I had the same experiences many years ago when I visited Melbourne regularly. There was often two or more cops on every intersection.
These days you'd get shouted out for blocking the footpath.
On Monday, 23 January 2023 at 03:20:38 pm AEDT, TP historyworks@...> wrote:
George Street, Sydney as a de facto trams-only pedestrian plaza in 1952 (Fairfax photo). It was like a flood washing across the street. Most of it passed across in front of and behind the tram. Those in line with the tram simply boarded it (and as far as I know didn't reappear out the other side). That's how it seemed. Nowadays the tram is more of an obstacle - the Great Wall of Tram.
Jaywalking was a time-honoured tradition in Sydney and the very relaxed police seemed to have no interest in it. I was an enthusiastic participant in it as well. Imagine my surprise when I started living in Melbourne and found all these people dutifully lined up at traffic lights on streets that were so empty that you could fire a cannon down them. Was I in Germany I thought? Then one day somebody shouted at me for ignoring the light and setting sail across the empty street, confirming that I must indeed have been in Germany.
In hindsight, I can see that Melbournians were in fact preparing themselves well for the days of total control over every aspect of our lives that we now live in. I'm too old now to have the necessary quick reflexes needed anyway.