Hot day in Sydney

Apparently the hottest on record in some parts. I met up with M in Surry Hills. We managed to keep out of the heat.

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BTW, have I ever mentioned what a stable genius I am? Just saying… (Could be the proverbial “first sign” though…

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My 1987 — reposts

I watched the recent ABC series Classic Countdown with much pleasure, and frequent disbelief that it could all be so long ago now! The final episode dealt with 1987, very little of which — Countdown that is — I actually saw. I was otherwise occupied that year — THIRTY years ago!!!

My 1987: Bennett Street, Surry Hills

And in the 80s my wandering encompassed:

18. 1978-1980 Church Street, WOLLONGONG

Sydney 1981-

19. 1981-1983 Forsyth Street, GLEBE
20. 1983-1984 Boyce Street, GLEBE
21. 1984-1986 Buckland Street, CHIPPENDALE
22. 1987 Bennett Street, SURRY HILLS
23. 1987-1988 Forest Street, FOREST LODGE
24. 1988-1990 Rose Terrace, PADDINGTON

In 1987 I was teaching at Sydney Boys High, moving on for a year or so at Masada College, St Ives, in 1988.

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Me: 1986, 1988

1987

1987 First Grade Debaters: M Wong, A Marshall, P Cumines, Ms T Kenway, J Waugh, D Sekel, P Silberstein

Some past posts follow:…

Golden age–really? Really? No, not really…

Posted on August 19, 2012 by Neil…

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That’s The Oxford Hotel in Darlinghurst on Australia Day 1988. I wasn’t there that day, but I sure was there or nearby on more days than one in 1988 – and 1989, and 1990… I see a number of faces I know in that shot, which comes from the Facebook page “Lost Gay Sydney”.  One is John Farmilo, whose Bennett Street Surry Hills address was also mine for a good part of 1987.  Not many years on from this John died of AIDS-related illness. I also see a Vietnam veteran there, former RAAF. He still used to wear his uniform on Anzac Day. I wonder if he is still with us? Later on – 1990 – M used to refer to him as lao dongxi. If you know Mandarin you will know that isn’t all that flattering. Oh well then: Lao Dongxi: Fortunately not common and obviously derogatory, lao dongxi (pronounced “laaw-dong-shee”) means “silly old fool.”  M was not being entirely serious. He sometimes referred to me in similar terms…

Glebe: my home 1987-1988

Here it is, and after that what I saw when I came out the front gate each morning. Just a few doors up in the other direction is the Forest Lodge Hotel.

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So July 2017 goes too…

Stats here are down, but then you will have noticed I am not posting every day either. July stands at an average 35 visits a day, with the most viewed posts in July being:

Home page / Archives  502 views in July 2017
Taste of Xi’an Wollongong 42
Friday Australian poem: #NS6 – Mary Gilmore “Old Botany Bay”  35
Death of a hero: Liu Xiaobo 1955-2017  26
Midnight Shift bar is now history  22
About  14
Tangible link to the convict ship “Isabella” and the immigrant ship “Thames”  12
Random Friday memory 17 – Caringbah 1965  11
June gone already! And what a time for news! 11
Voyage to Surry Hills!  10
On Indigenous Australians…  10
Random Friday memory: 1 – John Mystery, my brother, Illawong  10
More on the 2016 Oz Census  9

And an old post from Surry Hills:

Surry Hills 10: Little Lebanon

The area around the corner of Elizabeth and Cleveland Streets, right by where I live, is known as “Little Lebanon”. Here’s why:

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There’s Abdul’s — great for takeaway…

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Lebanese bread for Abdul’s…

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A mosque nearby…

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… always lots of traffic on Cleveland Street …

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… exotic things to see …

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… and these people do a mean chicken Lebanese roll or kebab. A number of famous footballers and boxers seem to frequent Fatima’s.

As you can see, Islamophobia is not really a good look where I live…

— original photos by Neil Whitfield 2008

Sydney terrorism raids — Surry Hills!

Right where I lived 1992-2010. From 2008:

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And here is the area:

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See Sydney terror raids ‘disrupted’ plot to bring down plane, Malcolm Turnbull says and Sydney terrorism raids believed to relate to ‘bomb plot involving aircraft’.

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Update

See Sydney terror raids: Bomb plotters may have already tried to smuggle device onto international flight.

Update 4 August

See Two men to appear in court over alleged jet plot.

The only place I have seen the following story on the arrested man who was eventually released is Sydney’s Daily Telegraph two days ago. The detail, based on my experience of 18 years living in “Little Lebanon,” rings true to me.

Khaled Merhi’s father, Omar Merhi, broke his ­silence yesterday to deny his son is a terrorist.

Khaled Merhi’s behaviour was said by friends to have been erratic in the days leading up to his arrest.

They said he lost his job as a van driver last week having racked up thousands of dollars in debt gambling on ­horses and failed to turn up to Botany Powder Coaters on Friday…

The Merhi family, originally from Beirut, bought their terraced Surry Hills home in 1974 and brought up their 14 children there.

Khaled was the only one who never married but he has a seven-year-old daughter after a volatile long-term relationship with a Lebanese-born woman from Canberra.

His father Omar, 76, said Khaled was christened at the Antiochian Orthodox Cathedral of St George in Redfern.

“He has never been to a mosque in his life,” Omar said yesterday.

“It’s bulls … that he wanted to blow up a plane, he works hard for his child and his girlfriend, who was always asking him for money, $150 here and there for jewellery and clothes, it was never enough, it felt like he was working to buy everything for her.

“In my 47 years in Australia, I’ve never had a problem with police and nor has any of my children.”

Hey, hang on! It appears the one who was released is Abdul Merhi, not Khaled. Latest:

Timeline of the alleged plot

April – Some of the men allegedly involved in the plot start communicating with a senior Islamic State figure in Syria who instructs them on how to make a bomb. The group allegedly order military-grade explosive components in the post from Turkey.

July 15 – Khaled Khayat, 49, allegedly escorts his unwitting brother to Sydney Airport to board an Etihad flight to Abu Dhabi with luggage containing a bomb. The bag is not checked in, possibly because it is too heavy, so Mr Khayat takes it home with him while his brother, who was unaware of the bomb, boards his flight as planned.

July 17 – Mr Khayat’s brother-in-law, Khaled Merhi, who remains in custody, sets up a business Khaleds Powder Coating Services. The men allegedly start working on a gas dispersion device.

July 26 – US and British agencies pass on intelligence picked up from Syria about the plot. Australian police start investigating immediately and put the men under surveillance.

July 27 – Security measures at Sydney Airport are enhanced on the advice of ASIO.

July 27-31 – Police create a mock IED like the one created on July 15 and test whether it would get through airport security. It doesn’t.

July 29 – Four men are arrested in five raids across Sydney.

July 30 – airport security is enhanced at all major Australian airports.

August 1 – Khaled Merhi’s brother Abdul Merhi released without charge.

August 3 – Charges laid against Khaled Khayat and Khaled Merhi

Voyage to Surry Hills!

It has been a while, but M invited me up for lunch — which turned out to be Thai at GT’s Hotel in Devonshire Street, revised version of the Gaelic Club. And oh my, the tramline! Tracks appearing now, but the entire project opens for use in 2019 apparently. What a mess right now though!  Some businesses have been badly affected: The Book Kitchen has closed, for example.

The owners lay the blame squarely on disruption from the building of Sydney’s $2.1 billion light rail line, which resulted in high barricades being erected directly outside their doors…

But here is what the finished project will look like, the tram in this artist’s impression crossing Elizabeth Street close to where M and I had lunch yesterday. By the way, M said in China, where he hails from, the project would have been up and running in maybe three months rather than several years.

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Further up Devonshire Street at Bourke Street the line necessitated the demolition of the unit block Olivia Gardens, and the relocation of Wimbo Park. See also my 2009 post and James O’Brien’s 2013 post Wimbo Park Revisited.

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Demolition of Olivia Gardens

Here are some more artists’ impressions of the tram line from 2019 on.

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There’s the Dental Hospital in Chalmers Street near Central Station. Now two shots around Moore Park and South Dowling Street, with Sydney Boys High in the background of one:

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