Surry Hills is a Sydney suburb not far from the city centre. It is known for its food, art and design. It is a suburb steeped in the early history of settlement and has a great community feel. Today, I am going on a tour of Surry Hills as a guest of Culture Scouts whose aim is to “discover Sydney differently”.
Bourke Street Bakery
In 2004, the Bourke Street Bakery started in a little corner store. They now have eleven outlets across Sydney. It is time for a coffee and a bite to eat. I choose a ginger crème brulee tart to accompany my flat white. This tart is one reason (the great sourdough bread is another) that many people (locals and visitors alike) make a beeline for the corner bakery. One bite and I am a convert. The tart is amazing and definitely worth the hype.
Brett Whiteley Studio
In a nearby laneway a door is set into a large plain dark wall. To the right of the door is a scaled down version of a sculpture I recognise. It is the work of esteemed artist, Brett Whiteley, who lived and worked in this converted warehouse in the 1980s. I am excited to finally get to visit his workspace.
The tour then takes us through a photography exhibition in the Special Group Studio Space to The Pottery Shed where on either side of a half open red roller door is some great street art. After a demonstration on the pottery wheel I am itching to have a go. It looks meditative.
At the end of a covered laneway, another surprise awaits us. “Village Voices” is an artwork comprising a regularly changing text in the form of short stories which are developed in workshops with locals or are submitted by individuals.
Today’s tour was curated as an introduction to the Surry Hills Festival. Other tour options include an emphasis on coffee where a visit to roasters and brewers in and around Surry Hills is the order of the day. A mixture of food, wine and coffee is a popular choice with locals and visitors alike. Tours include a coffee stop and perhaps a tasting or two. Art lovers may choose something more cultural, with an emphasis on art and history. Then the emphasis could be on the ever-changing street art, rotating exhibitions in the many galleries and thought -rovoking installations.
All too soon, the tour is over. And what a great mixture of experiences it has been. Even though I am a Sydneysider, Surry Hills surprised me. Culture Scouts has definitely helped me to “discover Sydney differently”.
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This is an edited version of a piece I wrote for another site. You can read the full post here.