Before Bondi Became a BRAND

Before Bondi became a BRAND…

– you could buy pies and cream puffs from the Flying Pieman at 3.30 in the morning

– there were 3 petrol stations on Campbell Parade

– the Astra was a grungy pub renowned for being somewhere you could always score

– you’d have ‘eyeballs’ at ‘the concrete’

– you could buy shawarmas at 3.00 in the morning in Hall Street

– there were only about 3 cafes you could hang out in… The Gelato Bar , Positive Vibrations and Cafe 729 and if you travelled to Rose Bay, there was Grandfather’s Moustache

– being a Bondi fashionista meant wearing a sloppy joe

– you could go to Valissis’ and play pinnies and grab a burger and a milkshake

– the 322 bus route – which went from Rose Bay wharf to Bondi Beach – still ran and terminated at South Bondi at the entrance to Queen Elizabeth Drive

– there was a strong local and transient population of Maoris living in Bondi

– you could drive up to the Dover Heights Bowling Club late at night and take in the lights of Bondi from the Heights

– there was “unauthorised” grafitti along the walls of the promenade, which said things like “Bondi Chicks Go Off”

– you could park in the middle of Campbell Parade FOR FREE between Lamrock Avenue and Beach Rd

I would love for more to be added to this list so please go for it…


  1. Jonathan says:

    I never tried the eyeballs but I STILL lament the passing of that Lebanese place on the corner of Hall St and Gould Lane. “Chef” I think it was called. I used to practically inhale one of their shawarmas every time I came out of the water after a big surf session as a 14 year old. I still remembe the young lebanese guy who used to serve, he was always stoned out of his freakin’ brain! Had a permenant beatific smile on his face as he looked right through you. I’ve never had Lebanese food like it since. When they left, Hannibals was the consolation prize. Every time I went there I’d watchthe disgusting hygience habits of the old couple who ran it as they prepared the food, and promised myself it would be the last time…

    • Craig Parnaby says:

      Loved that place . Real lebanese food . I lived on that in my first year in Sydney , 86 . I’ve never had anything comparable since .

      • bondimermaid says:

        Funny to read your comment just now Craig, since a friend and I were just talking about this place only yesterday! And apologies I hadn’t been doing much on my blog for several weeks. Thanks for dropping by here.

  2. bondimermaid says:

    Thanks for your post Jonathan. Having an eyeball wasn’t eating something. It was having a face-to-face with someone you’d met on CB radio – the social medium that was trendy among some of us Bondi groovers, waaayy back…a pre-curser to the internet.

    I also loved the baclavas from that lebanese place, they were a treat on the way home after a big night clubbing! Yeah and thanks for reminding me about Hannibals, tucked away in Gould St. Now that strip is filled with trendy clothes shops, which I do like to have a mosey in now and then mind you!

    bondimermaid 🙂

  3. Dan says:

    Speaking of the Astra…

    My Grandmothers uncle built the Astra!
    Opening night happened to fall on the very day the Great Depression hit. Needless to say my Great Uncle went broke that very day as he had no customers.
    Some of the families other pubs were fine because one thing Russian Jews discovered about Australians was that no matter what, just like Russians they loved a drink. In fact the worse things became the more they drank.
    Because they other pubs had established clientelle they succeeded. The Astra suffered a different fate.

  4. reverendgroove says:

    The Cosmopolitan Hotel, which has now been redeveloped as luxury apartments, used to be the place to stay for out of town bands. In the mid 80’s I was living in Melbourne and came to Sydney regularly with a band I was playing in. We always used to stay there – I think the rooms were around $40/night. Given that the rooms had a double and four bunk beds, you could “comfortably” accomodate a five piece with road crew in one room as long as you all didn’t want to sleep at the same time.
    At any given time there would be 2-3 bands staying in the Motel for up to 3 weeks. The place was pretty lively after hours & it was not uncommon to see the sun coming up over the ocean after the festivities.
    I liked the area so much that when I moved to Sydney several years later I didn’t consider any other suburb to live. And still live here despite all the changes.

  5. bondimermaid says:

    thanks for posting here and for your amazing story about the Astra. That’s so cool to be related to the person who built the Astra. And then to hear of your story re the pub’s opening night coinciding with the day the Great Depression hit – tough times! You suggest that the Astra wasn’t successful but I thought it was a well patronised pub for over 50 – 60 years.

    Thanks for sharing this Bondi memory.
    I was outside the old Cosmo site today and thought about that hotel, ugly as it was, sticking out along the Campbell Parade strip, it was iconic and of course now gone! The old Cosmo must have been a great place to stay for out-of-town-musos…I guess a bit of partying went down in there (perhaps after excursions to the Astra!)

  6. Nancy says:

    Valissis, Positive Vibrations, The Flying Pieman (hey that reminds me of that rat story that went around about a head or a tail that someone had found in their pie-ahhh the good ol days!). No really, some teriffic memories of nights at Positive Vibrations. Another was the Hakoah Club. We used to hang at the disco on I think, the 4th or 5th floor & dance away to many a disco tune.
    The Astra was a good old pub too. A bit rough, but good (Maybe someone can do a mini series drama on nights at the astra, something like ‘Underbelly’).

    • bondimermaid says:

      Positive Vibes was a great cafe! It was sooo Bondi – for what Bondi was back then! And yes the Astra was rough! 🙂

      • g.h says:

        My mother frequented the astra throughout the 70s was very well knowen there im an astra baby and also an astra knights baby 🙂 i have a friend who after nine years of knowing him found out he frequented astea in those days too new my mum and alberto everyone new albert 🙂 my mums bestie my mum was betty spoons we lived on thomas mitchell i was born in our flat shock and suprise for 1980 so the bondi legend goes ALWAYS BE MY HOMETOWN ????

        • bondimermaid says:

          Hey g.h.
          I wonder how many other people can claim they are an “astra baby!”
          I’m sure you know that the Astra is now a Retirement Village.
          And yes, I think although you can leave Bondi, its always in your bones, if you grew up here.
          Thank you for visiting this site and joining in the banter.

          • Shane says:

            My Mum used to take me to the Astra from when I was about 6. Would go to see our friend Owen Orford singing for Finch / Contraband.

            I really miss the Bondi I remember from the 70’s. But I still have the music that takes me back to those times. Dragon, etc.

            I was a member of the Bondi Boys Club.

            Ate my first Chinese meal as a child at The Golden Horse, which was behind The Flying Pieman.

            I ran into the old owner of The Golden Horse because he was now driving taxi’s. I don’t remember how we discovered that we had Bondi in common, but since I got him as a cabbie a few times I frantically turned the house upside down to see if I could find the small kids Golden Horse t-shirt they gave me all those years ago one Christmas.

            Went to school at Bondi Beach public (told Desiree in the 2nd grade that I loved her, she cried and not in a good way), then Saint Annes and Christian Brothers.

            When I first moved to Bondi Beach we were a little up Campbell Pde / Bondi Road, so we used to get the red double decker to school, after getting a banana milkshake. Not sure why we got the bus though, given it was only a few blocks and could have walked it, maybe for the cool factor of riding those buses.

            Remember the Bondi Junction Plaza adverts? Bondi Junction Plaza’s got it, got it, got it!

            And Alex Wileman with Mello Yello on the promenade?

            In summer used to hang out in the “bogey hole” next to the Icebergs.

            Hang glider pilots slope gliding off the south head?

            At least I can still get strudels at the Gelato Bar. Love the cheese and cherry.

            My favourite pizza joint is now the Raw Bar.

            Miss it and my friends so much.

        • Rory brennan says:

          Gee I remember Betty spoons well. And also Albert. I drank regular at the Astra from 72 until 81. Great pub. There was always plenty happening lll. Never be another pub like it

          • bondimermaid says:

            Thanks for dropping by here Rory – apologies for this late hello.
            Yes will never be another pub like the Astra and never another place like Bondi in that era.

            bondimermaid 🙂

  7. wendy says:

    Bernies was the coolest hang out place for teenagers. Just a short walk from the beach. We would scoff bags of lollies and after the sugar hit spend our coins on space invaders and other arcade games. We all aspired to be the cool kids who’s names held pride of place on ‘high score’ cards stuck onto pin ball machines.

  8. bondimermaid says:

    I am proud to say that I actually held the record (and name on card) for the “super high score” for ther Meteor pinnie machine at Bernies.
    What a tiny little “shop” Bernie’s was and yet soooo much activity went on in there. I was just saying to someone the other day, I reckon if I saved all the money I’d spent at Bernies on pinnies, I probably would have had enough money for a deposit on a Bondi apartment (in those days!). Thanks for your comments Wendy.

  9. David says:

    Valis’s and Bernies – spent all me pocket money there. Bernies was on the corner of Curlewis and Simpson ? Had my high score card up on Spacies for some time 🙂

    • bondimermaid says:

      Yeah David it was on the corner of Curlewis & Simpson. We must have bumped into each other there at some point, I spent so mucn time there and loved playing the space invaders machine also! Thanks for sharing your memory here. 🙂

  10. Jason Ross says:

    Thanks for sharing this. Bondi, and the broader Bondi area you refer to, sounds divine. Still reading through the rest of your Blog, but already dreaming about what it would have been like growing up in the old Bondi. I just hope that our children will have the same fond memories (and passion for), despite it changing so much!?

  11. bondimermaid says:

    Hi Jason
    Thanks for taking the time to post a comment here. I’m impressed that you found this very old post – and curious as to how you got here, since these older posts aren’t accessible from the sidebar “Some Previous Posts.”

    Yes, growing up in old Bondi was pretty special, a much more laid back suburb then, with a strong community feel. It was actually a lot rougher around the edges in those days, but I liked that Bondi. I’m sure our children will also grow up to have fond memories of their Bondi childhoods even though it is a very different Bondi these days. It is still a great suburb and still has a great local community at its core.

  12. g.h says:

    Am born i bondi on sir ghomas mitchell rd 1980 will always be my hometown made there born there and will prolly comeback and die there if there was no bondi thrre would be no me ASTRA KNIGHTS FOREVER LONGLIVE BETTYSPOONS

  13. Tom says:

    I used to swim in the pool at hakoa club,someone stole my casio calculater watch while i was swimming,awesome technology.does anyone remember video village village in bondi juncton? And archies nightclub also in bondi junction on oxford st? I know this site is everything bondi but the junction aint to far away lol.

    • bondimermaid says:

      Thanks for your comments on Bondi Banter Tom.
      Indeed I remember Video Village on Newland St, next to Maccas in Bondi Junction. Happily fed those machines with coins!
      And yes Archies was a few doors up.
      And of course Bondi Junction is a part of the this site. The Junction was a big part of growing up in Bondi. I mention all this in the About section of the site I think.

      • symonty says:

        Just chilling sitting back on a summers day in seattle, listening to Bob Marley and remembered the first time I heard the song at video village, my gran used to say “don’t you dare go there”.. well I did and fed the machines.

        Wish I could find a photo of Video Village, memories.


        PS Grew up in Bondi.

        PSS my gran also used to tell me i had to get dressed to go to the Junction, and had to wear long pants to go the hoyts in the city.

        • bondimermaid says:

          Hi Symonty
          Very cool that you’re chiming in here all the way from Seattle USA. I love that!
          I think it was easy for us to feed those machines back then with little other electronic (or digital) distractions in our lives! I loved playing the pinnies. i still do!

          As for your memory of having to get dressed up to go in to the city, i also have strong memories about that. It was a bit exciting to go into the city and go the old picture theatres and I remember my mum & grandma would get all dressed up and mum would make my hair look all nice just to get a bus into the city! Another era hey!

          bondimermaid 🙂

        • Josh Reuben says:

          I used to play Crystal Castles and Xevious in Video Village !

          • bondimermaid says:

            Hi Josh,
            I love we can still remember the names of the machines that we poured our 20cents into. how nuts.
            I used to play space invaders in there, and had girls super high score on the pinnies Meteor machine at Bernies!
            bondimermaid 🙂

  14. Tom says:

    Sorry,thats video village,not video village village 🙂

  15. darryl daly says:

    1980 arrived from levin n z 2 bondi beach no passports those days 19 years old jst me and my mate willy use 2 go 2 the astra nearly every nite srait afta we fin work mrs b use 2 run it heaps of maoris jukebox on the left as u walk in up 1st set of steps upstairs had all the bands downstairs in public bar play pool and jukebox use 2 drink at bondi hotel and tram afta astra closed at 3 in the morning we all use 2 go 2 the niteclub jst down the road the dive they called it walk out daylight those were good days neva 4get stayed in edward st then ormond st good times

  16. bondimermaid says:

    You have pretty much captured the grungy Bondi that I miss.
    Indeed there were many kiwis living in Bondi in those days and yes, that’s right that you didn’t need a passport to head over.
    They were good days and good times!
    thanks for checking out the blog and for contributing to Bondi Banter.

  17. bondimermaid says:

    * This is a reply for Shane who posted a comment (above) on 2nd Dec 2013…

    Shane, sorry this reply is a bit late but I had trouble replying directly to your comment so am replying here…

    The Golden Horse is a restaurant name I haven’t heard or seen for years, but yes I remember it well. Not sure that I ever ate there but remember it in Bondi. I think i ate my first Chinese meal on the restaurant in Rose bay on Old South head Rd. I think that restaurant is still there. As I recall a bunch of us girls went there as very young adolescents, and felt very grown up!

    Yes, I do remember the BJ plaza ad – Bondi Junction Plaza’s got it, got it, got it!
    Indeed, the strudels are still good at the Gelato Bar!

    You are not alone in missing those days – they were great days.

    Thanks for taking the time to stop by at this website and share your Bondi memories.


    • Shane says:

      Hey Bondi Mermaid,

      I thought for a second there you were referring to the Chinese restaurant that I still go to for my favourite spicy salt prawns, May Kwai, but they’re on New South Head Rd.

      I’ll have to try the Old South Head Rd Chinese out some time.


      • bondimermaid says:

        Hi Shane,
        Well funny you mention the Chinese restaurant on New South Head Rd, since I know a long time Bondi local who frequently goes there and recommends it. I haven’t been there yet but almost went there the other night!

        • Louise O'Rourke says:

          There was an older Chinese restaurant on Old South Head Road at Rose Bay.,
          It was called the Golden Fish. It was right next door to the old Wintergarden Cinema.
          My parents loved it, and became very good friends of the owners, Mr and Mrs To.
          We often arrive for lunch and end up staying for dinner!
          Mrs To, Loretta as I recall would have friends playing Marjong in the bar area in between meals. They had huge fish tanks, which totally fascinated me as a kid.

          • bondimermaid says:

            Hi Louise
            I do remember there was a Chinese restaurant next door to the Wintergarden Theatre and remember going there with a bunch of friends in our adolescence and getting rather sloshed on a bottle of wine! I didn’t remember the name of the restaurant, so thanks for sharing that here, The Golden Fish. But it would have been on New South Head Road, not Old South head Road if it was next door to the Wintergarden Theatre.
            And of course that lovely Wintergarden Theatre now is non-existent. It was sad when they ripped that down.

            Nice memories re the mahjong and fish tanks.

            There was another Chinese restaurant on Old South Head Road (it may even still be there now?) between Dover Road and Hamilton Street.

            Re Andy’s Toy Store on Hall Street…then name is ringing a faint bell and I’m sure I would have known it, but I think ageing and the constant metamorphosis of Hall St over the last 10-20 years has impacted on my ability to remember this shop. Do you know roughly when (what year) it closed?

            Thanks for joining in the banter Louise

  18. Ron Bauer says:

    Hi Bondimermaid and all,

    I just wrote this article for our newsletter and then found this ‘banter’ which is great, hoping this adds to the conversation…

    Ever-changing Bondi. One of the great things about Bondi is that the landscape ebbs and flows much like the tide. The reputation as Little New Zealand (in the 70’s & 80’s) made way for back-packers paradise (90’s and beyond) and now seems focussed on the ‘beautiful people’ and an upmarket lifestyle.

    But the commercial face of Bondi moves even moreso. While variety may well be the spice of life and change inevitable, there’s still something nice about going to a certain place and being looked after by the same people for years on end. One of the great things about being a local is having some common ground with other locals, having a nice understanding and a confidence that they know their stuff. Certainly there are some anchors of the local scene – Gusto’s, Speedo’s, The Tratt, Gelato Bar and the Fish & Chip shop to name a few with decades under their belt, but sadly we have lost a few along the way.

    Bates Café closed on us a few years back. A hang-out for locals since the 50’s beside which was Valissi’s with its pinballs, pool tables and 1st spacey machines. Papa Giovanni’s closed in 2013. It was a place we went as kids – you were either a Giovanni’s family or a Nino’s family – and now John’s aquarium on Glenayr Avenue is in its final days. Any local ‘fish person’ will be saddeneds.

    In many cases, the new-wave of stores is exciting and vibrant but it’s hard not to feel a sense of loss along the way and there’s a lot to be said about continuity. Thanks for the opportunity to reminisce!

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi there Ron,
      Thanks for dropping by here to share your thoughts.
      Indeed it is difficult not to feel a sense of loss when the familiar Bondi streets, businesses and street-scapes that you have known for many years are replaced, and then replaced again, by new businesses.
      I agree that change is inevitable but how change occurs and the extent to which things are allowed to change (or not) is something that can and should be considered, since there are always consequences. For example, many of the locals that I had common ground with, were forced to move out of Bondi (and Sydney) since property prices were pushed so high that they could no longer afford to live here.
      Yes, there have been many closures, many changes, many new locals and many tourists – all creating the Bondi we have today.
      Hopefully, Bondi will always have a strong local community.
      Please feel welcome to drop back here to reminisce anytime!

    • Shane says:

      Hi Ron,

      I miss Papa Giovanni’s.

      I used to come to Bondi especially in rainy weather to have either fish ‘n chips or a takeaway spaghetti marinara from Papa Giovanni’s to have while sitting under the huts on the hill overlooking the beach in the rain.

      Still got the good old fish ‘n chips though. 🙂


  19. Colin Cool says:

    I recall almost all that has been mentioned here. Sure brings back a lot of memories. My association with Bondi commenced with my grandparents (my father’s parents) moving there from Wilcannia in 1939. I was born in 1961 and lived continuously in Bondi until early 1997, when I moved to Maroubra.

    I note with interest the reference to an “eyeball on the concrete”. CB radio was legalised in Australia on 1 July 1977 and I purchased my first CB radio a few months later. A couple of months after that, Christmas arrived and all these kids, some a few years younger, other a few years older than me saturated the airwaves with their new Christmas presents. There were so many people on air at the time and we had the time of our lives, meeting lots of new people, or, in CB parlance – “eyeballing” them. The expression “we’ll eyeball at the concrete” was widely used so I remember it vividly.

    I formed a local CB radio club around that time, initially called the Alpha Mike CB Radio Club, but later it was the Oceanside Radio Club.

    In case you’re wondering how I found this site after all this time, I was Googling The Flying Pieman, a pie shop I remember extremely well, established in the early 1970s when I was a student at Bondi Beach Public School. It had the most delicious pies with all sorts of fillings available enclosed in a wonderful, flaky pastry which to me at the time, seemed unusual as most pipe shops at the time only served the standard meat and gristle in hard crust package we would all remember well. Then one day disaster struck this fine establishment. If memory serves me correctly, empty pet food cans were found on the premises (by a health inspector perhaps) and the place was closed down. And to think those pies were soooo delicious! The Flying Pieman did reopen (probably under new management), but as a shadow of its former self if I recall correctly, offering a more standard range of goodies than before.

    By the way, for those of you on Facebook, there is a Bondi Beach Public School group there. I am one of the administrators of the group and it is a closed group, meaning that posts etc can only be viewed by members of the group, not the wider public. It is for former students of the school and contains lots of old school photos, recollections of past students and other paraphernalia. So if there are any ex-students of the school reading this, are on Facebook and keen to join the group, by all means put in a request to join.

  20. Colin Cool says:

    By the way, I was also a regular at Papa Giovannis. I last visited the place as a regular in 1997, not long after I moved from Bondi. My next visit was not until April 2013. Then, coincidently, it closed down a couple of months later.

    So I just made it just in the nick of time for a reunion with the old place before it (sadly) took its place in the annals of Bondi history alongside Vallis’s Milk Bar, Bates Milk Bar, the Flying Pieman and all those other wonderful places

  21. bondimermaid says:

    Hey Colin
    Thank you for dropping by here to share your Bondi memories.
    I also appreciate that you’ve let me know how you found this website – I am always curious whether people just stumble across this blog or are told about it.
    I’m thrilled that you picked up on the remark about the “eyeballs at the concrete” – I think you might be the first person to pick up on that.
    I must confess that I and a bunch of my friends were some of those young kids you mention, who saturated the airwaves. CB was so much fun – it was a like an earlier version of social media – but more intimate. My friends and I were members of the Tango Charlie CB radio club.
    Anyway, glad to hear that you still live relatively close by (in Maroubra). Lots of people who grew up in Bondi ended up moving to the Maroubra area.
    You’re welcome to join the banter again…

    • Colin Cool says:


      I remember the Tango Charlie Club and I remember you too as a member of that club! In fact, you were also a member of the Alpha Mike club (but you probably don’t remember that!). I will drop you an email with an attachment that I’m sure will interest you!

      Many thanks not only for your correspondence with me, but for establishing this website!

      Cheers, Colin

  22. TheLoadedDog says:

    Vale the old Bondi.

    Does anybody remember Rej’s Pizza up on Warners Ave, near the school?

    It was great pizza, and when I was 18 and my sister 20, back in 1988, we shared a flat on Warners Ave, and being that age, consumed rather a lot of pizza as a major food group. So we got to know “Rej” (he was the last of several, I think) quite well. He used to invite me into the kitchen juat to show off his pizza dough, of which he was very proud. Diping his hand in, and pulling out a big chunk, he’d knead it, and say, “Just you look-a THAT!” He’d always give me a plate of anchovies or something to nibble on while I was waiting, and I’d go home with the takeaway pizza to find he’d thrown in something extra, most times. He must have been a trusting soul, because I was just an 18 year-old urchin, and I don’t think he even knew my name, but one day he pulled many hundreds of dollars out of his wallet, and asked me to go and put it into his TAB account while the pizza cooked. I was happy to oblige this good bloke, but the TAB was shut when I got there, so I came back, told him, and gave him back the money. He was disappointed that he couldn’t have a bet that evening, but I don’t think it ever occurred to him that I might have easily scarpered with the cash. It was a very Bondi moment.

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hello Loaded Dog

      I can’t say that I recall Rej’s Pizza on Warners, but these days the memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be and also there have been so many changes in Bondi since those days that everything starts to get a bit blurred in the old memory bank!

      I love your story! I wonder if Rej is still around? What a character to trust you with all that cash, but these are the bonds that are made in a local community, that there is that kind of trust.

      Thank you for visiting this site, for sharing your memories and story and being part of the Bondi Banter.

      Vale the old Bondi indeed!


  23. Max says:

    Love all the comments, it’s a stroll down memory lane. I went to school at Cristian Bros in Blair St. and saw Bondi morph from a working class, rough around the edges community to what we have today. I moved away a few years ago but recently went for a walk through the valley to get young drunk and was stoked to see that although the face of Bondi has changed, the guts still feel as they did in the old days.
    My old man had a restaurant at the top of Hall St where it joins O’Brien st. The old keyhole restaurant called ‘Il Covo’. We also had a run at the icebergs doing running the restaurant but 3 decades too early 🙂
    I also remember video village which was unreal on a Thursday night. Maccas was right next door in those days.
    Thanks for the memories

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi Max
      Thanks for dropping by here and for sharing your memories.
      I think that morph is still happening, and some of the guts is still there, but will it last??
      I think I remember that keyhole restaurant Il Covo and yes video village in the Jungo with Maccas next door. a popular hangout, especially on a Thursday night! The jungo is now a real jungle (concrete)!
      Hope you might share some other memories or views here again sometime.
      bondimermaid 🙂

  24. TheLoadedDog says:

    Thanks bondimermaid. 🙂

    Sadly, Rej’s is no more. It’s easy to spot the building though. On the corner of Warners and Wairoa (diagonally opposite the school), it’s a drab, long, narrow brick building that sticks out a bit. Haven’t been “home” to Bondi in years, but according to Google Earth, it’s now a sushi joint, which is a bit sad (don’t get me wrong, sushi is fine, but you know what I mean)…

    If only it could be the 80s forever, eh?

  25. Frankie says:

    We moved to Bondi in 1977-78 (I was 10) and I still remember mum buying me cheese toasts at Bates Milkbar. Went to Bondi Public and then Dover Boys High (go Dover Boys…!!), finished high school at Dover Heights High in Hardy street. As kids mum would let us go to the beach practically every day… I used to have a good friend who lived at the Ravesi flats and we’d play records like Pink Floyd, The Church, The oils. I would also spend my time at Harry’s shop in North Bondi…he’s still there….(hey mate).

    Sports days at Bondi Public, we’d go to Moore Park….coming back, we’d make sure we got the top floor, front seats of the green double decker bus. Bus Driver would rip down the Campbell Parade bend at speed and we’d scream…!!

    Buying my first BMX in 1982 was great. As a young 14 year old, it gave me independence to really explore Bondi’s streets and shops…Who remembers the Jean Shop below Ravesi’s? Andy’s Toyshop in Hall Street? The Continental Deli in Hall Street? Bondi Hardware Store? The Chapel by the Sea? Of course I still remember that beautiful smell of pies at any time of the day / night coming out of the Flying Pieman…! What about having a drink at the Rats…? Does anyone remember a night club below the Biltmore Hotel nicknamed “The Dive”?? What a place..

    As a kid I worked in many local places including NINO’s PIZZA on Campbell Parade and Gilberts Cyclery….If you were a local you would know who I am…

    Are there any Mental Deviates on the CB out there…?? ADO was a better CB clan though, only 3 of us….

    I now live in Melbourne (for the last 20 years). Every time I visit my old stomping ground, I can see past the hipsters, hotels, beautiful people and remember my beautiful old Bondi…

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi Frankie
      It’s great to read all these Bondi memories of yours…good times, and great days.
      Thanks for posting here. We must have crossed paths!
      Of course Bondi Hardware is now an uber-cool hipster joint (restaurant bar).
      and Nino’s is gone.
      I can’t remember the night club below the Biltmore.
      And who can forget the Flying Pieman.
      Sounds like you were also a CBer?
      Glad that you are able to look past the new Bondi and find some of the old Bondi when you visit. It is still there, but you do have to look for it now.
      Hope you can visit this site again sometime.
      bondimermaid 🙂

    • Louise O'Rourke says:

      The reason I’m on this site was I was looking for anything about Andy’s Toy Shop in Hall st.
      That place was paradise for me when I was a kid. I still remember Andy and his wife. They were such lovely people.

      • Stuart Fox says:

        Yes – I also remember Andy’s toy shop – ‘ bought a few things there – I came across this site after entering ‘Andy’s Toy Shop and was interested to read of all the other shops etc. mentioned – ‘ been writing my own list too and will contribute one day.

        When I moved to Bondi in 1957 – @ 11 years old – Andy’s was run by an elderly ? gentleman – the original (?) Andy – well, thinking back, anyone over 20 was elderly when you are 11 or ? – now I’m elderly – anyway then a younger couple took over – German ? I think – name like Mr and Mrs Beugling or similar (?) they aged and toy sales from shops like Andy’s declined – they may (?) have lived behind the shop at some stage and I also ‘ visited ‘ them in their unit in Bondi Rd – tall block neat the corner of Wellington St – mid way between Henderson (?) St – I repaired appliances for them – my trade – electrical – ditto for numerous other businesses mentioned in this site. I cannot remember Mr Andy’s surname positively at the moment – he was a pretty nice guy and his wife was a sweet lady too – last time I met him he had lost his sight.

        Andy’s was in a shop at the bottom of an old block of flats on the corner of Consett Ave – and the block was later owned by another client of mine – Jaques Kurdean – a bookmaker – now deceased – after Andy’s closed – it had a number of occupants including a few short stay Pop Up Shops (as they are sometimes termed these days) – An early occupant was Jacobs and Kahn – later became Hart and Khan Real Estate – now in Old South Head Rd, Rose Bay and known as Hart Real Estate. When the real estate agency moved in the shop was extended forward I think – it was originally recessed from the Hall street front. Later the Gertrude and Alice Book Shop moved in – the bookshop later moved up Hall St to where it is now.

        The supermarket now known as IGA was originally called Moran and Cato (or perhaps it was called Mcilwraiths) – at the left hand side of what is now all the supermarket was a Hardware store – Reubens – the hardware store was later used as store room for the Supermarket until more recently amalgamated into the revamped IGA shop.

        In the same block was a Watchmaker / Jewellers shop a ladies wear shop, a mens hairdresser – Mr Shertok – lived in Mitchel St Bondi and Trouts Pharmacy.

        Hall St also had another Hardware Shop – ‘Bondi Builders Store’, 4 butchers shops, at least 2 fruit shops, a Photographers studio and film developing service – Mr Wimmer, (originally in Old South Head Rd), 2 health food stores – one called Greentrees (Mr Greenbaum ?) there is or was a bomb shelter behind what was the health food shop – used as a store room – it was near the newsagency – the later shop was originally in O’Brien St until about 30 years ago – my older brother was a paperboy there. There were also at least 2 Shoe Shops – at least one had an X-Ray machine – later banned for shoe shops. At Six Ways there was a Movie Theatre – many Jaffas rolled down the isles during Saturday matinees before the advent of Television saw the movies decline. Several of the shops in Hall St moved around over the years.

        I’ve remembered much more whilst writing this and will add more later.

        Apologies for any errors.

        Stuart Fox

        • bondimermaid says:

          Wow Stuart!

          That is some sharp memory you’ve got going there!
          How fabulous that you can remember all those business etc.

          I’m glad you decided to look up “Andy’s Toy Shop,” found this site and contributed to the banter. Thank you.

          I remember the fruit and vege market on Hall St opposite Gould St, that had an elephant on it and said something like “it’s the biggest”

          You may have already done some looking around on this site, but in case you haven’t, based on some of the comments you’ve shared here, I think you may also be interested in the following posts:

          Thanks again for visiting.
          Please do visit again and add any more more memories that come to mind.

          bondimermaid 🙂

        • Colin Cool says:

          Hi Stuart
          I too have fond memories of Andy’s Toys in the 1960s/early 70s. At that time it was run by a European couple, probably the German couple you referred to. Andy’s was THE place for toys in those days and was an absolute paradise.

          As an aside Stuart, are you the same Stuart Fox who, for a time lived in the block of flats at 23 Curlewis Street around 1971/72, occupying one of the shops there, and who, not long before took out a prize from the ABC’s (original) Inventors program for your self-freezing can? (The award, along with a cut-away example of the can was displayed in your shop window).

          I lived in that same block of flats from age 0 (1961) to 1973.



          • Stuart Fox says:

            Thanks Colin Cool – I am the same Stuart Fox and still live not very far from Curlewis St

        • Colin Cool says:

          Thank YOU Stuart.

          One of my memories of you was you perched up on top of your van which was parked outside your shop – you were drilling a hole its roof to install what appeared to be a two-way radio whip antenna. The things one remembers!



    • Leon says:

      Hey Frankie
      Lovely to read your blog. I too went to Bondi Beach primary in 1976 – 1977 and then off to the big school called Dover Height High School. didn’t last long there and decided to move to a more fashionable school called Vaucluse Boys.
      I too remember spending lots of time at the flying pieman, Hannibal Labanese, and Nino’s pizza. I’m sure our paths have crossed many moons ago.
      thanks for the memory lane walk

      • bondimermaid says:

        Hi Leon
        Sorry for this delay in replying.
        Our paths must have crossed, since we were at school in the same era.
        Thanks for visiting the site and enjoying the walk down memory lane.

        bondimermaid 🙂

  26. David says:

    I still come back here to get my dose of ‘old Bondi’ (see my previous post re: Bernies)

    I can’t believe that the Gelato Bar closed. I read that the ownership changed a few years back, the menu changed, and it became just another cafe. However, the cakes (in a much reduced selection) are still available up at jungo at Westfield, at a cafe with the same name.

    BTW….Nino’s Pizzas all the way for me 😉

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hey David
      I also can’t believe that the Gelato Bar closed. a bit sad that. and yes, true that you can get some of their cakes up in Westified.
      And sadly Nino’s also closed – which I guess you know?

  27. Shane says:

    Annabelles nightclub corner of Oxford street and Newland street Bondi Junction. Further down the mall was Bensons. It closed down for a while then reopened as Archies. And there was Chez Ivy there as well. And further up at the other end of the mall was the star disco on the corner of Oxford street and Bronte road, around the corner from the tea gardens hotel. Biggest dive in Bondi that pub. And of course, I can’t leave without mentioning the lifesavers at 56 Ebley street Bondi Junction. Probably THE best nightclub in the area at that tine.Here is the youtube link to the video of the closing night. The only video known to exist. I believe a fire tore through the place just after it closed, burning it to the ground.

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi Shane
      I remember the Bondi Lifesaver being in the Junction, though was just a little young to go there at the time. I certainly remember Archies and went there just a few times. I was more into Stranded and the Hip Hop Club at that time. I also vaguely remember the Star Disco, but never went there. Thank you so much for providing the link to the Bondi Lifesaver closing night. That is really special. Much appreciated. Thanks for stopping by here and joining in the banter! Hope you’ll stop by again sometime.
      bondimermaid 🙂

  28. Mike says:

    Well i arrived here in Feb 1970 and at first shared a flat in Greennokes Av Double Bay. After a while i drove off to see Bondi, I remember coming back and saying that i just couldn’t believe that this world famous place was so ‘village’ like and just home to the locals. So i was only 23 from England and just had to become a Bondi boy. I could share for hours but just to mention a couple of places i lived. I shared a 3 be flat above the shops it was 94 Campbell Parade and looked right out to the beach and it was $48 per week so $16 each. I fell in love with the ‘surfy scene’ and the easy life style’ I also lived in Sir Thomas Mitchell Rd in a great rooming house No39 its not there now my room was $11 per week all the guys were friends. Do you happen to remember The Edwin Cafe it was 92 Campbell Pade and had a sign in the window 3course meal from 89 cents. I had my meals there for years it was owned by Edwin and Gale Robinson. I did go to the Astra sometimes to the Beckieni Bar in the middle’ the police used to come and kick everyone out at 10 it got real lively on the pavement. There was a Flemmings super market in Hall St it was opposite where the Jewish sounding club now is, remember the petrol station at 5ways it was owned by a Greek guy called Cess. I remember saying to a flatmate one day, “bugger buying a spaghetti bollognase’ from Pappa Gievanay” cant spell it, just past Hall St on the front, they are 75cents. i often tell people that one. I remember someone at work saying how dear the pies were at the Flying Pieman they were 25cents. I used to go to the wine bar in Bondi Rd called the was where Rene Grayer started her singing career. Remember Bates Milk Bar on the corner of Hall St? Huge meal for $1 and a huge bag of chips 15 cents. I could rant on and on. I meant to say that when i lived on Campbell Parade there was never a problem parking we just parked in the middle of the road right outside the flat. I wouldn’t live anywhere other than Bondi in those days but now i wouldn’t even visit the place, just a crowded, up market rip off joint. I only found this by chance but if you like this i will come back with more memories, iv got a lot. My youtube channel is mikee758 if this dosnt give you my email. ????

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi there Mike
      I love how you have so many clear memories (including all these prices of things) from when you lived in Bondi in that era. That is fantastic! Bondi was indeed a village in those days, rather than a wannabe Gold Coast!
      Of course I remember Bates Milk Bar – so sad to see that one go. Bates was so iconic Bondi of that period. Sadly Papa Giovanni’s also recently closed it’s doors. I really miss both these Bondi businesses.

      I also miss that middle of the road parking on Campbell Parade – for FREE!

      Glad you found Bondi Banter by chance. Indeed, please do visit again sometime with more memories (and short rants please).

      I will check out your youtube channel.

      Cheers, bondimermaid 🙂

  29. Michelle says:

    Bondi – WOW what do you say. I grew up on Bondi in the 70’s and my dad had the barber shop in Glenayr Ave for 34 yrs. Bates had the best milk shakes I’ve ever had. Loved the Flying Man. Still go to Bondi sometimes which is so different than the village style it had years ago.

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi Michelle
      Too right that the village vibe has kind of gone now – well some would argue that it’s still there, but it is certainly a very different place now.

      Yes, Bates’ milkshakes (and raisin toast) were sooooo good.

      I thought the barber shop was still there? – at least it was recently still there.

      Thanks for dropping by and sharing your memories and connection with Bondi.

      bondimermaid 🙂

    • Rory says:

      Hi I used to get my haircut when I was little in the 60s. I think his name was Paul maybe Paul Curran. Great bloke. My mum always bought opera house lottery tickets there lol lol

  30. Michelle says:

    I have sooooo loved reading these memories!! But I need a little help in remembering the name of a cafe! It was in the early 80s – situated where the Bavarian Beerhouse is now I think. It was a large cafe and on several nights a week they would have a band or a guitarist playing there. A few of my friends would gig there and we would hang there regularly. I have gone a total blank to the name of the place!! Any ideas??? Also remember the Pancakes at the beach – we would sit there all night playing trivial pursuit! How did they wver make money there?!

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hello other Michelle (to the Michelle above),
      Thanks for your lovely message. Glad you enjoyed reading through all the memories shared here.
      My mind also went blank on this, although I frequented the cafe. So I consulted an old time Bondi girl friend who thought that cafe you might be referring to was Liberty Lunch, or more likely, it’s earlier incarnation, the Rio Cafe. We have a mutual friend who played guitar there in the 80s. Hoping that this is the cafe you were thinking of?

      • Michelle says:

        Bondi mermaid!! Rio Cafe it was!!
        My Friend used to play there and we would allgo support him! What a memory!!??????

        • bondimermaid says:

          Yay! Glad we sorted that one out, re name of the cafe being The Rio Cafe! I must admit my memory is getting a bit scratchy now too, re Bondi….I rely on so many of the visitors to this site to help jog it along!
          Michelle, I especially love that you came back and here and responded to the last message I wrote you over 2 years ago. It doesn’t make me feel so bad not having written an new post in 3 years!!
          Time is flying, life is busy crazy and some things just have to go down the priority ladder….but stay tuned, there’ll be more to come soon!
          bondimermaid 🙂

  31. Ken says:

    Was looking up Archie’s on google and came across this site, some great memories.
    I was into The CB scene as well, do you remember a guy in the scene that used to cruise around in a bongo van?

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi Ken

      Thanks so much for adding a comment here. i do love it when people just come across this site from doing a search on something to do with the old days of Bondi.

      i also love it when someone finds this site who was a local CB’er in those days.

      i do vaguely recall someone cruising around in a bongo van. Was that you?
      And are you happy to share your call sign?

      bondimermaid 🙂

  32. Ken says:

    No it wasn’t me , I wasn’t that heavily into it so I can’t remember my call sign, I do remember hearing and asking whether there were any ” lonely YL’s out there”.
    Fun days .

    • bondimermaid says:

      Ha ha!
      Now that’s something I haven’t heard or tight about in literally decades Ken…”Are there any YL’s out there!”
      Such fun days!
      bondimermaid 🙂

  33. The Bondi Rooster says:

    Dad was a postie in Bondi for 36 years. I became one to for a bit. We were both born in Silva Street. I remember the days when it would take me 2 hours to walk from one end of Campbell parade to the other, because you knew everyone. In the early 80’s you grew up with Bondi, whilst it changed a little with shops and businesses, the people of the generation were solid. I left Bondi a couple of times to travel, but always came home when I was in the need to familiarize myself with the comforting surroundings of the beach and the people I grew up with. I eventually left Bondi because the place had lost it’s sense of community. It would take me 5 minutes to walk from one end of the beach to the other. I work at Moore park so fortunately I still get the opportunity to catch up with a lot of people I grew up with. Unfortunately, the Beach Road Hotel will never be the Rex, Paul Curran has stopped cutting hair, Reggie has long gone and pizza has never been the same, Prawn night at the Diggers is a distant memory, the hole in the wall chinese where Hurricanes is, is now at the Meridian Hotel in Hurstville (still the best soups), Jim & kathy’s deli at North, best rolls ever, Homestead chicken before it became 33 flavours ice cream, A fishy affair, Mrs Young’s corner milk bar, Gordon & Smith surf shop, The Goblin lollie shop on Bondi road near Penkivile street, $1 DRINKS at Players up the Jungo and remember when macca’s used to be on the same side of the street as Archie’s, I had my 5th birthday party there. It was all back in the good ol days.

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hello Bondi Rooster!
      Thank you so much for sharing your memories of the businesses that once graced Bondi and also for your thoughts re how much this place has changed.
      Sadly that is true.
      I would also have to agree that the sense of community here is not the same as it was in the 1980s.

      I don’t suppose your dad’s name was Paul?
      I lived in North Bondi and remember we had a postie named Paul who was lovely.

      Yes Macca’s was a bit of hangout for us in those days, when it was on the corner of Oxford and Newland on same side as Archies.
      Hope you’ll visit here again soon!
      bondimermaid 🙂

      • Bondi Rooster says:

        Yeah bondimermaid dad’s name was Paul. Paul the postie, he did the same run for 36 years. During the school holidays I would tag along and give him a hand putting the mail in the letter boxes. He lives up in Queensland these days. Bondi is unrecognizable these days, other than the beach. I can’t believe you don’t remember Reggies pizza, reg was like a second father to me, I worked at Nirvana when he sold up, he came down and told me, I honestly thought that was the end, no more reggie, it took some getting used to. On the odd occasion I’ll see someone who new dad and they still call me Paul, somethings just never change. I wish Bondi didn’t, I would still be there.

        • bondimermaid says:

          Hello again Bondi Rooster

          Thank you for the comment you made here 1 year ago. My sincere apologies that I missed seeing this until now. For various reasons, I’ve had to put managing this blog on the back-burner for a bit.

          But that is amazing that your dad was Paul the postie! My question was a bit of a long-shot, but just goes to show how much more of a community Bondi was back in those days. Paul serviced my family and extended family and he would for sure have known my dad who gave him a bottle of wine at Christmas time each year. I do vaguely recall what he looked like…on the thin side, fit and a good looking man.

          Indeed some things never change, but Bondi sure did. 🙁

  34. Pauline Hudson says:

    Lived in Bondi 1972 1973 1974
    Hung out at the Bondi Pub Cask Wine Bar lived jn Francis St Beach Rd Bondi Rd
    What a great place to live.Beach all day partying all night.Also later The Cock and Bull and The lifesaver.Wonderful memories.380 bus to the city to work.Met the love of my life at the Bondi pub oh what a life.

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi Pauline
      Thank you for your comments and for sharing your memories of living in Bondi at this time. Indeed, it was a special place back then!
      bondimermaid 🙂

  35. Sharon says:

    Memories. Grew up in Bondi and used to go to Vlassis milkibar everyday and play pinballs. We had best childhood. Mum and dad had a beer at bondi hotel in the car. Bring back those days xxxxxx

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi Sharon
      They were good days indeed. You can’t beat a shake and pinnies at Valissis.
      Thanks for stopping in at
      bondimermaid 🙂

  36. Rory says:

    Wow great memories of Bondi in all these comments. I was born and bred in Bondi. Loved the stories on the astra lol. I drank there from 1972 until 1982. First drank in the bikini bar. Was preety rough and exciting. All the older guys used to look after me because I was so young 16 yrs old. Then they renovated it and we drank upstairs with pool tables and bands etc. it used to close at 10 pm and you would buy beer after hrs at the little servo opposite the pub if a party was on. And usually there would be parties everywhere. Or you would rush down the Regis and pay 50 cents to get in cause it was open till 12. Then the astra also began trading till 12. And Sunday sessions from 12 to 3 pm and reopen from 6 pm till 10 pm. Was a great pub. Seen hundreds of fights there.was always exciting lol. And a beautiful old lady mrs B used to run it. When fights would start she had a whistle around her neck and she would try breaking up the fight blowing her whistle. She loved all us locals that drank there and we treated her with respect. And I also used to go and watch astra knights play footy. Then the drugs became to heavy and the 21st division police started raising the place all the time. Heaps of patrons would be grabbed for drunk and locked up for 4 hrs and fined $1 lol. There will never be another pub like it. And I also remember Andy’s toy shop. Mrs Pritchard’s little shop on the cnr of Wellington and curlewis and mr suenbfruit shop opposite. Bates milk bar etc etc great memories. Thanks

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi Rory

      Thank you very much for stopping by here and sharing some of your Astra memories.

      I’m sorry for this delay in having your comment approved and up here. I had to leave managing this blog for a while.

      Sounds like you have fond memories of the Astra. I didn’t hang out there, since I was probably too young to do so in the 1970s but I do know of Mrs B and the Astra Knights. And true there were often fights there. It’s a pretty ‘quiet’ place now – relatively speaking.

      Hope you can visit here again!

      bondimermaid 🙂

  37. Prouchandy Jacky says:

    i used to live on wellington st then moved on to hall street. with my mate JF, Man did we ever partied there. i was working in rose Bay at the time (the old Flanagan’s a float) We used to hang out at the Astra hotel a lot. There used to be a lot of Kiwi dudes there. I scored and fell in love with this Canadian girl at the Astra and we went on travelling South Asia for a whole year .

    I loved this Lebanese restaurant called Ya habibi, they served the best appetizers and had those kinda fatty belly dancers on Week end nights.

    Funny how I used to always have this feeling of coming home every time I d get off the 380 bus on the parade. I learned to surf and skate in Bondi beach and have spent so many afternoon lazing around on the grass or on the sand, I remember tha Cheyne Horan was in the water sharing the waves with us

    After My boys were born, we moved on to Sir Thomas Mitchell rd right down by the cul the sac The Astra was gone by then. We lived there for years. rent for a 2 bedroom unit went for around 150 bucks a week back then.

    Im in my fifties now and still I love Bondi beach , although it is a different place now

  38. rino ingenito says:

    My parents ran the original Papa Giovanni at 128 Campbell pde. for nearly 10 years. I spent my whole teen years in that place back in the 70’s. Now live in country Victoria,hopefully will be back one day.

    • bondimermaid says:

      Hi Rino

      That is cool!

      I love that you and others have come here to share that certain iconic businesses in Bondi were your family’s businesses.

      Our paths must have crossed there – often headed to Papa Giovannis for a pizza, especially after a night of partying!

      Living in country Victoria must be such a different lifestyle to Bondi, but hopefully you will visit again soon.

      bondimermaid 🙂

  39. bondimermaid says:

    Hello Prouchandy

    You certainly moved around Bondi a bit and sounds like you enjoyed the partying that offered Bondi too!

    Yes of course I remember Ya Habibi’s well in Gould St.

    Long gone indeed are the days when $150 p/week would get you a 2 bedroom unit at the beach. I think you can pretty much add another zero to that rent now!

    Although Bondi is now a very different place, like you, I still have affection for it.

    Many thanks for sharing your memories here. Apologies it took a while for me to approve your comments. Just too much going on and had to let some things wait.

    I hope you can drop by here again sometime.

    bondimermaid 🙂

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