Recently my Grandmother passed away.
To say I adored her would be an understatement. I know that my love of understanding deeper Sydney (and discovering wider Australia) comes from my grandparents, through my own Mum who has always instilled her fascination of “trying the new” in me. I used to longingly stare at the massive map of Australia my Pop had on his study wall. It was bursting with multi coloured pins carefully placed in each town they had visited across Australia.
My Nan was a very fit and healthy 92-year-old. She is one of the, no actually, she IS the strongest women I have ever know. She lost her mother at 3, emigrated to Australia with her sister and father, raised by a loving Aunty in Cammeray then moved to Forbes after her father was hired by the council to be their head gardener. Nan was tragically widowed when mum was just 4 days from turning one. I cannot image how hard it must have been to single handily raise a child in Sydney the 1940’s and 50’s. She met and married the man I always loved as my Pop when Mum was 9 years old. They had a happy life together predominately in southern Sydney then later the Southern Highlands. Pop’s family owned a produce store in Dulwich Hill where he was responsible for the deliveries. There is not a single street in Sydney that he didn’t know the location of. He would study the street directory over a cuppa like it was a fabulous novel. Even before his death at 98, I could say “Pop, I’m visiting a friend in Whoop Whoop today” and he would always ask “What street?” then promptly give me the exact directions and time it would take me to arrive there. He was never wrong, not once. With the rise of electronic GPS systems and the loss of physically directories, I doubt there would be many who could equal Pop’s knowledge anymore.
The death of my beloved NanNan has hit me harder than I expected hence why I have been rather quiet for a while now. But last week, I decided to take a step out of the darkness and headed south to show my boys the place of many a childhood adventure (and smacked bottom), my Grandparents old house in Lugarno.
While the house itself is personal to me, the surrounding area is not. I’d like to take some time to show you some of the hidden joys of this lesser known Sydney suburb in the hope it prompts you, like all that I show in Sydney’s Secret Places, to get outdoors, discover something know and reconnect with this amazing city we live in!
This is the view my grandparents once had from their living room (before the dreaded developers ruined it!) of the lovely St Georges River, first explored in 1788 by Captain John Hunter. More on this to come….