Tuesday, November 10, 2009

E-Street, pop culture and Balmain

Are you ready for a pop culture overload?

Here's a bit of interesting trivia! Did you know that the late 1980's- early 1990's show E-Street was shot in Balmain?

That's right! For those who were too young to know, the show was about a bunch of funky young kids in the late 80's- early 90's hanging out in the fictional suburb of Westside (actually Balmain), with a priest!

Balmain at that time played an important role in defining the shows agenda's through it's use of scenery. Remember Patchett's Pub and the Patchett family (three of them were killed by a car bomb in the 3rd series!)? Patchett's Pub was an actual pub known as the Balmain/Pacific Hotel, which had a colourful history in it's own right. The Pacific Hotel closed in 1991 at the shows end and is now a place of private residence, but in it's hey-day, the Pacific Hotel was known by locals as the "Opera House" because a local woman used to regularly visit the hotel and encourage sing-a-longs with the workers from the Colgate-Palmolive factory!

The Pacific Hotel circa 1930
The Pacific Hotel today, now a private residence

E-Street started the careers of many well known actors like The Mentalists Simon Baker (or as he was known back then Simon Baker-Kenny), who played a police officer. Marcus Graham was confined to a wheel chair, playing the iconic "Wheels" for 3 seasons, while the likes of Toni Perin, Tony Martin and Alyssa-Jane Cooke went on to establish well known Australian broadcasting careers.

The Mentalist's Simon Baker

Balmain in film:
One of my favourite Balmain cameo's is that scene in the Matrix films when Trinity drives her motorbike into an old power station and it explodes! That was the old White Bay power station on Roberts Road. It's still standing...barely!

Other well know areas used in television and commercials is the view of the harbour from Darling Street Wharf, the warehouses on Roberts Road and the Exchange Hotel on Beattie St, which recently featured in a beer ad. The 1994 movie The Sum Of Us starring Russell Crowe and Jack Thompson used the streets of Balmain to portray suburban Sydney.
Some famous personalities to reside in Balmain are: Former Olympic swimmer Dawn Frazer, journalist George Negus, singers Alex Lloyd and Josh Pike, actors Rose Byrne and Brian Brown and rugby stars Lote Tuqiri and Wayne Pearce.

Is there a piece of Balmain television or media history that you know about? I'd love for you to share it!
source: Called to the Bar, 150 Years of Pubs in Balmain & Rozelle - The Balmain Association 1991

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