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The Past | The Previous

mark twain, who is quoted for a section of the birth of sydney offers the perfect metaphor for sydney.

what twain offers is the story of a man who pulls from the belly of a shark, a newspaper ten days old saying germany declared war on england, and he reverses his fortune on it, becoming rich. this is the story of sydney: a brutal beast, the terror of many convicts, who, when they became free, turned around and made a fortune in the harsh land of their servitude.

it's not really the sydney of today, where wealth is no more easily earned than in another country (such class distinctions that were around two hundred years ago, are not here now) but it serves perfectly to describe sydney up to the 20th century, and perhaps beyond.

it was gold, around 1850, that changed the shape of sydney from a convict town, to a city of the world. it was also gold that bought in the first runs of immigrants who wanted to be there, and who weren't arriving on shoe string hopes or with chains around their ankles. thus, for all those who had been there longer, there was in the inevitable racist backlash--mainly against the chinese.

it was around this time that sydney began to change, in the way people talked about it. mentions of the unplanned sprawl, the beaches, the sharks, the water for example, these are moreso noted now that before. the recreational side of sydney was coming out.

class distinction was still raging around, and, later, i think, i will type more about the birth of sydney.