Saturday, September 17, 2011

To the Bondi Beach

I need two hands at least to count the number of times we have been to Bondi Beach and it is nearly always the same. Train to Bondi Junction, then bus to the beach. I have long argued that the train should continue to Bondi Beach. The bus from the Junction to the Beach is crowded and a very unpleasant trip and it doesn't seem to matter how many buses are put on, they are still crowded, worse if you cop one without airconditioning. Local Bondi Beach residents don't want the train if they have cars. They argue that a train service will bring more hoards to the beach, and they are probably right. Bus using residents though I would surely welcome a train service as the trip is just as miserable for them as it is we tourists. Why not extend the train to the Beach and then swing it down south to service Bronte, Clovelly and Coogee? This would take pressure off Bondi Beach.

Anyway, I was comparing an old map of Sydney when trams ruled and travelled along Oxford Street, Bondi Junction, now a mall, to a current map. I was struggling to make sense of anything.

Then I realised that for many years, I have had my Bondi Junction head space, for want of better words, arse about. I have always thought when you exit Bondi Junction station to Oxford Street Mall, you walk north along a laneway straight into the mall, but no, the station is to the north of Oxford Street, so you must head south. This means that when I was in Oxford Street Mall, the direction I thought the beach was wrong and the city also. And, the buses going to Bondi Beach exit the station in an easterly direction, rather than a westerly direction, which makes sense, or does it.

Unfortunately google street view doesn't show the mall and now I am just left in a confused state. Help!

This happened to me in Ueno, Tokyo and once something like the direction of north is planted in your head, it is very difficult to shake. You can logically think about it and work it out, but the map planted in your head for instant recall is wrong.


  1. Strange that Google Maps doesn't recognise Oxford Mall in Bondi Junction but you do get one section of it at the Westfield Bondi Junction end if you key in the Eastern Hotel Bondi Junction.

    You are correct that buses leaving the Bondi Junction Interchange headed for Bondi Beach depart from the eastern exit which is logical given that the beach is east of the Junction.

  2. I reckon the train would be extended to Bondi Beach only when its politically convenient at election time :-).

  3. 1905 was the big year for the new Bondi tourist tram line. And the timing could not have been better.
    The Bondi surf life saving club opened one year later, by which time bathing restrictions had thankfully been removed. The tram was always packed out!

    So why oh why did they close down this vital tram service in 1960? Stupid people! The only thing we have left is the expression "to shoot through like a Bondi tram".

  4. It makes perfect sense to extend the train all the way to the beach; that's why "they" don't do it.

    Forget North and focus on West; you'll never get lost again.

  5. Victor, I now remember eating outdoors at a place in the mall and the sun seemed wrong. I think I have it right now, but it will take a physical visit to realign my brain.

    Windsmoke, you have been reading politics #101.

    And Hels, they got to the beach from the city in a considerably shorter time than the buses now do.

    River, west being where the sun sets?

  6. Anonymous2:56 pm

    All good thoughts: but the trouble with extending the train from Bondi Junction to Bondi Beach is that Bondi Beach is always going to be a terminus: nowhere else to go when you get here, and heading along the ups & downs of the coast won't work. So it's probably best to have any new train turning south from Bondi Junction, to UNSW etc... But then there's now talk of a tram doing this, directly from the city.

  7. Thanks Anon. I guess it is all about available land, although trains can go underground, as some of the Eastern Subs railway does. That was my thought, for the train to go south and service beach side suburbs using underground. I've been getting UNSW mixed up with University of Sydney. A tram to both would be good.

  8. Anon; an existing bus service (Route 380) to North Bondi, (effectively to Bondi Beach which is the second last stop) extends up the coast on selected services to Dover Heights and even further to Watsons Bay. A train service which mirrors that extended bus route could take a lot of pressure off road traffic.