Archive for the ‘City of Sydney Council’ tag
Walking past an interrupted 7am tryst on Oxford Street this morning, we spotted this hypnotic character leaping from a boarded up shop.
Trent Whitehead‘s character bursts from the boarded up shop, a placid pair of eyes behind a flashing niqab.
Trent’s 3D installation was commissioned for this year’s Art & About – I know we run the risk of turning into an Art & About blog, but it’s been a particularly rich crop this year – and it’s up until the end of the month. Watch a video of the making here.
Two doors down, Jane Becker captures the neighbourhood a little more prosaically with Oxford Street Fauna – the local non-human street life, and I’m not talking zombies. This is all about the more typical sights: rat, guide dog, pigeon, bat, cockroach, and so on.
It’s not quite as fascinating and amazing as Renew Newcastle – where artists and other creative people in the city are actually taking over the run down real estate and setting up art spaces and completely sustainable businesses – but it’s an exciting and imaginative move from the council in what often feels like a tired strip.
Walking through Taylor Square today at lunchtime, several council workers were hard at it laying some bitumen next to the old loos on the northern side of Oxford Street.
I asked one of the guys what it was they were working on. He told me it was for a “temporary art thing”.
Intriguing. Watch this space.
They’ve been knitting for a month or two, now, in cafes and bars and on park benches, but over the weekend the assembled thread wound its way around Kings Cross.
Centred on Fitzroy Gardens, and the beautiful El Alamein fountain, but extending a little way along Macleay Street and Darlinghurst Road, it’s a project called I Heart Kings Cross, and it’s part of the council’s Art & About program.
The guys behind it, Reef Knot, formed out of the ashes of Knot Gallery four years ago, where the crew had collaborated with designers, musicians, sculptors and painters to create installations for street, art and music festivals.
Collectives are springing up all over the place to knit in public places. It’s being called guerrilla knitting, and I reckon its roots are in guerrilla gardening. It’s a little bit political, and a lot about creating sections of spontaneous beauty in sometimes tired neighbourhoods.
We don’t usually post so many pictures, but this is really just spectacular, and every single bit of knitting is worth seeing. We started to feel a little sorry for the trees without woollen cloaks, especially with the current cold snap.
Walking past the Naval base at Woolloomooloo, we often pass the huge Fleet Base car park.
In a neat inversion of the Situationist slogan (“Beneath the paving stones, the beach!”), hidden above the cars is a native rooftop garden.
Embarkation Park (or as Malcolm Turnbull’s dog apparently calls it, Bark Park) has been around for a few decades, and the garden extends from small shrubs to larger native trees. It’s an ‘intensive’ type green roof, built on a layered system, according to this report for the council. It’s an off-leash park and it’s open between sunrise and sunset.
According to this Navy newsletter, it’s a “known shooting gallery.” It’s also a hotspot for gay cruising. But with a spectacular view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, the Sydney Opera House and the rest of the city skyline, it’s also one of the best vantage points for New Year’s Eve fireworks and other harbourside celebrations.
So honours for the first Woolloomooloo green rooftop may actually go to the top of this Navy car park.
The council wants to increase city cycling by an amazing 500 per cent, and they’re putting in cycleways, cycle lanes and shared zones left, right and centre.
But it gets murky in the inner city, where new cycle paths eat into limited on-street parking. Like this cycle route through Bourke Street, from Woolloomooloo to Zetland, that’s recently gone to tender.
Residents object to losing precious parking spaces, but also what they’ve called the unsafe design of the cycleway, and along Bourke Street, between Taylor Square and Albion Streets, they’re making it clear which parking spaces are set to go.
Allegedly, 100 parking spaces are to go.
It’s a difficult predicament, but is it a bit of ‘not in our backyard’?
Rose Terrace in Paddington, just off South Dowling Street, near the corner at Oxford Street, has undergone a make-over.
A little bit of research shows an interesting history.
The 32 houses were built in 1874-75 in three terraces to form a triangle, with a common area in the middle. Kids used to play, clothes-lines were erected, neighbourhood parties were held here. Then in the 1960s, individual houses were sold and the common area became a place to park cars and dump trash.
In 1973, the Rose Terrace Society was formed to fight against the owner who wanted to build a multi-storeyed building on the site. The then Lord Mayor of Sydney, Leo Port, came to the rescue. The owner was defeated and the common area was given back to the people as a community garden. A Local Citizens Committee was established to care for and maintain the garden with a grant of $5200.
According to the Paddington Paper (official newsletter of the Paddington Society), in April 2009:
The Rose Terrace garden park has been scooped out clean for a complete renewal. City of Sydney has worked with residents and landscape specialists to come up with a new look for this park…
Pulling up the tar from the old road surface has revealed treasures and rubbish. It seems 100 years ago, road base was just small rocks and anything that would go on top of the sand.
Digging struck treasure too. The sandstone gutter that originally went with the sandstone curb saw daylight for the first time in many years. The sympathetic landscapers are preserving and re-seating it ready to go along side the new tarred surface.
Well, it is all complete and looking lovely in the spring time.
There’s a surprising little block of land tucked behind Oxford Street, near Taylor Square.
It’s a garden, but quite a different one. This one, at 306 Palmer Street, has been owned by the council for years. It used to be called the Darlinghurst Children’s Garden.
Here’s a pic from the late ’70s from Sydney council’s archives, and another taken this week.
It’s hard to tell what the garden was like for the three children in that photo. Between the picket fence, the flares and the black and white picture, there’s not much green. But whatever the case, it’s not as friendly now.
The council’s been wondering what to do with the patch of land for years. Seven years ago, before South Sydney Council was amalgamated into the City of Sydney Council, they deliberated on the garden at Erskineville Town Hall.
Now it’s fenced in, but seemingly well maintained – couldn’t it be a garden in the meantime?
We blogged about the glorious Dowling Street Container Garden in July, but what a difference a month makes.
In late July, Housing NSW, which owns the site, gave Greening Woolloomooloo five days to clear out their gardens. The gardeners have had a slight reprieve though, housing minister David Borger said he’s talking to Sydney council to find another site for the garden.
On the corner of Victoria and Surrey Streets, Darlinghurst, sits a one-time laundrette.
Months ago, we noticed a development application plastered on the wall outside with plans for a new pharmacy.
The DA was approved, according to the City of Sydney Council’s records, on 22 January this year.
Inside it is still the shell of a laundry.
Outside it is a partly boarded up wall of graffiti, chicken wire, stickers and posters for upcoming gigs.
With the cost of the development estimated at $65,000, is the continuing state of disarray a sign of the GFC?
Last night, we wandered down the dead end of Thomson Street, in Darlinghurst, to be welcomed by this adorable garden.
I went back today and spoke to one of the residents, who said his neighbour planted the garden 10 years ago, and continues to maintain it with TLC.
He has an “arrangement” with council, who turn a blind eye to its existence. Good on you, City of Sydney Council. And good on you, resident of Thomson Street. It’s just delightful.
Such a pleasant oasis by day, though typically, according to my source, another seedy back lane by night.