Tag Archives: Chippendale

Weekend Coffee Share – 22nd October, 2018.

Welcome to Another Weekend Coffee Share.

This week, we’re meeting up at  Badde Manors Cafe in Sydney’s historic Glebe. I still remember coming to Badde Manors for the very first time back in 1988 as a 19 year old university student. The cafe was built within strict heritage guidelines back in 1982 and is still a local landmark. That’s quite an achievement. p

Glebe Map

Map Of Glebe, Sydney.

By the way, Glebe is about a 15 minutes walk away from Sydney’s Central Railway and across the road from Sydney University. It’s renowned for it’s bohemian markets, awesome bookshop, cafes, restaurants and terrace houses. I absolutely love and adore Glebe and can’t believe I rarely get back there these days. It’s only a train ride away and I hope it will regain lost ground and I’ll be back more often. Bring it on!

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Mural inside Badde Manors

Last week, has been an eye-opener for all the right reasons. Last Tuesday, I went down to Redfern in Sydney for Carer’s Day Out. That was fantastic. Upon arrival, we were given a show bag which included vouchers for a free BBQ lunch, a pamper session and a massage. I had a mini facial as my thing and it was very relaxing. I was also able to try out weaving in one of the tents and made a small wall hanging. That was very therapeutic and I really enjoyed it.If I wasn’t so obsessed with writing and research, I might be drawn into weaving. I also had the opportunity to meet up with the policy team I’d spoken to over the phone. My kids are young carers and I found out that having a very sick or disabled parent doesn’t entitle a student to a free bus pass if they live within the zone. I managed to get them for my kids in the end due to their own medical issues but being a young carer should’ve been enough.

As I said, the Carer’s Day Out was held in Redfern and that’s just around the corner from where I used to live in Abercrombie Street, Chippendale and a a short walk to Sydney Uni. So, I went on a walking tour down memory lane and could feel my feet step back into my old shoes and I was 19 again. You can read about revisiting my old terrace house here and I highly recommend you join me on a tour of Sydney University

While Sydney Uni has plenty of its own history (much of it never to be repeated!), my family has its own history of the place. Indeed, I am a third generation graduate. My grandfather, Bob Curtin graduated with a Bachelor of Dentistry, My Dad grauated with a Bachelor of Economics around 1965 and I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts (Hons History in 1991. After the NSW Conservatorium of Music became part of Sydney, Mum became graduate and my brother is also a graduate. Of course, I would love my kids to go there. However, I don’t want tradition to be a stranglehold.

So, over the next few days, I started exploring and I was over the moon to find out that the archives of our beloved uni newspaper, Honi Soit, have gone online right back to 1929. I’m not exactly sure when my grandfather attended uni yet. He was born in 1910. So I’d estimate that he started there in 1927. Honi Soit was launched in 1929 so he should’ve been there. I was interested to come across an article talking about the difficulties of meeting people on campus. Back in my grandfather’s day, men and women’s union facilities were segregated and women could only attend a uni dance if invited by a male. This meant that some women never made it to a dance. There was also another dilemma posted by a first year medical student who’d been paying for a female student’s tram ticket because he felt he should. He had a tram pass but was too embarrassed to produce it in front of the girl and so he was paying for two tickets and had calculated the costs over his five year degree and was freaking out. I had to feel for the guy. I’ve since moved onto the year of my birth looking for reporting on the moon landing (I was supposed to be born on the day man landed on the moon, but ran 10 days late), but instead found stories about student protests against National Service and the Vietnam War. Wow! My father had been called up to go to Vietnam but in a true “act of God”, was in a nasty car accident and was declared medically unfit. There’s a story, especially as bald tyres on a rainy night might’ve had an influence. I have also read a lot of advice about how to approach your time as a graduate, but could’ve done with that info 30 years old.

279 Abercrombie St

Our place is the one in the middle and most of the time I had the bedroom upstairs on the balcony. 

Anyway, in terms of my blogging last week, for Friday Fictioneers, there was Journey Without Steps, which generated considerable discussion about disability and chronic illness and was rather encouraging. For Thursday Doors, I followed up on my trip to Sydney Uni and posted a photo of the front door on my first home away from home as a 19 year old: The Long & Winding Road

Lastly, I don’t mean to brag but I’ve actually read a book this week. Not only that, but was a fantastic book, which comes highly recommended…David Mitchell’s: Slade House. Have you read it or any of his other works? If so, I’d love to hear your feedback. If I wasn’t almost bricked in by piles of books, I’d be moving straight onto another.

Anyway, so how was your week? I hope you’ve had a great one.

This has been another Weekend Coffee Share, hosted by Eclectic Alli. Thank you for joining me.

Best wishes,

Rowena

 

 

The Long & Winding Road…Thursday Doors..

Welcome Back to Thursday Doors.

The long and winding road
That leads to your door
Will never disappear
I’ve seen that road before
It always leads me here
Lead me to you door….
The Beatles
279 Abercrombie St

279 Abercrombie Street in 2018.

This week’s door is personal. Indeed, back in 1988 as a 18 year old university student, this was my front door. Home for this once grungy terrace is 279 Abercrombie Street, Chippendale. Talk about location! Location! Location! This place was a hop, step and a jump away from Redfern Station and just around the corner from Sydney University my former stomping ground. Back in our day, it was parked right on top of the pedestrian crossing used by hordes of university students walking to and from uni. This was fantastic because we could sit out on our front balcony and spot our friends walking past and call out. It used to confuse the hell out of them, and we’ll see them looking around baffled by where the voice was coming from. However, this crossing was rather treacherous, and was removed, replaced with traffic lights further down the road. Party poopers!

Rowena 1989 bedroom

Typical student. Couldn’t even be bothered making my bed for this photo. If you look in the top right corner, there’s a print called “Understanding”, which still resonates with me 30 years later. I spent years trying to find that person whose mind overlapped my own, but it’s an impossible quest. Each and every one of us is unique.

Of course, it goes without saying that our student digs were far from glamorous and had a sort of rustic charm. We had a semi-outside toilet. There was also no running hot water. That meant we had to boil the kettle to do the washing up and the shower had a gas heating contraption to heat the water up. You had to be a bit careful because you could burn your bottom on it, which at least happened once. Our backyard from memory was an industrial wasteland of rugged concrete. At one stage there, I was selling chocolate cakes to the Reasonably Good Cafe across the road, which was also the scene of my very first public poetry reading  with the Sydney University writer’s group, Inkpot (what a cute name!) This was before you needed an industrial kitchen, and let’s just say we’re lucky no one died.

party kitchen 1989

Party in the kitchen. Check out the oven. How did we used that?

Needless to say, our place was the scene of numerous parties, get togethers and pretty much had an open door policy. The party I remember most was called: “An Interstellar Overdrive Spider Gathering”. Not surprisingly, the word went out that it was an acid party. I’d never touched the stuff and barely even needed a drink to get into party mode. However, at least 80 people packed out the terrace and most of them were in varying degrees of other-consciouness. One such friend thought my lime green beanbag was attacking people and I have a photo of him carting the offending beanbag upstairs to lock it up. That dear friend used to rate his day by how many bottles of Guinness he’s had after Manning Bar opened at 12.00pm. However, to be fair he’d been in a nasty head-on car accident and was only trying to find his feet. We all were. I don’t think many of us knew who we were. What I do recall, was at the end of first year, we were just praying for 51% in our exams. It was too late to hope for brilliance. We just wanted to pass right under the radar into second year.

After all, there was far too much to do on campus than attend lectures, tutorials or even study. I won’t mention the birds and bees. Mostly, that was all hype or heartbreak or an unbroken chain on unreciprocated love. By the way, there were no mobile phones back then. So getting someone’s number and calling them up was a feat in itself and you could simply text when your vocal cords were paralyzed with nerves. I distinctly remember writing down phone conversations before I called up. I also remember trying to get through the St Paul’s College switchboard. It was worse than trying to get through to the Sydney radio station. Another aspect of the phone back then, was that if you were still living at home, your entire family knew there was “a boy on the phone.” The modern generation have it way too easy.

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Abercrombie Street, 2018.

My days at 279 Abercrombie Street ended abruptly after the house had been extensively burgled. They clean swept my room, even stealing my school formal dresses and seemingly everything but my undies. I’d been paying off this really groovy hand-made ceramic t-set which I’d bought from this incredible, never-to-be forgotten shop in Glebe called Aho Doddo. Even the guy who owned the place was a treasure. He drove one of those big old citroens where the exhaust pipe rises and falls. This wasn’t Paris. It Sydney’s inner-west. Sadly, it had closed its doors before I even graduated.

This burglary was our second strike. One night I was woken up by the rattle of chains on the front balcony which opened into my bedroom. Much to my horror there was a burglar staring me right in the face. No doubt, we’ve all watched at least an episode of the Brady Bunch where Carol anxiously taps Mike on the shoulder: “Did you hear that?” Truth be told, I wasn’t quite on my pat malone and had a friend staying over. Friend. I swear moving into that terrace cursed my personal life. My memory, I was eternally single, although perhaps I complain too much. It was 30 years ago. Anyway, the burglar must’ve had a delicate constitution and disappeared back over the balcony and that began a lengthy vigil of keeping my ears open through the night in case of further trouble.

 

By the way, since we’re talking about doors, I should mention that we were often listening to The Doors back then as well as David Bowie. So I’ll sign off today with their haunting anthem: The End

This has been another contribution to Thursday Doors hosted by Norm 2.0. Why don’t you come and join us and share a few of your favourite doors. It’s a lot of fun and helps you see parts of the world you’ll never get to visit.

Best wishes,

Rowena