Stand at Circular Quay just in front of First Fleet Park and survey your surroundings on a beautiful autumn day in Sydney. It’s unusually balmy for this time of year and the crowds are enjoying the weather before the rigours of winter set in. Climate change is the unconscious refrain at the back of your mind as you watch the people enjoying their space, as is the chorus of a neighbour and her friends who are absolutely convinced that climate change is a furphy. They have lived through so many changes in weather patterns that they cannot see or acknowledge the possibility of longer term trends that human memory alone cannot analyse. It also makes one question that adage that elders know best.
Wander past the free pop up soup stand set up in First Fleet Park and realise that it’s a promotion for Continental Soup, cleverly disguised as an organic vegetable soup pop-up store. Listen to the lone busker as his haunting music fills the spaces between the cries of the gulls.
This is Sydney in autumn and it is beautiful.
Wander past the MCA and towards the Rocks, an area that epitomises all that is charming about Sydney. But this area which is a drawcard for tourists was not always so salubrious, at one time it was considered a slum and home to many of the city’s poorest families. It is an area with high property prices and government housing is again being sold to private developers forcing families with generational ties to the area to be moved out. It’s interesting that governments do not understand that community means a connection to place as well as people. The people are being moved to areas, some within the city and some further away, that they have no ties to or history with.
Today the Friday Foodie markets are on with stalls set up on Argyle Street, selling flowers, handmade chocolates, gozleme – the tasty Turkish flatbreads filled with meat and fetta and spinach, and mini Monet cupcakes in a variety of flavours, from chocolate to choc-mint, strawberry and coconut, that are a hit with little friends back home.
We are lucky to live in a City that has virtually no pickpockets nor much crime. According to the recorded crime statistics for NSW in 2015, violent offences – which include murder, and attempted murder – are down, as are property offences, that is break and enter and stealing cars and stealing from cars.
You wouldn’t know that by reading the Daily Telegraph. According to that paper, crime and mayhem are a part of the daily life of the wider city. Not so!
Mind you stealing from a retail shop has gone up 6.7 percent.
However, what I would suggest is that today you just draw a deep breath and enjoy the beauty of the city in Autumn.
Suganthi Singarayar is a member of SSOA’s Friday Writing Group. A freelance journalist based in Sydney, Suganthi’s writing covers a wide range of themes, from travel to humanitarian and environmental issues.