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Today's quote:

Thursday, March 24, 2022

30 Days in Sydney


Which is about the longest I would ever want to stay in Sydney although I have stayed longer: once, in early 1972, after having come down from New Guinea in search of a so-called 'career job', for two months; then again in late 1972, having been sent down from New Guinea to take up a so-called 'career job', for six months; and more recently in 1985 after my return from overseas and a pretzel-shaped 'career' chasing big jobs and big money, for another six months; altogether just over a year.

Which means I know almost nothing about Sydney and very little about my own little bailiwick, McMahons Point, which I only left to walk up the Pacific Highway to my office in Chatswood. As Peter Carey writes in his book, "If you can confidently say you know a city, you are probably talking about a town. A metropolis is, by definition, inexhaustible, and by the time I departed, thirty days later, Sydney was as unknowable to me as it had been on that clear April morning when I arrived."

And yet it was the first place I set foot in when I came off the boat in 1965. A fellow-migrant, another young German, and I ventured just far enough from the FLAVIA, tied up at Pyrmont, to explore the Rocks and to sit on the steps leading up to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. We still had some distance to go before we would finally disembark in Melbourne and be processed through the Bonegilla Migrant Centre, but we had already decided to come back to this spot every Sunday and wait for the other one to turn up. I never did, as I moved from Bonegilla to Melbourne and from Melbourne to Canberra, and I've often wondered how many Sundays my mate sat on those stairs waiting for me to turn up.

In my opinion, the only reason for living in Sydney is work, and since I no longer work, I no longer need to go to Sydney. Anyway, having made a career out of turning my back on painful memories, I'm not about to relive them. Peter Carey's wildly distorted account is as close as it gets.

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