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The author reminisces about growing up in Nunawading, a suburb in Melbourne, during the 1960s and 1970s. Sundays were marked by bonfires in the gutter and kids poking sticks into the flames, a mischievous activity that could earn girls threats of being sent to Winlaton, the local youth training centre for delinquent and vulnerable young women. Beyond Nunawading, the author and their friends caught yabbies in Blackburn Lake, picnicked in Mitcham, and spent summer days at the Nunawading swimming pool. Saturdays included visits to the library, often followed by a terrifying drive to the new Civic Centre. The author and their siblings roamed the area unsupervised, venturing to “the pipeline” to collect empty Tarax bottles to cash in for lolly money.

During high school years, the author was distracted by activities like visiting the Forest Hill shops, being part of the Nunawading Swimming Club, watching footy games, and riding the Lilydale and Belgrave line trains. Turning 18 opened doors to live bands at the Whitehorse Hotel, the only nightlife in the area at the time. In 1981, the author left Nunawading for the livelier atmosphere of the city, as did their brothers and parents. Despite their departure, the suburb continued to evolve, with landmarks like Wobbies World and Skate Ranch coming and going, and the Nunawading section of Whitehorse Road transforming into the Mega Mile, home to 270 businesses in 2015.

Return to Nunawading years later was prompted by a need for a refrigerator, leading the author to explore the Brandsmart Premium Outlet Centre and enjoy lunch at one of the new cafes in the area. The suburb has shown signs of revitalization and has become a destination once again. The author reflects on the changes that have taken place in Nunawading over the years, including the thriving swimming club and the success of a past teammate’s son at the Tokyo Olympics. Despite not having the natural attractions of the nearby hills or bay beaches, Nunawading is described as having a good heart and the author values the grounding influence their childhood in the suburb provided.

The author speculates that the return of the television show Neighbours, which is being filmed on the original sets at Nunawading Studios, may be no coincidence. Nunawading is portrayed as a place that can be a fitting stopover for a period of time, perhaps even as long as 20 years. The author emphasizes the importance of the suburb in shaping their upbringing and credits Nunawading with instilling a sense of community and values that have stayed with them into adulthood. Despite the changes and developments in the area, the author maintains a sense of nostalgia and fondness for their childhood home in Nunawading.

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