Before the sale of our house in Melbourne was finalised, I was required to fly to Sydney each Monday morning and stay in the airport until close of business on Friday evening, after which I would fly back to Melbourne.
At that time, the hotel near the airport was the Hilton, and I became so familiar with their menu that I was able to order an evening meal without studying the menu.
It sounds an exciting life, but laptops had not been invented, nor the mobile phone, and the city was an expensive taxi ride away because the rail link had not been built and buses did not stop anywhere near the hotel. I read a lot of books.
The above picture shows the current hotel which is the Novotel / Mecure Hotel, which is in the Accor Group of hotels.
The building has also been a Holiday Inn hotel, but the building is the same as I remember thirty-five years ago.
The area now known as Walli Creek was an industrial area in 1985 and was part of Arncliffe until redevelopment started and the area that was redeveloped became Walli Creek after the creek of the same name.
From industry to . . .
What a change of view from my stay in the Hilton.
The picture is from the current hotel’s web site.
As the time for moving from Melbourne became imminent the Company flew Maureen to Sydney for a long weekend, which we used to find a house to rent for about six months while we looked around for a house to buy.
I asked my colleagues for suggestions as to which suburb to consider living and perhaps buying in, the overwhelming suggestion was Sutherland Shire, because it was ‘beachy’, on a railway line, close to the airport, but not too close, and affordable. The river scene at the start of my blog is of the river about a hundred metres from my house. I cannot see it from the house, but the view is just around the corner.
The picture above is of Sutherland Shire beach in the suburb of Cronulla in Sutherland Shire, about thirty minutes from where I live. Cronulla is on the ocean, not Botany Bay and Sutherland Shire is known locally as just, ‘The Shire’.
It was called such well before J. R. R. Tolkien’s (1916-1971) fictional Middle-earth’s ‘Shire’, described in The Lord of the Rings.
Sutherland Shire is named after Forby Sutherland who was a member of the crew of HMS Endeavour, Captain James Cook in command.
Sutherland died of consumption on the 2nd of May 1770 and was the first British subject to die in Australia and the first European to die in New South Wales.
Captain Cook arrived in Australia on the 29th of April 1770, and after Sutherland’s death he named a point of land at the eastern end of Botany Bay, ‘Sutherland Point’.
Captain Cook’s monument at Kurnell, Sutherland Shire
We found a house to rent in The Shire and later bought in The Shire, and still live in the house that we bought in 1985.
The house we bought is smaller than the Melbourne house because Sydney prices are higher, so the dollar had to go further.
In 1985 the population of the Shire was about 170,000 and the drive to work took me about thirty minutes. Today with a population of around 230,000 the journey would be a lot longer.
My time at work had been taken up with ‘finding my feet’ and organising a standard procedure of operation in the six Australian offices and the three New Zealand Offices.
I also had to make myself known to our network of agents across the Pacific south of the Equator. My only communication facility with the agents was via fax or phone.
Papua New Guinea, same time zone as Sydney
New Caledonia, the flag in the 1980’s, time zone plus one hour
Vanuatu, time zone plus one hour
Solomon Islands, time zone plus one hour
Nauru, time zone plus two hours
Kiribati, (pronounced Kiri-bass) the old name was the Gilbert Islands – time zone plus two hours
Tuvalu, the old name was Ellis Is., time zone plus two hours
Cook Is, time zone minus twenty hours
Fiji, time zone plus two hours
Western Samoa, time zone minus twenty-one hours in the 1980’s and 90’s.
In 2011 on the 29th December Western Samoa cancelled the 30th December and ‘restarted’ on the 31 st December.
By doing this they ‘moved’ the date line because most of their business was with New Zealand, Australia and Asia and they wished to be in a similar time zone. Today W Samoa is plus three hours from Sydney.
American Samoa, time zone minus twenty-one hours.
Can you imagine doing business between W. Samoa and American Samoa today, the flight between the two countries is about twenty minutes, but different days.
Tonga, time zone plus three hours
Tahiti, in French Polynesia. Time zone minus twenty-hours
I had a small problem when I wanted to speak to our agent in W. Samoa, American Samoa, Cook Is. or Tahiti because when it was Monday in Sydney it was Sunday in their country, so our working week was a day short – unless I spoke to them from home on my Saturday, which was their Friday.
In New Caledonia & Tahiti our agent had to be bi-lingual in English and French because I could not speak French – which is why the original title of my blog was to be ‘I’ll never go abroad’, being the answer, that I gave my French teacher when I was thirteen after failing a French exam.
She asked me how I proposed to speak to anyone when I went to France. I still cringe at my answer.