I found myself 'visiting' Cabramatta very soon after arriving in Australia. Having secured casual teaching in Sydney's south west I'd often fall asleep on the train on my way to work (having left the eastern suburbs at 6am) and would frequently miss my stop! The platform of Cabramatta station is where I would end up. I'd heard bits and pieces about the drug notoriety of the place but had never thought to fear it. Much like Redfern it had a 'reputation'! I'm not denying that the criminal element still presides but the council, police and local community have worked hard to rid themselves of the labels and stereotypes after the bad press they received. Their efforts to turn things around have been a great success!
These days people go on organised day trips to Cabramatta, food courses, food photography courses and food (nine eateries in one day) tours. In addition to the locals doing their weekly food shop, the place is visited by tourists, mostly from Sydney and most of them on a food mission! Do you get the picture? Interesting fact - It is thought that 'Cabramatta' came from the Aboriginal words for fresh tasty water grub CABRA and MATTA meaning a point or jutting out piece of land. How apt that even in it's earliest days it was a stand out area for delicious food!
Max and I felt quite relaxed walking around with our cameras in hand. It was like we were expected and people were very happy to see us. The faces, in that hustle and bustle of Saturday market shopping, were a mixture of energy and happiness, earnest shopper, concentrating game face, bemused worker, young and old. All familiar faces and universal feelings.
This suburb that has become synonymous with the Vietnamese, Chinese and other east Asian immigrant communities gave Max and I another wonderful day; and of course we were drawn by the food too, swapping our usual cuppa and cake for green tea and yum cha.
|These unusual specimens certainly caught my eye... any ideas?|
|King of Fruits - the infamous durian fruit was aplenty and as some may describe, 'heaven to eat and hell to smell!'|
|A family favourite|
|Green tea and yum cha|
|Our Medicine man|
|... actually, fabric is another draw card for the area. Andrea and I sourced fabric last year for our dance group from this very store. Lots of people busily looked and touched, stretched and tugged to find the perfect material.|
|The conical hat in Vietnam, is called nón lá - leaf hat|
|The innocence of childhood...|
|... and the cheekiness of age!|
|Xiangqi 象棋 - Chinese Chess|
|Remembering the past whilst looking to the future|
'During the Gold Rush of the 1850s and 1860s thousands of Chinese flocked to the goldfields of Victoria and NSW. It is believed that they gave rise to that most Australian of expressions: ‘Fair Dinkum’. In Tsoi Shan, a dialect spoken in Southern China Chin Kum means real gold. When asked by buyers if their gold was real they would reply 'chinkum' (real gold). '
... and so enters into the Aussie vernacular a new saying. Fair Dinkum!