When I left the bush for the bright lights, it was to Brisbane in 1959.
There were only two beggars that I saw.
They were both at or near the southern end of the old Victoria Bridge, and by the end of 1960 they were both gone.
I did not see another beggar until the late 1970s near Central Station, Sydney, at the beginning of the Economic Rationalist era.
Men would come up and ask for a dollar.
Now beggars and homeless people can be seen everywhere.
So much for progress.
Back in the 1960’s and 70’s, pensioners and minimum wage earners could find a bed in boarding houses in the inner suburbs.
The room might be shared but the bed was warm and the roof waterproof.
These days the inner suburbs are gentrified and any remaining boarding houses are fire-regulated out of existence.
What’s available these days?
Perhaps a place in a share house or flat, subject to approval by the other inhabitants.
What’s it’s like for someone on the wrong side of 50 to find such accommodation?
I shudder to think.
I have seen single people’s flats built by the Housing Commission: Very luxurious bedroom, living area, bathroom and kitchen for each person, must be very expensive.
No wonder the government is not building them by the thousands.
So a there’s 10-year wait.
How about modernising the old boarding house idea?
Small single bedrooms with shared bathrooms and toilets, shared kitchens, and a person to collect the rent, clean the place, and keep order and garages for extra rent for those who don’t want to let go of their cars.
Surely such places could be built at ultimately little or no cost to the taxpayer?
By the way, what’s happened to my boat that was supposed to be lifted high on the rising tide of Economic Rationalist wealth?
Well, I reckon it got hijacked by a one-percenter to help finance a fancy flat and Porsche for his mistress.
Email, 28 Jun 2018
Stuart Ridgway, Woy Woy