Located just 8km from Sydney and on the north side of the harbour, Mosman is a prized suburb on the property ladder, but scratch the surface even just a tiny bit and you find that gilt finish is ever so painfully thin.
Mosman purports to be a one suburb, one postcode council*; however if you send a letter within 2088, you soon realise just how much of an outright lie this is. Contained within the boundaries are the localities of Balmoral, Clifton Gardens, The Spit, Georges Heights, Spit Junction as well as Mosman. There are even two Post Offices, namely Mosman Junction and Spit Junction.
*From council records, 29th Nov 2005.
A quick scan of the area reveals that there are no McDonald's, no KFC's, no Hungry Jacks', no Subways and only a single take-away only Pizza Hut which is so far removed from the centre of Mosman it may as well be in another suburb. There are two pubs but neither of them are close to the heart of Mosman (if it ever had one), and if you were to make a quick run from the incorrectly named Spit Junction to Mosman Junction, you'd notice that apart from the almost empty boutiques selling clothing with three and four figure price tags, every other shop is vacant.
Mosman is a suburb whose residents for the most part do not work, shop or play within its environs. Being so close to the city, they're more than likely to be employed, find entertainment and go shopping in the city proper across the harbour. In fact it you were to walk from Spit Junction to Mosman Junction, roughly a third or all shops are boarded up. If this is a suburb supposedly where the money of the wider metropolitan Sydney lives, the evidence on the ground is in short supply.
Yet parked on the sides of the roads are a never ending column of Audi, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Volvo battle tanks, used to cart around kiddywinks. Certainly there are plenty of places to buy coffee in Mosman, and it is in these sorts of places where we find the driver's of the over-represented SUVs taking a rest.
Of the boutiques which do exist in Mosman, most of them will have flagship stores in the city proper, and so it would appear that the reason for their presence in the suburb is mainly as a window display for those other stores.
I wonder if Mosman does represent something of the character of wider Sydney. Mosman appears to be rather concerned with property prices, position and making that vital impression. Underneath the vizage and we find a largely soulless suburb. Perhaps like the spirit of Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Mosman is about making the statement that the people of Sydney know little of style, taste or culture, but isn't the harbour pretty?