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You are Here: Pymble

ISABELLA TROPE | REGULARS

In 1823, a colonial settler named Robert Pymble was granted land on Sydney’s leafy North Shore. He used this clay-ridden soil to grow fruit orchards and gather timber. And so, the suburb of Pymble was founded.

Pymble is located within the land of the Ku-ring-gai Indigenous clan, in which the broader council area was named. The Cammeraygal people would sometimes camp at the corner of Selwyn and Merrivale Road, an intersection I have often driven or walked by. What is there now is substantially more boring: trimmed lawns, streetlamps and infrequently used bus stops.


Boring is the theme that comes to mind with the word Pymble. My most notable thesis was in my year nine geography project on the suburbs we lived in. For Pymble, the most notable thing about it was how astoundingly boring it was. So no, unless you’re attending Pymble Ladies College, you have no need to put Pymble on your list of must-visit Sydney suburbs.


During my teenage years, I had come to resent this suburb for how boring it was. It seemed so small and inconsequential. None of my friends lived close by, the train station was a 30-minute walk away. I felt isolated from everything exciting and worthwhile. I dreamt of moving closer to the city, closer to anything at all.


And then the Pandemic.


We learnt a whole new way of learning, living, and connecting during the Pandemic. The world seemed to come together online in solidarity over our shared experiences. We fought harder than ever for human connection, even when the Zoom calls began to wear on us, and we battled pandemic fatigue.


None of it prevented the fact that our worlds were intractably physically smaller. Gone were the days of plentiful trains whizzing me to nights out in the city. No more Chatswood coffee meetups, or Botanic Gardens picnics. The Harbor Bridge was reduced to an image on the TV traffic report. All I was left with was Pymble.


It was in the lockdowns that I became most keenly acquainted with Pymble and came to know it as more than a suburb without a proper place to shop. I learnt to slowly forgive Pymble for all the boringness it obliged me through.


When left with little else to do and nowhere else to be, I reluctantly opened myself up to all the things Pymble does actually have. Slowly, daily mental health walks turned into miniature observational adventures. The suburb has a lot to offer when you listen and look.


Pymble residents are keen pet lovers and keen believers in animal freedom. Lockdown walks gave me the opportunity to meet Billy the golden retriever, who was simply out for an evening stroll. The cats in Pymble are free to roam their territory like small, scary lions. Next door is the Ginger cat who always hisses at my dog. By the park is a grey longhair cat who luxuriates atop the same sandstone fence pedestal on sunny days.


Even the cats, however, have no jurisdiction over Bannockburn Oval where the Kookaburras swoop. We have one Kookaburra with blue feathers in his wing who patrols the Oval, keeping a watchful eye over the children in the playground and rowdy dogs on morning walks.


In the 2021 June-October lockdown, I became keenly acquainted with what spring looks like in the suburb. We may not have had a coffee shop within walking distance, but 5 minutes in any direction, in early September took you on a tour of blooming Agapanthus, variegated cherry blossoms and Japanese maple trees. One neighbour took to writing sidewalk chalk haikus about spring all through September.


My dog, Jax, is also a keen observer and stands dead still when he sees anything of interest. In this way, he showed me where to look for rabbits, butterflies and the lizards that scuttle through bushes. What was most rewarding about walking Jax during lockdown was when we crossed paths with other dog walkers. We met Lousie, a tiny Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who rolls on his back whenever he sees Jax.


Jax and I became keenly acquainted with a Groodle named Dougie who lives next door. In our travels, we came across a few uncommon breeds, like Airedale Terriers, Cockapoos, and Irish Wolfhounds. Jax also introduced me to a family of brushtail possums who live in a tree near our house. I can’t say the friendship between Jax, and the possums were reciprocated.


Now on the other side of those two years of on and off lockdowns, I no longer feel so restrained by Pymble. My partner and I are currently looking at apartments, but I’m in no hurry to move to the city. The city may have bars and clubs and restaurants, but Pymble has a few of its own charms too.



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