SYDNEY | Sydney is a great city to visit if you love street art. Melbourne might be better known for its street art, but there’s no shortage of quality in Sydney, in particular the suburbs of Newtown and Marrickville.
Whenever I’m in Sydney, I love walking around, discovering new pieces, and older pieces that I might have missed the last time that I was in town.
Sydney has a diverse street art scene, with pieces being created by talented local and international artists. The art draws upon a variety of themes from the social and political, to the historical and fun. Down laneways, on main streets, in full view on large buildings and hidden in unassuming spots, there’s always something interesting to see.
In this Sydney street art guide, I’ll tell you about some of my favourite neighbourhoods to visit for some of Sydney’s best street art.
This industrial suburb has undergone significant changes over the past decade. Factories and warehouses are giving way to apartments, bars, restaurants, and cafes. The suburb is a real mixed use area, and there’s more and more street art popping up.
Bondi isn’t really known for its street art, however if you’re visiting the beach, it’s worth checking out the Bondi Sea Wall. It’s a huge, ever-changing mural that’s been capturing the essence of Bondi’s surf and sea lifestyle since the 1960s. Many artists have painted pieces on this wall over the decades.
Also keep your eyes peeled as you walk along Bondi Road, the main thoroughfare between Bondi Junction and Bondi Beach. There’s a few pieces nestled amongst the unique architecture of some of the road’s buildings.
Darlinghurst features a lot of great murals. Of note is the “We Are Here” project, which saw the City of Sydney commission multiple artists in 2013 to paint a 15 metre high by 75 metre long mural along the façade of Foley Street. The mural reflects the area’s long and rich history.
Marrickville has a long and diverse history. It’s a heavily industrial area, that’s been called home to several waves of immigration to Sydney over the years. The result is a culturally diverse population, and varied architecture owing to the industrial/residential mix. The industrial areas, in particular, provide great canvasses for street art. On the main streets, the back of warehouses, and everywhere in between, there’s street art all over Marrickville.
Take a look at my Marrickville Street Art Guide here.
Newtown is considered by many to be the spiritual home of street art in Sydney. One of the earliest and most famous murals in the neighbourhood is the ‘I Have A Dream’ mural. It was created in in 1991 by Juilee Pryor and Andrew Aiken, with Martin Luther King Jr’s famous words acting as a rallying call to fight for Indigenous Australian rights.
Today, it’s virtually impossible to not spot street art in Newtown. It lines many of the suburb’s main streets, side streets, and back alleys. The artwork deals with a variety of topics, from the political to the commercial, and the controversial to the fun.
You can find my Newtown Street Art Guide here.
Paddington is known for its high end boutique shops rather than street art, but it’s worth a visit. In the backstreets behind Oxford Street, between Mary Place and West Street, you’ll find several pieces that reflect the spirit and history of the neighbourhood.
Redfern is considered by many to be the birthplace of the Aboriginal civil rights movement in Australia. The area has long been a centre of indigenous Australian culture and community. The street art here reflects this heritage, with many political pieces, and community and cultural works of art.
The area between St Peters train station and Marrickville has boomed in recent years, and that includes street art. In 2010, factory owner Tugi Balog had enough of the tagging occurring on the laneway backing on to his factory. He worked with local artists to transform Mary Lane into an open-air art gallery, where artists can paint what they like.
Today it’s not just Mary Lane, but many other surrounding streets in St Peters, which are home to street art.
Easily accessible for visitors to Sydney staying in the CBD, adjoining suburb Surry Hills is a great place to find street art. It lines many of the suburb’s main streets, side streets, and back alleys. The artwork deals with a variety of topics, fun, serious, and topical.
Check out my Surry Hills Street Art Guide here.
There’s not as much street art in Sydney’s CBD as one might think. While the city’s inner city suburbs offer more for lovers of street art, there’s still a decent number of murals to be found in the CBD. Laneways, in particular, are a good place to look.
Be sure to check out huge mural of aboriginal elder Jenny Munro, painted by Adnate on the side of the Novotel Sydney on Darling Harbour.
Identified artists featured in the image gallery include:
Happy discoveries on your street art walk through Sydney. What are your favourites places for street art in Sydney? Are there any street art neighbourhoods beyond these hotspots that you love?