A defence of Rooty Hill

1 Mar

Rooty Hill

There are so many different sort of double-entendres you can do with this place. I stay at the Penrith Panthers when I’m in western Sydney because I’m not sure I could check into the Rooty Hill RSL with a straight face. It just conjures up all these sort of Carry On films and Benny Hill episodes and Carry On Governing filmed at the Rooty Hill RSL.

                                                                                                Mental Health Minister Mark Butler of Adelaide


I am a proud Westie. If you or any other politician has a problem with that, let’s take it outside.

My family bought a small business in Rooty Hill when I was eleven, in 1987. We lived on Leighton Avenue, opposite the actual hill. It was a huge change for us. We went from living on five acres to a small house on a small block but we owned the ‘local’. We were like celebrities. And I got to eat as many lollies as I liked. I was in heaven.

Rooty Hill is one of the most amazing places in the country. It is full of families working long and hard hours to provide for their children. What struck me about Rooty Hill was the sense of community. Everyone knew each other then. Our street was just like Ramsay Street in Neighbours. We all knew each other, we helped each other, we all played together and we all went to school together.

In Rooty Hill I learned about ambition. Nothing is handed to you on a platter. It was up to us, the kids, to make an amazing future for ourselves. We were trust-fund-less. Most of us didn’t know what a trust fund was. But we knew we could do anything with our lives and we knew it was up to us to make it happen. I taught myself to dance every Saturday morning while watching music videos. No dance lessons for us.

Australia’s Wonderland was open then. I went to St Aidan’s Primary School for a year and then to high school at St Agnes. I could see the Pirate Ship ride from the playground going around and around. My friends and I would sit and watch and plan trips to Australia’s Wonderland. If you liked a boy you made sure to sit next to him on the Big Dipper rollercoaster and act as scared as possible.

I went from feeling like a wog at my old school to fitting into a huge multi-cultural community at St Agnes. My best friends were Filipino, Chinese and Australian and the boy I was in love with was Croatian. I think every country was represented at my school and we were proud and in good company. We felt like we belonged.

The train was walking distance from our house and we spent A LOT of time in the food court at Westpoint Blacktown because that’s where the boys from all the schools we knew hung out as well. It’s amazing how many hours you can sit sipping a milkshake from McDonalds while simultaneously flirting by chewing on the straw.

Parramatta was like the city for us because none of us could drive or had a car. We’d hop on the train for a special day out including a movie and an even better food court.

Mount Druitt Market Town was for serious clothes shopping. It did have and still does have THE BEST bargains on the planet. It’s Westfield now. Even better.

And Rooty Hill RSL, the ‘Vegas of the West’ is and always will be special. I don’t think Benny Hill has ever done a show there but just to name a few who’ve are making the trek…Jimeoin, Smash Mouth, Human Nature, Troy Cassar-Daley…

Rooty Hill was named after a hill on Norfolk Island by Governor Philip Gidley King where he met his wife and lived for several years. He loved his time there that he wanted to bring a little piece of it with him.

When you walk to the top of the hill as I did endless times during our thirteen years in Rooty Hill, you understand the meaning of the word ‘expansive’. It’s breathtaking. You can see all the way to the Blue Mountains, you turn in circles and take in the city. At night it’s even more beautiful. Carols by Candlelight on the hill in the lead up to Christmas is unsurpassed. It covered in long grass that itches your legs. And you don’t walk down the hill. You run. You run so fast that you think you’ll fall over but you don’t. You half run and half fly. Laughing while running is my favourite sensation.

Moonrise is the local make-out place. It’s called Moonrise because when the moon is full you drive up to Moonrise and it looks like someone has deliberately positioned the moon in front of you, just for you and the person you’ve driven there with. I’m not telling you where it is…it’s a local secret.

Make all the jokes you want about Rooty Hill but just know that as a crucial part of western Sydney not only does it have a huge influence on marketing and advertising decisions by major companies due to sheer number of families who live there but will now play a crucial role in the upcoming election.

If the Labor party doesn’t appreciate Rooty Hill, who will? I suppose if anyone can make it up to us it’s Julia Gillard whom I suspect will feel quite at home staying at Rooty Hill RSL. In fact might I suggest she issue a directive for all Ministers to stay there from now on? Panthers is awesome, no one can argue with that, but Rooty Hill RSL just HAS to be experienced by all.

And if you haven’t watched an Eels vs Panthers NRL game in the Sports Bar while eating wedges you just haven’t live. Get on it.


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