Oxford Street

There was a time, during the 90s and 00s, when Oxford Street, Darlinghurst was a fairly buzzy, lively place to visit.

Bars and restaurants were full, even on quiet nights of the week.

But then the licensing laws changed, and people went online to meet others. And then, COVID.

Oxford Street is still pretty buzzy on Friday and Saturday nights. But when you go for a walk at other times, you’ll see the reality of lots of empty shops.

Maybe it’s the rents? Maybe it’s the changing nature of how we interact and shop? Are we moving to a more online way of doing all of those things we used to go to shops for? It’s likely all of those things, and more.

I went for a walk along Oxford Street this afternoon, and these videos pretty much sum it up.


I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve heard about plans to “revitalise” Oxford Street.

4 thoughts on “Oxford Street

  1. While I wouldn’t describe it as a sad deserted street, it is not the lively street it once was. Yes, revitalising Oxford Street…..five years or more.
    That looked like hard thirsty work. I hope you found somewhere to keep your fluids up.

  2. I expect covid accounts for a few of those closed shops. Earlier the licensing law changes had a big impact.

    Once (say 1980-2010) almost every gay man would have an “Oxford St phase.” Now youngsters can more readily find like-minded others simply amongst their acquaintances generally. There is less need for a gay ghetto and residentially it probably has moved anyway because of the general gentrification real estate cycle.

    It’s not really possible to disentangle the other effects of rising rents and the supplanting of of bricks and mortar with online stuff.

    From memory much if not all of the northern side of Oxford St (your second video) is owned by City of Sydney Council, so regeneration is more than usually up to them.

    The last shop on your first video (southern side) is actually moving to 34 Oxford St.

    All the best for your ordeal today under the knife. I hope you didn’t let them palm you off with panadol! Now’s the time to get some superior drugs prescribed.

    1. They’ve given me recovery drugs which my niece, a nurse, described as “the good stuff”.

      Re Oxford Street. I think there’s also the fact we’re in transition to a more home-based economy it seems. That said,I would like a few more restaurants that didn’t only involve hamburgers. Yes, you’re right re City of Sydney, and one of the terrific things they’ve done in recent years is open up the empty shops for art spaces.

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