Saturday, 5 August 2017

Bourke Street, Surry Hills

The other day I walked up Devonshire Street from Central Station and turned left into Bourke Street then continued north to Oxford Street. I was so struck by the tranquillity of Bourke Street south of Fitzroy Street that today I went back to have another look, after having a doner kebab at Taylor Square for lunch. The cyclists whizzed by on the cycleway that occupies a quarter of the carriageway on Bourke Street, which runs both north and south for traffic, but it is so quiet here compared to Crown Street one street to the west and of course South Dowling Street a couple of streets to the east. 

As I walked on the street an elderly man came to his gate and unlatched it preparatory to exiting the property onto the footpath. I wished him good morning. "Good morning," he said in accented English. I guessed he was of Italian or Greek extraction. The traffic that back in the day used to flow on Bourke Street outside the man's home has been removed and the noise of people talking at tables and on a bench outside the Artificer cafe on the corner of Phelps Street was audible from the pavement. The establishment advertises itself on its window as a "specialty coffee bar and roastery".

Further up on the footpath there was a group of about five people, one of whom was Christine Forster, the Liberal councillor for the City of Sydney and sister of federal MP Tony Abbott, the former prime minister. "So when did they can him? That's unfortunate," a woman in the group said loudly as I walked past. Forster turned her face to the right toward me as she stood there; she wore gold reflective aviator sunglasses.

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