Friday, October 9, 2009

suburb no. 6: Eveleigh

It's one of those strange things - I lived in Newtown for many years but never once strayed into 
the neighbouring suburb of Eveleigh. In my defence, E. is a smallish suburb which back then was 
made up mostly of railway and some big old buildings that looked sort of interesting but were 
largely inaccessible.

'Research' revealed that E. may be small but it has a super sized history.

The condensed version:

• Eveleigh used to include large chunks of Redfern (which possibly explains why Eveleigh Street 

is actually in Redfern)

• Aboriginal members of the Gadigal clan lived in the area for up to 40,000 years until their 

near annihilation in the 1790's following the arrival of the British

• In the 1880s, 60 acres of land bounded by Darlington, Redfern, Alexandria and Erskineville 

were devoted to the railways, including a pair of buildings (those 'big old buildings') on either 
side of the railway tracks, the Eveleigh Workshops

• Eveleigh Workshops built the first steam trains in Australia and continued making railway 

carriages until they were closed in 1989

• In 1991 new life was breathed into the workshops on the Alexandria side of the tracks, 

transforming them into the Australian Technology Park (housing businesses plus a TV studio 
used for such things as MasterChef)

• In 2006, it was the turn of the workshops on the Darlington side to be reborn. Architectural 

firm Tonkin Zulaikha Greer turned the site into CarriageWorks, a magical space for performance 
of any sort, but especially for physical theatre that can make the most of the buildings’ enormous 

• On weekends the area next to CarriageWorks is the scene of bustling activity with Eveleigh 

Farmers and Artisans Markets

• The powers that be have big plans for continuing the suburb’s transformation, including new 

apartments, cafes and shops.

Part 1: CarriageWorks

No wonder Tonkin Zulaikha Greer won a truckload of awards for CarriageWorks. As the jury at the 

Australian Institute of Architects' NSW Architecture Awards said, "This landmark site has been given 
new life without forsaking the old - its 1888 industrial heritage clearly evident through the retention 
of nearly all the significant fabric and equipment extant at the time of adaptation. The carriages 
have gone, but not the cranes, the rails and the ability to read its form and former function. Existing 
elements retain their patina of age".


jagged edges

you're showing your patina



then and now

Part 2: CarriageWorks at its most magical - as host of the Childrens Festival

The ghosts of the old workshops must surely be enjoying this week's hullabaloo at CarriageWorks. 

Kids on red cordial, bubbles reaching to the heavens of cathedral high spaces, high velocity circus 
acts. New life indeed.

happy home


bubbling over with joy 1

bubbling over with joy 2

Skipping Girls 1

Skipping Girls 2

Skipping Girls 3

i have wings


flying through the air

Part 3: Eveleigh Markets

I had a bit of a retail moment when I found
Born Again Books at the markets. They're old kids' books
'recycled' into journals. 'Adaptive reuse' in the publishing sense. Lovely.

'a novel idea'

my sentiments exactly

off the rails

choo choo

old and new

I also liked these examples of 'recycling'.


Part 4: The other side of the tracks - the Australian Technology Park

No 12

old rattler

don't touch

where's First?

Part 5: Trainspotting - oddly enjoyable



past and present

Part 6: The Block

The other main ‘theme’ of Eveleigh is the Aboriginal presence in the area, the epicenter being 
8,000 square metres known as The Block. Technically The Block is in Redfern, but given that parts 
of Redfern used to be Eveleigh, I thought I'd sneak it in.

So, hands up anyone who has ever felt like a Sunday stroll through The Block? I can only describe 
my own walk through it as brisk. I ran into a couple of nice lads who were happy enough to have 
their picture taken but that was about it. Rightly or wrongly I didn’t feel like dallying.


trees of life

40,000 years is a long time

in the 'hood

boys on the block


The stormy skies full of big fat cumulonimbus clouds provided a fitting backdrop to view Eveleigh 
against this week. I found beauty in the massive buildings and railyards that hold so much history, 
and still do, thanks to their careful reinvention. May the suburb continue to be reborn in a way 
that's respectful to all its pasts.


  1. The grace with which you approach each unique suburb and the people there is just magic. I love it.

  2. Hey Louise, I really love whatever settings you use on your camera... for example in the left hand side of "hope" and the lhs of "welcoming?".

    I did a little blog post on you on one of my blogs.
    I'd love to have your permission to use a couple of your photos just so anyone reading me would get a better idea of you?

    Keep it up, I'll be following :)


  3. Hi Tim
    It's not so much the camera setting as a nice wide lens and a heavy hand on the editing process - lots of contrast. Sure, I'm happy for you to put a few of my pics on your blog.

  4. Louise

    Thanks a lot for so speedily replying.
    Ah I see. Thanks for the tip! I'll keep it in mind when I've saved enough for an SLR :)
    You can look at that link again if you want to see the end product of the post.


  5. I've been tinkering with the idea of somehow re-exploring Sydney through a photo project of some sort and came across your blog whilst looking for inspiration. I love your interesting historical facts as well as your clean and vibrant style of photography. Will definitely be following your 52 weeks and looking forward to seeing what other suburbs you'll be visiting next!

  6. Oh wow, I think I am going to say this with every suburb - but this one so far was the most beautiful for me. Again; Thank you.

  7. love it. what insight you have. you have inspired me to see things in a different way and visit places in Sydney i would never have thought of. Cabramatta, eveleigh here we come. thank you louise.

  8. Great photo montage and 40,000 years is a long time. You might need to correct this -
    'Aboriginal members of the Gadigal tribe moved to the area in the 1790s' to something like

    Aboriginal members of the Gadigal tribe lived in the area for up to 40,000 years, but in the 1790s were lost when the British settled...

  9. Hi there,

    Just wondering what camera + lens you are using here? I love the flare from the wide angle!


  10. Hal
    My apologies. I don't actually know how I could have written that considering I know the Gadigal have been in Sydney for 40,000 years.
    I've corrected the text and thanks so much for pointing it out.

  11. Meep
    Thanks. My camera is a Canon 40D and the lens, a Canon 16-35 mm L series.

  12. I live just next to Eveleigh as well, on the ATP/Redfern side, and it's only in the last year or so that I've 'discovered' it as well. The produce markets & Carriageworks have really invigorated the area and I'm looking forward to seeing what else unfolds there. These photos are really wonderful because the content is familiar, but it feels so new. Like looking through a new pair of eyes.

  13. I have been following your travels so far with a sense of awe and amazement. Your eye for beauty and the skill to capture it is inspiring. I love your project and look forward to seeing all 52 suburbs :)

  14. so many photos... and all amazing!

  15. These images are incredible. I used to live in Darlington eight years ago. I'm so glad that they didn't destroy the ambience of the area. I remember those skipping girls. It's a little sanctuary away from the madness of King Street. It was a great place to live! Px

  16. Hi Louise, check out my Flotsam Skippy Girl. Inspired by these gorgeous pieces of graffiti. Px