When I was eight years old, my grandmother - Sylvia - moved to Bondi. The memory of our holidays at her place ('up near the stink pipe in Blair Street') created within me an enduring passion for Sydney trams and for the trams of both the 380 and the 389 line, both of which terminated at North Bondi. Perfect!
As I write these lines, I can see and hear the conductor call for fares, snap open his ticket book, tear out the required stub and punch it with his doohickey in the corner of his 'book'.
When trams to Bondi ceased during 1960, the terminus remained as a bus turn-a-round and the salt spray and neglect took its toll. It is only in the last 5 years that this little pocket of Bondi is receiving the focus that it deserves. The latte set is moving on in.
This is a delightful book which I am hunting for to add to 'Ma's Chest' for my soon-to-be grand-daughter. I like the idea of connecting her to my past. The story reeks of the working-class during the depression, of uncomplicated people trying to get ahead. The illustrations are a delight and so perfectly complement the text.
So, does Kieran get to work alongside little-mister-tough Saxon? Can he cut it in the big time of swinging along the running-board selling newspapers to the commuters? I am on the look out for my own copy of this masterpiece.
And, yes, the Bondi trams did 'shoot through'. It was a busy run, and to get up the long drag from the beach up to the junction, they needed to be flat-tack. The last Bondi tram to "shoot through" was during the early hours of Sunday, February 28,1960. The R class corridor tram was crammed with last tram riders and had a boisterous journey. It left Bondi at 3.30 am and arrived at the Dowling Street depot minus most light globes, some handrails, all upholstered seat cushions, the lifting jack, a headlight glass and all destination rolls.
'The Tram to Bondi Beach', text by Libby Hawthorn, illustrations by Julie Vivas, published by Harper-Collins in 1992.
Find it. Buy it. Read it. Treaure it. It is the history of this wonderful city.