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Echoes of Central Station

It’s only early.

The city awakes.

The cars rushing this way and that.

The early morning commuters already

scurrying from the station.

Rushing to grab a quick coffee.

Huddled to keep warm on another windy and Antarctic day.

The remnants of autumn,

the yellow leaves still hanging by a thread,

Blown this way and that,

before the final descent onto the pavement.

Buildings still mostly in darkness.

Another cold night, too many homeless,

in an otherwise wealthy city.

On the surface it looks well managed and even groomed.

The students seem content and in their own world.

Chatting and fixed in their social media bubble, fully absorbed and often not a care in the world.

Even the down and outs have their own routine,

Some confidently begging for a gold coin donation.

Others feeling too ashamed.

Nearby, churches and towers of Queen Victoria’s vintage.

And more recent landmarks survive proudly,

Though challenged and surrounded by modern steel, glass and concrete blocks.

These too, have a place to accommodate a bigger, bolder and for some, a brighter future.

For the others, it is not a better world.

Though everyone seeks a happier future.

Jobs, a lotto win, a happy relationship and sadly for too many, just a warm bed and some food to manage their hunger.

Our PM says it’s an exciting time.

Fortunately for many yes, for others, sadly they will be left behind in the never-ending rush

Of those scurrying and the cars rushing on a cold Sydney July morning.

(From 'Storm Clouds & Silver Linings; My Journey' by Tom Stodulka)

Sydney will always be the city of my youth and has played a large part in my development and upbringing, be it through home life, school and university, art and music, friends, my wife Janet, parents, brother and grandmother, cultural roots, the early years in the Navy, the law and so much more.

These days I am no longer a resident, just an occasional visitor and I guess more as an observer.

The city is constantly undergoing change and not always for the better. A growing population demands extra housing, hopefully of a better quality and of the right standard, improved public transport, better infrastructure, modern schools and functional hospitals. The tourist and refugee numbers are also increasing and need the right levels of consideration and support, be it through housing and through infrastructure in general.

Although there are many improvements and benefits, the environmental and social footprint is often too great as the planners and developers are not always running in sync and sometimes appear to be more steps backwards than forwards. Social and community services are increasingly stretched, the roads remain congested and public transport struggles to keep up with demand.

Charities and social services are working overtime to manage an increasing number of people who fall between the cracks and despite the huge pressures, often achieve the impossible.

Winter, in particular brings its challenges and one can only hope a new wave of philanthropy with adequate government support will save the day and create a kinder and fairer world for us all.


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