A re-post of Sammy Sparrow’s story in honour of the station’s 150th birthday.
A REFUGEE SPARROW FROM THE CITY
Some time ago a sparrow living in Sydney’s Botanic Gardens was assaulted by a giant white ibis. A dispute had broken out over crumbs at the café and the little fellow came off second best . He went into hiding, but that didn’t really help.
The trauma was so great that he decided it was time to leave the dangerous ‘jungle’ of the city and move west. Not just a little bit west, but all the way to the beautiful Blue Mountains.
A few days later Samuel, (better known as Sammy) made his way to Central Station and hopped on the train. Well he could have flown of course, but he’d found an old Opal card in the Gardens’ café, so why not use it?
ALL ABOARD FOR A TREE-CHANGE
He was looking out the widow as the stations passed by and noticed there was a sort of general exodus from Sydney.
When the train reached Glenbrook and began to climb he realized he had given no thought all as to where to get off and re-settle. Someone had mentioned Lawson, but he was a bit concerned when he noticed what looked like a small lock-up.
Higher and higher they went; Springwood, Wentworth Falls, Leura, Katoomba Some passengers disembarked (or is it detrained?) at Medlow Bath….hmm, looked a bit posh for a common sparrow he thought, being a humble soul. More suitable for a lyrebird, or a peacock.
That looks a bit swanky.
The very next stop (there weren’t many left) was Blackheath. It looked OK, if a little chilly. He hopped off, carefully minding the gap of course. Oh that fresh air!
Wow, public art, a good sign of a vibrant community. Plenty of roof space too.
On one of the big iron girders across the track an Australian raven was keeping watch . He seemed to be the Mayor.
‘I do believe I will become an official Blackheathen,‘ Sammy told himself, and immediately put in an application
Next morning he woke at sparrow’s chirp (ho ho!) to find a deputation waiting, headed by Mayor Raven. There were king parrots, crimson rosellas, currawongs, yellow robins and a good many blue wrens. They told Sammy he was welcome to stay, but on strict conditions. As a ‘blow-in’ he could never have the freedom of Blackheath., as they did Well that was a nasty shock! He’d been looking forward to doing a bit of bush walking and visiting the local look-outs.
He told them his ancestors had been in Australia since 1863, but they didn’t care. A couple of cheeky magpies said, ‘Listen Mate, no introduced species are allowed beyond the immediate village precinct’. And that’s exactly how it was for pigeons, mynah birds, starlings…. and sparrows. Sometimes a Pommy blackbird broke the rules, but if nobody looked into his eyes he passed for a male satin bowerbird. As for that orange beak…. must be pollen stain mate!
Weighing everything up he decided he would accept the fact that he could never venture past Wentworth Street.
It was fine in the end. There were plenty of cafes in the village, and sometimes tourists even ate pies and cakes on the platform. Plenty of crumbs to go around, so very few squabbles. If an Indian mynah bird got out-of-hand the mayor would soon sort him out. Of course the final arbitrator in any dispute is always…The Station Manager.
Three years have passed, and the little bird has married, and raised several families. So much nest building required. Never mind, there’s always lots of material among the fallen cherry blossom.
Oh my, babies are so demanding! Moments away from nursery duties are rare.
DOMESTIC BLISS, SPARROW STYLE
Our hero’s beloved partner keeps a neat home in the rafters on No. 1 Platform. Sammy is responsible for the backyard, which he has to admit is a bit of a mess. An inside loo might help.
Master of at least some of what he surveys.
Sammy’s wife Gladys (see below) is always busy with her chicks, but graciously took time out for a solo photo. She put a lot of effort into that shawl fringe effect.
By the way, the pigeon waiting for the train at Strathfield settled in Blackheath as well. He resides on platform 2.
Yes, it’s a cliché, but home is where the heart is. Sammy is proud to give his address as Top Floor, No. 1 Platform, Railway Station, Blackheath NSW 2785.
UPDATE 2019. Sam is also environmentally responsible, as we all should be. Water restrictions? Not a problem, a dust bath will do instead.
Were Sammy and family in attendance for the celebration of the 150th birthday of the Railway Station on December 14? They certainly were! One day they will be considered part of the Station’s social history themselves.
FEEL FREE TO LEAVE SAMMY A MESSAGE IN THE BOX BELOW.