to read your frequent references to Bleak City in your coverage of
events in that town. I created the name back in 1986 when I was writing
the CBD column for the SMH as a bit of fun in which only a
Sydney-based paper could indulge at a time when Melbourne was arguably
Australia’s business capital and taking itself very seriously.

remember getting a flood of abusive letters and calls from Melbourne
expatriates back then so reckoned I must be on to something and used it
as much as reasonable taste would allow – sometimes twice in an item.
Maybe Melburnians are so world-weary now they don’t care any more, but
it’s been intriguing watching the expression gradually creep into the

CRIKEY: When Westfield sets his mind to something he’s
like a dog with a bone. The first reference to “Bleak City” we could
find in the Fairfax archive was on 8 September 1986, and there were a
subsequent 35 mentions up until 1 January 1 1987. While it was Crikey
who coined the phrase Millionaire Factory for Macquarie Bank, tarring
Melbourne with the Bleak City brush is certainly an impressive effort
by Westfield.