Walk the Talk to Sydney’s State Library.


The cluster of cables united


After arrival by train we undertook a walk to the Library to deposit ten books as part of two literary competitions. We passed the first of the sky scrapers and after overcoming intestinal hiccups, the walk resumed with renewed vigour. We are now seated underneath large white canvas umbrellas enjoying a sandwich, a bagel and café lattes.

We noticed that despite the heat we were feeling remarkably chipper. We both enjoy watching people go by. It is interesting that we noticed far more cafés and eating places now in Sydney. Many tantalising plates of food were on display. Gone were the dreary lamington, devon and pie offering of years gone-by. No, all is good in the culinary world. A revolution certainly seems to have happened in edible food in contrast to the fare handed out by our rorting politicians.They still revel in showing abhorrence to even the slightest hint of public support for the dreadful treatment of refugees! But of that more later.

Souvlakis and the yeeros outlets seem to have been well established along Macquarie Street while Pitt Street now excels in Chinese wontons, oriental offerings, noodle dishes and even  sad-looking flattened smoked ducks hanging from inside shop windows. A man approached us pointing to his throat. We shook our heads. He walked on and went to the next customer. Was he hungry or mad?  Poor man, possibly both. After a good rest and drinking copious amounts of water, Helvi suggested to go on. Our next stop would be Martin Place. Martin place is to Sydney what the Left-Bank or Eifel-Tower is to Paris. It even has its own train station, all underground. This is where many people meet.

Years ago Martin Place had an expensive and fancy night-club restaurant.  I think it might have been called ‘Quo Vadis.’ The uber socialite and fund raiser of that time, Nola Dykevere, used to write up in the Sunday Telegraph about the  celebrities visiting this night club. It would feature photos identifying by name the diners and their guests. It was many a Sydney-sider’s lifelong dream to be featured in that paper.

I took one of my first dates there. It was a terrible night. The food was cut up sliced English ham and a salad without dressing, some pierced bits of English gherkin.  I threw all caution to the wind by ordering a glass of tepid insecure wine. My date had sparkling lemonade and we just kept saying to each other; “nice, oh how nice, and my spicy Dutch guttural English ‘you look so lovely’ was answered by ‘thank you.” ‘ I was wearing a too big a suit with a white shirt and tie. The brylcreme tried its best to give my mat hair a bit of a wave. The show had a chanteuse singing something from Tammy or possibly  the latest from that racist ‘ The Black and White Minstrel show.’ For dessert we had some sliced cheese and a pale jelly. I bet the cheese was ‘tasty cheese.’ Still a favourite today.

Of course, anyone on a rare first date would have felt a bit nervous and memories might be exaggerated or vague. My experience of the opposite sex were at that time very limited but my interest at pitch fever heights. A peak during the Scheyville migrant’s camp after our arrival, at the Polish taxi driver’s wife’s bush in the shower through a crack in the fibro  partition was as far as it went. Most of my fellow Dutch migrant boys at the Nissan Hut camp thought it a very fortuitous break and were jealous.

Today, Martin place is thankfully different. A busy bustling place with well designed open places where people can sit, enjoy a coffee and avoid talking to each other tinkering on the mobile phone.  Going up past the station we again met up with many of the homeless. A volunteer with entrepreneurial skills had set up a kitchen to feed those that were hungry. A cook was busy stirring and frying food. Many seemed to just be sleeping or perhaps the heat was having an effect. Many looked elderly. Were some pensioners? It all looked rather startling and unsettling to see so many. How could that be?

Right now our politicians are in the middle of a scandal with rorting their entitlements. One female minister for HEALTH just resigned when it came out she was using travel entitlement to scour the Gold Coast Auction market and had made a most lucrative investment in a high-rise unit on the cold Coast while purportedly being on Government paid health business. Where are their priorities? Certainly not on the home-less.

Another minister with a penchant for horses had used her travel entitlements to attend polo races with her boyfriend. She was shown in a photo wearing a hat and far too much eye blackener. Another scoundrel had travelled to the US attending a Prayer Breakfast, whatever that means. But the forgotten flotsam of the homeless are in Martin place and a few were even seen prostrate right in front of the reason of our walk and focus, the State Library. Again I won’t finish this tale of books and woes.

It seems, that I got stuck far too long on regaling  past memories with peaks at female bush. Is that what drives me?

Keep an eye out. More to come!



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9 Responses to “Walk the Talk to Sydney’s State Library.”

  1. auntyuta Says:

    ‘Tasty cheese’ is indeed still a favourite of mine. And I must say I do enjoy the variety of foods that are now available in Australia. These days I tend to eat mostly vegetarian, preferable prepared with lots of herbs and spices.

    You say: “It is interesting that we noticed that there are far more cafés and eating places now in Sydney. Many tantalising plates of food were on display. . .”

    I think back to what Sydney was like in the 1960s. Oh, so much has changed since then. On a Sunday you would see hardly any people in the city, Outside cafes? Not in your dreams.

    Here, I just wrote a bit more about my memories of the 1960s:


    Liked by 1 person

  2. gerard oosterman Says:

    The name ‘tasty cheese’ always was a reason for my dad to comment on. He joked ‘can I buy some non-tasty cheese, please?’ Isn’t all cheese tasty?

    Yes, Uta. Sydney has changed and even the dead Sunday has disappeared to make place for vibrancy and life.

    Eating outside the cafes on the street was seen in earlier times as decadent and a filthy European habit.

    We came here in the mid fifties when even garlic was associated with mafia and knife pulling Italians. The same issues of xenophobia as today against refugees and boat people.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Forestwoodfolkart Says:

    Ah time has moved on from those days, Gerard! How I wish to have grown up in a time with culinary delights like those on offer today. But there were other advantages to life in 20th century Oz I suppose. Were the pollies any more trustworthy then than today? I think it is appalling that they have the nerve to tell us that the age of entitlement is over yet they march to a different tune! Hypocrites!

    Liked by 2 people

    • gerard oosterman Says:

      I think generally politicians had more ethics. When I think of Whitlam or earlier on, Bob Menzies. I don’t think that too many are worried about equality and fairness anymore.
      In earlier times no politician would have gotten away with our present treatment of refugees. If not out of compassion it would not allow the sheer cost. This year’s border protection and contracts to companies to ‘oversee’ Nauru, Manus Island etc. is well over one billion dollars.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. bkpyett Says:

    It is sad that there are so many homeless in Australia. Melbourne has many and even our closest city, Frankston, has more than it should. Begging can now be seen on our streets. Love your post Gerard, hearing about your youthful experiences.


    • gerard oosterman Says:

      Thank you , Barbara,

      On our recent trip into Sydney, there were people who asked for money and for food. Many might have addictions for which there are just no beds available for detox and rehabilitation. We are good at printing pamphlets and give phone numbers for those that seek help, but the reality is that there is no money to adequately address those seeking help.
      Just now I read that two of Australia’s riches people own seventy precent of our wealth.


  5. Happy Go lucky Says:

    Milo looks like an angle, too tired to despise any possums !


  6. Happy Go lucky Says:

    Should it be angel ? Stupid language.


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