Newtown

King Street, Newtown, Sydney

King Street, Newtown, Sydney

Going to Newtown is always a bit of an adventure for me. Although it’s only a short distance away, and I know people who live in the area, Newtown has never been at the top of my list of destinations.

I mean, I really like Newtown and I’ve toyed from time to time with living there. But in my normal day to day existence between Surry Hills (home), and Ultimo (work), it’s not a place that I regularly visit.

I did however go to Newtown today to catch up with a couple of mates I’ve known since my days in Wagga Wagga.

Naturally enough, there was a fair bit of reminisence going on, as we met at The Bank Hotel for a beer or four.

But I also had time enough to look around the place which, apparently, has become a bit a “homosexual haunt” on a Sunday afternoon.

At one point I counted just two women in backyard beer garden. Yes, I call it a beer garden, though I’m sure it’s officially a “court yard” or something like that.

Most of the homosexuals present were in their mid thirties to mid forties, with a sprinkling either side.

By later in the afternoon, there was a sprinkling of family groups as well, though mostly they were families where there were “two mommies”.

I loved, in particular, the young girl of about three or four years of age who was dancing by herself (and looking at herself in the mirror). As I said to my mates… “it’s just practice for the future… in most gay bars the straight girls are always ultimately dancing by themselves”.

By and large the crowd was dressed casually without any sense of pretension.

Oddly enough, as we wandered down the road to The Court House for another beer (and possibly a bite to eat), we noticed the crowd there had a completely different vibe.

While at The Bank, the crowd was friendly and efficient, there was much more of a “Oh god, I hate serving in pubs while I’m doing my Phd vibe” from one of the bar staff in particular.

And although I know they’d absolute hate, and would emphatically dispute, this observation… I thought the crowd at The Court House was much more “look at me” than was the crowd at The Bank.

The general vibe from the crowd from the younger, seemingly more hip crowd was far more “I’m VERY interesting and I’m QUITE the individual” (said in a Judith Lucy tone of voice).

Oddly enough, there was a far more laid-back attitude from the bunch of 40 year old homos up the road…

I never expected that.

And it’s quite the opposite to every other experience I’ve had at The Courty, but that’s the way it was today for some odd reason.

Anyway, it was an early night, as I’ve got a busy week at work. Tragically, I’m working the early morning shift on both January 1 and January 2, due to staff shortages at this time of the year. Oh God!

  1. like the pic! a trip to newtown for me never excludes the all important stop for taro tofu icecream at the vegan store next to green gourmet….have you tried this? Mmmmm…and it’s good for you too! :)

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  2. Never been a huge fan of Newtown, mostly as it’s a pig to get to from me without driving, although Monty and McBrad took me to a nice little restaurant there a while ago. Nice enough to stroll around on a sunny Sunday afternoon though.

    Should we set the alarm clock and switch on the radio, or are you just pulling strings behind the camera so to speak?

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  3. Jan 2 – it will actually be my dulcet tones. Not as funny as Wendy and Ange, but still funny… :)

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  4. Excellent, looking forward to the podcast! ;)

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  5. A funny thing happened to me on the way to Newtown…Not really. I lived in Sydney for four years (two of those years living in Surry Hills) and recall going to Newtown twice. That’s a little bit tragic.
    However, what has raised my interest of late is Google Street View. This might interest you James, due to our shared passion for genealogy. I have access to the 1930 and 1936 Electoral Rolls through my subscription to Ancestry.com. An unexplainably large number of my extended family lived in the inner suburbs of Sydney at this time. It is fascinating to look up their addresses on google, and then try to imagine eight people living in a tiny apartment on the second storey of what is now some very crusty old shopfronts, long disused. It’s really quite fascinating.

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  6. Well, you know I’m passionate about my ‘hood. I absolutely love living in Newtown, it’s been about 8 years now and I still love it. Your observations about the pub are spot on. We knit at The Courthouse every Sunday afternoon and the bistro staff in particular are always very sweet to us, but the pub itself has developed a real hipster vibe.

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  7. Tom – I’ll file it in the National Sound Archive!!

    Cathy – I’ve actually used Street View a couple of times recently for just this purpose. I was keen to find the two houses where my grandparents lived when they first moved to Lismore. Both houses are no longer there, I discovered. If you want me to take any inner-Sydney pics any time, I’m more than happy to.

    Andrew – Or maybe we’re just not cool enough? :)

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