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When people talk about nostalgia, I don't often have a lot to say. However there is at least something, or someplace, that I've realised I'm quite nostalgic about, and that is the suburb of Hornsby. I've probably spent most of my life there in one way or another, and despite the fact I haven't been there a great deal since I left high school, it still is somewhere that shares a long history with me.

I recall the shopping centre that used to be there once, Northgate, before it was turned into the giant Westfield it is today. To be honest, I can't even be sure whether it was in fact the Northgate shopping centre or the smaller Westfield that used to exist there, but I hadn't really noticed the Westfield there until the refurbishment in 2001. (You could blame that on obliviousness though.)

Hornsby Westfield, from Wikipedia

Thinking back to what memories I have of it, all I could relate it to is that it reminds me of the Eastwood Village shopping centre in Eastwood (obviously), or the small shopping centre in Pennant Hills near the station which I don't know the name of. There was a long ramp with a banister which may or may not have been painted green (seems to be a common colour scheme with these shopping centres, I have to admit), though I don't recall where it led. There was also a large Coles (which my grandparents called 'Col-see', what some Chinese people tend to do with words that end in 'es' apparently), and a 'Donut King' (as much as I hate spelling it like that). I can recall some moments where I would stand there and watch the freshly-cooked doughnuts appear out of the machine and get conveyed to the bowl... via a conveyor belt!

Other than spending a lot of time in my grandparents' apartment in Hornsby as a child and occasionally taking a walk with them in the afternoon though, I also attended the selective high school there, Hornsby Girls' High School, which indeed increased my knowledge of the area by a great amount, when I would explore it with my friends, or sometimes on my own as well. It was probably also when I became very well acquainted with the stores in the 'new' Westfield, although they have since changed by a great deal in the past few years.

Battle of the Choirs group
This picture is so old, why is it still on the school's website?

I never really discovered the City until a few years ago. My family would go into the City once a year for a special trip, and I would go there once also for Speech Day with my high school. It seemed like a place really far away. I finally learned to navigate it one day, when I was visiting the ABC's anniversary festival-thing in the courtyard behind the ABC building. I managed to walk from the ABC in Central to the Kinokuniya in Town Hall, and back again, and I still take the same route as I did then, although now I'm much less anxious about straying from the path. Come university, and I'm navigating the city like a Pro, even if I do need Ruben's navigation skills around Museum sometimes.

I never ventured a lot further than from the station to my grandparent's neighbouring streets on one side of the station, or from the station to the courthouse on the other side of the station, or indeed much further than Barker College or the hospital. Nonetheless, I can still look back and wonder about what I know about the places in Hornsby and when I see the old places I'd been to before, I'd wonder about how I would have seen them in the past. I wonder now if I could remember how to walk to the retirement village where my friends and I went weekly to go and chat to and entertain the elderly folk who lived there, buying apples from the Safeway on the way there, and paying $1 to take the bus back.

Image of Hornsby from Wikipedia.