Menologue; The OZ Venture

The second Monday and Tuesday were kept local to Hornsby as I caught up with more old neighbours and pals and also wrangled further with the bank business.

Monday looked promising as the sun was out; however, the wind was right off the arctic. Hardy folk wore summer clothes - but I needed my shawl as it was just a tad too cool for my liking. It WAS great to not need the brolly though!


























This is Hornsby 'town centre'; but actually it is the 'new' side. Hornsby old town - on the other side of rail station - has the new swim centre, the council chambers, the police station and the courthouse, as well as the original, old, family-run cinema, the RSL club (returned servicemen's league) and a number of small local businesses.

However, Hornsby was an early target of the Westfield organisation. The Australian shopping mall monster. The name 'Westfield' came about because the first shopping group was established in West Sydney in 1959... in what was little more than a field. (Easy when you think about it!) That first 'Westfield Place' was little more than a street of shops all managed by the one group. The next step was to emulate the American shopping 'mall' style of management ... and Hornsby was the first of these, built in 1961. It is now one of the largest mall corporations in the world and they are sharks... but let me not get distracted by that particular topic.

When I first moved into the Hornsby area, the old mall was still operational and, actually, had a lot of character. It was split into two separate 'buildings' and it was necessary to cross a major junction to connect one's shopping.

"Dare We Forget" say the 'numerals'...
Hornsby council were somehow 'persuaded' in 1992, to close off the roads intersecting the Westfield buildings, making a pedestrian mall. In 1993, the Water Clock appeared. $2.1mill that thing cost. It has never kept time and when the local eccentric climbs in there of a Thursday to pluck the chimes, it is also clear that it never came within cooee of a tuning fork. It is a huge bone of contention amongst the Hornsby Shire folk; I don't mind it, to be honest. As a sculpture and a fountain, it is almost attractive, with lots to capture the attention. Wish my council taxes hadn't been used quite so liberally splashed about though.

The next big move by the bully boys Westfield wonders was to rebuild the centre to mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of their enterprise. It took five years of walking through debris and hoardings and dealing with full-scale construction work, but Shire folk now have the amazing, extended, fully connected (beneath the mall and via the 'air bridge') mall, with endless numbers of shops all selling the same stuff at different prices in the hope of being able to meet the exorbitant rents.

Businesses regularly go toes-up in there, and then the next "exciting new shop" is promised as hoardings go up and the shops around it remain empty of footfall... As much as possible, I give my money to the shops outside the mall. It is, however, increasingly difficult to avoid the monster.

Then along came Wednseday of the second week and I had arranged one of my extra-special meetings.....

9 comments:

  1. That is a most unusual and very original clock. We rather LIKE IT.... for looking at... not necessarily telling time with.... We guess the PRICE of TIME is quite STEEP...

    The malls HERE have Stores going TOES UP ... all the time... it is the only real Draw fur US to go Malling... To see the NEW Shops... and lament the passing of the Old ones...
    Change is never something one looks forward to, we guess.

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  2. It is sad to see the small businesses going under. What a cool and expensive clock! Enjoy your week ahead!

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  3. The things you learn about your home town, but never been shopping in Hornsby but go often to Parramatta westfields yes they are bullie boys, high rents in their complexes but good to visit in wet or hot weather.
    Merle...........

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  4. I can't imagine Oz as being truly arctic lol! Hornsby sounds interesting.

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  5. 2.1 million for that clock ....... CRIKEY!!!!!! They sure do know how to spend our money, aye??? A water clock ..... can I swim in it?? Mmmmmm ..... I'm not going to mention the weather .......

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  6. What an amazing clock but 2.1 million!?! and still can't tell the time!
    That blue sky does look inviting, bored wiv all our wet grey days
    Loves and licky kisses
    Princess Leah xxx

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  7. Sometimes it is just easier to go to a mall, especially with lousy weather, but I must admit, I love those smaller family-run shops. They may not have the same amount of 'stuff' to sell, but the attention and service is usually much and much better.

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  8. Many of the little, family owned shops have disappeared in our area, too, replaced by the big super chains like Target, etc.

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  9. we all should have such a clock. I'm always sad when I see that so much small stores are closed now here too... it isn't the same to walk through this giant shoe-box stores... I always look for bread crumbs to find the way back :o)

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