Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Suburb No 27: Strathfield

This week I headed to the inner-west suburb of Strathfield, 14 km from the city centre. On my way
there I counted up the number of things I knew about the place. I got to one: it had grand old homes.

Turns out the suburb is covered in mansions, built in the early 1900s when Strathfield was country
and wealthy families required rural retreats. They are handsome but what really sent my camera
snapping were some of the ridiculously grand old institutional buildings - Santa Sabina College
and the Australian Catholic University in particular. 

Aside from the beauties, Strathfield has its fair share of crappy old apartment blocks and crappy
new million-dollar homes. 

People-wise I met Koreans mostly - and a handful of Russians at their local church.

Let's Go Strathfield...

Part 1: A school and a uni

their motto, 'veritas' - truth

impressive lines


blue and yellow

a conventional beauty (Australian Catholic University)


nice tiles

 nice curves :: 1

nice curves :: 2

pressed flowers

In South Strathfield I also stumbled on the former methodist Leigh College, now an Islamic college,
and its neighbour, the E.Vickery Memorial, now used by the Sri Babar people as their temple.

reborn - Methodist to Islam and Sri Babar

a sepia moment

Part 2: Strathfield's flowers, real and imagined

orange and blue

flower window

day of the triffids

i love a man in lilac

Sunday best :: 1

Sunday best :: 2

rosebud lips

fake and real

like my meadow?

where there's light, there are flowers

soft yet thorny

Part 3: Little Korea

so still


cartoon characters

star and stripes

vintage vehicles

panda philosophy

check please

Part 4: The Russian Church

Unlike my experience in Lidcombe's Russian Orthodox Church, I was allowed to take photos. But only

from the back as I wasn't wearing a skirt (note to self: camera, tripod, skirt).

house of god and house of a mere mortal (Sts Peter and Paul Russian Orthodox Cathedral)

take a pew - if you can find one

different faiths, same idea

standing up for what he believes in

rule of thirds

Part 5: All change at Strathfield

nice trimmings

walking under trains

church and state (rail)


Part 6: Randomness

not in mint condition

hey, did you get my tweet?



Part 7: Rainbows

First trip to Strathfield last week I met a Korean woman with coloured curlers buying coloured

'Rainbow Cake'. Last trip out there I saw a rainbow. What it means who can tell.

rainbows :: 1

rainbows :: 2

Beauty? Usually one for the smaller details, I did enjoy the big stuff in Strathfield. I just hope they
don't knock down too many more old dears to put up those wicked new houses. Wicked I tell you.

See you next week.


  1. Oh I do look forward to your photos. And also as usual I love your wonderful pairings. some faves are rainbows with the curlers and sandwiches, the tweets, the blue and yellow, not in mint condition though they are both in mint color. why those? I don't know. Great tour Louise.

  2. Beautiful photos! I went to school in Strathfield and always loved all of the old beautiful mansions, I hope they dont knock them down either!

  3. Beautiful photos!!! Every time I read a new post of yours, I keep on being amazed by all this beauty we have on our doorstep and don't know about... Thanks for making it visible to all of us! Quick question about your photography: what lens do you use for your portraits?

  4. Helen - I love the woman in curlers too - and that she matched her rainbow cake.
    Betty - You can only hope.
    Myriam - I am lazy with lenses - I only use one on this project for everything - it's a Canon 16-35mm L series lens. Very nice.

  5. I went to school in that area and the spooky old mansions alwasy appeared in my nightmares. Great stuff Louise! On to Zetland soon?

  6. You take beautiful photos. Please tell us what camera you shoot with?

  7. I live in Campbelltown but catch the train to strathfield for work everyday (coincidence!). Louise, where is the railway tunnel in Strathfield? I ask as it looks exactly like the one at Campbelltown station - more coincidence?
    Loved the 'maybe' set in this one. Gorgeous eyes..

  8. scream4noreason - I can imagine the old mansions would inspire many a nightmare!
    Anon - Until last November I was using a Canon 40D and then I upgraded to a Canon 5D Mk II - love it.
    Simone - I can't remember exactly how I found the tunnel but it's under the station there somewhere. When you walk up a ramp on the North side you're near a pub/hotel and the 'Far Eastern Rice Cake' shop I took the shot of the 'rainbow cake' at. I love those eyes too - I found her quite bewitching, how still and serene she was.



  9. Dear Louise, just a quick note to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog each week, and seeing your brilliant photography. Your commitment to 52 Suburbs is AMAZING! Thank you for taking the time to help us to be really proud of our beautiful & diverse city of Sydney.

  10. Louise we just love your blog here. Your blog is THE reason why everyone should blog their passion. Keep up the amazing work - much appreciated.

    Tony Hollingsworth

  11. Kerri Symington-BaxterMarch 19, 2010 at 7:39 AM

    Beautiful work again Louise! I've had so many great comments about your blog from customers coming into the cafe and I've had some actually find the cafe via your blog, thank you for that! It was wonderful for Campbelltown to have some of it's many positive aspects bought to light via your lens, and thank you for following your bliss, you would not have found us otherwise!

  12. Bloom - It is a commitment but comments like yours make it a very happy one.
    Tony - Passion is a good thing isn't it?
    Kerri - That's one of the things I love most about this blog - stumbling on lovely people and their dreams. Next time I'm anywhere near C'town I'll drop in for some tea and take-away!

  13. love the rainbows!!! AMAZING!

  14. We lived in Croydon Park for a few years on an Army posting to Sydney. There is a lot of Defence Housing in this area, which is mercifully close to the city & Eastern Suburbs barracks. My husband is from Summer Hill so he was really familiar with the area. It was a nice little part of the world with young children & some of those big homes have MASSIVE gardens too, with averies & amazing produce. Love Posie

  15. Thank you for your gorgeous work, Louise. I always love looking at your photos. Strathfield is a suburb close to me and it was fun to see places that I know well (especially the school - 6 years there!!).

    For reference, the tunnel is on the Eastern side of the train station - enter near the roundabout at the end of The Boulevarde (on the South side)!

  16. Anon - There is something magical about rainbows isn't there?
    Posie - Thanks for that, nice insight into a more gentle past.
    Jen - Must have been amazing going to a school that looks like a movie set - but I guess it became normal after a while. Thanks for the tunnel directions!

  17. I have been reading your amazing blog for a while now and i got really excited that you visited my suburb :)
    Very nice representation of Stratty!

    You should have mentioned you were coming!! I would have invited you over to my place (one of those federation homes you spoke of) and my friends places (one of them used to be an old orphanage)
    but oh well ... still did a great job!

  18. Have you thought about making a book of your photos? I'd buy it. Gorgeous photos and very poetic and creative combinations.. well done!

  19. Ben - Glad you like it. The old orphanage sounds interesting, would love to have seen that.
    Anon - Yes, there is going to be a book! It may take a while but there will be one. I'll let everyone know when!

  20. I love how you find beauty in the everyday sculptures of our lives. I have often wondered why we constantly look at things, but never see them.

  21. The Reverend - It is interesting isn't it? I wonder, when life was less busy and there was less visual 'pollution', did people 'see' more?


  22. I Love your representations of Sydney, I especially love the way you capture the Architecture and the details and the Tattoos! I know it must be a massive commitment but I love checking back each week to see which suburb you've covered next. Keep it up, it really is quite inspiring.

  23. Love the pics - should be in a book (used to live in Strathfield before and I agree about the old houses).

    It's Sai Baba by the way, he's sort of an Indian saint and it's not a separate religion. Sort of like having a Mary McKillop shrine I guess.

  24. Wow! The suburb I was born in :-) and you've chosen some of the most beautiful buildings to photograph, I just love those tiles, those curves and the elegance of those columns... and the beautiful roses, such fabulous photographs I can almost smell them.
    I've walked though that tunnel many a time when a child.
    Of the four last posts, that I've just caught up on... I've lived in three!
    Now where are you off to next I wonder :-)
    cheers Pennie

  25. I grew up in large family (5 sisters + 3 brothers) in Strathfield and we all went to school there as well. Great pics you have really captured the essence of the place and its evolution.

  26. Hi Ben, i am interested in you friends house which used to be an orphanage in Strathfield.
    I am from CLAN a national support and advocacy network for people who grew up in the 600 orphanages/children's Homes Australia once had.
    We are trying to gather photos and items of orphanages.Ben could you please email me if your friend would agree to CLAN coming and taking photos. Finally Louise your photos are just the sort of Pics I love.
    Leonie Sheedy

  27. Fantastic Work Louise.I love Strathfield and wouldn't live anywhere. I'm touched by your work.

    Thank You

    Voice of Strathfield