Suburb Profiles

Surry Hills


In the early 19th century Surry Hills was on the outskirts of the city and the ideal place to build a mansion, but the area later sank into decline, becoming an overcrowded slum with brothels. In the 1920s notorious razor gangs roamed the streets, terrifying residents. Ruth Park described this in her 1940s novels, Poor Man’s Orange and The Harp in the South. Today’s Surry Hills, and neighbouring Strawberry Hills, is a very different place – a colourful and diverse inner-city suburb that is well known for its art galleries, antique dealers, cafes and pubs, and fashion and rag trade outlets. Many young professionals have moved into the area, lured by the charm of its Victorian terraces and proximity to the city.

Things to See & Do

Here, you’ll find newly renovated houses standing alongside dilapidated dwellings. Streets of elegant Victorian terraces jostle with high-rise flats and factory warehouses. Once the centre of Sydney’s garment trade, Surry Hills still offers factory outlets where clothing, lingerie and haberdashery can be purchased at below retail prices. This is the place where Brett Whitley, Internationally acclaimed and prolific artist, had his studio.


The focus of Surry Hills shopping, busy Crown Street, is popular for its offbeat clothing homewares and collectables, bookshops and food stores. On the first Saturday of every month, the Surry Hills Market is held at Shannon Reserve, and this is a great place to find clothing gifts, creative crafts and bric-a-brac. Also in the area is the excellent Sydney Antique Centre on South Dowling Street, and Cleveland Street’s Surry Hills Shopping Village, ideal for food and every day shopping.

Dining & Entertainment

Once again Crown Street is the place to go, particularly when it crosses Oxford, Fitzroy, Devonshire and Cleveland Streets. There is an extraordinary range of eateries here – from tiny Lebanese and Turkish takeaways to upmarket Modern Australian restaurants and some excellent pub dining rooms, such as the Dolphin, Clock and Hopetoun, offering meals at very reasonable prices. Oxford, Riley, Albion and Bourke Streets also feature many places to eat, including some good Asian and Italian establishments.

Keeping Fit

Neighbouring suburbs such as Darlinghurst offer a plentiful array of Gymnasiums including world famous City Gym open 24 hrs. Phillip Cook pool in the city is within 5 – 10 minutes drive and also offers gym facilities.

Educational Institutions

Locally there’s Crown Street Primary School and Sydney Boys & Girls High Schools, with Sydney Grammar just minutes away.