Location location location
Sydney, like other major world cities, and unlike the mythos associated with Australia's homegenous, egalitarian and rustic character, is in fact a highly fractured, divided place. Class, ethnicity, political orientation and age are perhaps as clearly deliniated in the spatial geography of Sydney they might as well rebuild the Berlin Wall there. Remember that Sydney started out as the most unegalitarian of institutions - a prison colony - so it is no wonder that the divisions stuck.
Northern Beaches At the top, hugging the coast. Too distant to be a viable part of the commuter belt. Famous for surfers, and defensive surf Nazies who hate Westies invading their beaches.
North Shore North of the harbour attracts the most affluent Sydneysiders, especially those suburbs to the south with views of Sydney Harbour. The further north or inland one goes, the BMW ownership quotient decreases. The topography of the north shore with lots of peninsulas and bays (Slartibartfast would be proud) allows for entire suburbs to be secluded away from the rest of world, less for a leafy road or two that leads out over an isthmus.
Politically conservative, but the rise in importance of social justice issues amongst the leisured class may make it harder for John Howard to claim the north shore as his heartland.
Eastern Sydney Commonly means east of the city and south of the harbour. Like the north shore, except perhaps more solidly upper-middle class. Less ultra-rich types to ruin the social fabric. The rich live on the harbour. Closer to the city is the sleaze centre of King's Cross and the gay cruising zone of Paddington, while Italians and Greeks have been long established around Leichardt and Botany. Transient British and New Zealanders concentrate around Bondi. Again, politically more likely to be conservative.
Inner City South of the Central Business District is Ultimo, where lots of monstrous, poorly built apartments struggle to get a view of the harbour. Down below in the streets is the vibrant Chinatown, the happening Darling Harbour, the superflurous monorail and the disadvantaged aboriginal enclave of Redfern.
Inner West Gentrified working class area that has long since been taken over by what is known as the latte-set. All Western cities 'ave 'em: single, predominantly Anglo professionals living in the converted warehouses in Balmain or Newtown, the who like to consider themselves progressive minded and capable of poetry. Further west the cityscape becomes more suburban...and ironically more multicultural, like Strathfield with a large middle-class Chinese and Korean community. Strongly Labour voting, and if the left-leaning Australian Democrats or Greens ever get a seat in parliament, it will probably come from the inner west.
The West Far from the beach and other water features, the expansive suburbs are treeless, hot in summer and eternally bland. In fact it was the heartland of the Australian working class, who settled out here in the 1950s and 1960s in droves, often as the first generation to enjoy home ownership. But along the way the West suffered, caused by heroin and the hollowing out of manufacturing industry inducing dispair and poverty. In certain parts ghettos have formed on ethnic lines, noted for social disadvantage and crime, in particular Cabramatta (Vietnamese), Lakemba (Lebanese) and Blacktown (Aboriginals).
Yet Anglos stuck in multi-generational unemployment are just as likely to go feral. The Westie character has emerged as an Australian varient of the carny, complete with tracksuit pants, beanie, Winnies and a thirty-something grandmother in the family. Traditionally
Labour voting, but law and order concerns may see seats in this area turn over to the Liberal Party.
Parramatta New South Wales second town, settled by free settlers and graziers about 20 kilometres inland, who would later form pillars of Australia's own aristocratic squattocracy. Two hundred years later it has long since been geographically subsumed by Sydney, but its own dynastic pretentions makes it feel unique, if vulnerable, from the suburban warzones around it. The aspirational class from western Sydney who have finally come good aspire to move to Paramatta. Liberal voting.
In no other city in Australia do people cast judgement on their fellow townsfolk with such derision. Unless of course, it is because they barrack for another football club.