CLANCY OVERELL | Editor | Contact
Only 100 metres from an internationally-condemned spectacle of Aboriginal dispossession, six inner-city trendies are drinking coffee and playing with their iPads, on Redfern’s Abercrombie street. They say they are exhausted.
“It’s just so hard, you know. We are pretty much the new Redfern community – and while we feel for the Aboriginal people being evicted on The Block (Redfern Tent Embassy) – there is nothing we can do” says Tobias, a graphic designer – who bought a terrace house in Redfern four years ago.
These are “new faces” of Redfern. Just a handful from within a growing community of media, sales and marketing professionals who proudly wear the badge of “edgy” – living alongside a deep-rooted Aboriginal community, in an area that was once infamous for it’s high rates of inner-city crime.
The pending evictions of the Aboriginal community on Eveleigh street is only going to raise house prices in the area and in turn, benefit these timid young Australians who have moved in.
“The Block is such a remarkable cultural icon. But like, you know… I think it’s time to go” says the fair-weather human rights activist.
The once iconic community of terrace houses, originally built for low-cost Aboriginal Housing – have long been bulldozed – only to be replaced by an Aboriginal Tent Embassy of peaceful protestors.
In February, an eviction notice was handed to the residents of the Tent Embassy – to make space for the $70 million Pemulwuy project – a development that looks to host a much smaller number of units for Aboriginal families, who will be crowded out by office space and student accommodation.
However many in the Aboriginal community feel this is a money-making ploy by the bureaucrats – fearing the accommodation will never be available for Aboriginal people.
Cinda, another Anglo-Saxon yuppie also gave comment.
“My number one cause right now is the plight of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people”
“However, I do think it would be appropriate to send them all out into the country where they might feel a bit more comfortable. It’s sad to say, but Redfern is more of a hip area and maybe it’s not the place for them anymore,”
“It’s just like, they are taking up perfectly good inner-city space. If they left, we could fit at least another six cafe’s on The Block. Maybe even a 24-hour gym.”
In December, the developer for the Pemulwuy project, DeiCorp, was forced to explain why an advertisement for another of its projects completed in 2012 stated that Aborigines had moved out of the suburb.
“What are we – noxious weeds or something?” asks Mick Gooda, The Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner.
DeiCorp boss Fouad Deiri suggested a language breakdown by the Chinese firm contracted to market it’s units, Great Fortune Investments, caused it to advertise: “The Aboriginals have already moved out, now Redfern as [sic] the last virgin suburb close to city, it will have great potential for the capital growth in the near future.”
Out of the original, pre-gentrified community – both the Indigenous and non-Indigenous old timers of Redfern say that passively-racist hipsters are far worse than actively-racist policemen.
“At least racist cops will show their prejudices to your face. These hipsters are the smuggest pieces of shit I’ve ever met” says a popular Italian greengrocer.
“It used to be all about the Rabbitohs and tough, working-class families. Now it’s all about the Sydney f**king swans and Range Rovers… Fuck ’em”
“I’d prefer another heroin epidemic over these fuckwits”