May 28, 2012
Horse 1330 - Ten Suburbs. No.3 Auburn 2144
If you stand on platform 4 of Auburn Railway Station and look across at the shops on the south side of the street, you will find shop signs in Arabic, Chinese, Korean, Urdu, Thai, Cyrillic and Latin scripts. Take a short walk from Auburn Railway Station and you can find various Catholic, Presbyterian, Baptist, Anglican, Jehovah's Witnesses, Mormon and Independent churches, a Mosque, Sri Mandir Temple, et cetera et cetera et cetera and that's not even a truly representative sample.
Auburn which lies 20km west of the city is noteworthy because of the multicultural expression found in the suburb but increasingly unremarkable precisely because of this same notion.
According to the 2006 census more than 20% of all people living in Australia were born overseas and this figure jumps to more than 50% if you include one or more of peoples' parents. Furthermore if you look at the 2011 census, Australia generally had who were people born in 204 countries. I personally know of people who can claim to have come from the 206th nation of the world, and the one exception is the Vatican City. Australia has people living here from almost every country on Earth bar one.
But something distinctly curious happens in Australia that doesn't really happen elsewhere in the world; within two generations of people finding a home in Australia, they almost always end up speaking like an Australian; with an Australian accent, irrespective of where on earth people's cultural heritage comes from. Auburn in particular is one of the most diverse suburbs in the country; possibly because it happens to have good access to road and rail networks, but even in Auburn which is visibly an ethnically and culturally diverse suburb, something distinctly Australian still shines through.
In the immediate streets surrounding the railway station, there are some rather imposing blocks of flats, up to 9 storeys tall but the further away from the railway station you move, the blocks of flat become smaller and are eventually replaced with free standing houses. Some of the housing dates back to federation, but a great deal of it looks like it was built during the wave of red brick frenzy of the late 1960s.
I'd say that Auburn is a little like taking a snapshot of Australia all by itself. If you wanted to put your finger on the pulse of the nation, it's attitudes, aspirations, hopes, fears, then Auburn is the place to do it, for within 2144, there's a representative of everyone.
Posted by Rollo at 12:36