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Rozelle Substation – Suburban Abandon


Nestled in between suburban dwellings in a quiet back street in Rozelle, Sydney, is an electricity substation dating back to 1934.

The building is no longer in use. The front facade has the clean angular lines of an art deco influenced style; the rear of the building, hidden behind barbed wire, is in a lovely leafy back lane and could almost be mistaken for a garden outhouse.

More romantically, it reminded me of early 19th century English garden architecture, where a rough hewn building in a garden landscape might contain a hermit. Tom Stoppard in his play Arcadia writes about the “hermitage” and the “hermit” in English landscape gardening.

“English landscape was invented by gardeners imitating foreign painters who were evoking classical authors…. Capability Brown doing Claude, who was doing Virgil. Arcadia!…. It’s the Gothic novel expressed in landscape.”  Tom Stoppard, Arcadia.

The gently decaying building pictured below, with its little door, abandoned furniture and lovely overgrown garden might, perhaps, contain a hermit, and I half expected one to appear…




White Bay Power Station: documenting an urban ruin


The White Bay Power Station dominates the landscape on Victoria Road and Roberts Road in Rozelle, Sydney, a stone’s throw from the working harbour.

A marvellous ruin, the building has a fascination for this writer who has a passion for ruin, dilapidation and decay.

I document the daily and seasonal view of the tall chimneys of the ruin from my bedroom window as can be seen sometimes in the changing images which head this blog.

Built over a period from1912 to1958, and decommissioned thirty years ago, it is a heritage listed structure. The ruin towers over the entrance to the Balmain peninsula and is an iconic counterpoint to a largely residential suburb.


Village Markets Rozelle


Saturday morning in Rozelle and by 8.30am the street is buzzing with locals and heaps of incomers descending on cafes and the wonderful Rozelle Markets, situated under the spreading trees in the grounds of Rozelle Public School.

The feel is definitely flea market, where everything second hand is sold: books, vinyl and clothes, clothes, clothes. You can get food too, like blini, fruit salad, coffee, even designer cup cakes.  But second hand bargains are the order of the day.

My friend Ken, purveyor of vinyl par excellence, has a stall where you can also pick up some real bargains – I acquired a beautiful tagine, crimson red ceramic top with heavy cast iron base for a mere song. While I was passing the time of day on the stall on another Saturday with Ken and partner Laurel, a passer-by snaffled up an Atomic coffee maker in mint condition, which Ken gallantly guaranteed to accept the return of, if not in perfect working order!

Like any market worth its salt, you have to be there for the bargains and the one offs. Don’t go with a purchase in mind, just be serendipitous.

The Markets:


And the tagine:


The Corner Bar Rozelle

Although I have a wonderful old sandstone pub just a few doors down from my house, which I suppose would be described as my “local”, I have been frequenting of late a not so new Rozelle bar up the road which seems to fulfill all the criteria of what makes a bar a bar.

Long and narrow, perched on a corner, dimly lit and at peak times packed to the seams, it has a distinctly 60s vibe. Much more Melbourne cool than Sydney brash.



Nice cocktails (my favourite is the Moscow Mule), some interesting wines including a biodynamic, organic shiraz made especially for the Bar by the Blind Corner winery in the Margaret River, and a couple of ciders make for some pleasant drinking.

The food come in tapas form as well as burgers, pizza slabs and a couple of great salads (the chicken fajita salad is well worth trying).

The Angus beef burger is my standout. Big, succulent, dripping with fried onions and lot of melted cheese and barbecue sauce.  And it comes with a beer mug full of hand cut chips. Yum! On my most recent visit, the burger had lashings of beetroot relish, much to the dismay of Quirky sister the elder. A riot was averted with the promise of dessert. I’m a beetroot freak so I was happy.


The promised dessert was a soft and creamy chocolate mousse served in a large glass with cream and fresh raspberries. It would possibly serve two average diners but was perfect as a dish for one for the greedy Quirky. Quirky sister and Quirky niece also managed one each.


I was excited to see that the Corner Bar is advertising vinyl Sunday afternoons  – can’t wait to go! The music playing when we there was very Big Chill, and suited the food and late summer mood perfectly.

The Corner Bar is also great for coffee on my dawn walks round the neighbourhood.

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