MARCH 8 2011: Day no 67 : Go beyond Fear.

john carrs night 007

gentle reminders of the hidden suburban dramas that lurk in our memories, and creep into our consciousness when we least expect it. Sera Waters, Paradise Tampering.

21 degrees centigrade. Clouded and cool. I grew up in a suburb of Sydney, NSW, Australia. The suburb was called Belmore and is very different now from what it was then. Not so much the buildings which seem much as they were, but the population.

The NSW CENSUS OF 2006 provides a good deal of data about the population of Belmore.

27 PAXTON AVENUE, BELMORE, SYDNEY.

Map picture

 

That’s the house.

gentle reminders of the hidden suburban dramas that lurk in our memories, and creep into our consciousness when we least expect it. Sera Waters, Paradise Tampering.

I went to live in Belmore in 1950 as a baby. I left there in 1970 to teach in the bush. The ‘formative’ years, therefore were suburban. Its easy for me to recall the aspects which I didn’t like. They have lurked in my memory and crept up on me like the Bilambil snake when I have least expected them. They have been doing that for 40 adult years. Now and then. From time to time.

I went to teach in the Bush, dropped out into the Freak world of the Alternates, stayed in the country and returned to Sydney only in 1987-1994. On that return I lived in South Coogee which is very different from the western suburbs and then came back to the Northern Rivers.  I have carried a lot of fear of brick houses and commuting and family life but I think I am now distant enough to simply look back without the fear rising too high.

Except of course when the prospect of a brick old people’s home or gated community comes over me. I have very few visual memories of those 20 years. They Lurk and arise unasked and unexpected.

LURK

1. to move stealthily or be concealed, esp for evil purposes

2. to be present in an unobtrusive way; go unnoticed

We did have a brick house. Double brick. My dad built it. It elevated us slightly above the houses in the neighbouring streets. Paxton Ave meant that your house HAD to be double brick by council ‘law’. That made us even classier than Lakemba and points even further west.  We had a Ute ( utility truck)  on the back of which Dad built a canopy and we travelled in there in those days before seatbelts. We have been known to go on a camping trip with a pan toilet on top. The memories lurk and many of them are of the Wonder Years.

We had cousins. Seemingly an unlimited supply. And across the road from us was the Chullora Goods railway Line. It was just over the Canal. We were told that when they opened the gates at Warragamba Dam, then the water would flow down the canal and wash right out to the Harbour. The Suburban Legends seem to be Lurking just under my consciousness.

When I was older I went out with Len Bennett. He was a train spotter and knew which engines were coming by the sounds they made. I was very impressed by that talent.

51 lynne keith & ross lakemba 53
Visiting the cousins in Lakemba in the house my Dad built for them.

At No 27 Paxton Avenue in bonnets and frocks in the 1950s.

And someplace in there is the defining line between genuine recollection and tales I have been told but I no longer know really which is which and it doesn’t matter. There is a memory of games played in the front  yard at my Nana’s and stories from the Canterbury Cousins’ Houses  of parties and American sailors and drawn guns.

I have been told of the Grandfather who liked to hold me and show me the passing traffic on Canterbury Road. He was to come and live in Belmore with us but passed away before the house was finished. That was the house where my father grew up. A different type of place entirely from No 27.

Map picture

 

584 New Canterbury Road, Hurlstone Park.

20 584 new canterbury road 1925-30

   

And my Mum, well she was born in Redfern but grew up at 13 Tweedmouth Avenue, Rosebery.

Map picture

 

I remember a fruit tree in her backyard and the Jarvies’ tennis court next door.

51 13 tweedmouth ave rosebery 57 the kids
13 Tweedmouth Ave, Rosebery.

The Ute.

gentle reminders of the hidden suburban dramas that lurk in our memories, and creep into our consciousness when we least expect it. Sera Waters, Paradise Tampering.

Today I sit at my front windows looking out over the paddocks, planning lunch at a nearby Commune where they have café on Tuesdays. I don’t want to live  in the Suburbs. I haven’t wanted to at any stage that I can recall.  I become claustrophobic and feel overwhelmed and very visible and vulnerable. I prefer  the Inner city or Villages or just out of town. However, those first 20 years were spent there with concrete footpaths and neighbours within spitting distance. And they weren’t too bad at all.

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