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another history of bondi

 

murk

The murk

Bondi was once a divided beach with the superfluous money sunbaking up at the northern end and the dire need of it at the other.

– and the unspeakably foul drainage outlet that emptied the local stormwater onto the beach about a third of the way between the two divisions exacerbated the separation between north and south.

The Pond. The Blackpool.

– and to the wonder and delight of all of us who wandered the length of the promenade, forever watching over the railings, was the sight of so many gregarious Mediterranean families at picnic and watching their children frolic in this toxic wastewater.

Not to be outdone youths from the local suburbs challenged eachother regularly to see who could trek the deepest into and beyond the drain entrance, miles of pipe rumored to end at the harbour.

How they lied on their return about the depths of the slimed tunnels they slid into, the walls all festooned with rags and the floors alive with voracious rats. Miles of subterrain littered and crushed underfoot with the small grey bones of children who had never drawn breath. The poisoned floodwater alcoves along the way alchemised by their long dead lodgers into a peaceful retreat from the city that both defied and drowned them.

Years would pass before this stagnant pool of road waste and overflowing sewerage systems was diverted into the system that fed the Trevally breeding off the north Bondi outlet.

The particular stink pipe that serviced that disgraceful outlet still stands on the Royal Bondi Golf Course today, and just beneath its reinforced bricks a weary track leads down to the infested water and ammoniac air of the old fishing platforms.

The Murk.

Twenty men of all languages would gather down there on Saturday and Sunday mornings, and in the midst of the piss-stinking mist that shrouded them they would cast their long lines into the strangely grey whitewater that bounded in and out off the cliff base down in that cold and shadowed gully, and a base kind of seawater broke against the cliffs there, one that had hidden beneath its surface so much discarded and fouled toilet paper that we all used razors to cut it away from our lines.

One mile away to the south Bondi would greet the dawn like an overworked whore on a Sunday morning with dozens of French Letters littering her high water mark.

A litter of love, sluiced down the innumerable waste pipes from the Cross to Dover Heights and all laid out like greasy nipple headed balloons on the sand.

A half mile to seaward, and despite all the winds of all the compass, a stinking brown stain of waste blended with the tide visited upon the shore plague after plague of wormlike stools. Soft to the unwary tread, they would drift ashore and be buried under the blown drift of powdery sand.

Nobody ran the soft sand then, and nobody wrote this history.

16 Comments Post a comment
  1. “How they lied on their return about the depths of the slimed tunnels they slid into, the walls all festooned with rags and the floors alive with voracious rats. Miles of subterrain littered and crushed underfoot with the small grey bones of children who had never drawn breath. The poisoned floodwater alcoves along the way alchemised by their long dead lodgers into a peaceful retreat from the city that both defied and drowned them.”

    I marvel.

    January 27, 2011
  2. – we fought like rats and loved like cats,

    January 27, 2011
  3. Mr Wolf #

    would you recognise any of the old Bondi today?

    January 31, 2011
  4. Just the names carved into the rock above where the old boatshed was – you have to push the caprosma away though – and the gelato bar stills sells cakes – and ravesis is a bastard child of the original

    January 31, 2011
  5. Karen #

    I miss your stuff Pete. Guess I need to visit more often.

    January 31, 2011
  6. I’m sticking it all in this one spot, with a few changes – and without our old friends’ comments, more is the pity – so you should come by more often karen, nothing much else has changed

    pete

    January 31, 2011
  7. I visit regularly and love the reading, but just have nothing to say anymore. I think I am blogged out, to the point of only now remaining a silent witness/lurker/fan … quiet time now

    February 1, 2011
  8. Clifton Evers, quiet or even silent?

    I certainly hope not!!

    February 1, 2011
  9. This whole sorry story started with the Larry’s realsurf report (more like a blog than anything else) way back in about ’97 – there was some terrible old rubbish then

    February 1, 2011
  10. Yeah, it has been awhile. I remember the prose back then, and enjoyed it too. I don’t think I paid any attention to the surf report from Around the Bends, just how it was preferred too by the lads there, I bet.

    February 1, 2011
  11. This is an amazing piece of sustained descriptive writing. I, too, admired most of all the paragraph beginning ‘How they lied…’

    October 21, 2011
  12. Alan #

    I used to fish the Murk Years ago 1990s- grew up in bondi Have good memories, Regis pizza , ( where the Sushi Raw bar is) Hungry cowboys ( where Mc donalds is now) Old run down Servo ( The old swiss Grand) Remeber when there was a big pipe in the middle of bondi beach

    December 30, 2013
  13. bondi talk, priceless, the dialect

    December 31, 2013
  14. fred #

    do you remember Black Brenda?

    January 6, 2014
  15. with great adolescent pleasure fred, we could watch her coming and going all day long

    January 6, 2014

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