Thursday, 26 May 2011

Then & Now - Bondi Junction


My grandmother, devastated by the death of her youngest son in a traffic accident in London, moved from her corner shop in suburban Hornsby to a semi-detached terrace in North Bondi in August 1956. Between then and her death, aged 88+, in April 1984, I spent many a summer holiday in and around the Bondi area. The changes, as you would expect over those ensueing 55 years, were massive.

Compare the first two photographs. On the right-hand-side in each photograph, one can just discern a trio of two storey terraces. Many of the shops retain the shame shell on the RHS but the LHS has been totally rebuilt. In my opinion, the entire mall is sad and faded, and just sooo full of ... of ... stuff!


In the good old days ... Hah!

Electric trams trundled through the main shopping strip of Bondi Junction from 1884, ceasing in 1960. Bondi Junction is up the hill from Bondi Beach. After the wilful destruction of the tramways system by a government lacking vision and unable to stand up to vested interests, a section of Oxford Street was converted into a mall and through traffic diverted to 'Sid Einfeld Drive' which is an elevated roadway a couple of blocks to the right (north) of the top photograph.

The two modern photographs were taken only a few metres apart the first looking west and the one with the buses, looking east . Rising in front of me to the east, was the massive bulk of the new Bondi Junction which is dominated by a Westfield shopping mall streteching out of photo to both the left and the right - into which I hesitate to venture because I so easily get lost and then I panic.

19 comments:

Luis Gomez said...

These are great Julie! Thanks you.

Kay L. Davies said...

Now, why do I like the second photo best? My age, I guess.
— K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Mary Ann said...

There are Westfield shopping malls in the US as well, in St. Louis where I grew up. Their logo is identical so I've concluded it's the same corporation. I had no idea they were international.

Julie said...

Mary Ann - The Westfield group was established by an Australian chap, Frank Lowy, who came to us from Europe after WW2. Only yesterday did he step down as chairman of his world-wide group in favour of his two sons.

Stafford Ray said...

Julie, I just got there in time (1959) for a car accident on that very corner! I can even see the shop where I phoned the police. No chace of a repeat now!

J Bar said...

I always love seeing these sorts of contrasting shots. :) Especially when they feature trams, which I'm not old enough to have experienced in Sydney. McIlrath's store must have been part of a chain. There's a building in Newtown that retains that name in the design above the shopfront.

Ann said...

Far prefer the old shot. Malls and especially Westfields are soulless.

Mark said...

Great shots Julie. I was in said mall a few years ago and thought it was a sad boring and cluttered place, your picture suggests nothing has changed. Westfield they are all the same as well, cookie cutter temples of mammon.

Julie said...

Oi, Mark! You've purloined me soap-box.

Virginia said...

Well I'm old, I like the streetcars! :)
V

Alan O'Riordan said...

Another great thing about having trams in your city.. you get all those llovely criss-cross lines adding interest to your photos!

Alan O'Riordan said...

"lovely", even. More haste, less speed...

Andrew said...

The scene in the old photo looks friendly. Local shop for local people. I've never thought of trams as calming devices, but perhaps they are.

PerthDailyPhoto said...

I love that you always find out such interesting facts from your blog Julie, I did not know about Frank Lowy and also that he stepped down yesterday in favour of his sons, how old would he be?

Joe said...

Great photos of "The Then"' & "The Now". Gee there is not many similarities. I am glad that the statue on top of the center terrace is still there.

Joan Elizabeth said...

I walk around shopping malls and see nothing, nothing to buy, nothing to photograph, nothing to excite my interest. I only ever venture into them to go to the supermarket.

brattcat said...

I'm older, too, but I'm attracted to the energy in the contemporary shot at the top.

Thérèse said...

Too bad for the street cars!
Great insight.

diane b said...

The old pics have more character. I have always felt Bondi looks tatty and is not worthy of its famous standing.