Ghosts Of My Town: Kings Cross, Sydney

Photographs by Philippa Bateman

Most of the strip joints are closed and the left over neon splutters. My favorite sign—"Models" (a relic from the back lanes of 1960s Darlinghurst Road when it was called "the glittering mile")—fell apart letter by letter and one day, the last of it was thrown in the back of the garbage truck cruising down Earl Street. There’s other signs of abandonment: discarded wigs on the pavement, false eyelashes gummed to a window sill, suitcases bursting and adrift, a nightdress hung on a fence. The Astoria Hotel—a dangerous place where drug overdoses were common, desperation and incoherence were scrawled on walls and men, straight out of prison were put up (not a helpful place for them to be with the lure of the shadowlands) courtesy of the state government was renovated and lost it's painted wall advertising pawn brokers and jewellry. There was a shabbiness and character soon to be erased so I started working on a book of photographs to capture those corners, including where the new meets the worn. Here's a small selection.