However, in Sydney, at Royal Hospital for Women, Paddington I entered the world. Not as catastrophic but nevertheless of great importance to the Best-Hoffman family.
Here I am soaking up the sun at 84 Brougham Street, Kings Cross. Some might say Brougham is in Woolloomooloo, or East Sydney', others prefer Potts Point or Upper Woolloomooloo! It depends on the situation. Pott's Point when looking for a position in the labour force; Woolloomooloo when one is angling for 'street cred'. The Loo, The Cross, Darlo, call it what you may, the choice is arbitrary. It's all home to me.
Fact is, Brougham Street, which runs from William Street to the W'Loo wharves, was neither in the Loo, Pott's Point or the Cross. Brougham pronounced 'Brome' by the locals. With such a close proximity to the Cross Brougham Street had its fair share of eccentrics which I have gone into in greater detail in my memoirs Terrace Houses. No doubt most of my readers are familiar with the Ball Pants, a dingy little venue in Brougham Lane. Peter 'Izzy Forreal' Knox gives us an account in Memories.
The flats at the William Street end were once three story terraces that housed members of the Razor Gang. Across the road from these veneered apartments was No.179 referred to as The Palms home to Rosaleen Norton.
There were two small groceries stores, a bottle shop, a lingerie shop, several car repair garages including Lobers, Brougham House, the McElhone, Butler, Hordern and Hill Stairs and Collumbkille Church.
Here's a grand shot of me at Rushy Park, I particularly like this snap as it portrays me galloping across Rushy Park (maybe it's the Domain?) Anyhow, I was six months old, when I decided baby talk and crawling were not for me. I stood bolt upright and haven't ceased walking or talking since. Oh, there was a period after losing my boyfriend Graham that I was silent for months. This story is particularly fresh in my mind today, May 14, as Graham died this day in 1966.
THE CROSS In the 1800s it was considered to be the 'elite' part of Sydney Town. In time, the 17 estates of the area known as Woolloomooloo Hill, were forced to subdivide due to economic pressures, William Street was built for easy access to and from the city, terraces and cottages sprung up. The area was by now heavily populated; cottages and terraces made way for flats (apartments) . . This area was later known as Darlinghurst, then Queen's Cross and from 1905 was dubbed King's Cross. Grand mansions were portioned into rabbit warrens to accommodate army and navy soldiers, sailors on RnR they were then used as cheap dwellings for itinerates, musicians, actors, artists, it was a magnet for those with bohemian leanings. King's Cross, has always been a magnet for those with bohemian leanings. Eccentricity surrounded me in my formative years. I would have suffocated in the suburbs.
The Hoffmanson my maternal side owned several of these boarding houses and they lived quite comfortably during the depression and WW11.
Jim and Kitty Hoffman (Burke) moved into the Woolloomooloo area in the late 30s, Kitty my grandmother worked part-time in the Yellow Cab Café in Bourke Street. which George and Bessie Hoffman had leased. Jim and his brother George, two fine young Jewish lads from South Africa were cook on various coal ships (or as my mother prefers to say, Chefs.
Jim purchased a terrace in Thompson Street, Darlo where they lived until they purchased No.84 in Brougham St. Taking in boarder's was a lucrative business especially as the rent taken was rarely declared to the Taxation Deparment. They housed transients, migrants or regugees from war torn Europe referred to as refosIn the fifties I attended Woolloomooloo Kindy in McElhone Street, Darlinghurst Public School in Liverpool Street. Woolloomooloo Council Playground, Domain Baths were within walking distance and the choice of five local theatres (referred to as 'pitchas') included the Odeon, Metro (formerly the Minerva, Newsreel, Paris and the King's Cross Theatre. And, a twenty minute walk away from a multitude of movie houses such as the Capital, State, Lido, all had their own special charm the Prince Edward Theatre was exquisite..
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