4 corners special report: What price for Sydney’s trams?

S01E01 Credits and Roll 00:00-
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<a cube of fours made up of fours rotates supplanted by historic video, film and even black and white film footage vaguely referencing the voice over>

The Amphetamine and Heroin epidemics
The problems in the Towers
Biker and Yugoslav bombings
Burning children on a carnival ride
The Builders and Labourers standing commission into corruption
The Royal Commissions into Policing, including the in camera Commissions
The falsification of coronial inquests
“The Incident”
The lack of freeways in Sydney
And the trams

Tonight thanks to a court ruling*1 Four Corners can reveal to you for the first time in New South Wales how each of these relate to the Sydney Goodhouse apartment, or the one very much like it, which you almost certainly live in.

Tonight on four corners we expose the long reach of Georgios Dikepolis—more often known as George Goodhouse—into our lives; and it all starts with a legal innovation in South Australia: the strata title.

Sam R.

Many a time youse and others have tried to save Sydney’s trams. I’ll save them alrighty. I’ll save them even after “the incident.” I’ll even give you more railways and fewer freeways in laid out medium/high density public transport centred garden suburbs.

Think Soviet Linear City with more London plane trees. And more dead dodgy solicitors.

1) Australia’s libel laws are notorious. Please consider this when I talk about wiring someone to a pot belly stove ripped out of a slum weatherboard cottage using a wire coat hanger on a fishing trip. Much of the content here will be historical elements turned up just a little bit louder and more distorted. I am interested in the systems aspect of how NSW may be reasonably construed to have worked without reference to any persons currently living.
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Files/ Briefing: Geography, 87, 93, 97
Goodhouse Concrete Cancer File — 4 Corners
Background Briefing: Sydney Geography
FROM: Libraries and Archives, GORE HILL
TO: Four Corners, HAYMARKET
DATE: 22nd of —EMBER 1987.

Get on this. —Story Editor, 4 Corners, 9/9/1997.
Opinion remains same. Why are we chasing a Greek poofter who'll die soon? —Chief Editor, Four Corners 5th June 1993.
Excellent Hire, send her after the Bikies working Ultimo. —SE, Four Corners, 23rd May 1993.
Call me if a building falls over and we'll activate the story for research. Good background work, not sure its useful. —CE, Four Corners, 29th of —ember, 1987.
We knew your degree was good, that's why we hired you, we don't need a rehash of your political economy thesis in urban geography. File until useful. —SE, 25th of —ember, 1987.

APPEND 26/01/93
Before invasion Sydney, south of the Harbour and north of Botany Bay, was a series of hills emerging from swamps, optimised to produce meat resources and useful water in the context of a continuous moving habitation closer to "squatocracy" mentalities of land use density than "closer settlement" or "urbanity." This left early invasion with problems of supplying fresh water and freedom from dankness, mold and "noxious vapours." Sydney was then settled for residence primarily on hill lines, and for industrial purposes on swamps and former swamps. Despite the variety of plans for drainage swamps or industrial water wastes such as the Shea's Creek sewer or the Cooks River poison swamp were not viewed as fit for white habitation. In addition, early colonial flood analysis seems to have been based on cautious responses to 1 in 100 year floods, possibly to support the Campbelltown squatocracy's animal herding aims.

1) Inside the Cumberland County Council plan region Sydney is a series of linear hill suburbs concentrated around train-lines and tram-lines with easy access to local industry suitable and fit for purpose. Sydney is comprised of medium and high density urban housing, centred around town squares of retail distribution, combined with religious and public lands dedicated for general recreation, sporting recreation, leisure, or sports and games of financial interest. The pony track, dogs, football and show-ground are generally on the land not desirable even for industrial purposes in a suburb.

2) Sydney's suburbs are primarily linked by heavy rail and trams. Roads are known to be deficient between suburbs, but the consumer goods distribution network privately run is heavily centred around local goods siding train stations. Getting from the Burwood Ridge to the Sydenham Ridge to the Alexandria Industry to the Randwick Shops is an exertion best conducted by travel via Central Station instead. Particularly if you intend on going to the races. There's one tram and its a pain and they run it on race day. The local dogs are usually easier unless its a big meeting.

3) This is the result of wave after wave of dispossession and repossession of land through title change. Slum clearance has played a part, but so too has the ideal of the united British religious community in their suburb of choice. Particularly after 1920 land releases appeared to be possible, but the Cumberland County Flood Plan reduced these potential new suburbs to grazing, market gardens, or light industry. Sydney's case is one of building up on spokes. As Victoria aged, Newtown turned from cottages to terraces. As George followed George cottages turned either into useful industries or brick then later concrete units. Compared to the moldy cold cottages or the tight archaic brick terraces, a sewered concrete unit in Tudor, Deco or Modern close to tram or train was what the Australian family aspired to. Over all this has resulted in balanced suburbs worth living in, with the worst industries kept away from residences by drainage, hills, or in the case of the airport by noise concerns locating it at Wilton on the high speed rail. It has kept Crown Resumption to a minimum by ensuring large block allocation has been maintained.

4) Since 1980 complaints have emerged regarding Goodhouse and other constructors buildings, particularly around concrete cancer and other system wide rots. These have in a number of instances resulted in exceptional special strata levies which have foreclosed or bankrupted owners, particularly young families. "It turns thirty its fucked," is what they're saying down my brewery's pub, the other one is, "I'd rather live in weatherboard houseo on a swamp," as if. —Colour is for the journalist to figure out, not you, —SE. In some cases social movements or advocacy groups have questioned the centrality of Strata Title in NSW and raised Torrens or the ACT's titles as alternatives. Due to sunk costs in current developments this is unlikely to change in urban areas. The Wilderness Movement indicates it is unlikely to change is less densely settled areas.

5) Research has generally been blocked by the unwillingness of architects, engineers, strata boards, Goodhouse employees or BLF union heads to discuss. Blockage normally indicates a story worth pursuing. —Don't see how we'll get the hours on a few dodgies around Randwick, I know yours is particularly bad, but it isn't a general issue like the bloody speed or New Wave stuff is. —SE 87.

—Good work, but we can't use it, airy fairy, nobody'll touch the Greek and there's no reason to. Push them at something useful like that network of drug squad cops, or deaths in custody. Out west over the mountains would be best. Meal allowances and broad accents. They're good for it and they've got the energy to spend and tire on it. Maybe a few beatings to death will get them down out of the clouds. Good hire, from your chapel weren't they? —CE 87.

Sam R.
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Oooh, interesting idea! I'm a lifelong resident of WA, so don't know that much about Sydney/it's historic trams, but I like the flavour thrown in with the editor comments etc. I presume this is the first ever 4 Corners episode?
ABC Television Director found dead in home
—th —ember 1996

M— J— was found dead surrounded by drug paraphernalia in his Goodhouse Apartment in Randwick on Sunday. Known for his works Making Bank*1 and Blue Murder,*2 J— is notorious in NSW as Blue Murder has not been screened by the ABC due to injunctions from former detective and prominent Sydney Racing Identity*3 R— R—. Jenkins alleged a series of links between cash rents in Goodhouse properties in the 1970s and totaliser betting syndicates in his 1980s series Making Bank. Jenkins had previously been known for consorting with the criminal underworld, being badly gang-bashed*4 by Bikies in 1984 after the release of Making Bank. The NSW Police Force referred requests for comment to the Premier. This paper understands that inquiries are proceeding into whether J— overdosed or was caused to have overdosed.*5

* * *
*1 Historically Scales of Justice regarding Police Corruption. Here episode 1 would be about beat police, 2 about detectives and rent, and 3 about property development
*2 We're going to get more Abe Saffron (†2006, free from NSW protection)
*3 Yes, this *literally* was the newspapers version of "tired and confused"
*4 There's an implicit suggestion here.
*5 A little bit kinder than diving without breathing apparatus. This and the mention of R— is skating very close.

* * *
See the races, live in your new Goodhouse home!

Randwick property releases in stylish mock tudor! Available for rent by the month, long term lease to own, or direct strata title! Your Goodhouse has the most modern appliances and luxuries built in, and with a balcony overlooking Royal Randwick you don't need to catch a tram to get to the ponies. Never miss out on the starting price!

* * *
[Running summary for Abe Saffron and Dikepolis files, 1967]
Hansard, NSW, Legislative Council. Read to the house under privilege allegations that SP Bookie and Disorderly Houses money from Saffron being washed through Dikepolis cash rents.
For the love of God do not even think of reporting this. —Crime Ed.

* * *
— — 1968
Daily Telegraph
Opposition MLC found dead in Town Hall station toilets of cardiac arrest.*1

*1 A beat. The cardiac arrest is also true, it is likely that Drug Squad or Vice Detectives suggested not too detailed inquiries be made into the mechanism or causation of the cardiac arrest, for the benefit of his wife and children.
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I presume this is the first ever 4 Corners episode?
4 Corners would have started in the 1970s as historical. That it took them until the 1990s to "grow a pair" to go after Goodhouse properties is perhaps indicative of how high up the chain the corruption went. Given the Standing Commission into Builders and Labourers, it seems like I'm suggesting that elements of the communist movement "got a drink" too. Kind of like the Painters and Dockers and heroin historically. This is a curse on all your houses speculation, but with trams! Given that I've mentioned Abe (†) I think we can perhaps go for a "sentimentalised" start of the Dikepolis empire soon. I'm going to be copying Carrie (1976) and Patrick White's Tree of Man for some early Dikepolis action.

Sam R.