News Satire People Food Other

Sulkers By The Sea

By Rupert Truscott-Hughes on October 21, 2012 in Other

Photo: Grant Brooks

When daylight saving sets in and the weather really begins to take a turn for the better, Tamarama locals quickly lose the smug grins that living in a beautiful beachside locale affords them as thoughts of an event that brings untold inconvenience to their idyllic lives start to fill their minds. The payment of ridiculous rents and horrendous house prices seems to see off most problems that an average person probably faces day to day, but for two and half weeks a year, one still remains.

Yes, Sculpture by the Sea is about to begin again (on October 18, in fact). In the past, The Beast has sometimes panned the event and its organisers for a variety of indiscretions and inconveniences, but Rupert here is out to set the record straight. In my opinion, Eastern Suburbs residents, particularly those from Tamarama, should quit their bloody whining.

Sculpture by the Sea is a great concept and it’s generally very well executed. People not only come from other parts of Sydney to see it, they come from all over the world. And why shouldn’t they? The beautiful coastal walk that we often take for granted is as much theirs to enjoy as it is for those who pay a sickening amount of money to live near it, many of whom I imagine rarely set foot upon the walk as they’re too busy busting a gut to pay off their outrageous mortgages. We should be proud of our area and happy to show it off to visitors, particularly those from the west who have very little else to smile about.

In attracting visitors from all over the world, Sculpture by the Sea is also a massive boon for local business. I’ve actually come across some figures that show the positive effects Sculptures by the Sea has for local business owners. In times when it’s incredibly tough for small business, anything that increases cash flow can only be described as a blessing. It’s a long winter in the east for these businesses and the kickstart to the summer season that Sculptures brings is not to be sneezed at.

A survey taken last year of 92 local Bondi, Bronte and Tamarama businesses regarding their customers’ responses to the exhibition, their turnover as a result of the event, their opinions on the event timings and their view on the funding the event should receive showed some interesting outcomes. Among the results was the following: 80% of customers had either a ‘Very Good’ or ‘Good’ response to the exhibition (the highest two ratings); 45% of businesses had between 20% and 50% increase in turnover during the exhibition and a further 32.5% of businesses had an increase in turnover of up to 15%; and 86% of businesses ranked the importance of the exhibition as being ‘good for Bondi’ between 7 and 10 out of 10.

Yes, these figures are part of Sculpture by the Sea’s annual propaganda package, but they are, nonetheless, true.

So to the unhappy Tama locals, Rupert here has some advice: put a smile on you dial for the two and a half weeks of Sculpture by the Sea or bugger off and have a holiday elsewhere. For the other 49 weeks of the year you live in the best place on the bloody planet. Be thankful that people want to visit your suburb.


  1. Excellent observations. My wife and I have been visiting the event nearly every year since its inception. It is very well run and usually has quite amazing, unusual and/or funny exhibits. Sure it gets a bit crowded especially at weekends but it not only gives visitors a bit of ‘culture’ but also showcases one of the most attractive places in Sydney. The locals should be happy as it no doubt goes towards increasing their property values.

    Posted by: Mike from Balmain | October 29, 2012, 11:58 AM |

    Reply to this comment >
  2. Bloody Well Said Rupert. The upside of what this event does for the area and Sydney is world class. It is also very beneficial to local business….which is well needed. To all the local joggers and Tama wingers who are aggressively running past guests attending the Sculpture event, not only put a smile on your dial but slow down when you are running and appreciate how much this event is bringing to your beloved area. Why not even take some time to visit the event and see national and international sculptures created by masterful artists who rate this as a world class event! Cath from Bondi

    Posted by: Cath | October 29, 2012, 2:45 PM |

    Reply to this comment >
  3. Tamarama locals love Sculptures by the Sea!!!
    If you survey the residents instead of the businesses I am sure you will find that most will be happy to share SxS with other beaches!!
    Maroubra would be a perfect place for next year!!!

    Posted by: the phil | October 29, 2012, 7:34 PM |

    Reply to this comment >
  4. I love Sculpture by the Sea. When we came to Coogee in 2008 we walked the path several times, always finding something new to look at. We will be over from England next year in time for the event, if only we had something like it over here. I think it is really inspirational, long may it continue.

    Posted by: julia price | October 30, 2012, 6:47 AM |

    Reply to this comment >