As so often happens on 52 Suburbs, this week's suburb was sparked by last week's. Hanging around
in Dulwich Hill, I kept hearing about neighbouring Summer Hill. I'd never been but I remembered
that 20 years ago, someone's boyfriend lived in Summer Hill - and although I'd never visited, I used
to think, poor guy, living all the way out there in Summer Hill.
Was it still that bad, I wondered. It was, after all, right next door to delightful Dulley. How different
could it be?
Quite different actually. For a start, Summer doesn't have two main roads coursing through it like
Dulley so it feels calmer, more village-like. While Dulley has a handful of wonderfully original
shops still run by their original owners (plus one brand spanking new bookshop), Summer has a
range of 'pretty shops', more cafes, restaurants. And while Dulley is multicultural, Summer seems
more anglo, with more professional types - they have to be to pay the heftier mortgages.
So yes, different to Dulley - and very different to my previous perception. As a long-time tailor there
told me, 20 years ago nothing much was going on in Summer Hill. Now, "it's all happening".
History in brief. Originally home to the Wangal and Cadigal people - and an unusually high number
of kangaroos. First white property ownership in 1794 by a former convict and jailor, Henry Kable.
Named after somewhere in Britain. Suburb of toffs in the 1920s with mansions aplenty. But by mid-1900s,
working class. Today, a few mansions survive with a mix of federation homes and apartment
blocks. Increasingly populated by young families who can afford the real estate - "nothin' under a mill'".
Let's Go Summer Hill.
Part 1: A stroll around the village
then and now, 1918 v 2010
Alan, former photographer but not anymore - "my hands shake like semaphores!"
'The Pink Terrace' Judy Kurtz, Red Door Gallery :: 1
'The Fruit Shop' Judy Kurtz, Red Door Gallery :: 1
'The Pink Terrace' Judy Kurtz, Red Door Gallery :: 2
wallpaper and window
how can you smoke in front of your kitten?
the Paris of the inner-west?
the barefoot busker, Gabriella
excuse me sir but there's a violin on your tie
business people of tomorrow
off to get some smokes
window of opportunity - Trinity Grammar School
sun and lemons
Part 2: Shopping day
For a smallish (1.1km sq) suburb, Summer Hill has a variety of shopping experiences on offer.
A few caught my eye...
'The Fruit Shop' Judy Kurtz, Red Door Gallery :: 2
fruit and veg, artfully arranged :: 1
fruit and veg, artfully arranged :: 2
Gus the busy butcher, Summer Hill Village Quality Meats
rare, medium or well-done?
hand-made linen, The Trading Circle
former flour mill, once used to make pizzas
Part 3: A little Asia in Summer Hill
Having said that Summer Hill was more anglo than Dulwich Hill, it still has a healthy multicultural
blend. One of the largest communities in the area is Chinese (not surprising as Summer Hill borders
Ashfield, an extremely Asian suburb). As a result, an old 1920s Masonic hall on Liverpool Road has
been converted into a temple, the Wong Tai Sin and Kwan Yin Kur temple, a mix of Toaist and Buddhist.
Having driven past it many times on my way to a friend's place in Ashfield, I always wondered
what it was like inside.
'Orange in C# minor' Judy Kurtz, Red Door Gallery
Cooee, there's a temple in Summer Hill!
light :: 1
the King and I
details :: 1
smoke and fresh air
'it makes you glad you're hungry' (unless you're allergic)
light :: 2
religion divides and unites
So that was Summer Hill. The beauty for me - that your stroll through a 'village' with a vaguely
European feel could end with a visit to a temple so smoky with incense, you smell like a forest fire
for days after.
Only six more suburbs to go. How odd. Hope to find the time to get much further out west this week.
It's been ages since I felt really guilty about my fuel consumption.