Hagiography of Hurlstone Park

Saint Rambo and Saint Mad Max, patron saints of the awning and all that exists about street level, live in the forgotten space above You Do It Kitchens. In Hurlstone Park there are precious few reminders, besides the cars, that things have moved beyond about 1986. The Rite Way supermarket has a fancy awning of large yellow cylinders and green edging from a time when green and gold stirred feeling of patriotism. Inside Rite Way is the same gloom that I remember from going to supermarkets as a child. It is from a world of eraser collecting and getting toys from plastic egg machines. I expect to find long lost brands in there, packaging with clunky 80s typefaces, containing products with uncomplicated flavours. The products on the shelves are those found in every supermarket, although I look at them differently here, like new photographs in old frames.

The sun-bleached gaze of Saint Rambo and Saint Mad Max protects the suburb from progress. The newly constructed sign for the Hurlstone Park CBD, next to the station, surely must be a joke. Much of the business that goes on here is the shoe repair man offering love advice to women who need their heels fixed, from within his shrine of lasts; the mysterious goings-on in the marble statue/dry cleaners store; or the ghosts of the bowling club, a place yet to be rediscovered by barefoot ironists. Its lawns are perfectly smooth but faded, the start of a process by which the bowling club will disappear altogether, not by demolition or refurbishment, but by growing gradually paler until it vanishes.

Saint Rambo and Saint Mad Max are heroes here, even if the rest of the city has moved beyond them. Their power is of all that is forgotten but yet continues to exist. At night, when Hurlstone Park is as still as a picture, people come quietly to leave offerings: matchbooks, pages from outdated street directories, tchotchkes crocheted from VHS tape. These devotees leave notes detailing the places they remember which have now gone, and the saints ensure these are not forgotten.

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3 Comments on “Hagiography of Hurlstone Park”

  1. Gavin Large says:

    Rambo and Mad Max are gone I think… they were fixing the awning a few weeks ago and I think that these icons were removed.

    • Vanessa Berry says:

      Thanks for mentioning this Gavin, I saw a few weeks ago that only their shadows were left and the building is being renovated. I looked out the back to see if they were poking out of a dumpster, but no unfortunately!

  2. Ben says:

    And now even the green and gold of the supermarket has been painted over in a new colour scheme.

    But, some things never change, and the HP Bowlo remains resolutely, wonderfully, stuck in a time all of its own.


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