It was in the middle of September last year, when they started shutting down dwellers who’d lived long enough in a place to call their home; a building I’d often view from my commute from Central Station to North Sydney, admiring the window with the ‘Jesus’ sign and wondering who the eccentric was behind it.
Never once thinking much of the building or its dwellers, just admiring the view as it shifted from the Pyramid shaped, Boxy grey structure to the Ocean that followed with expensive yachts floating upon it.
The political climate had shifted, and it was time for their departure.
Miller’s Point was up for sale, and it was time for the displaced dwellers who’d been offered a home in the building which would come to be known as ‘Sirius’ back in 1980, to find another.
Time to go, as it would be known.
It was time for change, time for prosperity, time for another Casino — Miller’s Point had become too valuable for a place like ‘Sirius and it’s dwellers’.
I was a young Architecture student, in my final year of publishing a thesis; I guess my focus was on the building, and not so much the political climate that surrounded it.
I’d seen the building and the view that it provided from the train, but never actually explored it up-close.
Much to my short-comings, I hardly knew who the dwellers were and what purpose the building served never wondering exactly what the value of the area was.
All I knew to begin with was, ‘The Rocks’ was an expensive and exclusive area — one of the elites.
A new Casino was to be built at Miller’s Point, and there wasn’t a place for a building like ‘Sirius’ to exist anymore.
They wanted the building gone, with my view of the grey structure disappearing along with it.
I’m not sure to this day what brought a lazy student such as myself to take on such a project to compose my thesis on.
I was offered an easier topic, one that I could’ve finished without a problem and taken my exist from the Academic industry.
Something about the Sirius building, kept me intrigued enough to pursue it.
One night, I couldn’t sleep and called on a friend of mine who had a car — we were both fans of exploration and I told him about the evacuation that had taken place in Miller’s Point. In the spur of the moment, he drove over to my place; I grabbed my grubby DSLR and broken Tripod, we wrapped up whatever survival tools we had and drove off in his shifty vehicle.
We expected trouble, possibly facing arrest if caught by the police — but none of that happened.
It was quiet, abandoned, and most of the places were quite frankly; pretty easy to get into.
We decided this was the best chance we’d ever get of exploring so many abandoned buildings.
So Miller’s Point it was, and exploring and documenting whatever we could was the decision we made in that moment.
Chain-smoking cigarettes as we photographed spray painted signs on the walls, almost like suicide notes left by the people that had been forced out of their homes.
“Our Pride isn’t for Sale”
“Miller’s Point Not for Sale”
“Poor people not welcome in Miller’s Point anymore”
Once the decision was made that Sirius was not worthy of being considered a Heritage Landmark; the last remaining resident Myra Demetriou, at the age of 90 and legally blind was moved out of the building on the 1st of February 2018.
With Myra Demetrious’s departure, the faith of the building that once provided shelter, with its 79 Apartments, had now been sealed.
Sirius would be put for sale for over $120 Million.
A decent price, according to the people making the decision, for decades of livelihood and memories that had nested within the building.
My Supervisor had warned me not to take up a project I would become too emotionally attached to, I guess the advice had finally come back to haunt me.
I couldn’t bring myself to write a thesis, let alone a single sentence that would make any sense; much like the departure of the residents, my thesis was now hollow like the building that once sheltered them.
I discarded my thesis, published a Research paper on LiDar Imaging and decided it was best not to publish the subject I’d originally undertaken.
It haunts me to this day, how I gave up on something that could’ve maybe helped out.
I don’t know what it feels like to lose a home.
Nor would I ever wish that on anyone.
I don’t know how to describe how the dwellers of Sirius felt.
Nor can I bring myself together to describe how it made me feel.
It felt hollow, that’s the only description I can come up with.
Hollow like the building.
Hollow like the people that had demanded its destruction.
Hollow like the greed that had driven the politicians to choose a Casino over its people.
Hollow like the people that would now indulge in debauchery, never once noticing that the ground upon which they now stood was once home to families.
Hollow. Much like the the feeling me and my friend felt when we stood in those empty apartments looking at one another, failing to capture a single photograph that made any sense.
For more information on Save Our Sirius,