Suburb Profiles

Darlinghurst

Introduction

Named after NSW Governor Ralph Darling, cosmopolitan Darlinghurst, or ‘Darlo’, is the heart of Sydney’s gay scene and the home of the Mardi Gras. In the early days, however, Darlinghurst was more famous for its 1841 gaol, now the National Art School, and the Darlinghurst Court House, built in 1835. From a slum in the 1920s and a red-light prostitution district, Darlinghurst has undergone urban renewal since the 1990s and early 2000s to become a rather upmarket, cosmopolitan and diverse area. Located immediately east of the Sydney Central Business District and Hyde Park, within the Local Government area of the City of Sydney, Darlinghurst shares its 2010 postcode with Surry Hills and East Sydney. Nestled between William and Oxford Streets, tiny East Sydney was once a dairy farm and market garden. Nowadays this diverse Conservation Area is best known for its pubs, fantastic Stanley Street ‘Little Italy’ restaurants, and the Australian Museum. The suburb was originally known as Eastern Hill and then Henrietta Town, after the wife of Governor Lachlan Macquarie, 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 'hurst' is an old English word for a wooded area.

Things to See & Do

Darlinghurst offers fresh and lively nightlife among its numerous cafes. It is also a great place to meet friends and just hang about during the day. Darlinghurst is situated in between Oxford and William Streets. 'Little Italy' can be found here, as well, based around Stanley Street. If pubs are more your scene head South of Darlinghurst to Surry Hills. Its printing warehouses have been transformed into innercity yuppie flats. Surry Hills also hosts a market in Shannon Reserve, Cnr Crown and Foveaux Streets. You can get there from Circular Quay on bus numbers 301, 302, and 303.

Dining & Entertainment

Oxford Street is known for its low-priced ethnic restaurants, including Thai, Indian and Spanish, or head to nearby Stanley and Crown Streets for a great selection of Italian cafes and restaurants, from basic to upmarket. Another good option is buzzing Victoria Street, Darlinghurst – this area is famous for its coffee and Italian-style cafes, but there are also some good Indian, Thai and other restaurants. And there are yet more places to eat on neighbouring Darlinghurst Road and Liverpool Street. Darlinghurst also offers fresh and lively nightlife among its numerous cafes.

Shopping

The area’s main shopping strip is Oxford Street, Darlinghurst, stretching from Hyde Park to South Dowling Street. Here you’ll find everything from alternative clothing boutiques, late-night bookshops and music stores to supermarkets, gourmet food stores, homeware outlets and gift shops. This happening street, alive day and night and the location of many pubs, clubs and bars, is also a great place for people watching! And if you are interested in purchasing artworks, there are several excellent galleries scattered throughout East Sydney.

Keeping Fit

Providing a wonderful green space in the heart of the city, Cook + Philip Park features 3.4 hectares of open space with more than 400 trees, grassed terraces, flowering gardens and the superb forecourt to St Mary’s Cathedral. Here you can go jogging, walking, cycling or swimming at the Aquatic & Fitness Centre in the park where there is also a gym. If you’re after a set of tennis head to nearby Rushcutters Bay Park Tennis Courts on Waratah Avenue.

Educational Institutions

Schools in and around the area include Darlinghurst Pulic School, Sydney Grammar School and SCEGGS Darlinghurst.