Monday, May 17, 2010

Suburb No 35: Darlinghurst

Why Darlo, a suburb seemingly familiar? Because last weekend when I went to a photography seminar,
it happened to be held at the amazing old Darlinghurst Goal - now National Art School (NAS) - and
I needed to go back. Despite having driven past that long stretch of golden sandstone many times, I had
never once set foot inside. In fact, I assumed it was part of the Court House - which made me also think,
I've never visited that grand old beauty either. So, once again, a suburb thought familiar turns out to
be surprisingly foreign. 

To Darlo. Named after Elizabeth Darling, wife of Governor Ralph Darling (and 'hurst', an old English word
meaning wooded area). Long-time slum turned swanky, bursting at the seams with cafes, pubs,
restaurants, nightclubs - and some heavy-duty institutions aside from the Court House and NAS, including
the Australian Museum, Jewish Museum and St Vincent's Hospital. 

In fact, there's so much to cover in this large and jam-packed suburb (it includes the localities of
East Sydney and Taylor's Square, and extends all the way along Victoria Street up to King's Cross) that I
ended up leaving out large chunks. (I'll save them for when I do 52 Suburbs Revisited when I'm old
and grey!)

Part 1: New inmates of Darlinghurst Goal

The former goal now hangs art not people. NAS offers painting, printmaking, sculpture, ceramics
and photography - and a collection of wonderfully rotund, golden buildings built by convict labour
between 1836 -1840. (Last hanging, 1907. Sure to be haunted.)

past lives as a goal then technical college, now art school

fabulous Freya

Jenny, Building x :: 1

Jenny, Building x :: 2

unless interestingly attired

Marko, Building 28

Building 28

Alana, the Library :: 1

Alana, the Library :: 2

light and shade

the girl with the beret :: 1

the girl with the beret :: 2

don't i know you?

off the wall

i'll never have a shadow like yours

playing with perspective

any ghosts?

4 means death in Chinese

Part 2: Court House

NAS may have liberated itself from its former role but its neighbour, the Darlinghurst Court House,
still functions as a place of judgement. Architect, Mortimer Lewis, 1844, in the Greek Revival
style (they loved a column didn't they?)

your future set in stone

judgement day

pillars of society

both been there forever

a certain kind of liberty

Part 3: The faces behind the sirens

The fireies and the ambos - where would we be without them? The ones based in Darlo are lucky enough
to call a heritage listed fire station and one of the city's major hospitals, St Vincent's, 'home'. It's hard
work but at least they're never short of good coffee.

fire and ice

and took me to the hospital

stopping for coffee


smiles to light up a room

fire-engine red lips

hearts of gold

Part 4: 100 metres of Oxford Street - a day in the life

Saturday morning, 8.30am, on her way to work

three sisters on a Hen's Night :: 1

three sisters on a Hen's Night ::2

three sisters on a Hen's Night :: 3


Ferrari red lips

at Betty's :: 1

at Betty's :: 2

three stages of man

x 4 Danish


Chaos, his tattoo and his nickname

ready for a big night

Marie - heading home from a day at the races

no dancing tonight for Marie


Rory - off to a friend's house

Indian on Oxford :: 1

Indian on Oxford :: 2

let the games begin

old school charm

Part 5: The morning after

even if you feel like a dog you need to stay calm and carry on

i'll grab you a coffee from the Arch

coffee and walkies

primary colours

coffee in a corridoor

cook on coffee break

Part 6: A car called Regal

You've probably noticed I have a soft spot for old cars. I used to drive an Austin 1800 - hardly a
classic but it had character at least. Character I found hard to appreciate when it broke down at
the slightest suggestion of precipitation but still. I now drive an anonymous car so find myself
perving at the delicious colours and strong lines of other people's old dears. One was a car called Regal.

nice type

where retro is always in

inside the Regal


keeps the sun out of your eyes

Part 7: Random bits of buildings

pastels :: 1

pastels :: 2

the Jewish War Memorial


blue arches


fine lines

brings to mind wedding cake


the view from Darlo

Beauty in Darlo... The grand and not so grand. The streets that support all walks of life. And those
charcoal drawings from great artists of tomorrow.

I'll see you Friday, Saturday, Sunday or Monday.


  1. One of your best Louise - just beautifully shot and executed

  2. A joy as always! Lovely to see Darlo in a different light :)

  3. Amazing Louise,
    Darlinghurst one of my favourite suburbs. Glad you picked up on the vibe around Colluzi and Latteria too. I frequent Tropicana Caffe opposite, as often as I can. My brief post here:

    Tony Hollingsworth

  4. Great perspective of Darlinghurst, i lived there for years but you have brought a new feel to the familar. Thanks again

  5. I grew up in the 60's around Darlinghurst It has had many faces in the last 40 odd years but it always seems to be interesting..

  6. Well done Louise. Another amazing suburb.

  7. I spent a whole load of time in Darlinghurst when I lived in Sydney. I even spent a few years at the old jail. Before it was all NAS it used to be an East Sydney TAFE campus for all kinds of cookery classes. I did my certificates of commercial cookery there, and failed to see the beauty of the buildings due to what was going on inside them. Your photos are beautiful and have allowed me to see the old jail for what it is, a divine old building. Thank you!

  8. Awesome Louise. I just wanted to send you a link to a post I did a couple of months ago - my husband took up a photography course and I was blogging his progress. Have a look at one of the bottom two images before the text - very similar to your "neighbours" pair.

    Great minds... :)

    x dana

  9. Totally totally brilliant! So much variety. One of my fave posts so far.

    How beautiful are those hen's night girls?! Gorgeous!

    And why are firemen always so cute?!!!

    Thank you for another wonderful post.

  10. Just wonderful. I remember Darlinghurst from the 80s. It never looked as good as your photographs.

    @Jodie - Why are firemen so cute? Because somewhere in our subconscious we know that they're heroes and that they rescue cats, dogs and small children. Plus they're fit as ;-)

  11. Hi all
    So glad you liked the post. Darlo is such a 'big' suburb it seemed extra-tricky to try and convey all its aspects - so hope I've done it justice.

    Thanks for the lovely comments - each and every one hits the spot!


  12. Can't tell you how excited I get when I see you've "done" another suburb! This is great - Darlo has always been interesting but you've given it another perspective! Beautiful.

  13. I am so delighted to know that you and your work exists - man alive, you are talented! I love the way you pair them up, too. Wonderful, wonderful stuff!

    Thank you - I feel so alive and inspired right now, I could POP!

  14. lovely - i support the one above - one of your best. still waiting for a bellevue hill...:P

  15. Lovely as always, Louise! I especially liked the large number of people pics. I am trying to work up the courage to ask interesting strangers if I can take their photo - not quite there yet. I imagine the bigger and more professional looking the camera, the easier such a question becomes...

  16. Great stuff from the suburb of my birth and somewhere I lived for a long inspire me to continue to take my camera with me every time I leave the house!

  17. Thanks again for the great shots of one of my old haunts! Makes me more homesick than I already am.


  18. Hi Louise, how lovely, the old jail. Spent a couple of years there when it was a technical college. The history and 'feel' of the place is awesome.
    Loved Marie, what a stylish lady.
    Many thanks, once again, you are ultra talented.
    Di x

  19. Once again Louise, a wonderful entry. I can't wait till you get to Parramatta. Waiting in anticipation for your next entry. Best wishes on your continuing journey.

    Much love xxK

  20. This is great. My hood. Lots of refreshing perspectives.

    Have you got some new kit recently. Some lovely short d.o.f. i hadn't seen on your blog before.

  21. Margaret - thank you!

    Heather - so glad to inspire and thank you. Hope the popping goes well!

    Goldie - thank you.

    Amelia - you're probably right, size does matter. but having said that, just go for it, no matter how teeny your camera is. what's the worse that can happen?

    scream4noreason - never leave home without it - you just never know.

    Patrick - don't know whether i've done you a favour or not! You know Sydney's always here, waiting for you.

    Di - Thanks and yer, Marie is a dish isn't she?!

    Kylie - Thank you, and you know, I did sort of 'do' Parra when I visited Harris Park.

    Hugo - Thanks. No new kit just some soft light to play. Short d.o.f looks so dreamy doesn't it, I love it.


  22. Wow! You have excelled yourself once again Louise! I thought this post might have been tattoo free but there was one small one on 'Chaos' and just a glimpse of one on the Cook. I wonder if this is because people are rugging up because it's getting colder LOL Tattoo's just fascinate me that's all. cheers Pennie

  23. How amazing to see my art school again - it still looks the same after 20 years (and so do the students)!

  24. Another wonderful suburb through your camera lens. The art students took me back to my days in art college. Marie's hat, now that is style! Lots of color everywhere today, hair, stained glass. And then there were all those legs dressed up in fantastics pantyhose or as you'd call them, tights?

  25. I lived in "Darlo" for 4 years, and went to the art schol there. familiar scenes and faces. Thanks for a lovely wander down memory lane :)

  26. Pennie - Thank you and so glad you share my fascination with tattoos. I hope it doesn't get too cold!

    Nat - Yes, I don't imagine much has changed in that environment. The buildings will surely be the same 100 years from now - and so too the bodies hanging around it I suspect.

    Helen - Thank you. I think we call the fine, delicate pantyhose, 'stockings' and thicker, opaque, 'tights'. I think.

    Anon - Happy to facilitate your trip down memory lane!


  27. "Primary colours" is incredible. The speckled shadow on the left and the bold colours of the girl's hair make for a really emotive sequence.

  28. Loving the columns Louise, just beautiful. Thanks.

  29. Oh this is just gorgeous. Made me want to get home to Sydney.

  30. Beautiful again Louise! I think I visited at least 3 of those places today :)

  31. This is one of my favourites! Especially since I travel through Darlinghurst frequently, but have never really stopped to examine it. Thanks for a beautiful perspective.

  32. Primary Colours
    PAstels 1
    Fine Lines

    Couldnt decide!

  33. how fabulous indeed have managed to excited and delight with your images of my own suburb