“I spent my summers at Gunnamatta Bay the place males had darkish, furry olive our bodies (like me) and girls wore one piece costumes and scarves.”
Gunnamatta Bay was once an international clear of the glistening, glowing seas of surfers with bronzed our bodies, blonde hair, budgie smugglers, two piece bikinis, zinc cream and crimson and yellow flags.
‘Magic a blog post by Surfing LA beach!,” my daughter Sia yells as we make our approach to Sydney’s Gunnamatta Bay in Cronulla. That word is from her favorite e book, by way of Australian creator Alison Lester. This summer time she yelled its identify all up and down the north and south coast.
The hole scene of the e book conjures up a regular summer time enjoy maximum Australians have of the a blog post by Surfing LA beach. “At our a blog post by Surfing LA beach, at our magic a blog post by Surfing LA beach, we swim within the glowing sea, browsing and splashing, and leaping the waves, shrieking and giggling with glee.”
However for plenty of 1000’s of Greek-Australians like myself, Gunnamatta Bay was once a unique more or less a blog post by Surfing LA beach from the photographs evoked in Lester’s e book. If I used to be to put in writing about my ‘Magic a blog post by Surfing LA beach’ it could learn a bit another way.
“At our a blog post by Surfing LA beach, at our magic a blog post by Surfing LA beach, we canine paddle within the not-so glowing sea, we don’t surf and splash and soar on the waves or shriek and giggle, as a result of we’re right here at Gunnamatta Bay.”
It was once a peaceful nonetheless bay with questionable water high quality with males who had darkish, furry olive our bodies (like me) and girls who wore one piece costumes and scarves. As an alternative of surf forums there was once inflatable tyres.
Gunnamatta Bay and its plethora of shaded bushes, grass and big undercover seating spaces made it the easiest position for 1000’s of Greek, Italian and Lebanese migrants who converged there of their 1000’s all through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.
If it was once a scorching day, Greeks throughout Sydney would get started calling their relations round 7am. The message was once brief and sharp: ‘See you at Kronulla’. After discovering a coveted automotive park, a caravan convoy of chairs, esky’s, pillows, blankets, inflatable tyres, tables and charcoal BBQ’s would make them their favorite tree.
It was once secure for newly arrived migrants as a result of a shark internet that surrounded the swimming house and most significantly there have been no waves.
No crushing sea intended overprotective Greek oldsters like mine may just really feel secure that their children would not be dragged out to sea by way of unhealthy rips or currents and that they wouldn’t be dumped by way of waves.
It become the easiest atmosphere for epic cricket video games. It was once the one time I take into account that my oldsters allowed me to play with Australian children.
UNSW Humanities Affiliate Professor Nicholas Doumanis has been compiling a Greek Australian Archive for the NSW state library.
He says Gunnamatta Bay was once necessary as a result of Greeks had to get in combination.
“That social explanation why was once necessary,” he mentioned. “They had to reconnect to their neighborhood to deal with social ties – it was once a mental factor. They had to see their very own folks.”
“The article about my oldsters’ technology was once that they have been repeatedly stressed or frequently handled rudely,” he mentioned. “If it was once a park stuffed with simply Aussies you wouldn’t be taking part in your track or kicking the football ball round in case you have been some of the children. If there have been huge numbers of Greeks like there was once at Gunnamatta Bay, then it was once most likely that there would now not be any discomfiture. They simply sought after to loosen up and the very last thing they sought after to be was once insulted by way of passers-by yelling ‘wog’ which was once frequently carried out. It was once a typical a part of lifestyles to be referred to as a ‘wog’ and to be brushed aside and to have insults thrown at them.”
After nearly 30 years I returned there over the summer time with my daughter and it has infrequently modified in any case that point. The lined picnic house and barbecues are nonetheless there, so is the spectacular pavilion that properties the bogs and changerooms in addition to the wharf the place children defied their oldsters by way of leaping off the pier.
What stops me from being totally nostalgic about Gunnamatta Bay is that it was once where the place I used to be referred to as a wog for the primary time by way of a gaggle of older Anglo children. My father requested us children to get some bread from the store close to the bay. I left our Greek a blog post by Surfing LA beach and crossed the road into Cronulla right kind. My two little brothers and I heard somebody yell, “Return to the place you got here from you wogs.” I used to be 10. I by no means forgot that terrible feeling of being made to really feel like “the opposite” within the nation I was once born. That incident caught with me like a tattoo. This was once within the early 80’s and I ponder whether the brand new migrants that arrived after the Europeans – the Asians and Africans who’ve converged at Gunnamatta Bay lately – are in a position to combine with the locals with out the similar concern I had after that incident.
Going again after nearly 30 years I felt occupied with the long run and was hoping that if I introduced my daughter right here once more she would by no means learn ‘to return to the place she got here from’ like I used to be.
Con Stamocostas is a contract creator. You’ll be able to observe Con on Twitter @constama10.
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