Posts Tagged ‘Newtown’

Australia before the arrival of garlic.

July 8, 2017
IMG_0920 the potato bake

The long lost Leek for potato-bake

Many upright and still standing older burgers of Australia  cast the occasional nostalgic look back to the Australia of the yesteryears.  They were uncomplicated years, and we stood up for Queen and country. One had the school assembly with the accompanying waving of flag and wafting through most schools was the sacred banana sandwich with at most a slice of Devon as close to Continental compromise,’  as  allowable under the White Australia policy. Till the seventies, all thing British were strictly adhered to. We were more English than the English and all enjoyed Yorkshire Pudding at Christmas and pulled crackers on New Year’s Eve.

If I remember right it were the arrival of boats from Southern Europe in the fifties that spelt the beginning of the end of this peaceful Australia. True, we were already accustomed to the many from the Magyar background which Australia tolerated reasonably well, especially when they were found to be rather deft hands in Real Estate and building fancy Continental Restaurants.  In Sydney’s Double Bay one could already in those early nineteen-fifty years enjoy a real percolated coffee and with some calm discretion even order a goulash or some other European  dish. I remember an upright frumpy matron from outer suburbia of Wahroonga getting up calling for the headwaiter while pointing to the plate of steaming goulash demanding in a shrill voice to know why on earth it was so hard to put ‘ good clean AUSTRALIAN food on the table.

The Hungarians came from persecutions not that that prevented many Austrians and other  migrants from Slavic bordering countries claiming the same, even though some might well have held some rather dubious posts in the former Wehrmacht but at least they were white and that is what mattered above all else to Australia during those turbulently difficult  but yet yawningly placid years.

It were really the Italians and Greeks with their Garlic importations that changed the previous benevolent mood in Australia away from mother England and all things British. The first garlic clove was introduced by Luigi- Parresone of Palermo who started a fruit shop in Sydney’s Oxford Street. It was Oct the 30th, 1957, on a sunny afternoon, when garlic for sale was first spotted by an irate true blue Australian just coming out of the cinema which was adjacent to this fruit shop. This man had already loudly complained when the first of some cinema goers refused to stand up while the strains of ‘God save the Queen,’ were being hammered out on the Hammond Organ at the beginning of the film which was An Affair to Remember with Deborah Kerr. This refusal, together with the garlic proved too much to this upstanding Aussie.

It was later claimed that garlic and the Euro influenced refusal to stand up for the Queen that accurately predicted an ominous decline in our much beloved Anglo culture. This odoriferous garlic soon permeated throughout much of the good country of Australia and even reached Broken-Hill as early as 1959. It was said to have been introduced by Croatian migrants from The Snowy Mountains Scheme that drifted to the outback; first to Mount Isa and then to Broken Hill. They were difficult years and the police had to be called when battles broke out between  pro- and anti garlic mobs in King Street, Newtown. Brick were thrown, shops burnt and universities with professors seething with discontent..

Today, Garlic is totally accepted into the Australian cuisine and as much liked as the much beloved brown coconut encrusted Lamington cake during those earlier times. Indeed, we now enjoy food from all corners of the world. Vive le difference is now our catchcry.

The banana and Devon sandwich pervasively permeated primary schools remain a curious remnant from the past,

as was the final jettisoning of the White Australia Policy.


A short return to Cosmopolitan Life.

September 20, 2013

With the new foot-rest car we felt reinvigorated and wanted to take the Peugeot for a spin to the big smoke. Our home stomping ground was the inner city of Sydney when we were still young, foolish, reckless and desperate to be seen as part of something we thought would swing on forever. After many decades this ‘’swing’’ has now morphed into an afternoon ‘’snore’’. But as Peugeot lovers would say, c’ est la vie.

With my foot firmly on its designated rest and La Marseillaise in the CD player; (Arise children of the fatherland. The day of glory has arrived. Against us tyranny’s. Bloody standard is raised. Listen to the sound). We left just before lunch.

No yet familiar with all the knobs and levers of the car I thought it best to put everything possible on automatic. Did you know that cars have climate control? I put it on automatic, not wishing to get a tornado developing above the back seat. The same with speed control which I put on a comfortable 97 km per h. You’ve just got to give it to the French, so much sophistication and joie de vivre inside a metal box that rolls around on wheels. When I get back home again, I’ll look up Paris appartements en la arrondissement de 3 ou 4.

Our car had a log book in which I found that the seats were made of ‘’genuine’’ leather. Is leather more leather if it is genuine? Are there leathers around that are dishonest and not genuine? Lately there are some puzzling descriptions around. There is a company selling ‘’organic’’ water. Don’t tell me water is now also made of PVC. I hope we are not being swindled out of one of the last natural resource, just water. It is bad enough seeing ads by MacDonald’s making one believe that by eating their salty fatty food it transforms us into such robust health we end up leaping over farm fences and riding Canadian white water rapids in rubber boats.

You wonder when it will be that the world will recognize it is not Syria that is the enemy but the large Multi-National purveyors of death and destruction, the pushers of fast food and sugar laden drinks. Look at the world’s Shopping Malls where millions of masticating jaws are grazing out of polystyrene containers, racing to an early diabetic death.

But…back to Mrs Euphoria and the glorious Peugeot trip to our wild unfettered, still saucepan free and tempestuous past.

As we got closer to the stomping ground of our reckless youth, a feeling of exultation of spirit, already soaring as a result from the patriotic CD and the sultry climate inside our Peugeot, reached a new peak. We parked and noticed a lovely old pub, The Newtown Hotel, just across the road. We noticed many students and their professors sunning themselves on the upstairs very ornate cast iron railed balcony sipping schooners of healthy Cooper’s brooding ales. It all looked just as we remembered. We were swinging once more.

What the heck, (we thought) we are just like them, no difference and clambered up the stairs, one step at the time, and ordered two schooners of heavy Ale with garlic prawns and a pumpkin pizza and feta cheese. Straight away another schooner and for H un peu de Chenin Blanc. We whooped it up. The music was cathartic too, student hips were swaying and the bearded professors started leering. More Ale and Chenin.

On the way home, the climate control had a job keeping my claps of thunder away, let alone flashing bolts of intestinal attacks of indigestion and not an anti-acid automatic button in sight. This music really helped.

US National Rifle Association and a unique Petition.

December 19, 2012


This new petition is unique in that it allows  the constitution and the right to bear arms to remain by introducing a new-age technology which reverses the trajectory of the bullet   to the shooter. It is a kind of weapon that would deter foolish and reckless shooters and… if they chose to use it anyway they would be the only victim.

Please sign urgently. Only one hundred signatures needed and it will be delivered.

Thank you,


Four days after the primary school massacre in Connecticut, the powerful National Rifle Association (NRA) has broken its silence, saying it is “prepared to offer meaningful contributions to help make sure this never happens again”.

In a statement, the NRA says it has stayed silent until now out of respect for the families and as a matter of common decency, but it will hold a major news conference later this week.

The gun rights organisation says it is made up of 4 million mums and dads, sons and daughters, and they were shocked and heartbroken by the murders in Newtown.

The statement comes as the White House confirms president Barack Obama is now actively supporting the re-introduction of a ban on assault weapons.

The NRA is one of the most powerful lobbying groups in the United States, partly because of its large and active membership.

Here is this unique petition with the reversible bullet technology option.  Please sign:

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Car trip

December 9, 2011

Car trip.

Surely travelling over two hundred kilometers just to have a meal is somewhat eccentric, n’est ce pas? Yet, we did this last Thursday. It was to celebrate both our son’s and Helvi’s birthday with a dinner in Newtown’s King Street. Leaving in the afternoon and against the outgoing traffic it’s not all that bad and, apart from meeting up with daughter and partner, son and grandson Thomas, we just love the buzz of southern side of King Street, Newtown. It is, in our opinion, a stretch of road unique in Australia.

The architecture is a jumble and mix of nothing particularly outstanding. I mean it is not Avenue des Champs-Elysees, but is unique in the sense that it is totally alive. The amount of traffic is such that it is perpetually at a standstill giving ample opportunity for pedestrians to cross and even walk along the cars without much risk or any danger. The battle between the cars and pedestrians will surely finally have to resolve itself by simply banning all cars. At the moment there is still a balance and somehow symbiotic. Cars can still park after 6pm, unload those to go shopping or seek sustenance in a café or restaurant of which there seem to be plenty. We were certainly driven by hunger by the time we arrived.

It is a forever changing scene in Sydney. We turned off after having gone through the notorious smelly tunnel, into The Princess Highway. “Princess Highway” surely a misnomer? Where is the Princess? It brought back shades of my introduction in 1956 to the often rather optimistic naming of places that after inspection did not live up to their promise. “Palm Beach” but it did not have palms. “Blue Mountains”, yes, but where are the mountains? Tourist brochures still today names Goulburn “Lilac City”, where is the lilac?

Princess Highway has only ugly ones, probably hiding in the plethora of car yards that litter as nowhere else in the world. We drove past what we thought was a new airport, but, which turned out to be a huge IKEA shop. It is so big, that you need a fold-up bike with GPS to take you around and plenty of water.

It was with great relief we drove into King Street and found a parking within 50 metres of the restaurant that our son had booked for 6pm. It’s a hugely popular Thai restaurant with the added lure (we were told) of she-males as waitresses. We did not see any; it must be one of those rumours spread by clever marketers to make the restaurant popular. They were all slim and terrifically attractive girls, good and quick with forever scanning the customers for any possible requests or orders. The name of the place starts with a D, something Duang & Doh and is always chockers for lunch and dinner. It’s next door to a dress designer shop called Magdalena Duma.
It is run by the daughter of a Polish-Jewish refugee and some time ago I wrote a piece about that shop as well.
That’s what Newtown does to you. It is not dull. I suppose that stretch of old Sydney is what Balmain used to be like before the million dollar lawyers brigade took over.

If I ever became Lord Mayer I would till my dying days, banish all car yards away from our main roads to industrial specially designated areas. Can you imagine Rome’s, Paris or Amsterdam’s roads cluttered by car yards? Next, an obligatory course to be undertaken by all business owners in aesthetic looking and modest advertising signage. I just loathe the instantly world-wide recognizable typical Australia to be so terrifyingly ugly while hiding so much that is so mouthwateringly beautiful.

Our Thai meal was a glorious mixture of shared sea-food with lychees, vegetables with beef, chicken with vegetables, all with snappy and bright green snow peas, whole basil leaves, ginger and mint with chili and boiled rice. No wine, in fact, most of the patrons just seemed happy with bottled water. Afterwards we drove home in the rain with a stretch of very narrow lanes because of M5 highway work. Great big double bogey trucks muscling into my space. Geez, I hate that night driving with the rain shimmering on the road reflecting images that limit vision and at the same time those huge road trains thundering by within inches.
It was a great birthday dinner, well worth the 200 plus Kms.