the balconies

The balconies – Hood collection 1939

This melancholy ruin, shuttered dark and slowly rotting from the foundations to the roof, hard cooked by the northerly sun and miserably tenanted by parolees and men without hope.

This festering building with its filthy kitchens and sagging corridors and air of irretrievable loss, with its small and windowless rooms all stinking with the must of the dozens of rats living in the walls. This last place with its night noises of violence and fright. This End.

The upstairs café, blinded by stained curtains and unswept for years, offered only laminated tables, hard chairs and the thick dead air musk of cockroach decay – together with a panorama of the whitest beach in the world.

The Americans came in 1959 and used the room for scenes from the film of Ray Lawler’s play Summer of the 17th Doll. A droll production that did no…

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1 thought on “the balconies

  1. Wellington St. School, Bondi we had swimming classes at Bondi Baths and in 1939 I would sneak away and hide out near the balconies until the class finished! The teacher was a real bully, who would throw you in if you were not fast enough…I hated her and I was 9 years old! Amazingly, nobody ever realised I was wagging school on that day. I taught myself how to swim, no thanks to school swimming classes.

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