The Boomer Legacy


Boldly Into the Future

Pixel Time; Privacy Inside The Panopticon; Phone Zombies; Cut-through Advertising; Dances With Avatar; All The News That's Fit To Tweet.

Technology was a mirage. What you saw was never quite what you got.

On the other hand, to our credit, we also did brilliant things that decades ago would have been dismissed as mere science fiction.

Sample #5007
We couldn't imagine being without our cars    (Sep 2012)

Topic Images

There are currently 57 photographs in this section.



Rust-belt agriculture: I'd rather put my trust in looking at the sheep and seeing how it performs, than in some number dreamed up by some scientists on a bit of paper (Merriman, 2012)

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Farm sculpture, Cathedral Street Woolloomooloo   (Jul 2018,  494kb)

Keeping the past alive: Engineering was sidelined because our brightest kept choosing to become CPAs, LLBs, MPsychs, FRACGPs and BA(Hons)MT

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Sand-blasting and repainting the Sydney Harbour Bridge to replace the decades-old lead-based paint   (Jul 2011,  314kb)

∇×E: Everything depended upon wave-particles that two hundred years earlier no-one imagined existed

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33kV AC transmission tower outside the Penrith Transmission Substation   (Jul 2011,  303kb)

Built for comfort: Cruise control ✓ Loudspeakers ✓ Touch-screen TV ✓ Dual petrol tank caps ✓ National flag ✓ Oversize padded seat ✓

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Indian Roadmaster motorbike at Mandible Street, Alexandria   (Aug 2019,  321kb)

Chariots of freedom: We were what we drove

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Custom license plates, Sydney   (Nov 2018,  328kb)

Linear ascension: Those who could afford to do so, raced toward an off-grid future

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Cars race along the Eastern Distributor at Woolloomooloo   (Jul 2018,  186kb)

Computer says no: We could detect Gravitational Waves (LIGO, 2015), prove Fermat's last theorem (Wolfram, 2014) and even ridicule Wall Street's misuse of Gaussian copula functions (Wired, 2009) — but no-one could figure out the true cost of mobile-phone plans (WSJ, 2013)

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Mobile phone users at Martin Place, Sydney   (Dec 2014,  291kb)

Fly the friendly skies: All this technology and yet aeroplanes could be made to disappear by simply flipping a transponder switch

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Church Street cones at Parramatta   (Feb 2017,  445kb)

It just works: Release now, patch later

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Jensen Avenue at Dover Heights   (Nov 2016,  282kb)

Moving forward: Jet-packs; Thunderbirds; Monorails; London to Sydney in 90 minutes; Driverless cars on suburban roads

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First Lane at Hurstville, Sydney   (Sep 2016,  331kb)

Encouraging the right choice: How were private toll-roads ever going to make any money if people weren't encouraged use them?

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Abandoned bus at Opoho Road, Dunedin NZ   (Dec 2017,  458kb)

Faisal's inflection: The engine warning light came on in October 1973, but we covered it over and kept going

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Abandoned shops (since demolished), Parramatta Road Homebush   (Jun 2016,  207kb)

Cut-through messaging: Make your mark, repeat, move on

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Vandalised rail-car at the Zigzag railway, Clarence   (Jul 2019,  332kb)

The flipped classroom: A tremendous benefit of BYOD was the collation of data to demonstrate the unceasing improvement in our teaching practice

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At the State Library of NSW   (Oct 2014,  346kb)

Lifespans & outcomes: We no longer needed to dread living longer lives

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Anzac Day marcher, Liverpool Street Sydney   (Apr 2018,  163kb)

Perpetual congestion: Once the great symbol of individual freedom and personal mobility, the car has become a ball and chain. Slow, expensive, and surrounded by endless others, automobiles have taken us as far as they can (Hume, 2012)

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Weedon Avenue garage at Paddington   (Mar 2017,  325kb)

Orphan success: A visionary but impractical architect; Engineers hamstrung by nascent 1960s tech; Conservative politicians who inherited the project and regarded it as a pointless extravagance… The greatest achievement about the SOH was that it was ever completed

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Sydney Opera House, Concert Hall exterior   (Dec 2018,  320kb)

Green energy: Renewables struggled beneath a mantle of ignorance, conspiracy and fossil fuels (RN, 2014)

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Distribution cables (since demolished) in College Lane, at Stanmore in Sydney   (Sep 2012,  407kb)

Option V — for victory: On the basis of postal services being a universal right, we manipulated the UPU terminal dues system to ensure developing countries were generously subsidised whenever they exported small parcels to the west (Swiss World Cargo, 2019)

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Airport Drive, outside Sydney International Airport   (Oct 2019,  144kb)

X-out & scroll: First they came for the workers, then it was our turn

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Gomo Sportswear prior to its demolition, Granville   (Jul 2017,  308kb)

The upgrade escalator ascent: Every nine months there was always something better

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York Street escalators, Wynyard station   (Jul 2018,  326kb)

The imperfect panopticon: One nation under CCTV, but who was watching?

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Apartment courtyard surveillance cameras awaiting connection at Victoria Park   (Sep 2014,  205kb)

We adored you more than our children: You were our greatest and most cherished asset, an organic talisman that gave us light and jobs and windfall profits, and glistened so beautifully in the dying sun

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Anthracite in Lithgow, NSW   (Jun 2019,  167kb)

Phamping: We queued for days to get our hands on the new 128GB Rose Gold iPhone 6S Plus

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Tents outside the Sydney Apple Store   (Sep 2015,  283kb)

Sci-Fi Now: Superconducting NbTi coils; Holmium magnetic flux condensers; 4°K liquid helium insulated within a liquid nitrogen jacket; A suitcase-sized helium condenser; A FFT-processing rack more powerful than a dozen 1980s mainframes… A 3T magnetic field from a machine the size of a small car, to obtain millimetre resolution internal body images without a single incision. Twenty years earlier no one would have believed any of this was possible…

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The 3T MRI scanner at a medical imaging practice at Penrith, in Sydney   (Sep 2013,  180kb)

Peace through superior fire-power: Build it and they will die

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Vought F-8 Crusader at the Intrepid Museum, NYC   (Oct 2017,  189kb)

Orderly exodus: When we were finally done, we all got into our white vans and disappeared

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Toyota HiAce vans await delivery at Penrith   (Apr 2017,  298kb)

The well-connected domicile: Plasma in the bedroom; LCD in the lounge-room; Playstation, XBox, iPhone, Galaxy, Note, iPad, Touch, iPod, Android and iOS scattered everywhere else

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Home entertainment in suburban Kingswood, in Sydney's West   (Sep 2010,  389kb)

Fibre nescience: Do consumers really need data transfer rates that only fibre can provide? (Liberal Party of Australia, 2013)

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Mothballed satellite dishes in Rozelle, in Sydney's East   (Jan 2013,  350kb)

Edgy by order: We created zeitgeist-y fresh environments in which start-ups could prosper

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Disposable bicycles on Pitt Str, outside World Square   (Jan 2018,  208kb)

Project attention deficit disorder: Every Prague Spring had its tanks

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Construction cranes at the Central Park development at Broadway, in Sydney   (Oct 2012,  277kb)

The point of the spear: Every problem for the Kamikaze had exactly the same solution

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Lockheed A-12 engine aerospike at the Intrepid Museum, NYC   (Oct 2017,  75kb)

Aerotropolis now: We took cheap airfares for granted and assumed it would never end

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Sunrise over the Sydney International Airport   (Nov 2017,  130kb)

In the days of the citizen reporter: In order to craft good media stories, we no longer needed broadcast quality equipment to reach a global audience

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Reporters at the Sydney Opera House   (Jul 2014,  243kb)

We couldn't imagine being without our cars: It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency (NYTimes, 2015)

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One of millions of automobiles, gleaming in the driveway of a Point Piper cottage in Sydney's east   (Sep 2012,  201kb)

Who needs maths?: Mate, I dropped maths at school as fast as I could

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At the One Circular Quay construction site, Sydney Cove. At the time the overseas developers had run out of money, so the site had been abandoned for weeks   (Oct 2017,  509kb)

Social networking: CNN, Bloomberg, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, ByteDance, WeChat, Google, Tinder, WhatsApp, Instagram, Snapchat, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, 4/8Chan, Thomson Reuters Eikon: we built elaborate frameworks to ensure you were never alone

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Stargazer lawn at Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney   (Aug 2016,  461kb)

To deindustrialise: Wholesale deindustrialisation eventually led to scaling back carbon related activities

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The abandoned remains of the Illawarra Coke Company at Coalcliff   (Sep 2014,  315kb)

We took your privacy, security & trust extremely seriously: The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner; The Information and Privacy Commission of NSW; The NSW Information Commissioner; The NSW Privacy Commissioner; The Privacy Amendment (Enhancing Privacy Protection) Amendment Act 2012 (Cth); The Australian Privacy Foundation; The Cyberspace Law and Policy Community; The NSW Council for Civil Liberties; The Law Council of Australia Business Law Privacy Sub-committee; The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) Serious Invasions of Privacy in the Digital Era Inquiry; The Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) to replace the National Privacy Principles and Information Privacy Principles; The drone "roundtable" inquiry by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs; The Royal Guide Dogs of Tasmania Privacy Officer

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A Menckenesque kaleidoscope ensured that everyone in Wollongong could see you taking a bath   (Feb 2011,  323kb)

Nostalgic Futurism: The Eighties didn't quite get the future right

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The now dismantled Sydney Monorail at One Dixon Street, Sydney's Chinatown   (Jan 2012,  254kb)

Formalism Concrete: Move fast and break things with stable infrastructure (Facebook, 2014)

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Indigo Slam at Chippendale   (Jul 2017,  114kb)

Interconnected loose-ends: Servicing sprawling cities with deliberately slow transport

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Southern Cross station, Melbourne   (Apr 2019,  283kb)

Big data and the cloud: Off-line storage by the petabyte → provided your network connection was fast enough → provided your resellers didn't vanish overnight…

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Mobile phone tower and clouds from a summer storm, at Faulconbridge in the Blue Mountains   (Dec 2012,  189kb)

The spam massif: We facilitated a global network of unsolicited urgent messages

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Sydney University public noticeboards   (Oct 2017,  468kb)

Force carrier: Sometimes we just couldn't contain ourselves

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Electrical junction box at Chippendale, Sydney   (Jul 2017,  408kb)

Congestion busting: High speed rail was forever on everyone's agenda

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Bushfire wreckage, Zigzag Railway Clarence NSW   (Jul 2019,  471kb)

Stasi without the politics: The keepsake pulled from your private social-media account; HD-CCTV; IP address logging; Cookie tracking; EFTPOS transaction records; Data-mining; Phone-hacking; Location-sensitive personalised mobile marketing; Uρ-skirting/ dοwn-blοusing; Venue & Transport QR Code scanning; Live facial-recognition surveillance; The National Bowel Cancer Screening Program; The ideology of predicting future consumer demand by knowing everything about your customers today

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Satellite, UHF and cable communications at Marrickville, in Sydney   (Sep 2012,  258kb)

Off-line storage: We built tank-farms to cache our dreams

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Storage tanks at Tempe   (Sep 2012,  343kb)

Together alone: Everything you could ever want, via your smart-phone

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Pitt Street Mall passageway   (Aug 2018,  287kb)

Reeks & Wrecks: A sustainable future may only be found in recycling and repairs

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Cardboard packaging in Blue Anchor Lane at Circular Quay, awaiting transport to an interstate landfill   (Nov 2017,  385kb)

Brand garbage: 2000-08-07 purchase Omega Speedmaster Automatic watch (35105000) #56462628 $2150; 2001-01-13 repair under warranty for loud rattling inside watch; 2005-03-29 repair due to watch stopped $595; 2009-08-03 repair due to watch requiring movement replacement $655; 2017-07-20 watch gains 10 minutes every hour, Omega quote to replace movement and watch hands $1295 (+ $75 courier fee); 2017-07-25 quote declined and watch returned without repair; 2017-08-15 watch thrown into landfill at Blaxland Waste Management Facility

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A wristwatch achieved its destiny as a piece of rubbish at Blaxland   (Aug 2017,  283kb)

Springtime for Eloi: We were forever amazed by the vast contraptions built by our distant ancestors

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Sydney Harbour sunrise kayaks   (Jan 2019,  238kb)

Think small: The opera house refurbishment didn't quite go according to plan

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Domestic fountain at Church Street in Croydon   (Sep 2016,  379kb)

Pan Atomicus: 48 tonnes of reactor fuel blew into the atmosphere; 500 000 liquidators tried to clean the mess; 335 000 evacuees fled; 6 000+ citizens died; 90 000+ animals were killed; 20× factor increase in mutations; 2600 km² exclusion zone; €2.15 billion for the New Safe Confinement; $235 billion in damages; the collapse of the USSR… The effects of 1986-04-25 are with us still (National Geographic, 2019)

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Heritage locomotive at Central Station, Sydney   (Jun 2019,  148kb)

Fabricating nostalgia: A lot was said about the impacts of deindustrialisation, but few missed the unimaginative, backbreaking and life-threatening work

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Davy press at ATP Eveleigh Workshops museum   (Sep 2017,  327kb)

Retro-tech: We discovered that 100 year old technologies weren't as hopeless as we originally thought

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The pantograph of a NSW Heritage “Set F1” suburban carriage, Central station   (Jun 2019,  122kb)

Accelerated obsolescence: Yesterday's broadcast-quality production equipment was re-purposed as landfill

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Tape-based off-line editing equipment in a dumpster at Darling Harbour   (Jan 2013,  211kb)