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Darlinghurst

From Academic Kids

Darlinghurst is an inner eastern suburb of Sydney, Australia. The suburb is named after Elizabeth Darling, the wife of Ralph Darling, who was the Governor of the state of New South Wales during the early 19th century. Once a slum (in the 1920s) and a red-light prostitution district, as of the 1990s and early 2000s, it has undergone urban renewal and become a rather upmarket, cosmopolitan and diverse area.

The area is most famous for the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The parade which marks the end of this festival takes place on Oxford Street, the main street that runs through several suburbs, including Darlinghurst. Darlinghurst has two of Sydney's museums: the Australian Museum (a natural history museum) and the Sydney Jewish Museum. The suburb also includes St Vincents Hospital, and is associated with the Sacred Heart Hospital on Victoria St, and the Garvan Institute, a medical research institute. The Darlinghurst Court House at Taylor Square is one of Sydney's most historic buildings. It is adjacent to the also historic Darlinghurst Gaol, which is now the East Sydney campus of the Sydney Institute of Technology.

Contents

Political issues

The area has often been a battleground between the two councils of the City of Sydney and the City of South Sydney. Most of the suburb belonged to South Sydney, however the New South Wales State Government moved the borders repeatedly in order to change the make-up of the city of Sydney. Many claim that these shifts have been attempted to shift the balance of power in the favour of the party in control of the State Government.

This battle has become a moot point however, with the two councils forced to amalgamate in February 2004 by the State Government. An election was held on Saturday, 27 March, 2004, in order to elect a new council for the new (expanded) city of Sydney. Critics of the amalgamation have claimed that the election demonstrated strong voter backlash against the State Government for pressing the issue. The Australian Labor Party, for whom the area was usually safe, had their primary vote reduced to approximately 20%. The independent Clover Moore took the Lord Mayoral position, having campaigned against the Government's dismissal of the Council.

At a federal level, Darlinghurst falls in the electorate of the Division of Sydney. It is currently held by the Australian Labor Party.

Local landmarks

Darlinghurst Gaol

Construction on Darlinghurst Gaol wall began in 1822, with completion of some of the cellblocks in 1840. The gaol was ready for occupation in a year later, with the first prisoners occupying the gaol on 7 June 1841 (Faro, 2000). The gaol was finally completed in 1885. The site is bordered by Victoria, Burton and Forbes streets, with entrances on Forbes and Burton Sts. The main material used for construction of the gaol is Sydney sandstone, cut into large blocks by convicts. Convict markings on the blocks are visible along the upper half of the wall on Victoria St. A tall circular watchtower stands in the middle of the site, around which are sited the six rectangular cellblocks in a radial fashion. Australian poet Henry Lawson spent time incarcerated here during some of the turbulent years of his life. The site is now open to the public as the Sydney Institute of Technology. The last hanging at the gaol was in 1907 (Jahn, 1997).

Darlinghurst Courthouse

Darlinghurst Courthouse is an imposing sandstone building on Taylor Square. It was designed by architect Mortimer Lewis (1796 - 1879) in 1844, and has a Greek Revival style facade.

Oxford St

Oxford St is the major commercial street of Darlinghurst, running from the south-east corner of Hyde Park, through to Taylor Square and beyond through Paddington, Woollahra and Bondi Junction. Oxford St was originally called the South Head Road, and work was commenced on the road in 1811 (Faro, 2000). Oxford St assumed it's current name in 1875.

Stanley St

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Stanley_street.JPG
Stanley Street

Stanley St is known as the Little Italy of Sydney. There are more quality Italian restaurants here then anywhere else in Sydney. Restaurants range from basic to upmarket. The majority of the restaurants have outdoor seating which creates a wonderful atmosphere in the evenings. There is an annual Italian Festival held every June.

The Horizon

This 43-storey tower looms over the surrounding neighbourhood in Darlinghurst. It has a distinctive scalloped facade, and is finished in rendered concrete. Located at 184 Forbes St, Darlinghurst, the controversial tower was completed in 1998. Controversy stemmed from the height of the building, and the shadowing effects on surrounding buildings. The building was designed by Sydney architect, Harry Seidler.

Darlinghurst Fire Station

Completed in 1912, this three-storey brick and stone building occupies a prominent location at the corner of Darlinghurst Rd and Victoria St. It was designed 1910 by Walter Liberty Vernon (Jahn, 1997). It still functions as a fire station.

Transport

Darlinghurst is well-served by public transport, with many bus routes from the Eastern Suburbs converging on Oxford Street prior to entering the central business district. The 380 bus between Circular Quay and Bondi Beach travels through Darlinghurst along Oxford Street. The 378 bus between Railway Square and Bronte also travels through Darlinghurst along Oxford Street. The 392, 394, 396 and 399 buses also travel through the suburb on Oxford Street Buses that travel through the centre of Darlinghurst are the 311 and the 389 buses.

There are no train stations in Darlinghurst, however Kings Cross station on the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line is just over the northern border of the suburb. Museum station on the City Circle, is located just to the west of Darlinghurst, on the south-west corner of Hyde Park.

Schools

The Sydney Church of England Girls' Grammar School (SCEGGS) was founded in 1895 in Victoria St, Darlinghurst, and moved to its current site in Forbes St, Darlinghurst, in 1901. The Darlinghurst Public School is in Womerah St, and is actually in the suburb of Potts Point. It was opened in 1884. The Sydney Grammar School is located on College St, Darlinghurst, across the road from Hyde Park. This school is a boys-only private school, and opened in 1857.

Churches

Darlinghurst has 3 functioning churches; God in the City, an Assemblies of God congregation affiliated with Christian City Church, St. Pauls Lutheran congregation and St. John the Evangelist, an Anglican congregation. St. Johns operates Rough Edges; a street outreach centre that functions as a cafe. It provides a range of services to the local homeless community. There are also a variety of smaller chapels and religious services attached to St. Vincents hospital and other religious organisations in the suburb.

There is also the now defunct St. Peters Anglican, which is now administered by SCEGGS

See also

References

  • Faro, Clive (2000). Street Seen: A History of Oxford St. Carlton South, Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0-522-84967-9
  • Jahn, Graham (1997). Sydney Architecture. Sydney, The Watermark Press. ISBN 0-949284-32-7

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