Author Archives: shortleftleg

Majestic Developments


I love the way the internet helps us to join up the dots. I was in radio 2ser studio editing up a little interview with artist Claire Conroy when I bumped into an intrepid journalist called Heather, who’s making a doco about the Majestic Roller Rink.

As well as rummaging through the archives to find out the official histories of the building, Heather is also interested in hearing from people about their small personal rollerskating stories. So…did you have a party in there? Learn to skate? Fall in love? Smash out your two front teeth? Try to convert the place into a cinema? Whatever your tale, let’s hear it!

Check out Heather’s blog – and get in touch with her to be a part of it all:

Richard’s Funeral

The funeral was a small thing. But I was really glad we went.

Mike picked me up outside the White Cockatoo and we drove up Parramatta Road. He told me his story – he had helped Richard set up his e-bay business, after a long and involved discussion in the shop one day (Mike is an e-bay powerseller). In return, Richard gave him a vintage childrens’ book. Mike made the mistake of mentioning he might try to sell it on e-bay. Richard hated that – I guess he figured Mike should have cherished that book instead of seeing its potential fiscal value. Mike said he eventually did try to sell that book, and no-one bid on it anyway. He’ll keep it now, I guess.

And I told him my story. I went in to meet Richard during April. I had been tipped off by my friend Keg, and I thought he would be an indispensible link in my Petersham tales.

However, after a few hours talking with him in the shop, I didn’t see how I could possibly work him in – it was all too personal, too confronting. I think I’ll tell that story now.
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Audley Street Rat Run

I’ve been meaning to write about these guys for ages! A local activist blog in my very own street – trying to stop the “rat-run” traffic down Audley:

We are residents of Audley Street who are angry about the increasing numbers of motorists using our street as a short cut. We’re sick of traffic jams outside our doors in the mornings. We’re sick of the noise. We’re sick of the pollution. We’re concerned about our kids’ safety.
We believe in trying to bring about some changes that will benefit not just the residents, but the suburb.

Now, I must say, this rat run business is news to me. I’m so close to Canterbury Road that I don’t think the pollution fallout in my backyard would be affected by closing Audley. And I haven’t really noticed Audley Street being particularly congested…But maybe I’ve got my head in the clouds?

I’ve been more concerned about:
1. The amount of obnoxious four wheel drives who park all up and down Chester street to fetch their chicken from the Portuguese Chicken shop (and sometimes there’s even ROAD RAGE over the rare parking spots!!)
2. The garbage left lining our gutters after said four wheel drivers have had their fill (they eat in-vehicle and dump the trash before driving away!)

But I’m not sure how council could change that.

Egad, I sound more like a grumpy old man each day.

Anyhow, the Audley St Closure crew organised a Street Meeting on 9 September. Not being able to go along, I’ve emailed ’em to find out how it went. Will let ya know…

Richard Blackie Funeral

Following up on the article about Richard Blackie, the fellow who ran the vintage toy store in Petersham, there WILL be a proper funeral, next week.

Thanks to Hope10, who left this comment at my flickr photo site:

For people that have shown interest. A funeral has been organised. Please check the Saturday Daily Telegraph page 79 for the details.

As we know there was only one person that graced our lives in the way of
Richard Blackie
For some reason he never had the time to farewell the people in his life that did care.

For those that did care please take the time to farewell him one last time at a funeral service

Rookwood Crematorium

Date: Friday 8th September 2006
Time: 2:00 pm

what’s news?

Well, here we are at the end of August. I figured I’d better give you a sham update, lots has been going on. Here are the headlines:

  • The Petersham Bowling Club has decided NOT to sell off the bottom green to ABC Childcare. This decision came at the end of a mammoth meeting of members on Sunday, in which angles and counter-angles were discussed and teased out until we nearly dropped off our chairs with fatigue. It was clear that the current board of directors had put a lot of work into researching and establishing this sell-off as a workable solution.

    Essentially, what would have happened was this: the bottom bowling green would be sold (actually “leased for 99 years”) to Universal Childcare (a subsidiary of ABC Childcare) and they would set up a childcare centre in the space. The land is zoned “open space” but due to a loophole in zoning, childcare is one land use which is allowed. The sale would have brought in nearly one and a half million bucks. Half a mil is needed for renovations to the crumbling club. This would leave money in the bank, and the club would retain control of it’s own future.

    In fact, rationally speaking, it was a pretty attractive option. The only glitch was that rationality does not always reign supreme. The sale got voted down about 42 to 14. It seems that Universal/ABC are just not trusted to be good neighbours. (Essentially, the feeling is that they are property developers who happen to dabble in childcare in order to exploit the open space zoning loophole, and not very ethical corporate citizens…) Whether this feeling is unfounded is irrelevant. Belief led to reality. The land hasn’t been sold.

    But now, the hard work REALLY begins. How to re-jig the club, AND retain autonomy in its running, with no cash at all? There’s an AGM in a few weeks time, and members will be asked to step up to the plate to join the board of directors. Personally, I don’t want to become embroiled to that extent. But I’m happy to help out as I can, like making their website for them…

  • The Sports Pit, the gym I went to during April, burned down some weeks back. Lisa, who lives only a few doors down from the gym, sent me a text message saying “pity about your gym”. Sure is. No more treadmill work for me. Luckily I hadn’t paid my membership up yet…However, I entered (and won!) a competition for some new underpants, on the strength of my entry exploiting the story of the fire. A bit dodgy, I know, I know…
    See my entry, and pix of the burned gym, here:
  • There was another fire in the sham, on Crystal Street, though I didn’t see it, just read about it on Mr Walker’s flickr site:
  • No news on Richard, the fella who ran the vintage toy store on Stanmore Road. Word is that many many folks contacted the journalist who wrote the article about his death, wanting to help out. A good sign. But the journo has been SLOW in getting back to us about what we can do to avert his “destitute funeral”. I’ll keep you posted, hope it’s not too late…
  • More material, man! I’ve done a few interviews and wot-not lately about the sham project. Check ’em out in the media section. (The best, I reckon, is the FBI radio one).
    Also, I’ve put up a PDF version of the blog, so you can print out your own copy to read at your leisure. And an audio recording of Vanessa Berry’s 1976 Parramatta Road tour is available for download too.

Local character dies.

RIP richard blackie...
(Photo: Steve Baccon, lifted from the SMH article…)

very sad news…

from article in the Sydney Morning Herald

“Idol’s fall turns toy story to tragedy”

Les Kennedy
July 31, 2006

FREDDY KRUEGER and Homer Simpson have not spoken since Sydney’s Michael Jackson died.

The near life-size toy figures, whose voices are activated by electronic sensors, have stood silent for two months in the shop that doubled as the home of their owner, Richard Blackie, a Michael Jackson impersonator.

Mr Blackie’s body has lain unclaimed at the City Morgue in Glebe since it was discovered on May 27 at the Antique Toy Trading Company in Petersham. Police believe his death at the age of 41 was the result of suicide.

They have been unable to trace any relatives, even though Mr Blackie often talked about his mother and sister, and even a girlfriend, whom no one ever saw.
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Bowlo Community Meeting

save the bowlo

Tully and I spotted this poster on the street. Then today, this came thru from the bowlo:

Dear Friends, Neighbours and Members,

A quick reminder that the Petersham Bowling and Community Club is hosting an open forum for the public and members this Sunday 23rd July from 2pm. (meeting to start at 2:30pm)

The Board has called this meeting to allow all local residents to inform themselves about the current circumstances of the Club and the various strategies being investigated to sustain us (the Club) into the future.

Current strategies under review include:

* Amalgamation with another bowling club.
* Leasing of the lower green for development of a childcare centre, and subsequent upgrading of the upper green and clubhouse.
* Possible affiliation with Marrickville Council. (Only in preliminary discussions at the moment)

All are welcome, so please forward this invitation to anyone who may have an interest in the future of our Club and our neighbourhood.

Sausage Sizzle from 2pm!

Petersham Bowling Club
77 Brighton Street Petersham NSW 2049 P: 9569 4639

coming home

On Tuesday I was trudging home from Circular Quay, sigh, and I bumped into Tully and Georgia. Tully invited me around for a glass of wine. We sat on the balcony at the front of his place, listening to the traffic thunder by on New Canterbury Road. Tully said, “I can’t believe it, I checked your blog the other day, and it’s actually finished.”

Yep, it feels odd, that’s for sure. Since “finishing” The Sham, I’ve been to Melbourne, Perth, and Kellerberrin, and now I’m back. My life has “returned to normal”.

So what’s going on now?

I’m just starting to chat with the Petersham Bowling Club about making a website for them. By the looks of their latest newsletter, optimism is on the rise. Plenty of movie nights, special dinners, and a new friday morning brunch…

Here’s the next 2 things happening at the PBC: weekly tai chi classes, and cabaret on the green.

the ABC comes to the PBC!

Next Wednesday is the big night! Come along to the Petersham Bowlo for the ABC broadcast with James O’Loghlin:

The ABC at the PBC

From the Bowlo’s press-release:

Out of more than 100 entries from all over NSW, Petersham Bowling Club has won the 702 ABC Sydney Red Carpet competition, EVENINGS with James O’Loghlin (also the host of ABC TV’s New Inventors). The prize is a live radio broadcast from our very own Bowlo and promises to be a night full of laughs and entertainment.
We expect a huge turnout from the neighbourhood to make this a special night for the club, the ABC and 702 ABC Sydney’s listeners.
If you turn up, you must be in your best white ‘bowls uniform’. Spot fines for non compliance will apply.

Street of Origin Bowling Competition ‘Under Lights’
The night kicks off with our very own `Street of Origin’ bowls competition, where various streets go head to head for the coveted prize of being the local champions. It will be a time controlled ‘round-robin’ comp, with the winner announced by James during the broadcast!
Be Creative! Team uniforms must be white and team names must be original. Prizes will be awarded for the Best Dressed Team. The comp is limited to 10 teams of 3 (with a reserve), and spaces are expected to fill up fast. Get your team together, submit the registration form (in the pdf document linked below) and secure your spot on the green today! Participants need to arrive by 5.30pm for a 6pm start.

Time: 5pm to midnight Wed 21 June 2006
Live radio broadcast from 7pm to 10pm.
Where: 77 Brighton Street, Petersham
PH: 9569 4639

To download the Bowling Club’s latest newsletter, including the registration form for the street of origin comp, click

council says no

As a follow-up to the info I learned from my visit to Uncle Lester…a friend tipped me off that (unlike Marrickville) the Woollahra council does NOT do the “acknowledgement of country” thing. In fact, in a recent meeting, the councillors voted against a motion to acknowledge the Cadigal people as the traditional owners of the land which the council now occupies. You can download the minutes of the meeting here.

and here’s a screen grab from the relevant page:
council says no