Surgery/Residential – Kingsgrove, NSW

Beware: no in-depth, lengthy history lessons today, no no. Today, we’re talking about leftovers.

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Kingsgrove: a short distance from the eternal struggle between gridlock and bustle that is Stoney Creek Road lies the Kingsway. Or is it just Kingsway?

Breathe that in and savour it for a moment. It’s the Kingsway, as if once upon a time the tiny street in the middle of suburban nowheresville was intended as a way for a king. Not too far away is the majestic King Georges Road itself, so it’s not a stretch.

Sometime prior to 1948, powers that be (though I’m assuming not a king) decided that the Kingsway was suitably epic to receive a strip of shops, with the prime side facing Stoney Creek Road. The occupants have varied over the years, but are invariably interesting: a dodgy pizza place, a spy shop, the mysterious Rassan Trading, that damn doll hospital. But around the back, along the Kingsway, the shops aren’t as commercial…although they’re just as interesting.

A place specialising in large print books. An antique glass shop. I’m gonna say that one more time: an antique glass shop. And further along, this.

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When I was a kid, these surgery signs instilled a feeling of dread. Surgery happened at these places, I thought. Surgery, a word that to this five-year-old’s mind meant that seedy doctor’s surgery in Batman where Jack Nicholson asks for the mirror. In any of these otherwise nondescript buildings, bad dudes could be having bullets pulled from their faces by shady GPs.

But the reality was a lot less interesting. British English dictates that the workplace of a doctor is a surgery (or a practice, but if the streets were peppered with little red boxes bearing the word practice, society would never get anything done), and since British English also dictated what we Australians did for a long time, surgery it was.

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Whoever the current tenants are, I’d like to thank you. Thank you for leaving this little sign up in what passes for your front yard, either through laziness or a twisted sense of style. As soon as you see it, you’re forced to imagine all the sick people who would have attended this place in its heyday, the relief and sorrow that came with each pronouncement from the GP. The lives that ended, and the foretelling of new life.

I personally wouldn’t want to live there (too creepy), but it’s nice to know that the experience is possible.

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8 responses

  1. Who remembers the Franklins supermarket on the Stoney Creek Road Side? My mum and grandma used to lug groceries all the way down to Dora Street from there before the days of Westfield Hurstville and the likes of Coles New World and Franklins in the centre. Also the newsagency. He used to pass on backdated copies of Countdown magazine to my grandad for me, he just cut off the top of the cover first! The Chemist and PO have been there as long as I can remember.

    1. Gee, I didn’t know about the Franklins. Where was it?

      1. It was near the PO, not sure what is here now in that exact spot. It was tiny.

    2. I think the supermarket was where the soccer shop is now. There was also a deli and milk bar, and way back even a record store, that sold needles and styluses.

  2. There was also a Chinese restaurant on the far left corner back in the day when it was still a novelty

    1. This I do remember, ‘Von Kok’ (heh).

      1. That’s the one!

  3. The Eminent Joshua E. Hrouda | Reply

    ‘twisted sense of style’ – Ha! I love it! I love how, it’s still there. If not, there’d be almost nothing to write about it. And look at it! It looks like red perspex or glass. All the colour in it has faded. Since the 60’s (??) when it was made, till now. All those days of sun, UV, and it wasn’t able to keep itself pigmented. Time will ravish colour like that, for many things. Red rocks will probably always stay red, but you need to pass light through a sign like these, not just bounce it off a rock!

    And those little stuck on letters! Where would they have come from ? The local hardware store possibly? And oh… poor small pane with the crack in it… Its sagging, but still proclaiming its word “SURGERY”. And I wonder… is there still a light bulb in it!? And do the current residents know/still know how to turn it on ? Do they get a sudden influx of customers whenever they flick that light on? Or just a steady stream, while the light is off/broken/missing ?

    Do potential patients, with exemplary patience, beg “please surgeon, doctor! Won’t ya please operate on me? I got a slug (lead) stuck in me aching leg. Cut it out! PLEASE!!” Or just ask “can you prescribe me heroine, Doc ? … Rx:”

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