This post was contributed by Sareeta Zaid
Sydney is one of the most visually iconic cities in the world, with the Harbour Bridge and Opera House recognised by people the world over. The University of Sydney main campus in Camperdown/Darlington is located just outside the southwestern edge of the Sydney CBD. When you have some free time between ASCILITE conference sessions, why not head out on a Do-It-Yourself walking tour and explore some of the lesser-known attractions of Sydney, all within a half an hour walk of the main campus. All of these sights are located on unceded Gadigal land.
Just off the main thoroughfare of King Street in Newtown, the nightlife hotspot of Sydney’s inner west, is Camperdown Memorial Rest Park. Now an open green space with a playground and space for picnics and dogs to run, this park was originally the site of Camperdown Cemetery, established in 1848. A small walled area around St Stephen’s Church, located in the centre of the park, holds what remains of the cemetery. A hundred years after the foundation of the cemetery, in 1948 the area was converted into a park and the headstones and monuments marking graves were relocated into the walled area.
Near the entrance of the park is a headstone commemorating Edmund Blacket, who designed the Gothic style buildings of St Stephen’s church and the University of Sydney Quadrangle’s Great Hall, among many others in Sydney as a colonial architect.
On a sunny afternoon, Camperdown Memorial Rest Park provides a relaxing place to take a break before heading to dinner in one of the many restaurants on Newtown’s King Street.
The Glebe Foreshore walk, starting in Bicentennial and Jubilee Park north of the University of Sydney Camperdown campus, follows the foreshore east along the water on a walking trail. The walk is about 2km one way and allows you to take in views of the Anzac Bridge and Sydney Harbour through Blackwattle Bay Park, ending at the Sydney Fish Market precinct that is currently under development. Along the walk there are remnants of the area including the Glebe Island Bridge, and industrial artefacts including an old winch and crane, contrasting the green space and open water of Rozelle and Blackwater Bays.
Connecting Central Station to Darling Harbour and the Chinatown area is the Goods Line, an urban walkway and public park following the path of a previous freight railway line. Reminiscent of the New York High Line, the line stretches from the Devonshire Street pedestrian tunnel to the Powerhouse Ultimo contemporary museum and Darling Square on the other end. Along the way, following the old railway line and remnants of the line’s industrial past, you will pass the UTS Chau Chak Wing Building designed by Frank Gehry and resembling a paper bag, a playground, ping pong tables and many seating areas.
The Eveleigh Railway Workshops, located just southwest of Redfern station, are listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register. The original site was opened in 1887 for the maintenance and manufacture of steam engines and held the largest blacksmiths’ workshop in the southern hemisphere, continuing to operate until 1988. Thousands of people worked here over the century it was operational.
Visitors today are met with a unique combination of heritage buildings, traditional trades and machinery, and public space. The Cultural Landscape Garden, consisting of native plants and resources, was designed in collaboration with local Aboriginal people, and there are green spaces throughout the South Eveleigh precinct along with a skate park and village square of cafes, restaurants and offices. A short wander from the Darlington side of the university campus, this is an interesting location to explore that contributes to the place-making of our city.
The Welcome to Redfern Mural located on the corner of Caroline and Hugo Street in Darlington is painted on a terrace house near Redfern station, serving as a monument to the Aboriginal history and community this area of Sydney is known for as part of the Eora Journey public art project. The artist Reko Rennie, a Kamilaroi/ Gamilaraay/ Gummaroi man from Melbourne, worked with young Aboriginal artists Nahdia Noter, Trae Campbell, Ji Duncan-Weatherby, Tyrrelle McGrath, Brandon Phillips, Isaac Phillips, Josh Addo and Josh Nolan in the summer of 2012-13 to create this artwork. The mural covers all four sides of the Victorian terrace and includes images of Pemulwuy, known for his historic resistance to the colonial regime, and the eight young Indigenous artists. The text ‘The Block’ refers to the urban Aboriginal history of this area in the second half of the 20th and early 21st centuries. This mural serves as a monument and celebration of the Indigenous culture and activism of this part of Sydney and the Aboriginal custodianship of land through decolonisation of space.
Northwest of the Camperdown campus, Sydney’s famous Chinatown is known for its shops, restaurants and street food. The gates on the corner of Hay and Dixon Streets welcome you to the pedestrian friendly precinct, where you can buy cream puffs for less than a dollar at the window in the wall of Emperor’s Garden or browse the Friday night markets for dinner, dessert and some shopping. North of Chinatown is the Chinese Garden of Friendship, open daily and serving as a tranquil escape from the busyness of the city.
These sights and many more are found all around the University of Sydney main campus, and are a great way to spend some free time while you are in Sydney.