The Stomping Ground: Shire Shenanigians
There are a lot of opinions on the Sutherland Shire. Chelsea Ryan offers you the insight that only a local would have.
In 2005, the Cronulla Riots took place, and The Shire was known as the home of racists. In 2012, Channel 10 attempted to capture the essence of the Shire with actors from elsewhere. Now, this community has come a long way to show who they really are and prove misconceptions wrong.
The Shire, known as ‘God’s country’ by all residents, is located in Sydney’s south, in the perfect location. Only a 45-minute trip takes you to the city or to Wollongong, and the beach is only 30-minutes away for the furthest Shire resident. How can anyone complain?
Growing up here was a typical suburban childhood. Playing in the local park, walking only a couple of streets from your best friend’s house, spending every summer weekend at the beach, on the water or at sporting grounds, and visiting relatives who live 10 minutes away because once you settle, you never want to leave. In the teenage years, Shire teens hang out at Miranda Westfield, walking around the shopping centre even though they have little money to spend, and at Cronulla beach trying to spy out the hot surfers.
When the teens begin to turn to adults at age 18, you would find them at Sutherland Library in the HSC period, on the train to uni (yes, we are the lucky ones who generally sit in the first four rows of two-seaters), front left at festivals and out in Cronulla going for a walk on The Esplanade. During the night, the partiers head to the Vinyl Room on a Friday night in Gymea for the classic hits… think 101.7 music like Boom, Boom, Boom, Boom!! by the Vengaboys, Shania Twain, Sweet Caroline, Darryl Braithwaite and Abba. On Saturday nights, you’ll find everyone at Old Joe’s by 9pm to kick the night off, then heading over to Sting or Fusions (notorious for fighting for the podium) by 11pm to carry on. If there’s ever a gig on by the band ‘Shake and Bake’, you can guarantee that everyone from at least Engadine, Heathcote, and Sutherland will be there, and the usual weekend night plans would be cancelled while both young and old come together to get loose.
It’s at this age where most Shire kids take their first tentative steps outside of the Shire to venture out to Bondi, for those Instagram photos, the City, and Coogee, for Coogee Pavilion. Don’t worry, we always make sure we catch some Shire air in our bags before we leave. You’ll find the Shire kids rushing for the last train home (1:29am), the first train home (4:40am), or on the Night Rider.
At times like these, you really notice how strong the community bond is. For those without companions on your trip home, you are guaranteed to find someone you know or meet some new friends. In the streets, you are guaranteed to bump into someone you know. Going on a first date at Miranda? At least five people you know will see you and end up messaging you to see how it went. If someone does wrong in The Shire, it will be posted in the notorious ‘Everything Sutherland Shire’ Facebook group, where Shire residents bond over complaining, shaming and congratulating alike.
Yes, secrets are non-existent here.
For any newcomers in the area, the major attraction is at Cronulla. Famous for its beaches, the abundance of cafes and night life. The Esplanade is excellent for getting in some exercise, followed by a swim at the local Cronulla beach. However, if you prefer a quieter swimming area, Salmon Haul is more low key as well as Blackwoods Beach and Wanda.
Feeling a bit peckish? Blackwood Pantry have some awesome food creations presented in a way to make any food blogger love and for those vegetarians out there, Pilgrims is amazing for a wholesome meal. As well as this, the popular acai bowls are at every café available, but head to D.Bowls at Cronulla to try some of the best as well as the killer sushi bowls.
For those outdoorsy people, The Royal National Park offers some great bushwalks. I would recommend going on the Burning Palms track, and other tracks allow you to see some great sights such as Eagle Rock and Wedding Cake Rock. Bundeena is the perfect suburb to travel, by car or by ferry, as the small town offers an awesome amount of activities including; hiking, art trails, markets, the beach, kayak tours and camping facilities.
All in all, yes us Shire people will admit we are middle-upper-class bogans, but we wouldn’t have it any other way, which I’m sure you can see why once you experience it yourself.
Chelsea Ryan is a second-year student at UTS studying Communications (Journalism) and International Studies (Spain). She loves water sports, playing netball, and a good avo smash brunch.