Rushcutters Bay, Sydney

Kings Cross, Sydney, is – or was – well-known for a number of desirable qualities: backpackers’ hostels, prostitutes, drugs, crime, night clubs, gambling halls, and a proximity to Sydney city.

I was interested in the first and the last on that list. And when I met my partner, we moved out of hostel life in the Cross to a flat in Potts Point. As well as being next to the Cross, Potts Point is also bordered on one side by Wooloomooloo, which at the time (1980s) was a pretty working class area where the pubs would be full at 5am of people who had worked a night shift, or were just going to work, and – on the other side – the rather more exclusive suburbs of Elizabeth Bay and Rushcutters Bay.

The photo above is of Rushcutters. I know, because in a rare moment of sanity I wrote that on the back. Probably to send home to my parents.

So, on one side we could walk into the seediness of the Cross, which for some reason boasted the Biggest Bed in the World, probably something to do with the brothels I guess.

Or slightly further up, we could walk to Oxford Street, well known for its gay community and numerous gay bars. I have to say walking into a gay bar unknowingly and finding yourself the only woman in there with a heterosexual man wasn’t the greatest experience in life. We drank up and left quickly.

But a walk in the other direction produced exclusive houses with beautiful gardens, waterfront views, boats, and a life I thought was far more suitable for me.

In fact, walking past an incredibly expensive house one day en route to Elizabeth and Rushcutters, I had a sudden surge of discontentment and wondered why I was living in a small flat when a huge house should be my destiny.

Twenty seven years later I’m still living in a small flat, walking past other people’s large houses, and looking at the marina here in Gib. But I’m no longer jealous or discontented.

” ..the savage lives within himself while social man lives outside himself and can only live in the opinion of others, so that he seems to receive the feeling of his own existence only from the judgement of others concerning him.”

One of my favourite quotes, from Rousseau, Discourse on Inequality, 1754.

Kings Cross in 2004


16 comments on “Rushcutters Bay, Sydney”

  1. Good post. Never been to Australia but hope to go one day when Kim finishes work. Nice to see a bit of Rousseau!


    • I found the pic yesterday and I have so many memories of Sydney. Probably more memories than pix! And even better, they are all good.

      I’ve said I didn’t do 18th century history, which is true, but we did have a political thought component as part of our degree which was seriously 18th/19th C. I can tell you stuff all about the history of the time but an awful lot about political writers in that period. And before you ask, I did do Plato, Aquinas, Hobbes blah blah.

      I did have a sneaking fancy for Rousseau. What a strange contradictory guy.


  2. I think because of the harour, it’s pretty much the same now, maybe a bit less sky and more, taller buidings. Your description of each location was spot on. I think one of those lovely old deco apartments looking over the harbour would be nice but in the main they (the ones in my price range anyway) have no balconies, which I’d hate. Old pics & good memories are great momentos πŸ™‚


    • I had visions there would be more high rise there. In fact I didn’t realise – at the time – that part of Sydney was so strong on art deco. It was obviously when a lot of it was built. I’ll see what other Sydney pix from the 80s I can rustle up. I think if we had bought the flat we rented at the time, we would have made a tidy profit.


  3. Isn’t it lovely, that with age our youthful jealousies fade, to be replaced by contentment with the simple things in life.
    Lovely pic of Rushcutters πŸ™‚


    • Hello happy camper πŸ™‚
      Yes, it is nice to no longer be aspirational, and in my case, quite bluntly jealous.
      Thanks, wish I’d taken more pix of the area where I lived. It was nice.


  4. Love the quote. Also love your contentment – what a wonderful gift…


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