Change in my lifetime

I was taken by Jim Belshaw’s recent post A certain weariness of the spirit.

The second is just accommodating to the pace of change. I was born at the end of the war. I have been though the fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties, nineties and now into the 2000s. Institution after institution, belief after belief, new vision after new vision, has been discredited and replaced.

Mind you, when it comes to teaching/education I am perhaps even more frustrated by the phenomenon of the same often silly arguments recurring decade after decade — the teaching of reading being just one example. But that is not my point today.

This intrigued me: As the apartment boom peaks, these are Australia’s most densely populated suburbs. (Link fixed!) Now for context, bear in mind that Australia at large has a population density of just 3.5 per square kilometre. When it comes to cities compare Shanghai with 2,059, or Singapore with 7,909. And here are the most densely populated incorporated places in the United States. New York City has 10,431.

So look at these, from the article linked above, where they are interactive:

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The figure for Melbourne CBD is amazing! Those recent changes are just one element in the changes over my lifetime, but somehow these days I seem more sensitised to it. The Sydney of my mind these days seems more and more to be this one:

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That’s Eddy Avenue, Central Station, in 1956. I was 13 then… Remember it well. Don’t know what the population density was then, but the total for Greater Sydney was 1,902,000 and for all Australia 9,425,563. You might recall that in August/September this year we hit 25,000,000.

Now that opens up a possible discussion of population in Australia — very much a live issue at the moment too. But I will pass on that right now, except to say 1) I feel the changes, for good and ill and 2) with old age comes nostalgia. And I know that can be a deceptive feeling.

And back to Eddy Avenue. That perfectly good tram line was dug up in the 1960s. Now, way over time and way over budget, a new tramline is appearing in that right-hand lane!

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