The countdown has begun! If you have never ridden on it you have approximately a month to do so. If some of your finest Sydney memories are associated with it there’s just a small window of opportunity to renew that affection. It’s not the Wild Mouse at Luna Park, but the serpentine-like Monorail that will carry its very last passengers on Sunday June 30, 2013.
The death knell has finally sounded and after 25 years the mighty monorail, Sydney’s infamous ride to nowhere, will come crashing down. Dogged by controversy since it was first mooted in the late 1980s as a means of ferrying punters to the new Darling Harbour development, it has met with furious opposition over the years. In March of last year the NSW Government purchased Metro Transport Sydney, the company that owned the ‘mono’, and its demolition became a fait accompli, despite unsuccessful attempts to flog it off to Tasmania or anywhere else in the world that would cart it away.
Faced with ongoing hostility and a number of well publicised breakdowns, where passengers needed to be rescued by the Fire Brigade, the Monorail has managed to operate successfully for a quarter of a century. With constantly cheap fares, a regular influx of unsuspecting tourists and an ongoing novelty value, it has been one of this city’s great survivors – despite its reputation as a kind of second rate carnival ride.
Check out the official webpage and you will see a section called “Mono Memories” where patrons post their favourite ‘monoride’ pics. Drop into the gift shop and trawl through an assortment of badges, postcards and even a cardboard monorail model. And watch for the stampede on Sunday 30 June when punters snap up the $9.80 day pass and grab their seat for the very last lap of the 3.6 kilometre circuit. Clearly there are many who love the old rattler.
Whilst we are unlikely to witness placard-waving protestors shouting “Save the Mono” there are some who maintain the actual rail should remain. Its demolition and removal are obviously going to see major disruption to the CBD so why not just leave the sucker there. One suggestion already put forward is that the rail be covered in foliage, draped with hanging vines and flower baskets and become a ribbon of refreshing green throughout the city. We love the idea and would further encourage a positioning of native fauna – possums, cockatoos and even koalas, a veritable haven for local critters and a delight for camera-snapping tourists.
Other suggestions include an aerial walkway, reserved at certain times for rollerbladers and skate punks, a cycle way to rival the notorious Bourke Street strip and a structure to hang either advertising hoardings or innovative works of art. All have their merits but we would like to add one rather radical proposition. Let’s look way into the future and introduce a concept that would make us the talk of the scientific world – the Sydney Collider – where encased in bubble like capsules the daring would be propelled at lightning-like speeds around the old monorail circuit. Whilst it would never reach the speeds of the massive Large Hadron Collider beneath the Franco-Swiss border, the Sydney version would offer tourists and day-trippers their own unique “Big Bang” experience. Either that or just another ‘black hole’ to rival the shemozzle down at Barangaroo.
THE HIT LIST: It might be the start of winter but the temperature inside The Basement will be soaring on Thursday June 13 when Sydney’s hot new seven-piece flamenco ensemble Peña Flamenca create a unique fiesta with their own original Antipodean blend of Andalucian and Latin traditions complete with an Aussie twist. With a mix of musical backgrounds from Latin to funk to jazz, the dynamic group is led by Christopher Duff on guitar and features singer Angela Rosero, dancer Chachy Peñalver, Byron Mark on percussion, Tom Burns Brown on bass, Keyna Wilkins on flute and Trevor Brown on saxophones.