - Thank you - and make sure you visit Auburn, one of my favourites.

    Bec - Glad you've de-lurked - and thank you.

    francesjones - Mmm, the dumplings are good aren't they!


  6. Louise I love your little blog, I came to it via Pia Jane Pijkerk's lovely blog.

    I grew up in Ryde so know Eastwood well - Sydney is full of many treasures that go undiscoverd by so many stuck in their lifestyle ruts.

    Well done you for showing the beauty in all these places

  7. I went to St Anthony's primary school for my infants years, and always thought it was the strangest church - you've captured it so beautifully. thankyou :)

    Your blog is fresh, keep it up!

  8. This is a brilliant blog. I would marry you but.. well, you know how these things are.

  9. Hi! My sister has been telling me for ages that I should check out 52 Suburbs. So I finally do when you are doing my suburb! Funny thing is when I was going to start my final year of Design school (back in 2000) I was proposing to do a project very similar to 52 suburbs... I was planning to visit about 60 suburbs around Sydney to interview local people and take lots of photos of the area to get the mood. Unfortunately I wasn't able to do that project so I left uni at that point. I am so happy someone has done it and I LOVE your photos (so much better than my photography). Congratulations on the book too!

  10. Ah Louise, you finally "did" Eastwood!! Woo hoo!! Just hope it was my recommendation that persuaded you... Please tell me you tried the Korean BBQ on the Eastern side of the station?!?!?! Dan

  11. Curzon Hall is not actually in Eastwood (it's in Marsfield, the neighbouring suburb) - but the pictures are great anyway! Thanks for visiting the area.

  12. Anon - thanks for that - although I did know that and note the address as being Marsfield in the section, "You might like to visit". That's why I said that I saw C Hall "a few minutes from Marsfield". Amazing place whichever suburb it's in!


  13. I meant, C Hall is "a few minutes from Eastwood"...!

  14. St Anthony's is the church of my grandparents - for 32 years I have visited and never realised how beautiful it was - thank you for capturing its unique beauty.

  15. Anneliese
    I'm so glad you've seen it with new eyes - I LOVE that church!


  16. I am Anneliese' sister. In each of your pictures I found so many memories both happy and sad.. Thank you for taking me on that journey.

  17. Johanna - A pleasure. Memories are strange things aren't they? Bittersweet in so many ways - but then, were would we be without them?


  18. Jac and I were married in St Anthony's almost 40 years ago. This church reflects the man who caused it to be built, Fr Harper, a real Irish bush priest, no frills, a man of Spirit. Thank you for seeing beyond the concrete.

  19. Tricia - Thank you for giving some more insight into the building, very interesting. As you've read, I really liked the church - I even like the concrete!


  20. Love the photos, Loiuse!

    However, I note that you have credited Curzon Hall to the *wrong* suburb. The pictures are under "Eastwood" when Curzon Hall is in Marsfield. Strange when the whole premise of the project is to document the beauty of any given suburb.

    Can you please fix? Otherwise I can forsee a lot of irate Marsfield residents (I'm sure they wouldn't like their lovely suburb lumped in with Eastwood).


  21. Anon - I actually say in the paragraph preceding the pictures, "I was driving along just minutes away from Eastwood when this mansion/castle suddenly appeared looking like something out of a storybook..

    In other words, I wasn't yet in Eastwood.



  22. Louise,

    You should create a "Marsfield" section, you can then place both the Curzon Hall and St. Anthony's Parish in it.

    And yes, as a photographer I bet you enjoyed Curzon Hall!


  23. Curzon Hall and St Anthonys aren't in Eastwood - not even close!

  24. Hi Louise,

    I live in Marsfield and LOVE your curzon hall pics but it's funny that more than half of the Eastwood photos are actually Marsfield! I think you need to change this section to Marsfield and drop the Eastwood photos (The Eastwood ones aren't that great anyway :) )


  25. fantastic blog, beautiful photos.

    that blue garage door is awesome!

  26. Hi Louise,
    I am a first time commenter on your blog. I have lived in Marsfield/Eastweood for my whole life. Born in Ryde hospital which is in Eastwood. To me I live in postcode 2122. Marsfield or Eastwood who cares what you call it, it is home. Congrats on a great Blog. My friend and I are so inspired by your project we are blogging our own view of Sydney. Mine is called 'My Sydney' by MAXIPIX and hers is called 26 an A to Z of Sydney suburbs. Thank you for the inspiration, our projects are inspired not copied of course.

  27. I'm curious as to why 'Asia' is not suburban...