Friday, September 07, 2007


Long ago people enjoyed swimming in the Cooks River at Marrickville and Tempe. They would take day trips by train from the overcrowded and polluted inner city - from places like Darlinghurst and Paddington - to enjoy the fresh river water and the clean Marrickville air. Picnics, swimming, boating...

Marrickville even had its own lifesavers: this is the Steel Park River Patrol Lifesaving club sometime in the 1930s. Quite a bunch of spunks. I wonder what colours their stripey swimming costumes were?

Actually, although the Cooks River is unfit for swimming now, and may still be the most polluted waterway in Australia, we do have a beach of sorts. A little bit of sand only about 15 metres wide in a curve of land between mangrove patches. A few years ago it was always littered with Coke bottles, discarded homemade bongs, bits of toilet paper and the occasional car tyre, but lately it's been much cleaner... and last week, on a day I left work early and took a long walk after hearing an old friend was dead, here's what I saw:


Alice said...

That's lovely! I enjoy your blog, as a new Newtownian (US transplant)

Wouldn't it be lovely if the river were clean enough to swim in again someday? I suppose it could happen.

oh, and i love "Fedeterreana"! (sp?) I'm stoked to finally have a word for that aesthetic.


Dean said...

Red and black!

R.H. said...

What? The Yarra is the most vile river in the world! Don't take that away from us.

Well I think a little walk after hearing bad news like that and perhaps a sit down in some remote area is the best way to commemorate someone. The worst thing is an audience. And your sequence of photos has significance for me, although I'm not sure why. It could be like something shown to you for encouragement, at exactly the right time.

Meredith said...

Thanks RH,
Yes I must admit it did seem a little like a message at the time.

museum of fire said...

I really enjoy these takes on Marrickville, her special secrets and wonderful people.

A true pleasure to read!