Sydney, pearl of the Pacific, has been a famous world city for just over a century, but what a century it was that
- started with the Federation of the Australian States, relieving a misery of drought and posing the question, if we could achieve national government, why cannot we fix decrepit Sydney?
- proceeded through the world’s first planning enquiry into building a magnificent transit legacy that met its purpose – urban eugenics or “healthy bodies in healthy suburbs”, and
- delivered the Opera House and 2000 Olympics as well as sporting, political and academic heroes.
Along the way it co-lead the world in the creation of national parks, female emancipation and universal suffrage, and fair taxation. Modal succession from trams to heavy trains left the usual type of mis-forgotten myths and under-appreciation by the beneficiaries. There were glorious highs but inevitable stresses, and happily the direction was forwards.
It leads no longer. Many lost confidence in high-capacity trains as our leaders visited Asian cities that had retro-fitted light metro trains, and as Asian interests started to acquire our assets. Many thought also that retro-fitting bus systems with trams might “transform” suburbs. NSW suffered the same diminution in its executive ranks as budget-cutting pushed out the best officials, first, and as the proportion of politicians from “real” jobs fell.
Sydney only achieved its landmark reforms because enough of its leaders fought hard for their City. The opposite is now the case, with the post-1945 generation of great men and women all but moved on. It has been said that “those who don’t understand history are bound to repeat its mistakes”. The lesson most relevant is that John Daniel Fitzgerald’s eyes saw the truth about slums and his brain thought straight; while he had the support of great men and women.
Facing a community psyche that believes that living costs and congestion are suffocating the current generation and imperilling future ones, and despite their worst efforts, the political manipulators cannot hide a “real” planning catastrophe where
- massive, even unprecedented amounts of capital are expended on Big-Ticket projects, only to find that
- all the money is going into 5% or less of population growth over just 15 years, and possibly none past that; while
- cheaper, faster and more effective options were stamped “ verboten” by the spinmeisters.
This is of CRITICAL MASS magnitude. Pamphleteering was a dominant mode of engagement in Dickensian times and onwards to when they were printed in the Daily Telegraph, notably JD Fitzgerald’s municipal reform ideas (then book) just before Federation.
This pamphlet is the work of a highly educated and well-experienced loyalist of Sydney’s reform heroes who has been de-legitimised by inner circles of influence who rip-off his Intellectual Property regardless.
As an historian and futurist of this great city, I am not staying silent. Now that the NSW and Federal Government\s have plagiarised my work, I’ve upped the octane.