Walking Tour With Surry Hills Creative Precinct

On just the second day, winter was giving us a sneak preview of the chilly weather we can expect in the coming months.  However, that did not stop the wonderful media group partaking in a Culture Scouts Walking Tour of the Surry Hills Creative Precinct on Friday 2nd June.  Walking around the creative hub of Surry Hills: up Campbell Street, along Crown Street and down to Bourke Street our scout Sophia informed us of the local artisans who are at the heart of this city precinct.

Starting in the chill of the morning at Paramount Coffee Project we were shown around by Bob Barton (director of Golden Age Cinema and Bar) who explained how the integrity of the Functionalist building has been maintained.  The architectural design was born out of Art Deco, beautiful and functional without the excessive decoration.  Paramount utilises the space with bold efficiency, revitalising the once busy loading dock into a cafe and converting the underground storage space into a bar that emanates a speakeasy atmosphere.


Minimal, functional yet beautifully crafted only begins to describe the Danish design house of Hay Sydney, conveniently located on the corner of Crown and Campbell Street.  The concept of Hay is to illustrate great design can come at an affordable price.  There is a warmth and calming effect to their products that would be welcoming in any home.

Citizen Wolf
Where in Sydney can you walk into a store and design your own T-shirt, choosing your preferred length, neck-line and fabric? At Citizen Wolf on Crown Street, this dream has become a reality.  The philosophy of co-founders Zoltan and Eric is to provide a zero-waste environment for casual fashion pieces to be created and enjoyed.  Tailor made, hand or laser cut design and locally assembled, Citizen Wolf believes this will be the best T-shirt you will ever own.

Zoo Emporium Vintage
A quick stop past Zoo Emporium lightened the atmosphere of gloomy rain clouds above.  Specialising in vintage products from the 1970s and 1980s, no matter what piece of clothing, shoes or accessories you are searching for, Zoo has you covered.  Operating for over twenty years, this is no ordinary vintage shop, well versed in their preferred era of fashion.


Reko Rennie Building
Beginning as a City of Sydney street awareness initiative in 2012, the Reko Rennie Building at Taylor Square has become an icon in its own right.  Rennie, an Indigenous artist, boldly painted the building and included the sentence “Always was, always will be”.  This artwork is poignantly illustrating to viewers they are standing on Gadigal Land, that it has always been Gadigal Land and will always continue to be Gadigal Land.

Formaggi Ocello
What is not to like about a cheese and wine boutique.  The group stopped past Ocello for a cheese tasting, sampling only three of their two-hundred locally and internationally imported cheeses.  We were told the wonderful story of how sixteen years ago, founders Carmelo and Sogna Ocello, lovers of cheese began distributing goats cheese from Queensland and how their cheese empire now supplies the best restaurants in Sydney.

First noticing the warm and inviting atmosphere, Gratia welcomes visitors to explore their Bourke Street location as the first ‘profit for purpose’ cafe in Sydney.  The cafe donates 100% of their profits to local and global initiatives aimed at promoting positive change.


The School of Life
Just a quick walk up the stairs from Gratia, The School of Life aims to provide education and direction to those seeking answers to life’s most basic issues.  Programs explore how to live more wisely by discovering the self, to become more resilient, more confident and how to love yourself first and foremost.  The group was invited to take part in a couple of exploratory and trust exercises to briefly understand how the school operates.  After only a 15 minute session, it was made clear to the group how beneficial it can be to understanding another person by asking simple open-ended questions and truly listening before responding.

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