30 November 2023

Review: Retro Sydney 1950 - 2000 by Nathan Mete

Retro Sydney 1950 - 2000 by Nathan Mete book cover

* Copy courtesy of Scribe Publications *

Retro Sydney 1950 - 2000 by Nathan Mete is a collection of photographs that invites the reader to step back in time and tap into their nostalgia and sense of curiosity. Drawing together photographs taken in Sydney from a variety of sources including the National Archives of Australia, State Library of NSW Archives and Getty Images, Nathan Mete has managed to document the changing streets of Sydney over the course of half a century.

There are plenty of photographs showcasing Sydney's ever evolving city skyline, and the construction of Centre Point Tower in the 1980s was most interesting. Apparently it's now called the Sydney Tower Eye, not that I'll be able to change the name association in my mind. I lived in Sydney in the late 1990s and Retro Sydney 1950 - 2000 took me back to that era with the flip of a page.

As in previous collections of this nature, I enjoyed looking deep into each photograph and studying the people, and in doing so observing the many changes in fashion, advertising, technology, construction and retail over time. Structured chronologically by decade, some of the photos displayed a stiffness and formality in their composition but this is quickly offset by Mete's casual and relaxed style of writing.

I didn't plan on reading a book about Sydney at the same time as a book about Melbourne, but sometimes that's just how our reading schedules turn out. At the same time I was reading about the hazards of runaway horses in early Melbourne in Corners of Melbourne by Robyn Annear, I was learning about the demise of Sydney's Bourbon and Beefsteak in Kings Cross, which closed in late 2022. (Such a shame, I have many happy memories of partying there!)

Arising from a very successful instagram page of the same name, Retro Sydney shows the publishing industry is changing and many successful content creators are now following their social media success into the book industry and becoming published authors.

If you enjoyed books like Old Vintage Melbourne or Old Vintage Melbourne 1960 - 1990 by Chris Macheras - also published by Scribe Publications - and wished there was one for Sydney, you'll be pleased to know this is it!

Retro Sydney 1950 - 2000 by Nathan Mete is a well designed coffee table book, and would make the perfect Christmas gift for the armchair time traveller, historian, photographer, nostalgic visitor and reflective resident; they will all find something to admire here.

My Rating:

Would you like to comment?

Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!