Showing all posts tagged: Sydney

An art deco delight by night in the Sydney suburb of Randwick

29 May 2024

An apartment building on a quiet suburban street in Randwick NSW, after nightfall.

Randwick is a large suburb located about five kilometres south east of downtown Sydney, Australia.

It is home to the Prince of Wales hospital, Royal Randwick Racecourse, a thriving commercial and retail hub, large bus and light rail depots, the historic Ritz Cinemas, and arguably, the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Even though UNSW has its own post code, two sides of its sprawling complex border Randwick.

Randwick sounds like a bustling centre, and it is, but slip down a side street, and suddenly you’re in a whole other world: the quiet realm of suburbia. I walked passed this apartment building the other evening, and almost didn’t stop. But something made me do a double take. I’m not sure what it was.

Was it the neatly clipped grass verge sloping away down the street? The branches of a tree, partly lit by a nearby street light, splaying across the front of the building. The Moon trying to peek through clouds above the roof of the building. Or the welcoming glow of the lamp over the door.

Whatever it was, the scene before me had photo written all over it.



Six dead in knife attack at Westfield Bondi Junction

13 April 2024

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC):

A shopping centre in Sydney’s east has been evacuated amid reports of multiple stabbings and potentially a number of deaths. An eyewitnesses told the ABC shots were fired. NSW Police said emergency services were called to Westfield Bondi Junction just before 4pm after reports of multiple people being stabbed.

This is shocking. The centre would have been packed with weekend shoppers and young families.

I hotdesk there during the week when in Sydney. I’m trying to find out if the people I know who work there are OK, but ping me if you see this.

Update: sadly several people have died, and others were injured, as a result of the attack. The alleged perpetrator meanwhile was shot by a police officer, who was at the scene.

Update II: police are certain the attack was not terror related, nor motivated by any political or religious ideology.


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Third best coffee on Earth? Sydney. Tenth best? Melbourne…

11 April 2024

Expresso coffee at Crepe & Coffee Co, Redfern, Sydney. Photo by John Lampard.

Espresso, brewed by Crepe & Coffee Co, photo by John Lampard.

Sydney has been adjudged the third best city in the world for coffee, this according to American magazine, Food & Wine. Copenhagen, perhaps unsurprisingly, comes in at number one, followed by Tokyo in second place. But here’s where things may get contentious: Melbourne — perhaps surprisingly — ranks at number ten on the list.

Number ten? How can that be? Did not Melbourne birth McCafe, the McDonald’s hamburger restaurant coffee-shop off-shoot? Isn’t Melbourne where the rest of Australia supposedly draws all ideas and inspiration coffee related from? Not that I’m trying to stoke up any Melbourne versus Sydney antagonism, or rivalry, here.

Not me. After all, I’m officially based almost two-hours drive north of Sydney. But when it comes to coffee consumption elsewhere, I’ve had more Sydney coffee than I have Melbourne. And besides, I like both cities. But they’re different places, they’re not cookie-cutter replicas of each other.

Objectively, how then could one possibly be better than the other? Let me illustrate, while keeping the theme victual. Years ago, a chef (whose name escapes me), described the differences between the two cities, thusly. When you go out for dinner in Sydney, it’s for a quick bite, because you’re on the way somewhere else.

That’s true. Sydney never stands still.

On the other hand, when you go out for dinner in Melbourne, it’s an occasion. People dress up, and stay seated at the table for hours. And sometimes we like doing both. But let’s avoid any further Melbourne versus Sydney discord, and take solace in the fact Australia is a country that embraces independent coffee brewers, and has little time for multinational coffeehouse chains.


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Sydney Writers Festival 2023 program

16 March 2023

The Sydney Writers Festival 2023 program was published this evening, and features a star studded line-up of Australian and international speakers. Among them are former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, Sydney author Tracey Lien, Tasmasian writer Robbie Arnott, and Fiona McFarlane.

Overseas speakers include Sri Lankan writer Shehan Karunatilaka, winner of the 2022 Booker Prize, and British author Bernardine Evaristo, who will be one of the opening night address speakers. Australian author Richard Flanagan meanwhile will deliver the closing night address.

The festival — which runs from Monday 22 May, to Sunday 28 May 2023 — will take place at a number of locations around Sydney, including Carriageworks, the State Library of NSW, Penrith City Library, Sydney Town Hall, and PHIVE, Parramatta, to name a handful.


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Re shortlisted for the Worlds 50 Best Bars tackles food waste

3 October 2022

While I usually feature long and shortlists from some of the literary awards, why not change things up a bit? Recently the World’s 50 Best Bars 2022 longlist was announced. Not that you’ll catch me in a bar too often, but it’s worth noting two Australian bars made the cut.

One is Caretaker’s Cottage in Melbourne, as is Re Bar, located in the Sydney suburb of Eveleigh, which I find myself in, or near, on occasion. I’ll have to look out for Re Bar next time I’m nearby.

It also turns out Re owner Matt Whiley is passionate about tackling the scourge of food waste. If you think food waste is a trivial matter, watch the trailer for Never Wasted, an in production documentary on the efforts being made by Whiley, and others, to reduce food waste.


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Sydney to host the 2025 International Astronautical Congress

26 September 2022

With a number of planets, particularly Jupiter, dominating the eastern night sky of Australia at the moment, what better time to make mention that the 2025 International Astronautical Congress (IAC) will be held in the NSW capital, Sydney.

Founded in 1951, the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) is the world’s leading space advocacy body with around 460 members in 72 countries, including all leading space agencies, companies, research institutions, universities, societies, associations, institutes and museums worldwide. The Federation advances knowledge about space, supporting the development and application of space assets by promoting global cooperation.

The last time Australia hosted an IAC event was in 2017, when the International Astronautical Federation conference took place in Adelaide, South Australia.

On the subject of astronomical matters, check out If the Moon were only one pixel, by American interactive art director and designer Josh Worth. Now we can see why they call it space


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Ann Mossop new Sydney Writers Festival artistic director

1 August 2022

Ann Mossop has been appointed as the new artistic director of the Sydney Writers’ Festival. Mossop, who has been behind a string of events in Sydney, has a long association with the writers’ festival:

Festival Chair Mark Scott said, “Ann Mossop comes to Sydney Writers’ Festival with a career programing cutting-edge public conversations at the Sydney Opera House for the Ideas at the House series, Festival of Dangerous Ideas, All About Women and recently as the Director of the Centre for Ideas at UNSW Sydney. Ann also has a long association with the Festival, sitting on the board from 1995–2000 and was part of the committee that established Sydney Writers’ Festival as an independent entity in 1998.”


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2022 Festival of Dangerous Ideas Sydney

29 July 2022

The Festival of Dangerous Ideas (FODI) is on at Carriageworks in Sydney, on Saturday 17 September 2022, and Sunday 18 September. In an age where any idea seems dangerous, FODI is all about having uncomfortable conversations and being unafraid to question the status quo.

FODI holds uncomfortable ideas up to the light and challenges thinking on some of the most persevering and difficult issues of our time, questioning our deepest held beliefs and desires. It presents a lineup of international and local thinkers and culture creators, inviting us all to immerse ourselves in ideas and conversations that encourage debate and critical thinking.



A no hook-up city: Sydney not the place to Netflix and chill

25 July 2022

Out of fifty-three cities across the world, Sydney, Australia’s most populated city, ranks as just about the worst when it comes making friends — particularly if you were born outside of Australia — and hooking up, say the results of the Time Out 2022 Index.

When it comes to making friends, if you’re not born in Sydney, forget about befriending Sydneysiders. I’m sure that’s not the experience of every last new-comer, but somehow the finding doesn’t surprise me. Some years ago I read a guide for students coming from India — I think it was, I cannot track down the webpage right now — for degree courses in Australia. Long story short, they were told to expect the going to be tough when seeking out Australian born friends.

The guide explained Australians have “posses” of friends that seldom, it seems, mix. Old friends, school friends, uni friends, work friends, sports team friends, the list goes on. Aussies apparently go from one such group to another, but members of each group rarely meet anyone from other groups. Short wonder people from elsewhere have a hard time ingratiating themselves with the locals. If you work with an Australian, you might see them at Friday night drinks, but that’s about it.

The difficulty of befriending locally born Sydneysiders is something Kim Solomon, who moved to Sydney from South Africa in 2004, recently related to Sydney Morning Herald writer Michael Koziol:

A well-travelled 41-year-old who has also lived in London and spent time in the United States, Solomon finds Sydneysiders difficult to engage with on a personal level, whether they be strangers on the train or parents in her daughter’s school community. ‘It’s very hard to break into established groups of people who were born and raised in Sydney,” she says. “I’ve developed a good group of friends, but they’re all from South Africa and the UK.”

I don’t see too many people randomly striking up conversations on the trains in Sydney, so expecting to make friends on public transport might be hoping for a bit much. But the parents of her kids’ classmates? Sydney, what have you become?

When it comes to being more than friends though, people also felt frustrated, with seventy-one percent of Time Out 2022 Index respondents describing Sydney as a hard place to hook-up.

Sydneysiders are also starved for more intimate connections, it seems, with 71 per cent of those surveyed saying Sydney was a hard place to hook up, although Singapore, Stockholm and Porto, Portugal’s second city, all ranked lower when it came to Netflix but no chill.

Here’s a situation where place of birth doesn’t weigh so much I suspect though. If you click, you click. I get the feeling if people spent less time inside, and more time looking at what was going around them when outdoors, instead being focussed on the screen of their smartphone, they might not find hooking-up quite so difficult.


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Iconic Sydney Park chimneys to be further restored

20 July 2022

Chimneys, Sydney Park, photo by John Lampard

Anyone going anywhere near Sydney Park, in Sydney’s inner west, will have seen the iconic old chimney stacks rising skyward from the corner of Sydney Park road, and the Princes Highway. If you’ve not been to the area, you’ve possibly seen photos of the chimneys on Instagram, where who knows how many thousands of such images reside.

The chimneys are part of a long closed brick manufacturing facility, which began operating at the site in the 1870s. Having restored two of the heritage listed stacks several years ago, Sydney City Council is embarking on a project to further preserve the four chimneys, while making the area of the park they are located in more accessible to the community.

The Sydney Park brick kiln and chimney precinct contains substantial remains from the brick making industry that once dominated the area. Shale was extracted from deep pits, crushed and pressed into green bricks that were fired in the large kilns.