Let’s start with the good news. The Hollywood Hotel in Surry Hills won’t be demolished, turned into offices or apartments or gutted and re-imagined as a gastro pub.

Brody Petersen and his team have taken over after the death of the former owner, the famous guitar playing thespian Doris Goddard, and have vowed to keep the pub pretty much as it is, and say they’ll even listen to locals and regulars on what they want.

$10 million is a lot to pay for a pub and we understand the bidding was competitive, so it’s a great outcome that the money was with someone who actually valued the pub’s heritage and what it stands for, which is a connection between Sydney’s bohemian past and present.

It’s all in keeping with the “Hollywood” vibe of that part of Surry Hills, when the Paramount building opposite was the hub for cinema distribution and theatre managers watched previews in the theatrette, now the Golden Age.

Some of them may have even seen Doris as the Danish shot putter Helga in the 1955 British film Geordie, about a hammer throwing Scotsman who competes at the Melbourne Olympics.

All in all, the latest instalment of the Hollywood’s history could be a rare win for the good guys and our city.

Sydney needs more of it. Please, can the Hopetoun Hotel be next?


The Glebe Rowing Club was founded in 1879 and is one of the oldest in Australia, and its members still enjoy the waters of their home at Blackwattle Bay from a – new-ish – club house.

There’s no doubt that as the $750 million Fish Markets project gets underway and finally completed that the club’s activities will be impacted.

When the project is complete it is imagined there will be dozens of ferries and other boats entering and exiting the bay each day. They won’t only take up space, but the wash they create will make serious rowing virtually impossible.

Environmental planning in Sydney is about preserving blue space as well as green, but it seems the planners haven’t given much consideration to the impact of this when the fish market is up and running in 2024.

Is there still time for compromise and good planning? For that to happen all the various command silos in State Government world need to start talking to each other, and letting the rest of us know what’s happening.

And speaking of that, we understand that even though the Government has been touting the relocation of the nearby concrete plant to Glebe Island as a done deal, no approvals for this have actually been completed.

So it could be that the fish markets project is proceeding with these relocation plans still unresolved.

We are eager to hear more, because there are a lot of people in Glebe who don’t see a concrete plant on Glebe Island as such as good idea.

And then there’s the idea of private developments on public land, but we know that doesn’t hold much sway in Sydney…..


First, the building lost its upper windows, and then downstairs the doors were always shut, but for as long as Nick Fotiou was in residence there was still hope that the Olympia Milk Bar at Stanmore might re-open to the joy its of its many fans.

In recent weeks, the Olympia has been finally boarded up, bringing to an end a story which began in 1959 when Nick and his brother John took over the milk bar, right next door to the old Stanmore Twin Cinema.

Now, the wooden hoardings carry tributes from the many people or whom the Olympia was a retro icon, a decaying museum of 50s and 60s Australian pop culture, when milkshakes were spearmint flavoured and came in big metal cups.

The Olympia had legions of fans who all longed for its restoration, but Mr Fotiou wanted to do things his way and rejected all help.

Businesses come and go on Paramatta Road, but the Olympia will be sorely missed. The word is that Mr Fotiou is comfortably ensconced in a nursing home.

We hope that is true, wish him well, and thank him for creating a true landmark and icon on what is otherwise one of Sydney’s most maligned thoroughfares.

So what happens now? The Olympia is on the NSW Heritage Register so let’s hope something can be preserved.