Sunday, 8 July 2012

2166 Cabramatta

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
Cane... juiced!
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

"Children Playing - Many of the people now living in Australia have come as refugees from war devastated countries. The First World War was once described as 'the war to end all wars'. Sadly, this was not to be but there is always hope that our children will be able to live in peace. " Plaque at Cabravale Memorial Park.
Remembering the past whilst looking to the future

Cabramatta - A taste of Asia in the heart of Sydney

I went in search of gold whilst in Cabramatta and this was the best I found. The jewellers wouldn't let me anywhere near with a camera (I guess I could have been casing the joint) so gold lettering, which was abundant, would have to do! So why gold? As you may (or may not know) I'm intrigued by the history of words, a common garden variety etymologist of sorts you could say, so I was thrilled to have come across a plausible and likely explanation for a true blue Aussie expression.

'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!


  1. You are teaching me lots as well as sharin g fab photos. Thanks


    1. I'm learning lots too... and I've noticed my journalling is getting longer with each post! Glad you're enjoying it although not sure when the next post will be.

  2. Really enjoyable to read, thanks. Love the 'fair dinkum' origin and the food link to 'Cabra'. The park montage works well and love our handsome fish munger. It was a great day out once again my friend!!!!

    1. Now you know why I wanted to find gold!! hehe... and yes the handsome fishmonger stands well amongst his stock! ;) We should arrange a date for our next suburb when I see you on Thursday. Bring your diary! :) xx

  3. Yet again another informative trip - fair dinkum! Was searching for the fabric shop and got excited when I saw it!! love the mixture of black and white - Cabramatta is so colourful - please keep going school holidays!!!

    1. Andrea, I just had to get 'our' fabric shop. If you can organise it with the powers that be, I'd quite gladly go visiting more suburbs with the extra holiday! :):):)

  4. I found out that the fruit is called a 'Nipple plant' (or Cows Udder plant). Its related to the tomato but is poisonous with some medicinal properties.

  5. Excellent research Mr P! Of course it's a nipple plant, I can see that now... staring me straight in the face! ;)

  6. Glad you enjoyed photographing Cabramatta, these shots are great, love the fishy shots.

    1. Thanks Leanne, it was a great place to photograph!