When I was 25, I made it. I had a dream job working on an international fashion magazine. One day, my colleague – my friend – turned to me and laughed.
‘God, Jode,’ she said. ‘I can still remember when we got your job application and said “We have GOT to meet the girl who lives in Rooty Hill.”’
I know she didn’t mean to be unkind; that it was said in a ‘Look at you now!’ kind of way. But nearly 20 years later, I can still feel the heat of humiliation.
I was born in Auburn Hospital, and went home to Cabramatta. We moved to Rooty Hill when I was 3, and I went to Rooty Hill Primary School, Rooty Hill High and St Marys Senior High. I’m a graduate of what used to be known as the University of Western Sydney.
I was 9 when Anita Cobby was murdered. Had just started high school when Janine Balding was killed in Minchinbury. I graduated from university the same year the “Class We Failed” finished high school.
I thought about this last Thursday as I wandered through the streets of Blacktown experiencing RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. I reminisced with my group about Patrick Mall. I remembered how my mum bought my first Cabbage Patch Doll from Uncle Pete’s Toys, now a Karate School, behind Bow’s Restaurant. All as we fanned our faces and wiped the sweat from the searing Blacktown heat.
I hated Rooty Hill High School. I couldn’t wait to leave. But as I watched Team Trampoline bounce on mats woven by students from my old high school, I could almost feel that chip finally fall off my shoulder on to the floor of the mall.
The marketer in me wants to sell RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. to those girls from the Eastern suburbs, the Inner West hipsters. Wants them to experience the ‘real’ Blacktown. See what people from Rooty Hill are ‘really’ like.
This time next year, this Blacktown will be gone. Knocked down and rebuilt, all shiny and new. A new version of Blacktown. A middle finger to the vestiges of our own cultural cringe.
The truth is, RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. is for us. The people who love Blacktown and the people who loathe her.
The ones that left.
And the ones that stayed.
This is your last chance to see her.
Right here. Right now.
By Jodie Polutele
Thursday 1, Friday 2, and Saturday 3 November
Thursday 8, Friday 9, and Saturday 10 November
Thursday 15, Friday 16, and Saturday 17 November
From 6pm each night*
*Feminist Killjoys Reading Group Open Sessions to be held each Saturday from 4pm. Free with registration at time of booking.
Main Street, Blacktown.
Full price: $59 including dinner.
Family price: $139 for two adults and two children aged 12-17 including dinner.
To book tickets, please visit