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Martin Place, 1965
Posted by Tony on 16th December 2014 at 14:22:21
I had visited Sinny previously and was as familiar as you can be back when it cost so much to transmit a TV signal between our cities that we maintained local production. My first job was with our then 4th or 5th biggest company which was diversifying on the back of glass bottle dominance. They had liked that I wanted to retrieve my studies part time after a non-gap year in which I learnt a lot not taught at our young high school at great cost to academic intent, had sent me on training courses in Fitzroy Street, then for a week to get to know our main software team ahead of their relocation to the planned head office in Bourke Street.

I was booked into prestigious accommodation in Martin Place and provided with a chauffeur from the Airport and each day to our South Dowling Street offices. After my driver disparaged Italians as "Tony", I kept my discomfort with being addressed as "Mr Smith" to myself. So that working week on Martin Place exposed a class consciousness in Sinny that I'd never really contended with in the mixing bowl around Essendon. Half a century on, racist prejudices in Greater Western Sinny provide pretext for ever worsening government behaviour while faster growing #MelbsWest remains colourblind and horrified by Canberra.

Like dangerously many in later years, those evenings I was on my own to explore Sinny, save for one where I visited family north of the harbour and was for the first time in my life served pasta, having long gotten away with being a fussy eater within the narrow range where my grandmother was better than proficient. Back home, connecting to evening lectures via Swanston Street trams, I found the Classic Restaurant also did a pretty good spag bol which makes me still wish we could sometimes expand heritage protection from form to function.

While it was generally recognised that it was his secretary that kept the place working, our head of department was such an admired figure that a staff reunion to honour him was well attended long after most had gone our separate ways. Col was one of a few over time who would show me how to be useful to somebody on the way up, basically by actually caring. And there was a day soon after his own advance relocation where an expedition to his new house first exposed me to the then shiny executive ghetto of Glen or Mount Waverley, a major reason #MelbsWest does not need #EWfail.

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