by J.A. Mirisch
At the beginning of this year, I wrote about Beverly Hills and sister cities, actual and potential. Fairly recently, the subject seems to have taken flight yet again, with the Weekly having quoted the January article in connection with a recent junket of a BH delegation to China. With all the discussion about sister cities -- pardon me, make that "sibling cities" -- and tourism, it seems that, alas, nobody at City Hall has listened to my plea for BH siblinghood with a town that would seem to be a perfect candidate. Maybe that might change if somebody close to City Hall someday has some business interests to be served by partnering with Beverly Hills, Oz.
In any event, I'd like to make my case yet again for a charming spot which I had the pleasure of visiting a couple of months ago. Several of my Aussie friends couldn't quite understand why I wanted to visit the Sydney suburb. When I was in Queensland, earlier in the trip, I chanced upon a resident, who was born in Melbourne and lived in Beverly Hills. No, this wasn't a member of the Bee Gees or some hip Aussie actor like Simon Baker or Shane Jacobson. This was a gal who was born in Melbourne, Florida and lived in Beverly Hills, Australia. As much as she enjoyed living in BH, or Bevo as it's known locally, she assured me that I would be disappointed. Well, I wasn't. In fact, depite the foul weather, I found Beverly Hills, Australia every bit as charming as I had expected -- and the fulfillment of such expectations is a rare occurrence, indeed. I'm happy to share a few photos of the other BH, and while they may not have the glamour of our own cosmopolitan village (but, then again, who does?), they sure have heart. I dare say there are even quite a few things we could learn from our cousins Down Under.
For one thing, they have a working public transportation system. The "subway to the sea" may yet be a distant vision, but our Aussie BH cousins have already long had the East Hills line.
They have ethnically diverse cuisines; there are times when I wish we had our own Beverly Hills kebab.
They have a movie theater which doesn't only play art-house fare.
They have three-bedroom townhouses for under US $300,000.
They have a Beverly Hills Hotel. No Polo Lounge, but Oscar's Restaurant. Not quite as ritzy perhaps as our own pink palace, but a happening place on a Saturday night nonetheless (at least I imagine so, as I wasn't there on a Saturday night).
They don't have a Hilton.
They have a large variety of church denominations. One, in fact, is a "Uniting Church," and goodness knows, we sure could use a little unity when it comes to putting the residents first in our own BH. True, Oz BH doesn't seem to be as diverse when it comes to different kinds of synagogues, but nobody ever said the exchange with BH, 90210 should be a one-way street. Perhaps there can be a "Uniting Synagogue" in the future of both BH's. Goodness knows, 90210, 90211 and 90212 could sure use a bit of uniting when it comes to recognizing and protecting the uniqueness of our own BH.
They have their own fish store, "Beverly Hills Seafood;"BH, CA seafood lovers who remember Phil's with gusto can at this stage only dream of such a luxury.
They already have a plaque in honor of American-Australian friendship, in the true spirit of any sibling city program.
They have the Beverly Hills Girls High School with the bold slogan: "Women Can Do Anything." You go, Sheila! And, better yet, the mottos on the school's crest are also inspiring: "Be somebody." And my favorite: "Spes non fracta."
Spes non fracta. Latin for "Hope is not yet crushed." O tempora o mores! What a wonderful motto for our own Beverly Hills. It seems we indeed have a lot to learn from Bevo, the Aussie Beverly Hills with heart.
Enjoy this photo essay from Beverly Hills, NSW, Australia. If you feel so moved, please join me in encouraging our City Councilmembers to pick a sibling city (well, suburb, actually, as BH, Oz is geographically a part of two cities, Hurstville and Canterbury) that has something more to offer than just commerce or tourist dollars. Write them, email them and tell them that what we need is a sibling city with a true natural connection. A yin to our yang. A snap to our crackle and pop. A Beverly Hills to our Beverly Hills.