Streets of Sydney Episode Five: Northern Beaches

All over the world, there are beaches. But the Northern Beaches of Sydney are no ordinary beaches: they are northern, and that means they stand out from the crowd. Like a grain of sand that unexpectedly turns out to be made from the finest elephant ivory, so are the Northern Beaches a gleaming, precious grain on the global beach on which every grain of sand is itself a beach. That’s the kind of fractal metaphor that might struggle to be comprehended on other beaches, but not these ones.

“The people here are so friendly,” says Brooke Vale, a new mother who says she can’t see herself ever leaving the Northern Beaches, and it’s true that friendliness is what Northern Beachers pride themselves on. “If you’re not bred here, don’t spread here,” says local roofer Jake Garbs, amiably providing helpful advice to all comers.

Garbs is proud of his Northern Beaches heritage, and of the culture that is his birthright. “She didn’t seem thirteen,” he says of the woman with whom he is currently in a committed relationship – this is testament to the mien of Northern Beachers, who are among the most mature-seeming and sophisticated of Sydneyites, But still, as Jake points out, everyone is still “chilled” – how can you stress out when you’re so near the beautiful Pacific Ocean and easy access to various recreational substances?

“It’s God’s country,” nods Patrick Kook, janitor of Barrenjoey High, one of the region’s mot prestigious janitorial postings. Patrick speaks brightly of the fun and games that he and his friends get up to in this most fun-loving of seaside enclaves.

Brooke is proof positive of the ability of the Northern Beaches to make dreams come true. She admits that a year ago she was directionless in life: no boyfriend, no children, nothing to fulfil her as a person. But like a sandy Rumplestiltskin, the beaches make your dreams come true. Today she has both a partner and a baby, and has become in many ways a genuine human being.

It’s all about the future for the folk of the Northern Beaches. “Let bygones be bygones,” says Patrick, before heading off to again join his pals in some of the wacky shenanigans that bonded them so tightly as schoolkids. When you’re Northern Beaches, you’re Northern Beaches for life.

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Streets of Sydney was filmed and produced by More Chillis Productions.