Labor Dominated Suburb of Coogee...For A While


Coogee NSW | Labor Stronghold

The purpose of this post is not to discuss politics, I couldn't care less about it. However, as owner of window cleaning Coogee, I noticed a strange connection today when I was cleaning windows in beachside suburb, Coogee.

The client I spoke to mentioned that Coogee USED to be quite a run down area when her family moved in around 30-40 years ago. Not that you would notice this now of course, the area commands not only steep property sale prices, but also steep rents too!

So, the question that came to my mind is...How can an area that is now a typically conservative region have been so closely affiliated with the opposite end of the politcal sphere? The typically conservative style area, spent many years as a Labor stronghold, before switching 180 degrees to typical expectations.

Coogee - Humble Roots, Rapid Growth

It is hard to believe that this affluent area was not always the jewel in the crown of the unofficial capital of Australia, Sydney. But, as unlikely as it seems, Coogee never commanded the brand recognition that it's sister suburb Bondi does. Why?

Bondi is an area steeped in Australian history and legend. The Bondi brand is known the World over, and rightly so. However what is not quite so right is it's reputation as the premier beach to visit in Sydney. Truth be told, Bondi is a good beach, but not the best Sydney has to offer. And, this is never more true when you consider that Bondi is adjacent to two equally, if not better, beaches in Coogee and Maroubra.

Coogee By The Beach in Australia

So, that being the case, it is safe to assume that Bondi had a more illustrious start to Australian life not because it is more beauriful. Frankly, any beachside suburb in Sydney is going to become wealthy, and Coogee now deserves it's status as a 'top value' area for property.

Although Bondi might be more documented, here is a brief history of Coogee:

The first designation as a village came in 1838, the first school was built in 1863 and became the fantastic Coogee Bay Hotel ten years later! The suburb was connected to the city by tram in 1902. Whilst in themselves these developments might not appear to be earth shattering, they are part of the foundation that any area needs if it wants to become a thriving city: transportation, education and facilities.

Coogee has a great outdoor lifestyle

Perhaps one of the more incredible things that gives Coogee it's reputation, occurred in 2003. To set the scene, demographically Coogee is an area where the majority of people profess to have no religion. Second to this, though, are the Catholic members. Whilst Catholicism may not be the greatest section numerically of the community, it does still make up around a quarter of the population. So, now, you have the background.

So, in 2003, a bizarre event occurred. A section of coastal fence, viewed in a certain way, gave rise to a Marian apparition. If you are not familiar with this, it is were Catholics feel that they are 'blessed' to be visited by the 'Virgin Mary', and special blessings or powers follow. One things that didn't follow though, was it's longevity. The section of fence was soon vandalised and eventually replaced.

Whilst a sizeable number of people still cling to their belief in a special event occurring here, it is worth noting that no authorities, secular or religious, have backed calls for a special shrine to be erected. Therefore, this urban legend remains alive only in the minds of the devoted.

Suffice to say, Coogee had somewhat humble beginnings, but is now a sought after place of rapid growth on Sydney's eastern coastal beaches.

Political Demographics

Coogee, being an area of high value, would normally fall under the category of conservative areas, however, in this instance it is not correct, but it is a trend that appears to be changing.

Again....I am not political, never have been, never will be. However, I found it surprising to know that for many years Coogee has been a Labor stronghold. As an example, in the 1999 state election, Labor polled 50.7% compared to Liberals 30.45%. Forward wind to the 2011 state election, and Labor had shrunk massively to only 26% of the vote, compared to Liberal's 46.5%!

My Two Cents Worth...

Before I summarise this short post, you can reach me in Coogee simply by search for 'local window cleaners near me' on your search engine. Actually, today's client did that surprisingly, she simply 'Googled' local window cleaners near me, and my name popped up...yay Google!

Anyway, enough of plugging myself. So, what is happening in Coogee is more symptomatic of the bigger picture. 

Over the years, Australia has massively increased it's diversity. The tradtional 'Ocker' Aussie, is now just a section of the community that hosts a large mix of Brazilian, Indian, European, and Asian settlers. But, it is not only the ethnic diversity that has seen massive change, the wealth demographics have too.

Recent years have seen the rise of temporary renters, people who want a great lifestyle, and yet be close to the city. As such, the traditional motivations of the community have ebbed and flowed. What might be a fairly popular community leaning now can often be reversed in just a couple of years as the make up of the community changes.

What all of this means is that Coogee is not just growing physically, it's values and emotional biases have also progressed rapidly. Coogee is growing up......