Crinan Street Hurlstone Park

Hurlstone Park: A Heritage Surprise in Sydney

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When I tell friends that my daughter has moved to Hurlstone Park, most ask “Where’s that?”. Today I want to find out more about this small suburb tucked next to Dulwich Hill in Sydney’s Inner West, a place most apparently know little about.

Alighting at Hurlstone Park Station, the heritage listed Platform buildings appear similar to those at Hawkesbury River Station, my station. The original features of the stair rails are also worth a second look.

Hurlstone Park Station

Original Features

Little Cottage in Floss Street Hurlstone Park

Between the tracks and the street

Discovering the Streets of Hurlstone Park

Turning right from the station, a mobile phone tower and modern signage above and below three decorative arched windows overwhelm what was once an interesting building. Over the road a tiny white cottage nestles between the street and the railway line.

A retired couple relax in the sun on their veranda with coffee and a cigarette. We exchange greetings, commenting on the pleasant warmth after the rain. A worker calls out to them “Lovely in the sun”. The man replies with a drawn out “beeeuudiful”.

Pieces of furniture and other bric a brac overfow the veranda of a corner federation home. They may be clearing out but perhaps a hoarder lives here. The house opposite has a similar problem. Bags of all shapes and sizes and piles of soaked clothing fill the small front yard.

Siddha Yoga Ashram in Garnet Street

Gate to Siddha Yoga Ashram

Heritage in Hurlstone Park

Well Maintained

Owning a heritage listed home must require constant maintenance. The semis at 58 and 60 Garnet Street could do with some attention to the facia boards. The slate roof, terracotta capping and entrance porch are typical of the era.
A few homes in Garnet Street are heritage listed and others display original features. Strolling down the street is rewarding to anyone interested in 1880s architecture.

The Garnet Street Group

Four homes make up the so-called “Garnet Street Group”. These narrow-fronted cottages, identical in structure, but with slight differences have carved bargeboards (a new word for me – it means the board fastened under the gable) and decorative rosettes.

Jessamine Hurlstone Park

Such detail

Garnet Street Group

Four Identical Homes

An elderly man with a white beard, wearing a beanie and large overcoat walks towards me. Carrying a green and a blue shopping bag, one in each hand, he looks me in the eye and says “Hello”. I get the feeling that Hurlstone Park is a friendly neighbourhood.

New Canterbury Road

In contrast to Garnet Street, new unit blocks line New Canterbury Road. While a few original buildings remain, they are tired and many are empty or closed. The Watch Repair man has gone, the Cycle Shop is moving and while sign in the Upholsterer’s door says it is open, the shop looks dusty and closed.

Towels on Veranda

The sun is out

Doctor on New Canterbury Road

You can sit here

On the other hand, next to the pharmacy ‘The Skein Sisters’, a niche wool and knitting shop looks bright and friendly. The last time I saw a shop dedicated to wool was in Penrith.

Greek Community in Hurlstone Park

St Stephanos Greek Orthodox Church makes me wonder if Hurlstone Park is a Greek enclave in Sydney? Perhaps it is – near the empty Brake and Clutch place (they have moved) with its surprising pressed ceiling on the awning and leadlight detail, a Greek shop sells religious artefacts.

Over the road there’s a Greek Bilingual Bookshop. Unfortunately, its façade has been graffitied over with a large curvy white “THIS” bordered in black.

Uniting Church Hurlstone Park

Offers English and Tongan Services

Paint Shop on Canterbury Road

Putting off that Paint Job?

Looking up and down Canterbury Road, from the traffic light, there’s the modern Canterbury Hurlstone Park RSL, a Puppy School inhabiting the 1923 ‘Buying Centre’ and even though it’s 11am on a Thursday morning, Police are pulling motorists aside for a RBT.

Two cement bulldogs guard the gate of a home in Melford Street. Strongly tempted to rub the nose of one, I photograph it. Then I can’t resist and caress his rough nose.

Winnie the Pooh

He is resting

Concrete Bulldog

Friendly Face

Euston Road Group

The smell of paint fills the air outside one of the “Euston Road Group” of heritage listed homes. While messing around with my camera, the owners come out to ask what I am doing.

Mollified by my answer, the man (wearing a Rabbitohs jumper) asks if I want to see inside the house. I demur but we end up chatting anyway. The wife says that this group of houses were all built at around the same time. She tells me that Council may provide a limited amount to assist owners with maintaining heritage listed homes.

Twenty One

Who lives here?

Euston House Hurlstone Park

Two Grand Stair Entrances

Further down the road, another Rabbitohs supporter, wearing a green and red beanie walks out of his driveway. I comment that “there are lots of Rabbitohs fans around here”. He replies forcefully that “It’s a good team”.

In Euston Park, a wet limp Australian flag droops from the pole near the war memorial. A drink bottle on the bench and plastic container with straw and green lid on the memorial mar the solemnity of the space.

A woman laughingly calls out to a man tinkering with his car “when are you going to get it going”. He light-heartedly replies “got to get it registered first” and bends back down over the engine.

East meets West

Eastern Dragon on Rising Sun

Ford Galaxie in Hurlstone Park

Perhaps my best find in Hurlstone Park

The Sugar Mill in Hurlstone Park

Crossing the pedestrian walkway over the rail line, a piece of history comes into view. Like ‘The Flour Mill’ in Dulwich Hill, this former Sugar Mill, built in 1841 has been converted into a residential building.

After operating as a Sugar Mill for 13 years, the building was used for various purposes including an engineering works, butter factory and bacon factory. Nick Scali Furniture owned the building from 1983 to 1997.

There are people around, more than I have seen in many other suburbs. Well serviced by public transport, and with shops nearby, people seem to walk rather than get in a car.

The Sugar Mill Hurlstone Park

The Sugar Mill comes into view

Pedestrian Bridge over Cooks River

One of the bridges over the Cooks River

The Cooks River Cycleway in Hurlstone Park

Ongoing community action to clean up the Cooks River is working. Birdlife has returned to the river and the cycle path alongside the river makes for a pleasant ride (or in my case walk).

A large bird flies across the path ahead of me landing heavily on a soft branch which bends under its weight. Wanting to identify the bird, I approach slowly. The yellow tailed black cockatoo looks at me curiously but apart from cocking his head doesn’t move. I chat to him and he chats to his mate.

Boat Harbour Boom Cooks River

Cormorants and Litter Boom

Cooks River Boat Harbour

Boat Harbour Cooks River

Leaving the Cooks River, I explore more of suburban Hurlstone Park. One small front yard has become a mini banana plantation, plastic bags protecting the fruit.

If I didn’t know better, the murals and small size of Edgeware Public School would lead me to think it was an infant’s school. Actually, this ‘School for Specific Purposes’ caters for students in years 7 to 10 who have conduct disorder.

Chair and Ball

Red Chair

Community Chairs

For a Neighbourly Chat

A man pushing a wheelbarrow through Burnett Street Reserve wears a sweaty pale blue T-shirt with the insignia of the ‘Mudcrabs’. This local community group works to clean up the Cooks River and surrounds.

Hopetoun Street Group

Another group of heritage homes, the ‘Hopetoun Street Group’ also display striking features. One has a sulphur crested cockatoo painted in the apex of the gable, a vine frieze and lacey ironwork.

Heritage Home Hurlstone Park

Lacey Ironwork

Heritage Detail in Hurlstone Park

More Heritage

Hurlstone Park Village

In the village of Hurlstone Park, dates on the building facades indicate their age. 1904. 1912. 1905. Hand painted tiles of a cow, sheep and pig indicate that a butcher once traded here.

An older woman who has lived in the area for 50 years tells me that apparently the closed Hot Bread Shop still bakes bread, but sells it through the local grocer. Her step son used to live in the house next door to where my daughter now lives.

Butcher Hurlstone Park

Former Butcher Shop

Always Busy Barber

He is always Busy

She says that ten years ago people could wander across Crinan Road, but now there is more traffic and with the cafes, more people. She points out the Drapery and Mercery sign. Today it’s a pop-up vintage store. She doesn’t know why Con’s Shoe Shop isn’t open for business but tells me that Con is an old man now.

Drapery and Mercery

Now a Pop Up Vintage Store

Con's Shoe Store Hurlstone Park

What has happened to Con?

Hurlstone Park with its friendly face, heritage architecture and river walk could easily be called a ‘hidden gem’ of Sydney. My daughter is lucky to have found a place here.

Hurlstone Park reminded me a little of Carlton with its heritage. You may also like Marrickville with its Cooks River Walk (continuation of the path in Hurlstone Park) or Annandale for a different style of equally interesting heritage homes.
Next Stop: Campbelltown

Useful information:

Hurlstone Park is located 9km South West of the Sydney CBD

It is easy to get to Hurlstone Park by train or Bus. Plan your trip at transportnsw.info

I enjoy a pastry or savoury treat at Dora’s Bakery

Use this map as a guide: Use the map (which you can download here) in conjunction with these Day Notes. Please note that I take up to four hours to do my walk. You may take less.

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Comments

  1. Thanks Joanne,
    I’m currently house sitting in Hurlstone Park and found your article fascinating. I’m looking forward to discovering more of the area.
    Belinda

    1. Author

      How fortuitous, Belinda. I hope you enjoy your sojourn in Hurlstone Park. House sitting must be a great way to get to know Sydney.

  2. One of the shops in Crinan St was given a makeover by Selling Houses Australia about 6 or 8 years ago (I think, about then). You also missed my house in Duntroon St which had its front garden made over by Better Homes and Gardens 3 years ago. It’s divine succulent heaven! People are always hanging over the low front wall to check it out. I’ve made a large mosaic out of buttons on the front wall, to complete the look.

    1. Author

      I didn’t miss your succulent heaven. I sent the address to my daughter to check out for an easy care option for her garden. I won’t give it away here. And the circular button mosaic is lovely. Thanks for the info.

    1. Author

      You might catch me at Dora’s on a Wed when I babysit. Enjoy your new home.

  3. I lived in New Canterbury Road in the 1960’s. All the empty shops at what was once known as Hurlstone Park Terminus, were all operating as flourishing businesses, now they are all closed. St. Stephanos’s Church was originally St Stephens Church of England. A number of other shops have been demolished and blocks of units have taken their place. The history of this suburb is slowly disappearing. Thanks for your current commentary on my childhood playground of “Hurlo”.

    1. Author

      Hello Jan and thanks for your added information. ‘Hurlo’ would have been very different in the 1960s. Yes, as I walk around Sydney’s Suburbs, I see change everywhere. At least some of the older houses are being preserved.

  4. Beautifully preserved heritage homes and the path along the Cooks river looks like a lovely place to walk or cycle.

    1. Author

      I think you’d enjoy riding your bike along the Cooks River, Bernadette

  5. Hurlstone Park sounds like a lovely place to live. I hope the developers never hear about it.

    1. Author

      I think my daughter will be very happy there. Hopefully the developments will stay on the main roads where they have already changed the face of the streetscape.

  6. I recently moved from Hurlstone Park to retire in the country. I do miss the Cooks River. I walked it most days and at sunset it can be breath taking. Hope Con is okay. Last year he fixed a vintage leather bag for me but not before telling me of for not taking better care of the leather. I love the old houses and gardens. Hurlstone Park is a friendly community and I do miss chatting to my neighbours.

    1. Author

      You have probably traded breathtaking sunsets on the Cooks River for beautiful sunsets in the country. The community does seem very friendly and when we walk past someone in a front yard with our grandson, there is always a lovely smile and greeting.

  7. Lived there until married. Nobody knew of it then either. When my mother pasted away in 1998 we sold the house in euston rd they pulled it down and built a double story columned white ugly place. Sad.

    1. Author

      Yes it is sad when old houses are pulled down to make way for new developments. I have seen that happen all over Sydney on my walks.

  8. My husband lived in hurl stone park from 1946 till 2012 . We got married in 1979 and lived in Hamden st then moved up to his parents house in Barton ave beautiful federation homes in that street . The sugar mill is in Canterbury not hurl stone park. I loved living in hurl stone park there was an article written in the daily mirror news paper saying hurl stone park was a hidden gem of the inner west . I now live in thirlmere in the southern highlands I love it but I miss hurl stone park looking forward to your article on Campbelltown it’s our closest hospital and large shopping centre there is a lot of Australian history and historic homes in Campbelltown and surrounding suburbs.

    1. My son was three when they were making the bike track at Ewan park he had a ride on a steam roller he is now 39. We had many great birthday parties at the park.

    2. Author

      Yes, you are right, Vinlei, the Sugar Mill is in Canterbury, but just on the border of Hurlstone Park. I was so excited to find out about it that I had to write it up. I hope the Campbelltown post lives up to your expectations – I didn’t really manage to get into the suburban streets.

  9. Joanne, I found your website researching for walks I organize with my hiking group. Very informative and packed with useful info. Your doing a great job promoting the exploration of Sydney and beyond by foot. So many places to see that are mostly unknown, unless you just take your time and walk around.

    Many Thanks and looking forward to your next discovery!

    1. Author

      Thank you so much, Karin. I have fun and enjoy sharing my discoveries.

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