Suburb Profile - Darlinghurst
Darlinghurst is an inner-city, eastern suburb of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Darlinghurst is located immediately east of the Sydney central business district and Hyde Park, within the local government area of the City of Sydney. Darlinghurst is colloquially known as Darlo.
Darlinghurst is a densely populated suburb with the majority of residents living in apartments or terraced houses. Once a slum and red-light prostitution district, Darlinghurst has undergone urban renewal since the 1980s to become a rather upmarket, cosmopolitan and diverse area. Places such as Victoria Street (which joins Darlinghurst and Kings Cross) are known as culturally rich destinations. The main thoroughfare of Darlinghurst is considered to be Oxford Street which is well-known around the world as the centre of Sydney's gay community, and is home to a number of gay venues and the Sydney Mardi Gras. In recent years, Oxford Street has garnered a reputation for being Sydney's primary "nightclub strip", popular with both gay and straight clubbers, surpassing the notorious red-light district of Kings Cross in popularity. As a result, crime rates have increased in the area, particularly for assaults and robberies.
East Sydney is a locality in the western part of the suburb; Taylor Square is another locality within the suburb. Kings Cross is a locality on the northern border. Darlinghurst is surrounded by the suburbs of Woolloomooloo, Potts Point, Rushcutters Bay, Paddington and Surry Hills.
The suburb was originally known as Eastern Hill and then Henrietta Town, after Governor Lachlan Macquarie's wife, whose second name was Henrietta. The loyalties changed with the change of governors and the suburb became Darlinghurst in honour of Elizabeth Darling, the popular wife of Governor Ralph Darling, during the early 19th century. The suffix 'hurst' is derived from the Old English word hyrst, meaning wooded area
Darlinghurst has two of Sydney's museums: the Australian Museum (a natural history museum) and the Sydney Jewish Museum. The suburb also features St Vincent's Hospital, and is associated with the Sacred Heart Hospice on Darlinghurst Road, and the Garvan Institute of Medical Research.
Darlinghurst Gaol, the large sandstone penal complex in the middle of Darlinghurst was built between 1836 and 1840. The large sandstone walls still bear convict markings, and the complex features six wings surrounding a circular chapel. Australian poet Henry Lawson spent time incarcerated here during some of the turbulent years of his life. The last hanging at the gaol was in 1907 (Jahn, 1997). The site became East Sydney Technical College in 1921, but was turned into the National Art School from 1995.
Darlinghurst Courthouse is an imposing sandstone building on Taylor Square. It was designed by architect Mortimer Lewis (1796–1879) in 1844, and has a Greek Revival style facade. The central block is adapted from an 1823 design in Peter Nicholson's 'The New Practical Builder' (Apperly, Irving & Reynolds, 1989).
Oxford Street is the major commercial thoroughfare of Darlinghurst, running from the south-east corner of Hyde Park, through Taylor Square and beyond into Paddington, Woollahra and Bondi Junction, respectively. Oxford Street was originally called The South Head Road and work commenced on the road in 1811 (Faro, 2000). It was a toll road in its early years with the toll gates being located near present-day Glenmore Road. Oxford Street assumed its current name in 1875. Oxford Square is located at the intersection of Oxford and Burton Streets. Oxford Square is also the name of a small shopping centre located opposite, on the corner of Oxford and Riley Streets.
Stanley Street is one of the suburb's two secondary restaurant strips (with Victoria Street) and is often referred to as Sydney's first "Little Italy". However, the restaurants range from Japanese, Thai and Italian and the prices range from basic to moderate. There is an annual Italian Festival held here every June.
Victoria Street is the other major cafe strip. Restaurants range from basic to upmarket. The majority of the cafes have outdoor seating. Several iconic restaurants are in this area, such as Tropicana and Bar Coluzzi.
The Horizon, located in Forbes Street, Darlinghurst, is a 43-storey residential high-rise building completed in 1998. It has a distinctive scalloped facade and is finished in rendered concrete. The building was designed by Sydney architect, Harry Seidler and is controversial in that it has caused major overshadowing of the surrounding area.
According to the 2011 census, there were 10,060 residents in Darlinghurst. 58.8% of people were male and 41.2% female. This was a higher rate of male residents than the national average of 49.4%. In Darlinghurst, 47.2% of people were born in Australia. The most common other countries of birth were England 6.9%, New Zealand 4.9% and Thailand 1.8%. Being an inner-city suburb, Darlinghurst had a high rate of people walking to work (36.9%). The dwelling types in Darlinghurst were mostly units and apartments or semi-detached houses. Just 2.6% of dwellings were separate houses, compared to the national average of 75.6%.
Darlinghurst's commercial activity is centred on Oxford Street, and extends to Victoria Street, Flinders Street, Crown Street, Cleveland Street, and Darlinghurst Road. There are a large number of cafés, restaurants and take-away food stores throughout Darlinghurst, as well as a large number of pubs and nightclubs, many of which are on Oxford Street. There is also a significant retail presence, including fashion retailers.
Darlinghurst is well-served by public transport, with many bus routes from the Eastern Suburbs converging on Oxford Street prior to entering the central business district. The 380 bus between Circular Quay and Bondi Beach travels through Darlinghurst along Oxford Street. The 333 bus runs the same route but is an express service, only servicing major stops and all passengers must have prepaid tickets. The 378 bus between Railway Square and Bronte also travels through Darlinghurst along Oxford Street. The 392, 394, 396 and 399 buses also travel through the suburb on Oxford Street. Buses that travel through the centre of Darlinghurst are the 311 and the 389 buses.
There are no train stations in Darlinghurst, however Kings Cross railway station on the Sydney Trains Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line is just over the northern border of the suburb. Museum station on the City Circle, is located just to the west of Darlinghurst, on the south-west corner of Hyde Park.
Diana Bowman Performing Arts Centre (SCEGGS)
Darlinghurst Public School, located on Womerah Avenue, was opened in 1884. The Sydney Grammar School is located on College Street, across the road from Hyde Park. This school is a boys-only private school which opened in 1857.
The Sydney Church of England Girls' Grammar School (now called SCEGGS Darlinghurst) was founded in 1895 in Victoria Street, Darlinghurst. It moved to its current site in Forbes Street, in 1901. The former Marist College on Liverpool Street is now an apartment complex.
The National Art School of Australia, a specialist Art school in collaboration with Sydney TAFE, dates back to 1859.
The University of Notre Dame's School of Medicine and the School of Nursing are located in the historic parish buildings associated with the Sacred Heart Parish in Darlinghurst. The complex includes state of the art facilities for use by medical and nursing students such as simulated wards, practise wet laboratories and clinical skills laboratories in addition to simulated consulting rooms.
Darlinghurst has three functioning churches: God in the City, an Assemblies of God congregation affiliated with Christian City Churches; St. Pauls Lutheran congregation; and St John's, an Anglican congregation. St Johns operates Rough Edges, a street outreach centre that functions as a cafe and drop-in centre. It provides a range of services to the local community, including the homeless. There is also a variety of smaller chapels and religious services attached to St Vincent's Hospital and other religious organisations in the suburb. The Sacred Heart Church on the corner of Darlinghurst Rd and Oxford St, a Catholic church, is part of a site redevelopment which involves a campus of the Notre Dame University on its site.
The Church of Christ, Scientist is now a private residence. There is also the defunct St. Peter's Anglican church, Bourke Street, which is now part of SCEGGS Darlinghurst.
The area has often been a battleground between the two councils of the City of Sydney and the City of South Sydney. Most of the suburb belonged to South Sydney, however the New South Wales State Government moved the borders repeatedly in order to change the make-up of the city of Sydney. Many claim that these shifts have been attempted to shift the balance of power in the favour of the party in control of the State Government.
However, this battle is now moot since both councils were forced by the State Government to amalgamate in February 2004. An election was held on Saturday, 27 March 2004, in order to elect a new council for the redesignated (expanded) City of Sydney. Critics of the amalgamation have claimed that the election demonstrated strong voter backlash against the State Government for pressing the issue. The Australian Labor Party, for whom the area was usually safe, had their primary vote reduced to approximately 20%. The independent Clover Moore took the Lord Mayoral position, having campaigned against the Government's dismissal of the Council.
At a federal level, Darlinghurst falls in the electorates of the Division of Sydney and Wentworth. Its current parliamentary representatives are Tanya Plibersek (Labor) and Malcolm Turnbull (Liberal). These electorates have some of the state's strongest support for The Greens.
The Darlinghurst area is famous for the annual Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras. The parade which marks the end of this festival takes place on Oxford Street, the main street that runs through several suburbs, including Darlinghurst. The Sydney Jewish Museum is on the corner of Darlinghurst Rd and Burton St (148 Darlinghurst Rd) and features exhibitions about the Jewish community in Sydney.
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