Aug 7, 2013

Among the fibros and McMansions, Blacktown’s diverse voice

Blacktown is a city without a centre, an important voice in the federal election that is actually many. Crikey's writer-at-large ventured west into the sprawl, where it still feels like the 1970s.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


Christ almighty, Blacktown is a dump. Two huge intersecting shopping malls ranged around a car park and a square vacant lot, a couple of brick veneer terraces of shops climbing the hills, and a stupid and artless train station plonked in the middle. There was a town here once, as evidenced by a single red brick church in the middle that has escaped the carnage, now framed between featureless slab-tilt walls. The streets it looked over, the town centre, has long since disappeared beneath the mega-retail carve-up, place giving way to zoning. The American disease, though not as bad, and with one difference: the place is teeming.

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20 thoughts on “Among the fibros and McMansions, Blacktown’s diverse voice

  1. MJPC

    Gary, thank you for your insightful report from a voter who lives next door to the Blacktown. You missed the other part of Mr Diaz’s incompetant reply to the reporter, and that was the comment about the LNP’s environmental plan, I laughed and laughed at such an incompetant bogan and learned it concerns “planting real tree’s” as against plastic tree’s?
    Full marks to Channel 10 reporter for hammering home his questions (for once).
    And this idiot is representing his community in the parliament…god help us all, and the planet!

  2. paddy

    Ah welcome back Guy. Please don’t be shy about describing outer Oz suburbs in that special way, that you did so well in America.
    It really *is* refreshing to see them through new eyes.
    I’m looking forward to your adventures a lot more than the dreaded MSM muck that passes for commentary.

  3. Peter Cook

    Pro Tip: There is an underground travelator that takes you between T2 and T3. Both T2 and T3 share a railway station, so just follow the signs to the station, then ignore the station entrance, and continue on towards the other terminal.

  4. Blobert

    Mr.Rundle, wonderful stuff. To think our “town planners” have aimed so low to the American templated urban blights, with the coup de grace delivered by traffic engineers. Surely the World Court beckons these so called professional for crimes against humanity.

  5. klewso

    “The papers lying in piles ….” – that would be the Tele-trash?

  6. Misrule

    Oh FFS. You come here for 40 minutes and hang out in a square of streets around the train station/shopping mall and you think you know Blacktown? And could you have chosen any more prejudicial and unrepresentative a photograph? Bugger off. (And that ‘red church’ was in fact the original school house, and far from ‘3 shops’, Blacktown is home to the biggest population of Filipino Australians in the country. A bit of research wouldn’t go astray.)

  7. ross rutherford

    Grat article, hated it yet loved it all at once.

  8. Andybob

    @ Misrule. You object to the depiction of Blacktown as a community abandoned to 1978 infrastructure by governments of all stripes ? What buildings, projects or community resources do you say makes Guy’s picture wrong ?

  9. Peter Snashall

    This is a great article & the comments are just as interesting. I agree that some research
    would add depth to the provocative impressions. So I did my own research and “Little Manila”
    seems to consist of around 30,000 Filipinos ? Blacktown really seems to between
    everything and the center of nothing.

  10. Andrew Andrews

    Guy, that single piece was worth the price of a year’s subscription.
    I’d like to say keep it up, but I won’t worry too much if you don’t. It was the strongest piece of writing I have seen in Australian media for years.
    As if you didn’t already know that… but, my congratulations just the same.

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