While having a chardy at the nearby Trinity Hotel on Monday night, a workmate of my friend Sue, offered a great insight into the geography of Sydney. We had been chatting about how difficult it sometimes is to navigate your way around Sydney compared with other Australian cities like Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth, which are laid out on a grid-system.
It was then, Sue’s workmate who has lived in those other cities, observed that long before the introduction of distributors, tunnels and motorways, most Sydney roads were built either on ridges or gullies. She also noted that Sydney generally inclined downwards from the Blue Mountains to Circular Quay. It was her experience that once you thought of Sydney in those terms, and adopted a “satellite view” of the place, you’re generally fine to navigate your way around.
It was then we discussed how people from Sydney often don’t know the names of streets and roads and usually navigate by other means. In particular, those born and raised here will often navigate by corner pubs, sports grounds, and so on. Sue’s workmate observed that in the Christian-based organisation they work for, it’s often churches that provide the means of navigation. “You turn left at St Matthews, and then right at St Andrews” etc…
We didn’t have far to go for dinner on Monday night though, as Sue and I dined at Il Baretto, a terrific little restaurant on Bourke Street. As always, the food was excellent, accompanied by an Italian pinot grigio.
The surroundings were less than salubrious the following day at a nearby pub when we watched the Melbourne Cup. Only one of my friends managed to pick the winner this year, and I loved his methodology. As he works for a less-than-efficient state government organisation, he loved the irony of selecting “Efficient”. With a five-dollar each way bet, he ended up considerably richer by the end of the day.
Work has been especially busy at the moment. And so aside from the usual Wednesday night catch-up and last night’s birthday drinks, I’ve found myself sitting quietly at home most nights.
Although I’ve mostly been listening to music, I’ve also been watching some television, with a particular favourite being that terrific show hosted by John Clarke on ABC-TV about the development of the Australian accent. The program explained theorised the uniformity of the Australian accent (with some variation) derived from Sydney, and as European Australians moved outwards from Sydney during the 1800s, they took the accent with them. I love that stuff.
Maybe he could also do a program about the roads of Australia? Or maybe I should suggest that to my friend Sue’s workmate?