MPs call for billycart race street to be renamed Clive James Avenue

The Kogarah street, which was the finish line for Clive James' billycart races, should be named in his honour, say two state MPs.

Chris Minns (Kogarah) and Steve Kamper (Rockdale) called on Bayside Council to rename Production Lane "Clive James Avenue" following the death of the acclaimed writer and broadcaster.


Production Avenue , on the edge of Scarborough Park, was the finish line for billycart races held by James and other children at the bottom of the steep descent down Sunbeam Avenue and Margaret Street from Rocky Point Road.

James wouldn't recognise the area now with the huge Ramsgate Park development nearby on the former Darrel Lea site.

In his autobiography, Unreliable Memoirs, James said Sunbeam Avenue "started higher and lasted longer" than Margaret Street (on which James lived) and "All [the billy-cart driver] could do was crash reasonably gently when he got to the end".

James grew up an only child in Margaret Street after his father died en route to Australia following the conclusion of the Second World War. James attended Sydney Technical High, Sydney University and Cambridge University.

"We expect some opposition to this proposal - not least from the heirs to Mrs Branthwaite's estate - owing to Mr James's part in the destruction of her famed poppies in an infamous billycarting incident in the late 1940's," said Mr Minns, tongue in cheek.

"There may also be opposition from James's classmate Thommo (who was so wild he required six canings to slow him down) or even Kenny Mears - the 'school's most impressive bully' whom James described as being 'the embodiment of Gibbon's definition of the barbarian'. He was also, according to James, a frightful little s***'."

"But notwithstanding the understandable opposition from long departed Kogarah identities, this is a little thing the people of St George can do in memory of one of our most famous exports and one of the most important essayists and critics Australia has produced."

Mr Kamper said: "When James was a child he ran away from home but, as his mother had forbidden him from crossing Rocky Point Road, he went no further.

"He rectified this in 1962, moving to the other side to the globe and Australia has missed him since."

"It's a real shame that illness prevented James from coming to Kogarah in recent years to observe how it has changed and record in his own style (this time as an outsider) what's special and different about this part of Sydney, 57 years after he left."

"We are proud to claim the Kid from Kogarah".