I know all of you out there in blog land have been champing at the bit for another suburb review, and who am I to say no to your dear little faces? Pay attention, now; this week, it's:
The interesting thing about South Morang - the only interesting thing - is that, according to the map at least, there is no actual Morang to be south of. Perhaps this Atlantis, this El Dorado of suburbs does exist, but I for one couldn't be bothered travelling any further north to find it. South Morang is a ludicrously boring place which saps you of the will to do anything but turn around and go home.
Existing at the very edge of the greater Melbourne metropolitan area, South Morang is one of those places that appears to be waiting to exist: for humans to flesh it out, give it character. In it's current state, little can be said about it. It is generally quite flat. There are some cows. That's about it. The place feels like a weekend at your grandmother's, and the air smells faintly of cardboard. Any people that you spot - and it may be a while before you do - tend to be mooching along slowly by the side of the road, apparently wondering why they're in South Morang and what the best way out might be. If they see you, they will run and hide, terrified by your citified ways and upright posture.
As with all liminal spaces, however, there is an undercurrent of immanent change in South Morang. Civilization is pushing over the borders, and the excess population of Mill Park to the south is slowly spilling into its northern neighbour (in much the same way as a drain will leak sewage after a heavy rainfall). The evidence shows up in decidedly strange places, usually the middle of no-where: large, shiny and noticeably empty buildings can be seen dotting the otherwise barren landscape. Most often, these take the form of shopping malls - brand new, spotlessly clean shopping malls, crouching expectantly in the middle of windswept fields, apparently deviod of all life barring the occasional curious cow.
In earlier times, towns grew up beside watering holes, along trading routes, or around sites of religious or strategic significance. Nowadays, it seems, the shopping mall is the seed from which civilisation springs: "the opportunity to live near outlets for processed foodstuffs, tacky plasticised small goods and cheap! cheap! cheap! bargain basement clothing is an instant draw-card for your average nuclear-type family", the captains of industry have figured. "Let's bung a few malls in some godawful wasteland and watch 'em swarm". This 'if you build it, they will come' (and yes, I feel physically sick quoting from a Costner movie; let's just move on and never mention it again) mentality seems bizzare, but is apparently successful. Already one can see signage ear-marking tracts of land for high-density housing. It may be that some day soon South Morang will become a bustling metropolis; until that time the shopping malls wait, unlit but hungry.
The cows' thoughts on these developments have gone unrecorded.
South Morang: two heifers out of five.