Marlborough Street


“Marlborough House” is a building I’ve walked past possibly hundreds of times, and yet have had no idea what was located inside. A bit of googling reveals this massive building is home to fashion graphic designers, fashion designers, furniture designers etc.

I only really discovered it today when I went walking along Marlborough Street as part of my ongoing photographic project, Surry Streets. I actually thought it was one of those massive residential apartment blocks springing up around Surry Hills, but apparently not.

It absolutely dominates one end of Marlborough Street which stretches from Cleveland Street right up over the hill to the other side of Devonshire Street.

As you walk along the street you pass interesting old terrace houses, interesting businesses, Ward Park, and St Peter’s Catholic Church to name but a few of the sites you encounter.

Miles Street

Miles Street, Surry Hills

For the last four years, from time to time, I’ve been indulging in a photographic project I’ve called Surry Streets. The project came out of a personal discovery desire to get to know the area in which I live a little better.

There’s a tendency just to walk along the main streets and the same streets every day, isn’t there? And so that’s when I started to look for streets I have either never known existed, or have always walked past.

The latest two were Marlborough Street and Miles Street.

Though I’m not really sure if you could call Miles Street an actual street. It’s tiny, and half of it is gated off as a private road for the Catholic Church.

Ridge Place and Ridge Lane

Corner of Ridge Street and Ridge Place, Surry Hills

“Hi, how’s it going?”, a bloke shouted to me in a friendly manner from a backyard BBQ in Ridge Lane. As I walked a few metres on, he asked if I wanted to come in for a beer. “Fine, thanks”, I shouted back.

That simple exchange convinced me Ridge Place and Ridge Lane are probably nice little places to live, although strictly speaking I doubt if anyone actually lives on either, since both seem to be back laneways for people living on Ridge Street and Cleveland Street.

As part of my ongoing efforts to document the streets and laneways of my neighbourhood in a more interesting manner than Google Street View, I went for a further wander this afternoon.

Compared with some of the laneways I’ve seen so far, these two are quite interesting for their diversity, and for the wonderful colours, shapes and textures to be found.

Cleveland Lane

Cleveland Lane, Surry Hills

Even though I’ve walked past it several hundred times (if not more), I didn’t know there WAS a Cleveland Lane, Surry Hills until earlier today.

Anxious to try out my new camera, and engaging in my ongoing photographic project – taking random photographs of various streets and laneways in Surry Hills – I set out to look for somewhere new. That’s when I decided to try a laneway I’ve walked past many times, but have never actually been down before.

And what a pleasant surprise it was. Cleveland Lane has greenery, terraces, some new apartment blocks, some street arts, and a very intriguing backyard to the hardware store on the corner. I love the hardware store. It’s one of those great “old fashioned” (pre-Bunnings) hardware stores. And behind it is a large forest-like backyard you might not otherwise expect to find in Surry Hills. It’s great. It gives Cleveland Lane an interesting level of depth that you find less and less with the so-called “gentrification” of Surry Hills.

Snap Happy on Crown

I got a little “snap happy” on the way home last night, although I’m not exactly sure why. Perhaps it was the glass or two of wine I had? Perhaps it was because the semi-full moon made everything seem so bright? Perhaps it was because I pretty much had the street to myself and felt less self-conscious about taking photographs? Or perhaps it was just an appreciation I live in a pretty terrific neighbourhood with lots to see? Whatever it was, I found myself inspired to take photographs of some of the more interesting signs, shops and sights I noticed, as I walked home along Crown Street, Surry Hills at about 12.30/1.00 this morning.

Enjoy the walk…

Surry Laneways

Cartmore Lane

The sign leading to Cartmore Lane is very inviting. In the midst of the corporate green of the City of Sydney street signs, these days, it’s a refreshing reminder of the past. And it’s in stark contrast to the brown and orange painted wall.

I don’t know how many times I’ve walked past Cartmore Lane. Probably hundreds. But as I came home from lunch today, and noticed that all-too-familiar sign, I realised I’d never been down Cartmore Lane before, even though it’s just a few hundred metres from my home.

The street sign gives you an expectation of something wonderful. Maybe just around the corner, as in other parts of Surry Hills, there’s a hidden garden, or wonderful street art?

Unfortunately, there were no hidden gems to be found in Cartmore, nor the adjoining Hastings and Alexandria lanes. Instead, there were lots of parking spaces, signs about parking, garage entrances, and garbage bins.

I took some photographs, nonetheless.

Lansdowne Street

I felt like a bit of photographic exploration today, though I didn’t feel like wandering too far from home. So I wandered over to Lansdowne Street, just off Crown Street, Surry Hills. It’s only a small street, and not all that remarkable really. It has a few nice houses. A couple of shops. A power station. And a park. And I think Tilley Devine lived on the corner of Lansdowne Street for a while, though I could be wrong. And it crashes into Belvoir Street. That’s about it, really, unless you know something else? It’s not as pretty, nor seemingly as interesting as other parts of Surry Hills, though I guess it has a charm those who live in the street obviously enjoy. So here it is…. Lansdowne Street, Surry Hills

Little Young Street

Little Young Street, Redfern

This afternoon, I ran into Neil aka Ninglun near the bus stop on Cleveland Street. He’s a blogger who lives not far from me who also likes to take photographs of Surry Hills. “I’m taking a series on ‘waiting'”, he told me this afternoon, explaining why he was taking a photograph of the bus stop near the Surry Hills Shopping Mall.

I was also in the mood for a bit of “Surry Hills” photography this afternoon, I told him as we walked down the street together. I love taking photographs of the area in which I live, especially the little back streets which have a character of their own.

And today I discovered Little Young Street, just behind Young Street, Redfern. From the start of the street it’s nothing spectacular, just a back laneway in many ways. And while it doesn’t have the glamour or notoriety of somewhere like McElhone Place, you really get a sense the people whose homes back onto Little Young Street quite like the place. In common with McElhone Place, there are lots of plants in pots and tubs. But what I really like about what the people have done is use really strong, bright colours, to accentuate what they’ve done.

Bright reds, stripes, all sorts of colours, which help make it an unexpectedly interesting street to walk down.

Belvoir Street

The supermarket and pharmacy near the towers

There’s more to Belvoir Street than the famous theatre.

The street also has a church, a housing estate, some 80-style apartments, some workers cottages, and some traditional eastern suburbs terraces.

It’s a bit of a Surry Hills microcosm, in some ways.

Sometimes it’s narrow. Sometimes it’s wide.

At this time of the year, the trees are mostly without leaves, so you really don’t get to see what a beautiful street it is.

I love it!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Parkham Street

Parkham Street, Surry Hills is a topical little street if ever there was one. I received a tip-off yesterday the City of Sydney were being asked/told by the State Government to remove all of the trees in the street to allow it to be used as a thoroughfare for World Youth Day.

When I turned up for the “photo opportunity” at 2.30 today (along with a photographer from the Sydney Morning Herald and a journalist and a photographer from Central) it quickly became clear it was not as bad as that. According to Marcelle Hoff, the City of Sydney Councillor who attended, most of the trees will remain.

Nonetheless, those residents who attended say they remain concerned about the lack of information so far available. They also say they’re concerned about losing their small park near the Buddhist Centre on the corner of South Dowling Street. The park needs to be cleared (except for one tree), so the pilgrims attending World Youth Day can walk over the nearby footbridge across the Eastern Distributor.

Anyway, enough of the politics. I think it’s a nice little street. It’s got a nice little school, a little Buddhist Centre, and (at the moment), a nice little park at the top of the street.

Wilton Street


On the surface there’s nothing particularly spectacular about the Wilton Street, Surry Hills. It’s a pretty ordinary little street linking Belvoir Street and Cleveland Street. But when you look a little more deeply you see three distinct styles of architecture (I stand to be corrected as I’m not a architect). And you see three distinctive styles of housing: the old worker’s cottage, the 80s apartment block, and the modern town house.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Ridge Street


James, next time you’re on one of your Surry Hills photo-taking jaunts, could you please have a look at what is at 15 Ridge St, Surry Hills? My great Aunt and her children lived there in 1936. I would really appreciate it if you have a chance! Thanks!

So here you go, Cathy… this is Ridge Street, Surry Hills.

It’s an interesting little street, with a couple of really quite interesting buildings, architecturally speaking. In fact, there’s an architect’s office on the corner, opposite the Greek Church. There’s some lovely plant life and some nice little houses. It’s a typical Surry Hills street in many ways.

Little Oxford Street

I wandered over to Victoria Street this morning for a coffee at the lovely little French patisserie there. On the way back I came across a street I’ve never been in before, Little Oxford Street. Well, not knowingly anyway, as it’s the kind of street you might pop into late at night for a quick pee with little care for the neighbours.

You know what I mean: it’s too far from home, you can’t be bothered going into a pub, no one’s looking, so you pop down a little side street and relieve yourself. Not that I would do such a thing myself, nor would I endorse such behaviour of course. Especially since there’s a little laneway near where I live which most days has a unique aroma to it that tells you most men see the world as their own personal urinal.

That said, it must be a real problem being so close to Oxford Street, not only for blokes relieving themselves, but for all manner of other unsavoury behaviour. Anyway, in the daytime it seems like a nice little street.

Kepos Street


I’ve just been for lunch at a cafe on one of my favourite streets in the Surry Hills/Redfern area: Kepos Street. I really love the housing, the greenery, the wide open street, as well as the great sense of community with an activity centre, and a plague acknowledging one of the well-known locals. It’s a lovely little street.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

McElhone Place

McElhone Place

Surry Hills, Sydney: It's a great little street directly parallel to Fitzroy Street where the residents have banded together to ban cars and to decorate their former-slum-street with beautiful gardens. The result has been a physically beautiful street, and one which has a great sense of community pride.
Surry Hills, Sydney: It's a great little street directly parallel to Fitzroy Street where the residents have banded together to ban cars and to decorate their former-slum-street with beautiful gardens. The result has been a physically beautiful street, and one which has a great sense of community pride.
You know you’re bored, or you know you’re desperate for something you read when you read junk mail from “City of Sydney”. It’s not as if it’s lacking, though, since I receive quite a few letters from “City Of Sydney” each week. But anyway, I picked up the brochure this morning about the 2007 Gardening Competition (May 21-June 27) and was inspired to read it. Well you know we boys do have to read in the toilet!

As I don’t have a garden myself, I decided to go for a walk down my favourite street, McElhone Place instead. It’s a great little street directly parallel to Fitzroy Street where the residents have banded together to ban cars and to decorate their former-slum-street with beautiful gardens. The result has been a physically beautiful street, and one which has a great sense of community pride.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.