Sydney’s newest oldest neighbourhood to help revive the CBD after lockdown

The audio guide explains that developer AMP Capital commissioned five works by Wiradjuri-Kamilaroi artist Jonathan Jones to represent elements of Arabanoo’s life. They include moving lights, onyx fish scales (about 1000 of them) embedded in the pavement and clusters of cast bronze betunigo (oysters) emerging out of the mortar of the historic Gallipoli Memorial Club’s sandstone wall at the high tide line.

Artefacts on display in the street, unearthed by archaeologists working ahead of redevelopment at Quay Quarter, date from 1850-1900 and most came from a cesspit in Customs House Lane. There’s a cream jar c1866; burnished clay tobacco pipes and an egg cup.

Underground is the Bennelong Stormwater Channel, Sydney’s first subterranean sewer.

Clusters of cast bronze betunigo (oysters).

Clusters of cast bronze betunigo (oysters).Credit:Rhett Wyman

An information board states: “Quay Quarter Lanes will be a vibrant home to cafes, restaurants, boutiques, luxury residences and workspaces. Sydney’s newest-oldest neighbourhood is set to be a destination for all.”

New kids on the block include a gelateria, a bakery-dessert bar and at Hinchcliff House (the wool store) an Italian-inspired dining hub with a “mysterious underground bar”.

Looking down on all of this is Quay Quarter Tower, completed this year by designers 3XN from Denmark. The audio guide says: “This new tower is a landmark for many reasons. It’s the first major project in Sydney by a Danish architect since Jørn Utzon collaborated with engineer Ove Arup on the Sydney Opera House.”

Artefacts on display date from 1850-1900.

Artefacts on display date from 1850-1900.Credit:Rhett Wyman

Developer AMP Capital Head of Real Estate Kylie O’Connor said the redevelopment of Quay Quarter Lanes precinct paves the way for Sydney to truly become a global role model for future city neighbourhoods.

“As we come out of lockdown, the Quay Quarter Lanes neighbourhood will play an essential role in welcoming workers, residents and visitors back to the city”, she said.

Sydney Open weekend usually gives the public a glimpse behind the door’s of Sydney most amazing buildings, old and new, tall, underground and possibly haunted. But for the second year has been curtailed by COVID-19 limitations.

Light installation ‘Weerong’ a lament of Arabanoo looking across the water at night longing for his family.

Light installation ‘Weerong’ a lament of Arabanoo looking across the water at night longing for his family.Credit:Dominic Lorrimer

Adam Lindsay, executive director of Sydney Living Museums, which organised Sydney Open, said COVID-19 had wiped out the physical program for two years.

“We are strongly committed to Sydney Open travelling out to Parramatta for 2022,” he said.

“In 2019 we added the State Archives, the western Sydney records centre, and it sold out really quickly, so we had to add more tours, so we know there is an appetite.

“We have some online events but to really get people out and about, the audio tours do unpack the history you are learning. But it really is a mindful exercise to walk through places that are familiar but also different either because they have been built out or changed, or you are looking at the history for the first time.”

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