Monthly Archives: September 2013

Sydney Snippets – Some Historic Facts About Sydney You Might Not Know!

Cities are mysterious places, full of hidden secrets, concealed niches, rickety alleyways full of history and forgotten people and events. No matter how long you live in a city for, you will never know all its secrets, all its snippets of fascinating history.

These are some fascinating snippets about Sydney that I discovered and compiled some time back, intending to use them in a story that never happened. A couple of things I knew, most I didn’t. Hope you are as intrigued by these as I was.

Circular Quay:

•The Tank Stream ran from what were the marshes of Hyde Park, between Market and Park Streets. It followed a course roughly parallel to Pitt Street.

•A wooden bridge was originally built across the stream at the current Bridge Street. A stone bridge replaced it 15 years later.

•It got its name from 3 ‘tanks’ that were hacked into it.

•In 1795, an order was issued forbidding pollution by washing, cleaning and emptying chamber pots into it, as the stream was becoming so polluted it was almost unusable.

•Sydney’s alternate water supply from the Lachlan Swamp Scheme in Centennial Park was completed in 1867.

•By 1860, the Tank Stream stretch from Hunter to Bridge Streets was filled in, and pipes were used to carry the stream underground. It was forgotten about until torrential rain caused basements in Pitt Street to float.

•Originally, only Pitt Street ran right down to Circular Quay. Phillip, Elizabeth and Castlereagh never made it due to the costs involved.

•There was a half-penny toll to use a footbridge that ran over the mud flats of Circular Quay to George Street. When Circular Quay was completed in 1855 (the last of the convict-built enterprises), it totally buried the Tank Stream.

•Point Piper was named after a former Captain in the NSW Corp called John Piper. It was originally called Eliza Point. John Piper built Henrietta Villa.

•First Customs House was completed in 1845, and was a simple, somber two storey structure. The current classic – Revival style building, incorporating the original building, was built in 1885. Other additions were made in 1916-1917.

•The Water Police Court was built in 1853. Designed by Edmund Blackett. An extension was added at the rear in 1885 by Colonial Architect James Barnet. This is now the Justice and Police Museum.

•The Mariners Church was built in The Rocks in 1856, and has a pulpit shaped like the prow of a ship.

THE ROCKS:

•The Rocks originally covered the slopes to the West of Sydney Cove. Those lower down were inundated with sewerage from those higher up. They dug trenches around their homes to prevent it running through them, but this just caused a build-up, which would fester in the heat and humidity.

•The Argyle Cut was originally started by convicts in 1843, but was finished by free labour 16 years later.

•The Chinese had a colony in Lower George Street in the 1870’s, but due to local resentment, moved to the Campbell Street Market area.

•Princes Street, The Rocks main thoroughfare, disappeared in 1926 when the bridge was built, along with 300 homes.

•The bubonic plague started in 1900. It was restricted to the area around the wharves, Millers Point and The Rocks. 303 people contracted it, and 103 died.

•The bridge over Cumberland St was finished in 1864, and in 1868 a bridge linking the north and south ends of Princes Street was finished. This disappeared with the street when the bridge happened along.

•Suez Canal is Sydney’s narrowest street, and was home to the notorious gang known as The Rock’s Push.

•MCA (Museum of Contemporary Art) was originally the Commissariat Stores, this building being demolished in 1940. The Maritime Services Headquarters, which now houses the MCA, was then built.

•The Sydney Observatory on Observatory Hill, was n built in 1858. Its copper-sheathed domes still rotate on the original bearings made from cannon balls.

•Dawes Point Park was named after Lieutenant William Dawes, an astronomer with the First Fleet. He supervised the construction of the Dawes Point Battery, of which only ruins remain.

•Some of the Argyle Stores date back to the time of the first settlement, and were constructed from sandstone and brick. The granite cobblestones in the courtyard were originally brought out to Australia as ship’s ballast in the 1840’s. There are also the remnants of a water hydraulic lift.

•Garrison Church, on the corner of Argyle and Lower Fort Street, was originally called Holy Trinity Church.

HARBOUR BRIDGE:

•Started on 28th July, 1923.

•Opened 19th March, 1932

•Arches met at 4.15 pm, 19th August 1930.

•Architect was J.J.C. Bradfield (Bradfield Highway), Chief Engineer of Sydney Harbour.

OPERA HOUSE:

•Named Bennelong Point after an Aborigine befriended by Govenor Phillip.

•Cattle originally used the site, then a storehouse. 2 brass cannons were in place before being sent to Dawes Point.

•In 1817, Governor Macquarie laid the foundation for a fort, which would, naturally, bear his name. It was completed in 1819. It was originally four square walls, and entered by a drawbridge. It had 10 24-pounder cannon, and 5 6-pounders. There was a two-storey stone tower for 12 artillerymen to live in.

•The fort’s sea wall was removed in 1890 as part of wharf improvements.

•The fort was demolished in 1903, and replaced by a tram terminal with a fortress-like design.

•This was demolished in 1961 to make way for the Opera House.

•Opera House designed by Joern Utzon. It took 15 years to build, and cost, instead of the estimated $7 million, $102 million. The Queen officially opened it on 20th October, 1973.

•Ben Blakeney, an Aboriginal actor, played a digeridoo from the top of the sails at the opening, in memory of Bennelong and his people.

SYDNEY GAOLS:

•The first was built in George Street in 1797. It was 80 feet long, made from logs and thatch, with a clay floor. It had 22 cells. It was set alight by an arsonist.

•A new ‘handsome and commodious’ prison with 6 cells stood behind a high wall in Lower George Street in 1801. Its southern wall ran up Essex Street, where its gallows presented a spectacle for residents of The Rocks. By the 1820’s, it was full.

•In 1826, the disabled vessel ‘Phoenix’ was set up at Lavender Bay for use as a prison.

•Governor Bourke (Bourke Street) ordered the Colonial Architect to design a new gaol on Darlinghurst Hill (Now Eastern Suburbs TAFE, in Forbes Street). It was opened in 1841, when the George Street prisoners were transferred to the new gaol.

THE CITY:

•Until 1840, a 10-foot high, 2-foot thick stone wall ran along George street, and separated the commercial centre from the military centre.

•Within the walls were three double storey blockhouses, which made it the largest military barracks in the British Empire. Governor Macquarie had the wall built to restrain possible intercourse between the citizens and the military.

•The barracks wall began just north of present Margaret Street, and extended to Barrack Street, entirely occupying the area between George and Clarence Streets. The buildings stood between York and Clarence. The main gate, with a guardhouse, was in George Street, close to the present Wynyard Station ramp. In 1826, there was a guardhouse on the corner of Grosvenor and George Streets. There was a Male Orphan Asylum opposite it. The Regent Hotel now occupies much of this site, its restaurant named after early gaoler Henry Kable.

•The George Street Barracks Square became known as Wynyard Square.

•In the tradition of the Royal Navy, a tot of rum was issued to the troops at lunchtime. In 1845, Colonel Maurice O’Connell reduced the rum issue, and the entire regiment refused to attend parade. O’Connell ordered the 11th Regiment up from Tasmania to crush the mutiny. By the time they arrived, it was all over.

•In 1847 the 11th North Devonshire regiment marched out of the George Street barracks to take up billets in Victoria Barracks (Oxford Street, Paddington).

•Original graves were in paddocks on the edge of the settlement, in the ‘lines’. The ‘lines’ were four rows of convict tents between Essex and Grosvenor Streets.

•The original Barracks Square was sub-divided, and coffins were dug up in the vicinity of Clarence and Margaret Streets.

•By 1815, Market Street was the towns perimeter, and the cemetary was situated on the site of the Town Hall. Bodies were often not buried very deep, and during wet weather, the smell could be quite offensive. Over 2000 bodies were placed there over 27 years. During Macquarie’s Governorship, land was set aside one mile west of the town, and was officially called The Sandhills Cemetery, though better known as the Old Devonshire Street Ground. First interment here was in 1819, being the remains of Quartermaster Hugh McDonald of the 46th Regiment. The cemetery was badly neglected, with graves being opened, and the area used as a toilet. One of the oldest graves was of Jane Dundas, a housemaid at Government House during the time of Governor Arthur Phillip. Several vaults, one containing a coffin, were discovered during excavations for a shopping arcade during the 1970’s. Between 1819 and 1968, it is estimated that 5000 were buried in the Sandhills Cemetery. The cemetery was closed when ground was consecrated at Botany. When the Old Devonshire Street Ground was resumed for the building of Central Station, people were invited to relocate the remains of ancestors, and in 1910 they were conveyed to Botany Cemetery, and other suburban cemeteries.

•The original Sydney building allotments, as decided by Governor Phillip, were 60’ x 150’. He also planned, before returning to England, that city streets were to be 200’ wide. This, of cause, never eventuated.

•The second cove to the right of the Opera House (facing North) was originally called Garden Cove.

•Until reclamation, the harbour ran up as far as Hunter Street.

•By 1807, Garden Cove had become Walloomooloo Bay.

•On James Meehans 1807 map for The Plan for The Town of Sydney, land for Government House and what will become the Botanical Gardens is clearly marked as land set aside as ‘Crown Land’.

•The towns earliest breweries were at Kissing Point (North Shore), and what was to become Castlereagh Street.

•The brewery and the Wilshire Tannery at Brickfield Hill were heavily polluting the Tank Stream.

•In the same map, an area near the current MCA is called Market Place. Pitt Street is clearly marked, Castlereagh Street is called Camden Sntreet, and Elizabeth Street is called Mulgrave Street.

•By the time of an 1832 map, street names had become George, Pitt, Castlereagh, Elizabeth, Philip, Macquarie and King, and are clearly marked as such. In this map, Woolloomooloo Bay is called Palmers Cove, and the estate of Palmer runs up to its edge. The street terminology ‘Row’ had become ‘Street’.

•By 1821, the population was 12,000.

•The hospital appears on an 1822 map, as do Barracks and Macquarie Place, with its obelisk from which all distances from the city were marked. Pyrmont is named Piermont. There is something called Rope Walk near Macquarie Place.
•Market street ran from the Market Wharf in Cockle Bay. Parramatta and South Head Road are built, and had tollgates. The Domain is marked, originally called ‘Government Domain’. Government House was still in Bridge St. There was a windmill on the site of The Domain which was removed in 1814. Hyde Park was laid out as a racecourse. The areas of Moore Park and Centennial Park is evident. There is a house called ‘Ultimo House’, which the suburb of Ultimo would obviously have been named after.

•By 1831, the population was 16,000.

•By 1836, Sussex St is one of the cities busiest thoroughfares. On a map, Dr Harris’s Estate is clearly marked, also the suburb of Lyndhurst. As well as Ultimo House, there is an Ultimo Cottage marked. Pyrmont Bay (current spelling) Darling Point and Macquarie Point are named. Woolloomooloo is spelt ‘Wolomoloo’

•In an 1843 map, the city is divided into Wards and Parishes, including Bourke Ward, Macquarie Ward, Phillip Ward (with two’l’s’), the Parish of Alexandria, Parish of St Andrews, Parish of St Lawrence, Parish of St James, Cook Ward, Gipps Ward, and Parish of St Phillip. Balmain is named. Woolloomooloo is still spelt ‘Wolomoloo’

•The population by this time is 35,000.

•The Chippendale Estate was sub-divided in 1838. St Leonards (North Shore) had a population of 412.

•Busby’s Bore was completed in 1837. Gas lighting was introduced, and there was a gas works on the east side of Darling Harbour.

SUBURBS:

:•Redfern was named after an estate granted to naval surgeon Thomas Redfern.

•Paddington was, prior to 1850, sandhills.

•The Brickfields became Brickfield Village, then Brickfield Hill.

STREETS:

:Clarence Street was originally called Middle Soldiers’ Row until 1810, and Kent Street was originally Back Soldiers’ Row.

•York St was originally Barracks Row, and Church Street (probably named after the Garrison Church, and running from The Rocks) ran into it.

•In 1788, George Street was called Main Street, and was probably originally the route walked by people carrying water from the mouth of the Tank Stream to the settlement.

•Oxford Street, from the junction with Liverpool St in Darlinghurst to Bondi Junction, was the original Old South Head Road (and before that, just South Head Road).

•Jersey Road, Woollahra was originally Point Piper Road.

•Palmer Street Darlinghurst was named after Commissary General Palmer.

•Windmill Street in The Rocks was originally named for two windmills (two of five that functioned around the settlement) that operated there.

•Dickson Street was named after John Dickson, who began to grind wheat using a steam driven mill.

Always something new to learn. Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did.

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Daily (Or When the Mood Takes Me) Gripe: Truant Trolleys

There is a new social curse taking over our suburbs! It has nothing to do with terrorism, violence or teenagers sexting. It is rapidly becoming the scourge of our local streets, blocking egress, despoiling our parks and verges. It’s the dreaded deserted…supermarket trolley!

For want of something better to do while walking my groceries home recently – minus the assistance of a supermarket trolley, I should point out – from my local shopping centre, I counted them. A total of eleven – yes, eleven – that I could see, including two in intimate collusion near a main road, with God-only-knows-what on their minds. Trouble, undoubtedly!

Now, if it was old people using them to transport their meagre pension-depleting purchases home, or people with disabilities wheeling them along the footpaths,serving the double purpose of grocery trolley and walking frame or prosthetic transport, or the homeless fitting them out with entertainment unit and dilapidated though comfy lounge, perhaps I could understand it. But it’s not!

Last week, it was two distractingly strapping backpackers trolleying four measly bags of groceries along the main road. Admittedly, it was a warm day, and they were partially stripped off, but surely these burley boys could have handled two lousy bags each. I didn’t personally feel the need to “borrow” a trolley to cart my eight bags of groceries home – I like to think there is some payoff for my time in the gym. Today it was three strapping girls with about the same quantity of bags as the guys – though fully dressed, thankfully. One was wheeling, while the other two guided. I have a vague suspicion this particular trolley may have ended up as one of the two trolleys in collusion.

What is really mind-boggling about these truant trolleys is the distance they travel. Not one of the eleven I spotted today even belonged to my local supermarket. They were all labelled ‘Woolworths’ and ‘Coles’ (and clearly labeled with a phone number to ring if they are lost – which, obviously, no one had rung) which means they were a 25-minute walk from their original home. Now, it’s hard enough to handle these trolleys down a supermarket aisle (I have a conspiracy theory that the store managers select the most uncontrollable trolleys, and when they see me coming they divert one to where they know I will collect it), let alone manoeuvring one down a footpath, wobbling over its high and lows, rattling over its bumps and furrows, negotiating gutters and pedestrian crossings with errant meanderings. The people who had the patience to do this – and then ingloriously dumping the poor trolley after all that hard work – surely should be awarded some sort of medal for their perseverance!

It’s not as if you see trolleys decked out as attractive plant holders on the side of the road, or covered with some fetching floral vinyl, living out their days as a little old ladies shopping cart. They are not used as baby carriages, to walk pets, nor used as a means of moving house – okay, they sre occasionally used to move house! They just sit by the side of the road looking sad and lonely, unloved and…slightly sinister.

I certainly know in what high affection I hold the movers of these trolleys, as I wait outside my local ‘Coles’ for someone to finish their shopping so I can collect and use their trolley. They seem to run out of trolly’s with boring regularity at our local supermarket. If I’d known they were going to be in such short supply at the door, I could have taken one from the street, and claimed it as my own. What a novelty….wheeling it TO the supermarket. No one would ever believe that!

On the upside, of the six I counted in my street in the week just after new years – perhaps they had hangovers and weren’t able to find their way back to the supermarket – there were none today. I have to admit to feeling a bit let down that there were eleven between my street and the junction, and none to be seen in what is obviously a regular gathering place for them. I don’t know where they have gone – it’s one of life’s mysteries, but I hope it’s a happier place than outside some ugly 70’s apartment building, holding rags of clothing, and disused household appliances.

As for the two in intimate collusion, their very obvious attempt to reproduce was actually, to all intended purposes, successful. I saw a little girl wheeling one of their babies around the supermarket today. It was so sweet, and looked so much like the parents. When I contemplated all the ordeals they had gone through – the exhaust fumes, sizzling hot sun, torrential rain, one had to admire their sheer tenacity. Lo, a sub-culture is born.

I note that the supermarkets are getting savvy about keeping their flocks of shopping trolleys contained these days. Finding that the coin-operated locks only added to their workload with coin jams, and that people rejected the notion of a deposit, they have opted for a technological approach. They are inserting magnetic strips at shopping centre exits, and any trolley attempting a getaway automatically has its wheels locked as it crosses the strip. Good idea – I think! I have a mental image of gangs of liitle old ladies and the homeless, armed with sledge hammers and tool kits, either digging the strips out of the ground, or removing trolley wheels, tossing the body over the strip, then replacing the wheels. Where there’s a will…

If it is the intention of all these truant trolleys to take over the world, I have little doubt the will succeed, and succeed by using us as unintentional allies. As we dump more and more of them onto the streets, they will start to band together. En-masse they will take over our streets, blocking our doorways and driveways, eventually forcing us to surrender by starving us into submission…the ultimate irony indeed!

So, as you drift towards sleep tonight, feel slightly uneasy. Those trolleys clogging your street today may be gone tomorrow – and to where….you may never know!

Tim Alderman
Copyright 2013

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Daily (Or When the Mood Takes Me) Gripe: Sugar and Junk Addiction. Obesity? What Obesity?

Sugar, salt and junk processed foods! As you do your weekly grocery shop, have you stopped, looked and contemplated how your local supermarket encourages you to buy shit food? Whether intentional – money and profits would never come into it, would they! – or just demand-driven, they are, in a very large part, contributing as much to the obesity epidemic as fast-food chains are.

So grab your shopping trolley – watch the wonky wheels – and lets shop. We start in the deli/fresh fruit and vege section. Probably the worst things I can say about this section is that a lot of the deli meats contain nitrites that aren’t good for you in large amounts, and the ready-made salads should be avoided as they are quantity produced, so full of salt in the dressings not to mention fat. The fruit and veges are, in the greater part, not fresh from the farmer but from cold storage so are depleted in nutrients, and generally don’t last all that long when you get them home.

On the borderline of this section, and before you hit the aisles are eggs – avoid caged at all costs, and encourage the supermarket not to stock them…not that this will stop them, as they are cheap so customers buy them – “fresh” cakes, biscuits and bread are lined up for you to grab. “How convenient”, you will think! Sure is, and lots of specials on things like slices, biscuits and donuts, all mass-produced, all full of sugar and fat. Handy positioning in fump-bins so that kids can grab them in passing. As you turn into the bread section, if you bother to glance to your far left you will see a chiller section for everything soy/tempeh/vegetarian orientated – in a need-to-know position as…well..we don’t want to promote that, do we! And we turn into the fresh baked bread section – not! As we found out recently, and rather controversially, none of it is actually freshly made. The partially cooked products come from places as far away as Ireland. Why they can’t be baked here is anybodies guess, though agsin, undoubtedly, it comes down to profits. Not being freshly made, it is going to be lacking in wholesomeness and nutrients. Already we are starting to put on weight.

So we turn into our first aisle. Bread, including “white death” – my terminology for any white bread. If people haven’t learnt by now, they are not going to. There is probably one healthy brand there. Opposite are ” Health” bars…a misnomer if ever there was one. Again, about two reasonably healthy brands. The rest are full of sugar, fats and artificial products. Hint – if they are made by a company that also makes cereal, avoid them! At the end of this aisle are health foods, and possibly the only genuinely healthy products you will find in here, despite my sceptacism that the supermarkets house branded organic products are possibly not all that organic. Let’s face it – the term is trendy, and generic now. The end positions of these aisles are populated by catalogue specials – chocolates, soft drinks and chips.

We now hit the cereal aisle. A whole side of the aisle. Overall – mainly rubbish. All salt, sugar, fats, artificial colours and flavours. Frightening shit. Even most of the muesli’s are rubbish. If you sre lucky, maybe five or six items are actually safe to eat. Cereal drinks – yes, you read that right. Msy as well drink a cip of sugar. Opposite are dessert choices, all in packets to be mixed, or sugar and artificial everything syrups, or canned fruits – possibly the wisest choice. Turning into the next aisle we find peanut butter, Vegemite honey and jam at the end. Even I’m leaving this alone because I do eat them. Jams need sugar to set them, honey is a natural product that in pretty well unadulterated, and I tell people that a good breakfast on the run is wholegrain toast with peanut butter. Move on! Ah…biscuits. Processed, sugar, fat, palm oil, artificial everything. Opposite is hot chocolste, tea and coffee. There are about two organic or free-trade hot chocolates worth buying, the rest have artificial sweeteners. Tea is safe. Ordinary instant and bean coffee is safe. The problem here are the flavoured coffees. I suppress a shuddet! Full of artificial flavours, artificial sweeteners, whiteners. Death in a cup! Rounding the end to proceed into the next aisle, we encounter a Milo cereal promotion. The front of the box is a flashing neon light of goodness – 50% wholegrain, two essential vitamins/minerals, Heart Foundation tick and dome ither tick which just seems to be decoration. For a mum-on-the-run a dream come true, a miracle cereal that just screams goodness! Goodness! Goodness! However…..the side nutritional panel – confusing to read at the best of times – tells a different story. High amounts if salt, fat and carbohydrates in the form of sugar. What a shock! Next aisle – what a shocker. Sift drink for miles. Full of sugar, and worse for the diet ones that like to scream “Zero” sugar. Not exactly a lie as they don’t have sugar. They have something even worse – Aspartame. Opposite are shelves of energy drinks which should just be banned. Not only full of artificial shit, they are basically tins of sugar, which is where the energy rush comes from. Sports drinks ditto! Bottled water, for fuck sake. Companies actually rake perfectly fresh – and free – drinking water and put it in a plastic bottle that people then pay money for! Crazy? And cordials (artificial flavours and sugar), and the tetra-pac drinks that are also full of artificial everything and sugar. Next aisle – pasta. That’s fine, then we get to the sauces. Processed to within an inch if their life – artificial volours, flavours and tons of salt. Taco meal packs the same. Asian foods – a mix of healthy and unhealthy. Soups which are nothing but processed crap and salt, along with artificial colours and flavours. Next aisle peanuts and nuts – many with too much salt. Lollies of every description full of sugar and artificial colours and flavours. Chocolate – the dark, healthy variety in the minority. Potato chips full of fat, salt and artificial colours and flavours. Next aisle stocks – at least you can get salt reduced – spices, oils, vinegars, baking requirements, packet cake mixes – like cakes are that hard to make yourself. And so it goes on. Instant noodles full of salt and artificial everything, condiments full of salt and artificial everything, dressings full of fst, sslt and artificial evetything. Seems to be a recurring theme here.

Then we get to meat. Poor quality, over-priced, full of fat. Freezer cabinets full of pre-prepared meals that are basically processed, full of salt and artificial crap. Prepared chicken and seafood meals that are the same. Frozen hamburgers, pizzas, pies, sausage rolls all full of salt and ditto ditto. Ice -cream…okay, I eat ice-cream so we’ll leave that alone. Pre-prepared desserts like cheese cakes, pies and danish full of sugar and fat. Bacon and cold cuts full of dangerous nitrites. Margarine – don’t even start me on how unhealthy margarine is. Fruit juices full of reconstituted fruit juice and sugar. Dog foods and kibbles that should never be fed to pets due to the amounts of rubbish in them, treating our pets like they don’t even matter. Full of meat by-products – read offal, carcasses and diseased meat, corn with no nutritional value, and plain crap. It gisgusts me!

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Tim Alderman
Copyright 2013

Daily (Or When the Mood Takes Me) Gripe: Cock-A-Doodle-Don’t

Look, I may be getting a bit long in the tooth now, but I’m not a total dolt, whinger or even old-fashioned, but I have two words to say to the manufacturers of the seemingly endless collections of male “enhancement” underwear that are currently around – bloody uncomfortable!

Now, though by no means missing out in the downstairs department I am also by no definition of the words well-endowed. I guess I would slot myself into the just-above-average column, so I don’t really feel any need to make my bits appear to be bigger than what they are. However, what started off as a bit of a novelty a number of years back has now become de rigueur in pretty well every men’s underwear manufacturers collections on the planet – euphemistically called enhancement underwear.

I already know what you are going to scream at me – “If you are going to complain about them, then why did you buy them in the first place!”…and that is a fair enough question. In my defence I really didn’t know what to expect when I purchased them – and they certainly looked hot on the models. On all three occasions when I obtained them they were either on sale, a three-pair-surprise pack special, or a freebie supplied after spending X amount with Y company. Like many people I shop online, and like to scoop a deal. I also happen to like nice undies!

So, lets look at what I got, what it does, and why I’m not happy with it. Firstly, my favourite Aussie swimwear company – “aussieBum”. Lets face facts – they make the hottest swimwear in the country, and have also dabbled in mens underwear for many years now, and their Wonderjock was one of the first of the enhancement designs to come out. I have little doubt it works…it’s just not…comfortable. I bought three of these during a rare aussieBum sale – two briefs and a boxer brief. The mechanics of it, the way this one works, is a devise like a pocket. There is a half piece of fabric at the back of the pouch, and you gather the family jewels together and feed them over the fabric and into the pouch, the intention being that the piece of fabric lifts both pieces of equipment and offer it forward into quite a presentable bulge. Now, I have had two problems with this design. One is that it seems to be designed for rather well endowed guys, who upon placing their gear in the pouch, manage to get it to sit there. All day. Without moving. Mine doesn’t! If the weather is particularly cold and there is shrinkage – quite a common occurrence with men of all sizes- or if you move around quite a bit during the day and the undies work their way down a bit, you tend to fall out of the pouch…sometimes half in and half out, requiring some manual manipulation to return everything to where it should be. Happens quite a lot, actually. The second problem is that if you don’t place your dangly bits in carefully, it pinches them – rather painfully – and more manual manipulation is required to fix it. By the end of the day in an average office, you will have been reported as being just a dirty old pervert who does nothing all day but play with himself. It has reached the stage now where when these undies appear at the top of the pile in the drawer – I anally rotate my undies – I dive for the pair underneath. These are now “around-the-house” undies. I can fiddle myself as much as I like there!

I did a “Mystery Bag” deal recently with Andrew Christian in the States. It was three pairs of his undies, picked at random, for about $10 a pair – a real bargain these days. Well, they took six weeks to get here – not their fault – so I won’t order from there again – but when they did arrive I have to say I was pretty happy with their selection – again two pairs of briefs and a boxer brief. Now, I’ve had my problems with Andrew Christian (who himself is very cute, I should point out) over the years, especially when he first started out. One order of two pairs of briefs ordered through an underwear company about 7-8 years ago, resulted in both pairs being binned – too expensive to return. One brief in my usual Small size was SO small it almost castrated me, and the second had contrasting bias strips on the legs that stretched out….and that was the only direction they stretched in. After having them on for an hour my dangly bits fell out the leg opening, and stayed out. No amount of manipulation could get them to stay in the briefs. I swore never to buy his underwear again! Never say I am not forgiving! Having been inundated with his advertising – and very blond twinky models – over the last 12-months on FB, and in gay magazines, and having his undies reviewed by experts, I decided that he had probably finally got his shit together with design and sizing, and was worthy of a retry. He had another $9-a-pair special a while ago now, on a special release, and I bought three pair of a boxer brief. They were, I have to say, pretty sexy. Really light, sensual feeling fabric that really clings to you, perfect fit, and a pouch that emphasised the family jewels by clever use of stitching around the pouch. There is a seam at the back of the gusset between the leg.s that sits a bit uncomfortably in your arse area, but apart from that I was quite pleased. And with the further three pairs of “Mystery Bag” undies I received recently. He seems to have adopted a unique designed pouch for his enhancement undies- and the majority of his range is enhancement. The pouches themselves are quite generous, and very clingy. There is a piece of fabric at the back of the pouch with a edge-protected hole in it. Again, you gather up your goodies, poke them through the hole, and there you go…one enhanced package. I do have some issues with how it is presented, and if you are well-endowed it can end up looking a bit like this odd creature sitting between your legs, but I have to say they are pretty comfortable to wear. However – there always has to be a however, doesn’t there – i recently did another “Mystery Bag” purchase of three pairs of undies through a local, newly started company for around $13 a pair – still a good buy. Amongst their selection was another Andrew Christian boxer brief, but quite a different style to my previous ones. This one was in a heavier stretch fabric, again with the goodies enhancement, and the added bonus of a bum lift panel at the rear – something I don’t actually need, as I can say with little modesty that I have quite a nice rear, formed and firmed by many years of doing squats at the gym. These are not comfortable! Not only are you uncomfortably aware of the support mechanism sitting under and pushing up your dangly bits, you have the added discomfort of the row of heavy stitching at the rear designed to enhance your butt. Could just be the wrong fabric, but whatever it is, you are constantly aware of having undies on.

So, this brings me to my last pair – a very attractive looking pair of “Ergowear” briefs. I would like to point out that I didn’t pay for these – they came as a bonus freebie after paying a certain amount of money on an underwear site, and I had no say in what the freebie was. These are VERY stretchy, and the pouch is a separately integrated piece of fabric at the front. The pouch pushes all the family jewels into a very obvious display position – in fact, pokes them out in an almost obscene display of male appendage. I just don’t seem to be able to find the right clothes to wear with them – too loose, like casual or gym shorts, and it is obvious to one and all that you have a appendage, with the obvious assumption being that you like to show it off. Clothes that are tight just make it squashily uncomfortable. Add to this that your bits tend to move in the pouch as you move around, and you often find the head quite uncomfortably trapped, again involving a series of dirty-old-man manual fiddlings to fix, only to find that five minutes later it is back where you don’t want it to be. Very annoying, and very uncomfortable. I put these on yesterday with a pair of shorts, then looked down and thought “That’s a bit too obvious mate!” and took them off.

So, my experiences with enhancement underwear have not been good. There are heaps of other brands around doing exactly the same thing – some more obviously than others (Cocksox are nothing short of weird – they make your cook and balls look like some strange alien appendage poking straight out in front of you). I’m sort of getting a bit over it now, especially if I like the design or colour of a particular pair of undies, and I don’t particularly want the added extras.

So to underwear manufacturers I would personally like to say the following. Firstly, cut back on the amount of enhancement underwear. It is a little bit disconcerting that so many guys think they need to appear to have something they don’t actually have. As a gay man, if I am going to go to all the trouble to pick a guy up, when I get him home and strip him down I want to know that what is presented to me is what I actually get! Otherwise, disappointment is bound to set in. Secondly, I like my underwear to be comfortable. I have to wear it all day, so when I get dressed in the morning, I like to forget that I even have underwear on. Going out for dinner or a date is no different. All these lift-this-and-push-that designs push your equipment into unnatural positions, and often pinch and chafe. That is just uncomfortable! I am not saying there is no place for enhancement underwear – I have little doubt that there is a whole brigade of fetishists out there that get turned-on by the mere thought of an enhanced bit…but there is also a hell of a lot that don’t. It is a bit like fashion jockstraps and arseless underwear…there is a place and time.

Guys, when designing and making mens undies, remember the KISS principal – Keep It Simple, Stupid.

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Tim Alderman
Copyright 2013