Although I’ve never really been “into” cars, there was a car on Bourke Street, Surry Hills today which stopped me in my tracks. I don’t know what kind of car it is, I don’t know when it was made, but I recognise good design. And so, as I made my way to buy a new pair of jeans from a nearby shop, I stopped for a moment, gave the car a once-over, and took a photograph.
Minutes earlier I’d had a “I love Surry Hills” moment. Even though it’s the middle of winter, the weather’s fine, and it was great to see so many people seated outside the Bourke Street Bakery and The Book Kitchen enjoying life. Then, as I wandered up Bourke Street, I reflected on the transformation that’s occured there. When I arrived in Sydney, it was a busy main road. Now with cycle ways, it’s a lovely quiet street that you can walk along happily enjoying the trees and the architecture.
Surry Hills has changed significantly over the last twenty years. When I first moved in, it was pretty rough. My family were concerned I’d moved into the area, remembering a family member who lived in the area back in the 30s and 40s when it was desperately poor. There are still large pockets of poverty in Surry Hills now, but there’s now an affluent class as well.
Despite the cliches you hear about the place: single, middle class hipsters, wankers yaddah yaddah, Surry Hills is culturally and economically diverse. There’s a huge amount of public housing a few hundred metres from my place. Across the road from where I live there’s a lovely park where there’s always lots of kids.
Which brings me to a video I spotted the other week which, frankly, rather annoyed me. I won’t bore you with a lengthy critique. I’ll just tell you, there’s a lot more diversity in Surry Hills than you’ll see in this video.