Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Where the beach needs reconstruction

We spent a splendid day and night recently in St Kilda, where battered palm trees look out at the storms of the Southern Ocean, the wind methodically strips an imported beach of its sand, sandstone churches left by Melbourne's first settlers hunker down behind art deco apartments, and bohemians and junkies live in boarding houses and council flats sprinkled amongst old workers' cottages bloated by the renovations of hipster IT workers and bankers. 

St Kilda's strange combination of seaside bonhomie and wind-lashed bleakness reminded my wife of some of England's seaside towns, and when I walked on the beach with kids I kept remembering Paul Kelly's great song 'From St Kilda to King's Cross'. Kelly begins the song by describing the excitement of leaving his hometown for the glamour of Sydney, but ends feeling homesick, and wanting to swap 'all of Sydney harbour, all that land and all that water' for St Kilda's unfashionable seaside. 


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