The big blue thing in the middle of Hall Street

In April last year I wrote a post about some of the developments that were going on in Bondi, and the end of a few iconic Bondi buildings. The development of the Hakoah Club site in Hall Street, has been one of the big changes on the Bondi landscape.

Here are a couple of photos from last year showing the site with the Club in rubble…

the Hakoah Club site seen from Hall Street, July 2011

the Hakoah Club site seen from O'Brien Street, July 2011

And here is a photo of the new building, Boheme, still incomplete, on the Hakoah Club site. I snapped this pic last week.

Boheme, still under construction, where the Hakoah Club stood

Bates Smart, the designers of Boheme, state on their website, that the Hakoah Club was “the social headquarters of Sydney’s Jewish community for 35 years.”
Yes, the club was certainly an important social space for many people in the Eastern Suburbs Jewish community – dare I suggest, particularly for the over 50s. It was a football (soccer) club and a social venue, but I don’t know how many people in Sydney’s Jewish community would agree with the statement that the Hakoah Club was “the social headquarters” of Sydney’s Jewish community.
Like most other ethnic groups, the Sydney Jewish community comprises a diverse group of people who chose to socialise in many different ways. The Hakoah Club was one venue in Sydney were such socialisation occurred.

In any case, I don’t really know what else I can say about this new megalith here, except that it will no doubt change the landscape and culture of the Hall Street I‘ve known for the past 35 years.

The Hakoah Club in Hall Street is now well and truly history.

Let’s see what commercial and real estate wonders Boheme will contribute to the Bondi community. I await in anticipation, and while I do, I am interested in reader’s comments….

The hole in the ground at North Bondi

Now you see it,

The North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club as it was in June 2012

Now you don’t.

Post-demolition of the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club, early September 2012

In May this year the North Bondi Surf Life Saving Club (SLSC) voted to replace the existing Clubhouse with a new building.

The word got around and signage went up…

The clean-out had begun, but funds were still needed for the new building

Then a few weeks ago, the iconic building, that has stood on the promenade for 77 years (where Ramsgate Avenue meets Campbell Parade), turned to rubble.

Like many other buildings that had always been part of the Bondi I knew, the old North Bondi Surf Club building was demolished and is no longer part of the Bondi landscape.

At a cost of several million dollars, the new Bondi Surf Club building will comprise four levels, including a dug out basement to store boats, skis and training equipment.

As stated in a flyer that the North Bondi SLSC circulated to gather support and donations for the new building…

“the design of the new Club aims to capture the gentle arc of the beach at Bondi. It will provide a modern, state of the art facility for volunteers who patrol the beach. It will become a symbol of the traditions of a truly great lifesaving club and will demonstrate the pursuit of excellence which lies at the heart of the club’s long tradition.”

Nothing lasts forever and urban development is well and truly now part of the “Bondi character” but it is understandable that the building that previously occupied the space where the North Bondi SLSC stood, was no longer sufficiently serving the needs of the Club nor it’s large membership.

When a family grows, it needs a bigger house and so the family often moves. But you can’t move the Clubhouse away from the beach, and so I guess that the most sensible alternative was to replace it with a building that would be more functional for the needs of the Club in 2012 and beyond.

This is what the site looked like yesterday…

The digging has begun...

I will miss seeing the old “Pizza Hut” building on the promenade at North Bondi. So it is with a sense of reluctant acceptance that I await to see the new Clubhouse erected on the ever changing Bondi Beach landscape.

These images of the previous two North Bondi Surf Live Saving Clubhouses and the upcoming future Clubhouse, are taken from the flyer that the North Bondi SLSC circulated earlier this year, to gather support and donations for the new building.

Winter Hiatus

Well it has been quite some weeks (months) since I have written a new post.

I have had very little time for anything while I have been completing a big and demanding project, and with the cold weather and short days, my inspiration has run a little low.

That’s my excuse – and that’s been my reality.

I haven’t spent much time around the beach these last few weeks, but it is a time of year that I relish in Bondi, without the masses.

A new post will follow soon…

As if the traffic isn’t bad enough…

Most Sydney-siders will tell you how bad Sydney traffic can get. Some days it is really the pits.

Bondi has become very congested with traffic in recent times.

So I am a little perplexed as to why there seems to be endless “intrusive” roadworks going on in the Bondi area. It has been going on for months and tonight several streets I drove along in a very small part of Bondi, had roadworks and traffic jams etc going on.

Why is the decision made to do roadworks in several neighbouring streets at the SAME time in one of the country’s most densely populated suburbs?

Can anybody pleeyze explain this decision-making by Waverley Council or the RTA or whoever?

The Summer Went to Autumn

Well we found out where the summer went. She decided to just have a little rest and now she’s come out to play – in Autumn!

I don’t recall such warm Sydney Easter weather. The last week has been glorious warm days – up to 29 degrees.

So warm in fact, that it was incredibly hot at the beach and swimming was very pleasant. Admittedly the ocean starts warming up around this time of the year.

Am getting ready for the chilly weather to hit soon.

Where Did The Summer Go?

Well with Summer officially over in about two weeks, if you live in Sydney, you might well be wondering “but did it even start?”
According to the stats, it’s been the coldest summer since 1965, the coldest December in 51 years and the coldest and wettest January in 11 years.

Lots has been written about and spoken about the weather here in Oz of late.
For example, check out these links to the ABC and the Wentworth Courier websites.

Queenslanders had to endure bad floods (again) and Sydney has had the worst summer that anyone here can remember – well around my vintage anyway.
Rain, rain and rain, cold temparutes and almost every day has been like four seasons in one day. Not the stock standard summers us Sydneysiders are used to.
But the weather is something you can’t change – you just have to deal with it.
Apparently it’s all due to El Nino and climate change.

Despite mother nature trying to mess with our heads, there have been some glorious days at Bondi Beach over the last few weeks – it’s just that there has been way too much grey sky in between.

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Happy New Year

When it comes to massive crowds on Bondi Beach….New Year’s Day is always a biggie, and yesterday was no exception!

December 2011 was such an abysmal month of “summer” weather, so the blue skies and hot weather attracted a fair few people to the sand yesterday.

I also decided to head down with the family to meet some friends and celebrate the first day of 2012 on Bondi Beach.

Bondi Beach looking towards the north end, 1st January 2012

As expected, the beach was packed. What I noticed most was how many different accents and tourists were around us. It seemed like almost everyone I heard talking, spoke in a foreign accent. I guess this is not really surprising since this time of year is, after all, the peak tourist season.

Towards the late afternoon early evening, a guy holding a megaphone (a surf lifesaver I think), was being followed near the shore by a camera crew. Then we hear on the megaphone in a very strong Australian accent , something along the lines of….”there are about 9 rips in the water today and soon, at 7 o’clock, there will no longer be any lifesavers patrolling the beach”.

I’m not sure if this announcement was an intentional bit of heightened drama for the camera crew that were accompanying the lifesaver on the megaphone or whether the announcement was to caution the many tourists and visitors to the beach who may be unfamiliar with rips and with the fact that the beach isn’t patrolled by lifesavers 24-7. The funny thing is, that if the announcement was a serious cautionary message, it is quite possible that many of the people it needed to reach most may not have been able to understand it, since the megaphone was not all that clear and the lifesaver delivering the message had such a strong Australian accent, it must have been difficult for non-Australians to make out every word that he said.

Well here’s hoping that somehow, the message got through and the first day of the year ended happily for all those on Bondi Beach yesterday.

Happy New Year !!

How Far Away From The Beach Can You Walk Around In A Bikini?

Two bikini gals walking up O'Brien St, just past intersection with Glenayr Ave

Well summer is slowly settling in (very slowly this year) and the body parading in Bondi will soon be at its peak. OK, so in a beach suburb it is normal to wear and to be around people wearing very light and minimal clothing such as shorts with bikini tops (for women) and just shorts (for men). This is quite acceptable in a beach area such as Bondi and the streets, shops and cafes are often filled with people walking around in only their togs, budgie smugglers, bikinis, bathing costumes, swimmers and whatever else we might call our beach and swimming gear.

Whenever I visit other beaches both in Australia and overseas, the same applies.

BUT, (forgetting wetsuits and rashys), I have often wondered just how far away from the beach can you get away with walking around in just a bikini? And are there certain criteria which make it OK and not OK? For example, is it acceptable for a young woman of 15 or younger to walk around in a bikini several blocks away from the beach but not a woman of say 30 or older? Or is the acceptability dependent upon how many blocks away from the beach we’re talking about?

Just to be clear, I’m not referring to a woman who is wearing a bikini top with a towel wrapped around the waist (as I often tend to head home in!). I’m talking about wearing just a bikini and nothing else.

I don’t recall ever seeing someone walking around Bondi Junction in only a bikini so I’m assuming that somehow there is an understood rule that the Junction is too far for bikini-wearing to be acceptable. And fair enough too, since it is a good 20 minutes walk at least to the Junction from the beach. So if we’re talking distance, does anyone have any ideas what the general rule is on this?

I’m really curious for your thoughts on bikini wearing beyond the beach…how far is OK and far is not OK? and how is the acceptability factor measured?

Monks in Bondi

Tibetan monk working on the sand mandala, October 2011

I heard that the Gyuto Monks of Tibet were visiting Bondi again this year, for a week or so in spring. I really wanted to attend one of their meditations and see the sand mandala they were making . Given my work schedule of late, finding the time was not easy, but earlier this month I finally found the opportunity to head down to Bondi Beach Public School to see the Gyuto monks before their visit to Bondi ended.

I was so glad that I found some time to get there…

The sand mandala was simply awesome. I’m sure there is a lot going on in the art of the mandala that I have no knowledge of (I.E. the symbolism and visual representations etc), but you can’t help being in awe of the amazing fine detail in the work, the glorious colours and the incredible patience that the monks demonstrate as they contribute to this work-in-progress.

It was easy to spend a long time looking at the sand mandala and watching the monks create it; this is a meditation in itself. But once the mandala is completed, it is dismantled – a reminder of the impermanence of life.

Fine detail seen in the sand mandala - using the zoom

I was able to stay for only some of the meditation, but even so, the benefit of stopping and listening and focusing for that short while was big, for me. Hopefully the monks will be back again next year and I’ll be making sure that my schedule allows me to spend more time in their presence in 2012 than I did this year.

A Morning Walk

Today I couldn’t resist going for a walk to the beach on such a beautiful morning. When I got down to the promenade, the water was completely flat and still. There was a lovely sense of peace at the beach.

Peaceful Bondi, August 2011

When I got to the North Bondi end, I spotted a few chookies doing a bit of training!

Roosters training at Nth Bondi, Aug 2011

Had to to tear myself away and head to work, but what a great way to start the day!