I it was the night before Melbourne entered its most recent lockdown and I texted a friend in Brunswick my commiserations. Going into his fifth lockdown he didn 't was not happy. In response, he sent a series of messages, mostly in CAPS, stating that it was Bondi people.
HONESTLY BRIDGE IT'S YOUR BONDI BRIGADE THAT DIDN'T TAKE IT SERIOUS A MONTH AGO… BEACHES CAFES EXERCISE… BONDI JUNCTION AND SURROUNDING everyone just did the party and all that. So fucked up. "
Bondi has been a lot to a lot of people in the over the years - icon, garbage bag, soul defibrillator, gorgeous, disgusting - but right now it risks being Australia's most hated place.
The story of why the rest of Australia hates Bondi has to do with Covid, money and optics.
It has what no place wants: a namesake Covid cluster, whose tail ultimately sent 14 million Australians to lockdown. It's not just the group - people are regularly filmed on the beach and thehe walked around exercising, with the footage then being widely disseminated as evidence of the residents' arrogance. last week, after a clip posted on Twitter of sportsmen on the promenade going viral, Bondi has become synonymous with selfishness and privilege.
The Daily Telegraph quoted the Police Minister David Elliott saying it seemed like Bondi beachgoers "live on another planet." It is not only selfish but it is arrogance of the highest order. In the Australian newspaper, the headline was "Bondi locked out… but you wouldn't know it.
Sky News broadcast footage of people doing exercise in Bondi, saying it has led the people of West Sydney to accuse them of " flouting the rules of Covid , while politicians such as Chris Bowen reacted angrily, claiming that images of people doing exercise in Bondi were "an insult to Fairfield.
A story is emerging. It has become one thing to disparage Bondi.
There is in this tale, a story of Bondi 's exceptionalism - that the rules do not apply to people of zip code 2026, and that the entrapment of the good life will protect you from what has come for everyone else. This is the local version of Australian exceptionalism that has led us to the horrible mess we find ourselves in this terrible month: half the country locked up , not enough vaccines, the folly to think you'll get away with it.
The start of this new version of Bondi, the one Australia hates at this time, dates back to the mid-90s, when thes pipes discharging sewage into the ocean were moved away from Bondi Beach and the wealthy began to settle there.
C It was then that James Packer bought an old garage on the corner of Campbell Parade and turned it into a four story batch pad (later sold for $ 29 million) - and the suburb grew from an outpost for the effluent to an outpost for the rich.
Outside of his sister city of another gentleman, Byron Bay , Bondi has some of Australia 's most expensive accommodation. And as in Byron Bay, the work-from-home revolution has made seaside living more attractive, driving up house prices and lowering decent and affordable rental stock..
Participating in a half a dozen inspections at Bondi Beach a few weeks ago, I found out that around $ 600 per week for a one bedroom apartment gave you something damp, musty and a little dark. After 20 years of living in the area, it was finally time to admit that I was too expensive.
But like Byron Bay, people don't wouldn't flock there and the prices wouldn't be so high if there wasn't something special about the place.
Starting the day with a walk, a swim and a coffee or soaking in the ocean at the north end at Golden Hour is a spiritual experience that sets aside the typical wet carpet pre-renovated Bondi apartments and the moldy ceiling you can expect at home.
Deep down I always found that Bondi wasn't different from a village ora country town. On the promenade, you meet the same people. There are baristas out there who took my coffee order in 2005 and when I come back years later remember me and the coffee order.
Up on Bondi Road, there are always mom-and-dad stores and places to get a late-night stream.
The Bondi que Australia hates right now is only the top layer. It has always been more interesting than that. Yes, people have been evicted because of the high prices, but there are enough apartments, shared flats and old ones for the suburbs to still claim some persity. For now, it's still a place you can live if you're a writer, or work in the hospitality industry or in a low-paying job.
And even when Packer moved in, the suburb retained its raffish vibe. After all, who phad to forget the photos of Packer and Nine boss David Gyngell , which sort of sums up the vibe of the place. Where else would you see two of Australia's most powerful men essentially trying to fight in a brawl on the streets?
Speaking to residents this week they are upset by the demonization of their suburbs.
"The Twitter video that went viral on Sunday was truly unfair. I was at the beach that day - people were socially distancing themselves, playing by the rules. Bondi is simply used by the tabloids and politicians to stir up class warfare, "a friend said.
Even naming a group after Bondi hits a resident as being unfair - considering the "limousine drivers dragged principain the Vaucluse, and then they spread from Bondi Junction ". a big police presence, and they'll get you moving if you sit down. It's probably not the same police vibe as in the south. west of Sydney, but neither are the area and its people magically affected by the restrictions.
At the beach, swim in the winter sea and the coldness of the sand discourages lingering anyway. I still love it here, despite its high price. And maybe that's why: there is something egalitarian (d 'more so after the ski lifts of the 10 km rule) on the beach and the promenade. It belongs to everyone.