If you like Street Art, you will love this self-guided Inner West Street art walk through St Peters, Enmore, and Newtown. A word of warning, this is not a short walk, the whole thing will take you a good half day or longer if you stop for eats. If you have limited time or energy, you could choose just to do a portion of it. Buses run along these streets back to the city.
Recently on a particularly perfect sunny day, I went exploring some of my favourite inner west suburbs on a mission to find some great street art. This area has a large number of great works to choose from thanks in part to a Marrickville Council, who have over the years built good relationships with local artists through their Perfect Match program. I thought I would write-up my walk in case anyone would like to follow a similar route. Where I could find out the name of the Artist I have included it but if you know of any that I have not included, please leave me a comment.
Originally this post was going to be all about the art, but there is so much great food in this area I have added lots of eating (and drinking) suggestions which may make it hard for you actually to complete the walk in one day.
Stop 1 – Mays Lane St Peters
Begin at St Peters train station approx 12 mins south-west of the Central Station. Once you arrive exit to the right side of the station and you are minutes away from Mays Lane. Mays Lane and Caroline Lane, which runs off it, are an outdoor gallery featuring an every changing array of work. Some is legal and some illegal, since 2010 artists should seek permission to paint here. Along with a studio nearby there is also a Facebook page showcasing the work. You can also learn more about the Mays Lane Street Art Project here.
Wander up to the main road, the Princes Highway, you will notice some tall brick stacks from the highway. This area is Sydney Park; once a brickyard in recent years has been converted into a fantastic space with bicycle tracks, a community garden, picnic areas, and wetlands. It’s hard to imagine this little oasis from the highway, but there you go.
Continue north along the Princes Highway, once the road crosses the railway line it becomes King Street, a 2km long thoroughfare which along with its sister street Enmore Road is home to over 600 shop fronts, most of them independent and small businesses. You are now in South Newtown, and there is street art down almost every lane. I will highlight some of the pieces I have discovered, but a wrong turn will probably result in you finding something I have missed.
Step 2 – Darley Street/Darley Lane- Welcome to Newtown
Head one block down to Darley Street. On the corner are the Botany View Hotel and a newer work that was part of this year’s Marrickville Council art program
Go back to King Street and on the next corner Darley Lane there was once a very chilled out elephant 🙂 Sadly no more. I have not manged to snap the new work yet but I will soon.
If you are in need of sustenance before you get too far into the walk, you will find plenty of good options along this section of King St
My favourite food spots here are
- Foodarama has great coffee and a very decent breakfast menu.
- Parliament on King – a tiny cafe that has a big heart a lot of interesting things to look at.
- Tea Totaler – Coffee not your thing? No problem, this gorgeous tea shop will be hard to resist.
- Pastizzi Cafe – warm pastries with a variety of sweet and savoury fillings and budget prices.
If you just want sweet treats to stash in your bag for later try
- Mak Mak macaroon – a good variety of flavours in these tiny sweet sensations
- Iblas Russian Sweets – delicious cakes and pastries
Stop 3- Peace Reserve – Fintan Magee Mural
Turn left down Alice Street and continuing walking until you reach Peace Reserve. It will be on the northern side of the street.
The park home to a gorgeous mural by Fintan Magee, probably my favourite street artist working in Sydney. This project was crowd funded by residents in the homes surrounding the park. I was told by a local that image represents the first page of a picture book, and the artist hopes to complete several more in the neighbourhood to reveal the story.
Exit the park to Camden Street and head back up towards King St. Continue along King St – there are some good window shopping and a couple of good bars/foodie spots along here if you feel in need of sustenance at this point
- Newtown Social – old pub all done up.
- Bach Eatery – from midday on Sunday – great share plates
Continue along here until you reach Goddard Street. The walls of this short street look sort of like a gallery with a collection of small works in a line. At the end of the road turn right into Bailey Street.
This street hosts an ever-changing display of graffiti on the garage doors that line the left-hand side, some good, some not so special but it is a bit of a short cut to our next destination on Enmore Road.
Stop 4 – Enmore Road
At this point, if hunger strikes you consider stopping at
- Stinking Bishops – Cheese and wine bar – Open 11 am Thurs-Sun
- Hakiki Turkish Ice Cream – open 11 am every day
- Bovine and Swine – American brisket that will have you wishing you ordered a bigger serve.
Stop 5 – Enmore Road and Station Street
On the wall of the Urban Hotel, you will find another Fintan Magee mural, this is called Housing Bubble. Pretty appropriate for Sydney I think. This hotel is a fantastic choice for short visits to Sydney, with transport and exciting food and drink all at your door.
Stop 6- Phillip St and Phillip Lane, Thurnby Lane and Gladstone Street Enmore
In these three streets, you will find a mix of stencil art and spray art. Artists are working in these lanes every time I visit. Last time I spoke with an older Greek gentleman whose home backs on to the lane and asked him if he minded all the graffiti, he said he felt it made the surroundings more beautiful, and he loved that now there are always people around.
Stop 7 – Young Henry’s
If you have not already stopped for a break or have an interest in craft beer a stop at Young Henry’s is highly recommended. The Brewery is in a warehouse and easy to miss. Try the Newtowner or the Cloudy Cider if that is more your style.
OK so tear yourself from your bar stool and get back out on the street (or not, I mean it’s your holiday so feel free to ignore me and keep drinking till they close!)
If you are with me, walk back up to Enmore Road and continue north towards the city until you reach Australia Street. At this intersection is the Newtown Art Seat and on weekends often an assortment of market stalls.
Stop 8 – Newtown Art Seat and Guardian Dog
Opposite Newtown Station at the top of Australia Street is a pedestrian space known as Newtown Square. The square is home to a small market on Saturday’s and to some cool artwork. Firstly the Art Seat, a place to rest your bones and a gallery for a changing display of work by local artists. Highlighting just how dog-friendly the area is is the Newtown Guardian Dog by Richard Byrnes, there are three dogs, placed at the entrances to the suburb. The other two are in St Peters and Enmore.
If you have heard of the infamous strawberry and watermelon cake from Black Star Pasty you can see the original shop just a few doors down Australia St and you might want to detour for a coffee and taste. It is still my favourite cake in all of Sydney several years after it first appeared.
Now we are just going to walk a little further up King Street to the Martin Luther King mural.
Stop 9 – King Street – I had a dream
This one is one of the earlier Newtown murals. Painted in August 1991 by Andrew Aiken and Juilee Pryor (Unmitigated Audacity Productions). Later the Aboriginal flag was added at the bottom.
Just before the mural is Blue Dog Poster shop – worth a look if you want to take home some local artwork at a very reasonable price.
Keep walking along King Steet exploring the shops until you reach Church St. Turn left on Church Street. Right around the corner is another Fintan mural I am not sure if this one has a name. However, it does have a story. It used to be a drawer of an archer with a bow however due to a miscommunication it was painted over shortly after being completed. When he was asked to redo it, he decided to paint something new.
Stop 10 – Camperdown Park and St Stephens Church
The wall that separates Camperdown Park with St Stephens church is a well-known spot for political and personal graffiti.
If you prefer the idea of a more formal walking tour with a knowledgeable guide, you might like to check out Culture Scouts tours. I have not managed to get along to one yet, but I have heard good things.
I have made a map on Newtown Enmore Street Art Google map that will help you find all the spots I mentioned and a whole lot more!
More art not included on this walk but nearby if you have extra time to fit a few more spots in
- The Clean up by Fintan Magee – Albermarle St Newtown
- Sub-Tropical Bird of Flight by Jumboist at The Asylum Seekers Centre, Bedford Street, Newtown
- Flood Emergency Supply Drop by Fintan Magee Newtown, Sydney.
- African Queen and Freddie Mercury in Trafalgar St Enmore