One of Sydney’s most iconic strips of high-rise public housing has for many years been criticized for its unfortunate local nickname, Suicide Towers.
This nickname comes from the fact that people have often been found at the bottom of them – after travelling from the top at a rather fast pace. However, judging by the rampant drug trade that plagued this area during the nineties, it can be assumed that a lot of them didn’t end up there on purpose.
While the predominantly Indigenous housing commission, that stretches through several South Sydney suburbs, is actually divided into six different titles. Each of representing a different element of the unique history of modern Australia.
In fact, with names like James Cook Tower and Joseph Banks tower, the destitute home of our nation’s most vulnerable Indigenous community has been praised for their cultural sensitivities.
While the housing blocks go by many nicknames – They have also received praise for these original titles, which were given to them by the local council during a visit from the Queen Of England in 1952.
Following former-NSW-Premier Mike Baird’s decision to bulldoze these iconic Eastern-bloc styled institutions, to make room for 9000 more apartments for foreign millionaires and trust-funded graphic designers to buy – our publication decided to send our timid intern down to review the cultural significance that these buildings hold in contemporary Sydney.
The six towers have been described by anthropologists and social commentators as unashamedly ‘Australian’ – in their representation of a diverse cross-section of the Australian population.
James Cook Tower, Waterloo NSW
A charming brutalist design, this building just pops out of the greater South Sydney landscape, as one of the last places you can find a scrap in an area dominated by a gentrified marketing executives and stay-at-home Camilla-wearing young mothers.
Named after the British explorer, navigator, cartographer, and captain in the Royal Navy: Captain James Cook. The first man to plant an official ‘flag’ on Australian soil after voyaging across the “Old World” to find Australia in 1770.
Up until the late 1960’s, Mr Cook was also considered the first human to ever walk on Australian soil. He was killed by Hawaiian savages in 1779, while trying to also plant flags.
Marton Tower, Waterloo NSW
Marton Tower, also known as ‘home of the fuckin brave’ has been described by former NSW Premier Mike Baird as “Mt Druitt up high”.
However, despite the stigma surrounding this complex, generations of proud working class families have called it home.
With the NSW Government now planning to relocate the residents to the real Mount Druitt, current Premier Gladys Berejiklian has stated that ‘these people’ should have listened in school and maybe they could have found themselves a nice, middle-class existence 80 kilometers from the CBD in a rendered brick shitbox.
The tower is named after the English town and birthplace of the aforementioned Captain James Cook. A place that many of the tower’s Aboriginal residents hold close to their hearts.
Turanga and Matavai Towers, Redfern NSW
Two identical towers that serve as tributes to Captain James Cook’s pacific adventures and are named after two of his favorite island communities in both Tahiti and Hawaii.
The latter of which saw his demise at the hands of rowdy natives who could see the writing on the wall, and didn’t want to end up living in Turanga and Matavai-style housing towers.
Joseph Banks Tower, Surry Hills NSW
Named after Sir Joseph Banks, 1st Baronet, a close friend of James Cook and a botanist that travelled aboard the Endeavour fleet (James Cook’s boat).
Bankstown, Banksia and Banksmeadows are also named after Sir Joseph Banks and residents of each locality are extensively educated about this man’s relevance from an early age.
“Joseph Banks is our version of Abraham Lincoln” says one elderly resident who has type 2 diabetes and three adult sons in jail.
“We are very thankful for everything he did for this country”
Daniel Solander Tower, Surry Hills NSW
In 1768 a Swedish scientist, Daniel Solander accompanied close friend, Joseph Banks, on James Cook’s first voyage to the Pacific Ocean aboard the Endeavour. Due to his university education, Solander was the smartest man to walk on Australian soil prior to the Gold Rush. Due to his Swedish heritage, he was also the whitest member of the Endeavour to walk on Australian soil.
There is a very little chance that anyone who lives inside Solander tower has any idea where the fuck Sweden is.
How Long For The Towers?
With three different NSW Premiers in the same successive liberal party reign, and seven Prime Ministers in the last decade, there has yet to be a shovel in hand for most infrastructure projects across the state of New South Wales. As most proposals are kept as election promises.
However, one thing that is for sure, in Sydney’s hysterical housing market, is that the powers that be cannot allow themselves to let roughly 20 acres of prime CBD real estate to be occupied by people who don’t wear chino trousers.
The towers hold thousands of “official” residents, of which many are welfare-dependent, and as former Premier Mike Baird famously said “wouldn’t know if they were in Redfern or in the back of Bourke”
“Council housing looks the same wherever you are [laughter]” he chuckled.
“But for us non-plebs… it looks gross”
Speaking exclusively with The Betoota Advocate today, conservative media commentator Steve Price says it’s only fair that certain landmarks carry Anglo-Australian titles.
“Coonabarabran, Fitzroy, Coonamble, Cootamundra, Toowoomba, La Perouse… Majority of the Australian map is made up Aboriginal names,” said a confidently well-researched Mr PRice.
“But we are a growing multicultural community, and it’s only fair that we represent our newest arrivals as well,”
Mr Price went on to say that even though the iconic housing towers were now occupied by predominantly Indigenous residents, they weren’t initially intended to be so.
“The housing complex was built and named with the intention of housing new Australians, like the Swedes and British. I don’t think they expected that is was going to be populated by Australian Aboriginals,”
“That’s why we built Blacktown, Isn’t it?”