Good notes, Sandra, on Victoria St. and Woolloomooloo. I've actually been researching these neighborhoods since the mid 1970's after seeing a documentary film entitled WOOLLOOMOOLOO in an urban studies class. According to my notes::
"In the early 1970's the inner city neighborhood of Woolloomooloo in Sidney, Australia, was threatened by massive urban renewal. The resistance by the residents; the cooperation gained from the building and trades union; the roles of the politicians, real estate speculators, and city planners; the battles with goon squads and with the police; is all effectively presented in the documentary film Woolloomooloo. Sydney poet Denis Kevans and Builders Laborers organizer Seamus Gill were in the thick of the fight and livened things up with such great songs as this one, patterned after the old sailors drinking song 'All for Me Grog.'" One of the protest songs featured in this film was this one:
Words by Denis Kevans and Seamus Gill © 1973
Tune: traditional "All for Me Grog"
Across the Western Suburbs
Oh, me name it is Fred,
In Sydney born and bred,
And the inner-city used to be my home, boys,
But it's caused me heart to grieve
For I've had to take me leave,
Now across the Western Suburbs I must roam, boys.
Under concrete and glass,
Sydney's disappearing fast;
It's all gone for profit and for plunder;
Though we really want to stay,
They keep driving us away,
Now across the Western suburbs we must wander.
Now where is me house,
Me little terrace house?
It's all gone for profit and for plunder,
For the wreckers of the town
Just came up and knocked it down;
Now across the Western Suburbs we must wander...
Thanks to Bob Bolton, I had the pleasure of meeting Denis in Blackheath back in 2001, sang some songs with him and raised a glass or two.
It's undoubtedly true that Victoria St. is highly gentrified now but I was under the impression that much of the low lying neighborhood behind the Finger Wharf is still low and moderate income residential, something which was not in the original "urban renewal" plan. What seems to have happened is a more gradual "displacement," with a few dramatic highrise condos sticking up like the sore thumbs they are, as you've pointed out.