Sunday, December 20, 2009

suburb No 15: Pyrmont

I was working in Pyrmont this week on a freelance job so the only way I could squeeze in 52 Suburbs 
was to make Pyrmont the suburb of the week.

I'm so glad I did - it made my head spin on so many levels. Massive old factory buildings, rows of 

small terraces and a handful of derelict buildings rub shoulders with ultra modern high rise with 
million dollar views. Here and there you are reminded of the history - the enormous sugar refinery, 
sandstone quarries and powerhouses. It's not hard to imagine tiny St Bedes Church disliking its brash 
new neighbour, Star City, the site of a former power station. The wharves survived, now filled by 
young urbans with soft hands. Then there are the surprising parks, the harbour and that beautiful 
bridge dedicated to the brave.

All the elements in one place...

Part 1: Water

Pyrmont is on a peninsula

a welcoming sight

home of diversity

proud (Centrepoint Tower)

semi-industrial feel :: 1 (Pyrmont Bay Wharf)

semi-industrial feel :: 2

worlds apart in the same suburb :: 1 (Union Square terraces. Pyrmont Bay Wharf)

worlds apart in the same suburb :: 2

past and present all tangled up

named in honour of the brave (Anzac Bridge)

high up on the bridge (James Craig ship, 1874. Anzac Bridge, 1995)

i heart u

A is for Anzac Bridge

still sees the light of day (Jones Bay Wharf)

in a merry mood

it takes all kinds

dragon boats at rest

Part 2: Earth

before and after (Clifftop, Jackson's Landing. Former Public School, 1892)

amazing what you can do with a chisel and a block of stone

a year apart (former wool factory, John Taylor building, 1893)


long-time residents :: 1 (Pyrmont Bridge Hotel. Doreen, born in Pyrmont 1925, lived in the suburb all her life.)

long-time residents :: 2

long-time residents :: 3

tiles : 1

tiles : 2

tiles : 3

is Terminus terminal? :: 1 (Boarded up after the owners' only son was shot on the premises more than 20 years ago)

is Terminus terminal? :: 2

is Terminus terminal? :: 3

a shadow of its former self (derelict buildings)

Part 3: Wind
As in the wind that whips down the clean streets of the peninsula's major residential development, 
Jackson's Landing, once the place of stinky sugar and molasses ...

then and now (Horse drawn sugar carts heading up Jones Street. Jones Street now)

Jackson's Landing all mapped out (model of area)

old and new (The Cooperage, part of CSR. Model of same building)

sharp angles

solid foundations (model and real, The Cooperage)

those balls (Equipment from the CSR days. Model of same)

more gladiator sandals? aren't there enough already?

water water everywhere (view from Jackson's Landing. Pool in complex)

Part 4: Fire

fire fire (Pyrmont Fire Station, 1906)

inside out

nee nor

heaven and hell (St Bede's Church and Star City Casino. Hellhole, the name of one of the sandstone quarries)

say a prayer

healthy diversity or playing with fire? (Row of terraces in Union Square. Pyrmont Bay Wharf residential building)

does this...

go with that?

Beauty ... of the fascinating, successful face-lift variety. Just hope they don't get rid of any more 
wrinkles or the place might start looking unrecognisable.

Next week - well, er, in between the freelance job (finishes Tuesday) and the shopping (who does 

it before Christmas Eve?) and the child wrangling (did I mention I have a child? well, I do!) and all 
the rest, I'm wondering how much of a suburb I'm going to be able to tackle. But tackle I must - so 
prepare yourself for a thinner version of 52 Suburbs please. And probably a late one too.

In case I don't post next Friday - in between the turkey and the plum pudding - Merriest of Christmases 

to you. And thanks for hanging around these past 15 weeks. Wouldn't have been nearly so much fun 
without you.


  1. As a dragonboater (and Pyrmont resident!) who trains there under Anzac Bridge I have to correct you, those are Dragonboats, not row boats. And we paddle, not row them :)

    You were lucky to get them all lined up like that on the racks in between them coming back from our regatta in Penrith on the Sunday and us putting them back on their normal racks on Tuesday evening!

  2. Hi Marcin
    I did actually know that - just using a little creative licence! I'll change it to reflect the dragon's fiery spirit! Good luck with the races.

  3. Lordy, you sound so busy and yet you managed to fit this in! Thank you so much for opening my eyes to yet another part of Sydney.
    Your knack for matching images is astounding. How is it that Doreen's dress has the same colours as the tiles of the Pyrmont hotel? Perfect.
    Such an amazing eye for detail.

  4. yes, you defiently have an eye for detail or is that several eyes? you capture so much detail that most of us would miss.
    merry christmas.

  5. Anon and mel bomba
    Thank you - and how lovely is Doreen? I saw her crossing the road the next day, again perfectly turned out. Hope I'm able to put it together like that when I'm 84.

  6. My brother lives there now in a flash modern harbourside apartment, but he also started his working life there as well in the crusty old CSR refinery, many years ago. Well done, you've captured the complex soul of the place as it is today. Merry Christmas, and take a week off if you're tired!

  7. Jamie
    Complex is a great word to describe Pyrmont. How amazing - your brother 's experience of both worlds.
    Yes, afraid it's a very small post this week - if I make it at all! Merry Christmas...

  8. wow- I have worked in Pyrmont for 6 months and have never seen it in that beautiful light.

  9. I'm so glad you did Pyrmont. My father was born there in a house and a street that no longer exists. My aunt tells me of my great grandmother's house opposite the casino where she hid under the table when Japanese subs entered Sydney harbour.

  10. Awesome. I've just discovered this blog, and as someone looking at a move from the UK to Sydney this year I'll be following this blog closely... and catching up on the 'burbs you've already visited! This gives a much more meaninful view of the city than google maps could ever do! It is already amazing me how different the areas are to each other.. I can see myself in such diverse places as Ingleside, Pyrmont, Bondi and Clovelly (thought that was in Cornwall UK ;) ) so it's going to be a hard one to decide upon!

  11. i gather Emma's not coming by boat via Indonesia and Christmas Island .............

  12. Thanks you for showing me my own suburb ! Some of it was familiar and some of it is brand new to me. I discovered your website form a newspaper clipping sent to me from a relative in Brisbane ! I enjoyed your eye for detail and pattern. I will now go and discover some other Sydney suburbs through your website...

  13. Heya, these are great photos... I would love to get some of them off of you! I am plating a church in the area and these are just sooo good, really capturing the vibe of pyrmont... great job. wondering what you would license these pics at for use on a website and mayhaps some print??? I also run a web/software business so might be interested in some of your other work around the city for client sites/media. is the best way to grab me... cheers.