An attempt to visit every suburb in Sydney.

For many Sydneysiders, this is a suburb that is looked down on. My job today is to work out if Punchbowl is befitting of its reputation,...

Somebody Spiked the: Punchbowl

For many Sydneysiders, this is a suburb that is looked down on. My job today is to work out if Punchbowl is befitting of its reputation, or if, like my previous visit to poor-reputationed Auburn, it's actually worth a visit. 


From my previous suburb of Riverwood, I crossed into Punchbowl on foot from its southern border. 

The actual border into Punchbowl is this drain/creek along a street named Wiggs. 

On a side note, Riverwood's final hurrah was this furniture shop whose name I found amusing. Fancy. 

Southern Punchbowl is fairly standard Sydney residential suburbia, with tree-lined streets that are quite pleasant to walk through. 

Your average home is either a new development which attempts to cram as much house into as small a land as possible, like these interesting looking town houses,

or an older, smaller house with plenty of yard. 

At first I thought that this was one massive castle-like house, but it turned out to be a block of townhouses too. Rats.

Continuing north towards the town centre, I stumbled upon this brief local history lesson. Paraphrasing the story on the sign, apparently this site is notable for being the place where a local Aboriginal group attempted to defend their land from being settled as a farm. The land obviously looks very different today. 

After a short distance, I reached the very busy Canterbury Rd. Among other things, this corner is where you can score some cheap grog. 

As you can imagine, the corner of a main road is not the most desirable place to live, which would explain why a few of the houses here are in a state of disrepair. 

It's not all run down though. As I headed back into the residential streets, I ran across this fellow who apparently subscribes to the "Equity Mate" principle of life.

I continued on, eventually turning onto Punchbowl Road and towards the commercial centre of Punchbowl. 

This car repair shop has the proud honour of marking the switch from residential to commercial.

Although the occasional house does slip through the cracks.

Most ethnically concentrated Sydney suburbs have pretty great commercial centres. Fairfield Heights and Wentworthville are some of my favourites that this blog has covered so far (as of December 2018), but Sydney is absolutely rich with these kinds of places.

Only around 20% of Punchbowl's residents speak English at home, with Arabic being the major language here, so I was expecting to enjoy something similar.

The first hint of the demographics is this shop "The Argileh Express", whose business essentially revolves around delivering argileh (also known as shisha) to your home. Your move Uber Eats. 

You've also got your fair share of "Lebanese pizza" stores that I'm sure serve up some delicious zaatar (see my visit to Westmead for more info on that). 

Also common in suburban Sydney are shops which sell literally everything you may ever need. This one even cuts your keys too. 

On the other hand, this store sells everything you would never need, such as a framed picture of Kramer. 

I did see these apartments a little bit off from the commercial area which I found interesting, as it looks like somebody just stickytaped some housing on top of a medical centre (which I suppose isn't that far from how it actually works). 

It's not all Middle-Eastern here though. Punchbowl does get to boast the honour of having the world's most nondescript place of business - this Hungarian Centre. (If you have to ask how to get in, you can't afford it.)

And some 100% fat free falafel [citation needed].

All in all, Punchbowl's commercial centre didn't impress me. Despite having some interesting stores, I didn't get that "buzz" that some other suburbs have. 

My suspicion is that this is due to the area's layout. You see, the town's commercial centre straddles a couple of main roads and a rail line, and as a result is traffic heavy and not pedestrian focused. 

That being said, the suburb does claw back a few points for having representatives from both of Western Sydney's main garlic-dealing gangs, Al-Awafi and El Jannah. (I'm #TeamEJ myself). 

I decided I'd seen what I had to see, so I made my way to the train station for my next suburb. 

Punchbowl: Not as bad as some would believe, but I can think of a fair few better suburbs to spend an afternoon. 

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