This myth is busted

It is often thought that the CBD is mainly populated with young urban professionals and hipsters.
But 93-year-old Bernie Greene who calls CBD home since 1996 busts this myth. And when he narrates his reasons for choosing to live in an apartment in the city, one can’t but feel nostalgic and warm.
Holding dear memories – his wedding to his wife Isobel at the St Augustine’s Church in 1945 and his career with the Victorian Railways at the old Spencer St railway station (now the Southern Cross station) – Bernie decided to get a place in the city so he could have his past, present in his everyday life.
“Most things are forgotten over time. We’re so caught up in our everyday lives that events of the past are no longer in orbit around our minds. But still, there are some things we can never assign to oblivion,” says Bernie.
“I inspected a few apartments and almost gave up on living here. On the last day before heading back to Ballarat, I attended the mass at the St Augustine’s Church and as I came out I saw the apartment and it was like it was a sign – I had found home,” he says emotionally.
Bernie is a proud railwayman who joined the Victorian Railway to achieve his boyhood dream of operating the express passenger steam locomotives of the time.
He worked as a fireman on the S class Pacifics, hauling the famous Spirit of Progress between Melbourne and Albury. “What a sensational feeling it was being in charge of all that power and speed. The sound of the whistle and the rush of air were a real thrill. In those days we always outran the cars trying to keep pace with us on the Hume Highway and it was great fun waving goodbye to them as we blocked them off at the crossings.”
However, he regrets the destruction of the four S class locomotives. “It was an utter tragedy, it was almost inconceivable that the pride of Victoria could be so callously discarded. It’s such a shame that we can’t go to a museum and see one,” he said.
Born on Christmas Day, Bernie loves being in the city. “I am in the best place. Everybody comes to see me as I am right in the heart of the city. I couldn’t wish for more – trams, trains, dining and shopping – all just a short stroll away makes things very easy for me,” he says.
“I can get a good meal for $10, so I can’t be bothered cooking. But I am not a big fan of salads that are served these days – just twigs and leaves with no flavor. But I do love my cakes and tea,” he confides.
Bernie also points out that he feels quite safe living in the city. “The security in the apartment is marvelous.” He is also on Facebook but “not sure I need it though.” He is an ardent Richmond fan but bemoans that the team has not given him a reason to cheer for a while now.
From growing up in the farming district of Bungaree (about 15km from Ballarat) to Melbourne CBD, it has been an exciting ride for Bernie. With five children, 16 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren, the journey has been a one big party for him.

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