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Let’s chat! Tropical Black

January 28, 2020 11:30 amby


Today we are talking to Oliver Sivorajah from Tropical Black

Tell us about what you do.

We make the worlds most radical Hawaiian shirts.

[Our shirts] feature original artworks we hand sketch and they are based around the idea of beautiful tropics and also the darkness of the tropics, so there is a little bit of a message hidden in there.

These are your designs?

They are indeed. Tropical Black is myself – Olly Island – and my partner Sammy Skulls.

Can you tell us more about the inspiration?

So it’s born out of the duality of the beautiful tropics. The nature we’re so in love with – the palm trees, the sunsets and the crabs. But there is an element of destruction and death of nature featured in the artworks as well, so you might find a can of rocket fuel or skulls in the print also.

How did Tropical Black come to be?

Well I moved to Australia in 2012, I’m a bar tender by trade and I was bored one night and I decided to make a shit. So I went down to spotlight, bought a $100 sewing machine and I made my first shirt, on my first go, and I was addicted. Meanwhile my old friend Sammy Skulls was living on the sunshine coast and he was studying graphic design so we were chatting on the phone one day and I realised we could combine our superpowers and Tropical Black was born.

And the ethical drive behind Tropical Black is to show the environmental destruction of the tropics?

The two main things for us are the original artworks and the fact they are made from sustainable sourced eucalyptus. We’ll be releasing recycled plastic swim shorts in 2020.

What do you love about Surry Hills Markets?

Well there’s always a really great mix of people who come to Surry Hills Markets – So I’ll sell shirts to a 50 year old guy and a 20 year old girl – it’s lovely.

And I love Surry Hills – people come to have breakfast and a coffee so you feel like you’re making a day of it.

Let’s chat! blu cosmos

November 26, 2019 11:45 amby

Instagram: blu.cosmos

Today we are talking to Ana Ringma from blu cosmos.

Tell us about your stall…

Ana: It’s quality, handpicked vintage and preloved designer clothing.

What got you into it?

I always had a love for unique clothing and I found that vintage had that quality and I had a good eye for finding the goods. And also for sustainability reasons.

What’s your favourite part of the business?

I would say saving clothing from land fill; the clothing industry is the biggest polluter second to oil.

Also getting to see clothes get to live a new life when someone loves it.

What do you like about the Surry Hills Markets?

The atmosphere – it’s relaxed, eclectic and most of all friendly. That because of the people coming and the other stall holders, they are very supportive and it creates a very friendly atmosphere.

Let’s chat! Flamingo Merchants

September 24, 2019 10:39 amby

Instagram @Flamingomerchants 

Meet Elvira Riel from Flamingo Merchants.

How long have you been coming to Surry Hills Market?

Elvira: I’m been doing this market for years, Surry Hills was actually my first market 15 years ago. And over the years I’ve been drawn back to it because of the people here. They love my stuff.

Your stall is very unique – can you tell us about what you’re selling?

E: It’s all about ethnic textiles and natural fibers. I specialize in a lot of hill tribe textiles from Vietnam but over the years it’s evolved  – there’s a lot of Mexican embroidery as well. Lots of colour.

What drew you to those textiles?

E: Through travel – traveling through South East Asia. I was attracted to anything hand made by tribes and traditional practices – things you couldn’t get in shops, lot of the things you couldn’t get unless you went to the countries.

How did you get started?

E:  I think i went over seas when I was 21 and visited the Hill tribes up there and that’s when I discovered a lot of the textiles.

How did that turn into a market stall?

E:  I went to Sri Lanka and ended up buying a bunch of saris and Hill tribe skirts from Thailand and brought them to the market and sold them all. The women here loved it. So I went back again. 

Are there any special finds you remember?

E:  Lots of old Hill tribe skirts in colours they don’t even make any more. The colours are always changing so when you see something you haven’t seen before it is even more special because you know it’s quite rare.

Can you tell us some of the unusual situations you get in when you’re off collecting?

E: Sometimes you’ll be going through piles of old vintage Hill tribe skits and there’ll be lots of French people there – trying to see what’s in my pile. So I pretend to be local to avoid their attention. I’m lucky I can blend in. I get very protective over my Hill tribe sources.

Now a lot of the Hill tribes have gone to work in the cities so you don’t get nearly the quality you used to – they work a lot with polyester and on machines now.

Stallholder Interview Series – Sanaz Designs

July 25, 2019 1:36 pmby


Today we are talking to Sanaz from ‘Sanaz Designs’, who’s just been made a permanent stallholder at ‘Surry Hills Markets’.

Instragram: @sanazdesignsoffical

Facebook: Sanaz Designs

Q: Tell us about your stall…

Sanaz: To be honest I design my own favorite wardrobe and then open that to the public – so it’s whatever styles and designs I’m interested in at the moment.

Q: What inspires you?

Sanaz: A lot of it is vintage inspired – late 80’s, early 90’s, a little from the 50’s – I modernize it a bit, add elements. I’m such a tactile person and love the feel of things – it’s important to look great but it also has to feel great.

Q: You use a lot of natural fiber, is that a reaction against fast fashion?

Sanaz: I use cotton, silks, denim and viscose (that’s man-made but from pulp), in earthy colours that pop. I prefer the feel of natural fiber against my skin. Most of my designs are quite classic – you can wear them still in 5 or 10 years and they’ll still look great so that’s hopefully limiting fast fashion, it’s not something you wear of a few month then throw away.  I’ve been doing this for 11 years, since 2008, and it’s so nice to see customers come and they’re wearing some of my early designs  – it’s great to see those still looking great.

Q: What do you most enjoy about this work?

Sanaz: I love giving people permission to try something different.

When they come and say ‘oh that looks great on you but I could never wear something like that’ and you get them to try it on, and they love it and then a few months later they’re back to get it in another colour. It’s giving them licence to be more adventurous.

Stallholder Interview Series – Happy Pockets

June 21, 2019 4:20 pmby

Surry Hills Vintage Market, Stallholder Interview Series.

Today we’re talking to Gilda from Happy Pockets and Richard, who’s joined her to sell his collection.

Can you describe your stall?

Gilda: It’s high end collectables mixed with fun pieces: clean, curated and affordable.

How did you get started?

Gilda: I realised I had an eye – that everything I’d buy I’d get my money back.

I’d buy things at the auction houses for $1 and leave them outside my house in Newtown with an honesty box. Hardly anything got stolen. Then I sold at markets for 7 years – starting with Surry Hills Market, that was my first one. It went so well I gave up film and TV editing to do markets full time. Then I opened a shop in Newtown called Happy Pockets (no longer), and now I do markets just for fun.

This stall certainly is heaps of fun – it’s bright, warm, colourful shapes, lots of funky pieces…

Gilda: Richard is a plastics collector, a lot of the bright things are his.

Richard: All these plastic pieces are from the 70s and the 70s were a period of colour. A lot of it you can only get in America, it’s stuff you can’t find on mass anywhere, you have to seek it out. I’ve just moved houses and it’s a new colour pallet so this is the collection I’ve been living with for years, it’s a good way to clear it out.

People who come here recognise the items and the value of them, and you sell directly, unlike on ebay or something, where you have to worry about photographs and packaging.

And you get to see who is taking home something that was precious to you, see it going to an appreciative home?

Richard: Yeah, getting to see their faces when they like something. And it’s often like a history lesson for some people – a lot of people come just to look at it, it’s a day out. You might not be looking for anything until you find something you love and realise that you need it. You’ll know when you see it.

Gilda: It’s not what you’re looking for, it’s what you find. Actually the loveliest thing about when you become friends with people who’ve been your customers is when you go round and see your babies – the things you’ve found and restored – in other peoples homes and collections, looking so great.

Any advice for market goers?

Richard:  What I’ve learnt is if you don’t snap it up you’ll miss out. If you love it you need to grab it, because somebody else will.

Let’s chat – Pretty Frocking Vintage!

May 23, 2019 12:28 pmby

Surry Hills Vintage Market, Stallholder Interview Series.

This month we are talking to Janine, one half of the sisters team behind Pretty Frocking Vintage.

Instagram and Facebook @PrettyFrockingVintage

Etsy: PrettyFrockingVintage

How did Pretty Frocking Vintage begin?

Janine: We’ve been operating for about a year. We both found ourselves out of full time work at the same time and both decided this was a good idea.

You’re a sisters team – how does that reflect in your taste and shop style?

Janine: I think the shop was an extension of our wardrobes. And our love of searching for vintage fun things.

Tell us about some great finds that have come into your collection – 

Janine: I do love that pretty quickly after starting Pretty Frocking Vintage we were getting approached by women who had stuff left over form their mothers or grandmothers, that they’d from women in the 1920’s and that they’d offer to us to sell. Things that were almost 100 years old and had just been sitting in attics and cupboards. I do love when something’s been sitting in storage and gets to become our and be passed onto new owners to have a new life – that’s so special.

What excites you most about this job?

Janine: I actually really love to watch other people get excited about things that I’ve found and thought were amazing. And I love that people are getting excited about second hand fashion – the reuse, recycle movement, that’s never been more important. We also try to source natural fibers and good quality pieces that will last. And we do that affordably. Our thing is recycled fashion shouldn’t cost you the world.

I also love that there are no rules in recycled fashion, guy will look at the girls shirts and girls will get excited over guys shirts – if it looks good then go for gold!

Surry Hills Festival takes a break in 2019!

May 17, 2019 10:12 amby

Media Statement – 17 May, 2019

Surry Hills Festival takes a break in 2019!

The iconic and much loved inner city community festival, the Surry Hills Festival today announces it is taking a break for 2019.

A fantastic spring celebration of all there is to love about Surry Hills, last year’s 2018 Surry Hills Festival was an enormous success, attended by an estimated 50,000 people, showcasing talents of over 200 musicians, hundreds of visual installations and performance artists and over 50 participating local venues, eateries, creative studios and businesses. An important program on Sydney’s live music and creative industries calendar, the festival celebrates the vibrant culture, innovation and diversity of spirit for which Surry Hills is famous.

Produced for over 20 years by Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre (SHNC), funds raised through the festivals programs go towards important creative and community programs delivered by SHNC. The festival is important to the SHNC role in connecting communities, fostering well-being and opportunities for locals and creatives to flourish.

“Being produced and managed by a not-for-profit community centre, means the Festival is reliant on financial support and commitment from the community, be that government, businesses or individuals, said centre manager Gillian Elliott.

 With rising costs, and unexpected changes to key operational partners, Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre’s board and management have made the difficult decision to postpone this year’s Festival. The decision ensures no financial loss to the community and provides time to work with our team and partners towards future planning, negotiations and securing corporate, government and community partners… 

 We’re excited by the opportunities to partner with existing and new stakeholders and sponsors to deliver another fabulous Festival in 2020.  This is a community event that highlights the diversity and creativity in and around Surry Hills … an amazing creative Surry Hills Festival program that is renowned for showcasing fantastic live music, creativity and local business innovation in the heart of Surry Hills…

 The board of SHNC would especially like to thank our long term partners for their ongoing support of Surry Hills Festival their support has been fundamental to ongoing success of the Festival to date.” said spokesperson for the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre, Gillian Elliott.

For further information please contact: Gillian Elliott, SHNC Centre Manager 02 9356 4977.

Lola and Lily from L&L Designs

April 30, 2019 2:28 pmby

Today we’re talking to best friends Lola and Lily from L&L Designs – possibly our youngest stall holders ever!

Tell us about your stall:

Lola: So we made everything and some of the money is going to raise money for endangered species.

What are you selling:

Lilly: Everything is handmade, it’s all tops and macramé and pom pom dream catchers and lanterns and designer coat hangers. Every label has a pom pom. All the tshirts are $10. We’ve machine washed them all to check that nothing happens (to the painted design), they’ve all been ironed.

Tell us about the designs;

Lily: Most of the animals on the tee-shirts are endangered.

Lola: Those were the first ones we did, then we started doing dots.

Lily: And the macramé is not really related, it’s just nice macramé designs.

How did it start?

Lola: We were at school and making up what we wanted to do when we were older and I said I wanted to save endangered species. And then we went home and started painting my baby brothers top and them my aunty was over and she said we should start doing that as a business to save animals.

How does this help the animals?

Lola: We’re probably going to give the money to the World Wildlife Foundation

Lily: 10% of each thing we’ll give to them to protect the animals.

Did creating this label together make your friendship stronger?

Lily: We got a lot closer.

Lola: Yeah.

SHNC thanks Alli Sebastian Wolf for interviewing Lily and Lola and taking the photo of their cute stall.

Meet Bjorn of Maker & Collector

February 28, 2019 4:21 pmby

Today we are talking to Bjorn from Maker & Collector 

Tell us a little bit about your stall.

Bjorn: I’m a furniture maker, making furniture from recycled timber, and my wife is a collector. We’re a husband and wife team.

How did it start?

Bjorn: I worked for a furniture company for three and a half years and then I thought, we can do this on our own. We started in a workshop and after 2 years opened our first store in Bayveiw, and another three years after that. My wife does vintage and collectible things that are in the shop also.

What’s the ethos of Maker and Collector? What inspires you?

Bjorn: For us sustainability is so important – so we only use recycled materials. It could be steel or it could be timber, but it needs to be sustainable. And my wife collects things, things she loves.

What do you love about this?

Bjorn: It’s getting to make things, doing something that you love, and people pay you money for that – it’s a great way to live.

Has anything monumental happened?

Bjorn: In 6 years of doing markets we call each other when we’re on the way home, and one will always jokingly ask the other ‘Did you sell everything?’ and the other will joke back ‘Yeah, yeah, I sold the whole stall’. But one time it was true! We sold the entire stall to one person. A man came by, he was opening up a psychology practice, and he said ‘I want every item’. So one time in our history we’ve sold out the entire stall.

Anything else you wan to tell us about?

If anyone wants to visit us, we have a shop in General Antiques on the northern beaches. We can do custom pieces, my designs or your designs – all from sustainable materials.

Find Bjorn’s unique pieces on Instagram @makerandcollector

SHNC thanks Alli Sebastian Wolf for interviewing Bjorn and taking the photo of his beautiful stall.

Meet Bobbie of Mellow Mellow fashion label!

January 31, 2019 3:10 pmby

Today we are talking to Bobbie from Mellow Mellow fashion label.

Tell us about your stall

I started the label because I couldn’t find the clothes I wanted to wear, I was looking for more outrageous clothing. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve had an interest in 60s-70s rock and roll psychedelic culture.

Is that your main inspiration?

Yeah, for sure. I guess more physically it comes from what those artists were wearing at the time. I pick colours, textures, patterns of the time. And I only listen to that music, so it’s a way for me to immerse myself in the time that I’m so far away from.

Everything you sell is handmade by you, from your original designs – why is that important to you?

Just because the fashion industry is one of the main culprits of the environmental crisis. I would feel guilty if I was producing any other way. I’d like my label to get bigger and maybe I wouldn’t be able to do all the sewing myself, but, no matter what, I will keep the production local. I can see myself employing mums who want to sew a bit at home on the side while they’re looking after babies, or older women who want to contribute – keeping it as local as possible.

What is your favourite piece?

Have to say the fluffy jackets. Because sometimes people refer to me as the fluffy jacket girl, but also I named the style after my father who passed away. He used to wear this exact style in the 70s in a burgundy jacket, and I’ve always wanted ones like this.

Find Bobbie’s unique designs at @mellowmellow.label or

SHNC thanks Alli Sebastian Wolf for interviewing Bobbie and taking the photo of her beautiful stall.

Meet Mitch – a market stallholder and florist in Merchant & Green

November 1, 2018 12:32 pmby

Today we’re talking to Mitch from Merchant & Green

Tell us about Merchant & Green

Merchant & Green was started just over a year ago by Chris – he’s been in the the floristry industry for over 25 years in flowers and events. I came on board with him about 6 moths ago.

What’s the concept behind Merchant & Green?

We have a shop on Bourke St open 7 days a week focusing on plants, flowers and events as well. We also have workshops in things like terrariums, flower arranging, flower crown making, which we run on weekends and privately during the week.

What excites you about working in flowers?

It’s always changing, you always work with the seasons. And no job is ever the same, you’re working with people’s tastes so it always changes. It’s really rewarding as well.

What’s rewarding about it?

Working with people, with their birthdays, weddings, adding to that event. When people come to you for flowers it’s always for a special occasion and it’s rewarding getting to be part of that.

How has today gone for you?

It’s been really good. Really nice chatting to the people here, seeing their appreciation of flowers and seeing old faces who come into the shop.  And it’s also really cool seeing what else is going on here with the other stalls.

What’s your favorite flower?

It’a always changing but one of my all time favorites would have to be the tuba rose – which really doesn’t look like a rose, so you should google it.

How did you get into this?

I used to work in hospitality doing lots of functions and seeing the flower arrangements there, and I wanted to do something more creative. So about 6 years ago I went to study floristry, first at Ultimo TAFE, then finishing my degree in Melbourne. I’m also a morning person so doing the 5am flower market run is much nicer than working bars at night.

SHNC thanks Alli Sebastian Wolf for interviewing Mitch and taking the photo of their beautiful stall.

Surry Hills Festival bursts into Sydney this weekend!

September 19, 2018 9:59 amby


Surry Hills Festival 2018 will be showing off the sights, sounds and colourful atmosphere that characterise the inner city suburb this weekend. Spreading across Surry Hills from 10am to 10pm on Saturday, 22 September – the festival is a FREE family-friendly day taking place across Ward Park, Devonshire Street, Crown Street, Shannon Reserve and surrounds. Come in your best flower power inspired outfit for the unofficial opening of spring!

Packed with the trademark live music line-up, free tours, pop up spaces, nooks and crannies bursting with performance, local narratives, food and vibrant art – the festival is an engaging showcase of what makes Surry Hills the heart of Sydney’s innovative creative district. Don’t miss a moment of one of Sydney’s most-loved festivals by downloading the program HERE.

Celebrating the founding of Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre (SHNC) in the late 1960s/70s, the Centre’s role in nurturing community, and the design and textile industries for which Surry Hills is famous – this year’s creative theme is all about FLOWER POWER. Highlights of the arts program include giant glowing Triffid installations, Projection Arts, The emPOWER FLOWER public art project inviting everyone to join in making a stunning installation of Spring happiness, Surry Hills and Valleys (an installation of portrait photographs by Tim Ritchie coupled with stories of local personalities), the inaugural Microflix Festival (30 short fiction animations), Kate Leigh’s Knees Up (hilarious reenactments of the infamous local bootlegger) and pop up performances by The Devonshire Divas presented by the ever wonderful Deep Sea Astronauts.

Kick off spring with the whole family this year with a whole bunch of creative activities to bring old and young together. Get down early from 10am for the Dog Show with categories including Best Tricks and Best Flower Power Fancy Dress. Meet Your Mayors is a huge colour in art wall brought to life by Tim Andrews that will keep the whole family entertained. Hitch a ride in a 1970’s inspired Kombi and come see the Mind Melting Maypole, a psychedelic rendition of the wicker-man tradition produced by SEET Dance.

The live music line-up features some of the Sydney’s most talented artists including Joyride, DOBBY, Rackett, Crocodylus, Pirra, Iluka, Jackie Brown Jr. and King Tide on the Ward Park and Shannon Reserve stages – listen to the offical festival playlist HERE. Beyond these main stages, there is the popular AIM Pop Up Stage returning to Tudor Reserve, a Vintage Record Fair and the Clock Hotel will play host to the official Surry Hills Festival after party with great local DJs for music lovers of all sorts.

And to top it off, Surry Hills legends Yullis have crafted a FLOWER POWER ale, nice and dry, with a light hop profile complemented by Chamomile tea aromas – perfect for Springtime and available at local venues. You can also meet the locals, sample the ale and explore the heritage, art and architecture, wonderful eateries and creative enterprises of Devonshire Street and surrounds with especially curated tours with Surry Hills Creative Precinct – visit HERE for bookings.

Join the thousands of expected Sydneysiders for the unofficial welcoming of spring.

All funds raised on the day go to community programs presented by Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre

( Photo Credit: The Devonshire Divas by Deep Sea Astronauts)


SAT 22ND SEPTEMBER 2018, 10AM – 10PM


Temporary Event Road Closures – Saturday 22 September

September 10, 2018 2:11 pmby

Surry Hills Festival – Saturday 22 September 2018

The annual fundraiser for Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre and community programs, Surry Hills Festival returns on Saturday 22 September 2018 for a celebration around Ward Park, Shannon Reserve, Crown Street, laneways, venues, businesses and creative spaces across Surry Hills. With great food, guided tours, public art installations, live music, physical theatre and loads for the kids – there’s something for all ages and interests to enjoy!

Barricading Parking Spaces

  • Marlborough St – between Lansdowne St and Devonshire St – eastern side
  • Marlborough St – dead end north of Devonshire St – both sides

Temporary Event Road Closures – Saturday 22 September, 6AM – 11.59PM

To ensure pedestrian flow and community safety, the following streets will be closed on Saturday 22 September, 2018:

  • Devonshire Street Elizabeth Street to Bourke St (light rail closure) West bound
  • Devonshire Street Elizabeth Street to Holt St (light rail closure)
  • Devonshire Street Clisdell St to Waterloo St (residents excepted) East bound
  • Clisdell Street At Devonshire Street (light Rail closure) South bound
  • Holt Street
  • Between Gladstone St and Devonshire St (light rail closure)
  • Waterloo Street
  • Between Gladstone St and Devonshire St (residents excepted)
  • Adelaide Place Closed at Devonshire St (light rail closure)
  • Steel Street Closed between Devonshire St and Steel Lane
  • Riley Street Closed at Devonshire St (light rail closure)
  • Riley Street
  • Between Arthur St and Devonshire St (residents excepted)
  • South bound
  • Marlborough St Between Lansdowne St and Devonshire St
  • Devonshire Street Adelaide Place to Crown Street
  • High Holburn St At Devonshire Street (light rail closure)
  • Collins Street Between Crown Street and Richards Lane

During event operations, managed access will be maintained for residents. To gain managed vehicle access, residents must present proof of residency within the road closure area.

For more information about the 2018 Surry Hills Festival and free family program, visit

Download pdf version here – SHF 2018 – Temporary Event Road Closures

Surry Hills Festival reveals extensive ‘Spring Into Surry Hills’ Creative Arts Program

August 20, 2018 3:51 pmby
Photo: Projection Arts by Esem Projects


Pop Up events performances and installations in the heart of Surry Hills


From huge glowing triffids to stunning large scale projection arts and pop up garden performances, Surry Hills Festival is back on 22 September with a unique arts program ready to transform Sydney’s culturally vibrant suburb. Building up to the Festival, celebrations kick off with the Spring into Surry Hills arts program running from 13 to 22 September. It’s bold and fun, celebrating the founding of Surry Hills Neighbourhood centre (SHNC) in the era of Flower Power (late 1960s/70s), the Centre’s role in nurturing community, and the design and creative enterprises for which Surry Hills is famous.

The inaugural Microflix Festival brings 30 short animation works inspired by microfiction. Catch these superb shorts airing next to the Shakey from the 13-23 September (5.30pm to 10pm), with an awards night on 14 September at the historic St Peters 1880 Hall to celebrate the best of the best.

Surry Hills and Valleys, by accomplished creatives including Tim Ritchie, James O’Brien, Astra Howard and Karina Kreminski, invokes the power of common humanity – with giant portraits and personal stories lining Marlborough Street. This unique work opens with a free community celebration on 15 September.

Following the enormous success of Kitten Wall 2017, artist Tim Andrew returns with Meet Your Mayors, inviting audiences to engage with portraits of colourful personalities- in fact, all 30 Mayors of Greater Sydney.

Join award winning performer Vashti Hughes for Kate Leigh’s Knees Up – hilarious reenactments of notorious local criminal Kate Leigh and her cronies – guided performances to historic sites and venues, including Kate Leigh’s original home.

Fall in love with Sydney all over again this spring with incredible works from street artist Nico and local textile design powerhouse, Longina Phillips Designs. Whilst Longina Phillips Designs has supported the cause through creating art for bold and uplifting installations around the local spots, Nico has taken the artwork as inspiration to transform  beautiful centrally located building and creative space into a statement of Flower Power. Meet Nico the artist and watch the building transform from beginning to end.

Everyone is invited to join in creating the emPOWER FLOWER Project, bringing out the inner creativity of young and old into one huge interactive art spot. Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre is grateful to ALTRAC Light Rail for supporting this community art project.

Keep your eyes peeled for the Devonshire Divas or Mind Melting Maypole, a psychedelic rendition of the Wicker Man-esque ance, two of many special performances across pop up gardens and sites through Spring into Surry Hills and on the Festival Day.

And to top it off, Surry Hills legends Yulli’s have crafted a FLOWER POWER ale, nice and dry, with a light hop profile complemented by Chamomile tea aromas – perfect for Springtime and available at local bars, venues and tours, 13-22 September.

Along with live music, creative arts is the binding glue of Surry Hills Festival. The curated program is a community service in itself providing a connection point for local residents and visitors to tap into as they contribute to the high quality works, engendering community happiness and wellbeing. It’s a portal to celebrate all there is to love about this unique inner city neighbourhood.

Meet the locals, sample the ale and explore the heritage, art and architecture, wonderful eateries and creative enterprises of Devonshire Street and surrounds with a series of especially curated tours with Surry Hills Creative Precinct. There are 5 tours leading up to the Festival, plus two tours across Festival highlights on Festival day. Visit HERE for bookings.

Themed tours include:

  1. Art/Architecture Creative Trail – Saturday 25 August
  2. Craft Beer Creative Trail Saturday – 15 September
  3. Art/Architecture Creative Trail – Saturday 15 September
  4. St Peters Church Choir & local history – Sunday 16 September
  5. Surry Hills Spring Tasting Trail Thursday – 20 September
  6. Festival Highlights, Art & Heritage – 22 September

On Saturday 22 September, the much loved Surry Hills Festival will culminate in one fabulous celebration of Surry Hills. The arts program joins the recently announced music line up featuring some of the Sydney’s most talented artists including Joyride, DOBBY, Rackett, Crocodylus, Pirra, Iluka, Jackie Brown Jr. and King Tide on the Ward Park and Shannon Reserve stages – listen to the offical festival playlist HERE. The popular AIM Pop Up Stage returns to Tudor Reserve and the Clock Hotel will play host to the official Surry Hills Festival after party with great local DJs.

Surry Hills Festival – Saturday 22 September 2018, a FREE family-friendly day, packed with the trademark live music line-up, plus free tours, pop up spaces, nooks and crannies bursting with performance, local narratives, food and art – an engaging showcase of what makes Surry Hills the heart of Sydney’s innovative creative district. Join the thousands of expected Sydneysiders for the unofficial welcoming of spring.

To download the full Surry Hills Festival and Spring into Surry Hills arts program, visit:

All funds raised go to community programs presented by Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre.


SAT 22 SEPTEMBER 2018, 10AM-10PM


Meet Joe – a market stallholder for over a decade and collector of memories

August 2, 2018 1:30 pmby

Joe Alizzi has been a feature at the Surry Hill Markets for the last decade – we caught up with him about some of best, and worst, finds in his collecting career.


What do you sell, Joe?

Joe: Quality and classic books, vinyl and anything old and interesting. If I’m getting poetic, I’d say things that transport you to another world.

How do you choose what to add to your stall?

J: Well, it’s a skill you develop actually. I like to read a lot so I know what a good read is, but it’s also about understanding what people are reading.

How do you find things?

J: Anything from garage sales to hard rubbish – you just have to be resourceful and keep an eye out.

Could you share some memorable stories from collecting?

J: I was buying some vinyl records, and bought a collection of The Beatles. I took it home and was going through the process of cleaning it up when I found one with writing. At first I was cursing that someone had scribbled on this but then I thought ‘Does that say George Harrison?’ I googled it and it looked like his signature, so I sent photos to Beatles dealers in the UK and US and ended up selling it for $16,000.

Sometimes you buy record and they’re damaged – you don’t realise till you get them home. I bought a Roy Orbison record once and when I got it home found out it was all scratched and useless. So I thought I’d just use the cover for cardboard – I do a lot of postage so I needed the cardboard. And I was halfway through cutting it up when I turned it over and realized I’d just cut through Roy’s signature. You’ve got to laugh at those ones – if you don’t laugh, you cry.

What keeps you coming back all these years?

I’ve got to know people over the years, that’s a big part of it. And it’s a great way to earn a bit of extra cash. But mostly – when you’re a bit of a bower bird, or when you’re someone who doesn’t like waste, who understands the value of things, you end up getting a lot of things.

And this is your way to make sure they go to an appreciative home, rather than to waste?

J: I like letting people discover something – my stall is about memories, everything means something, it’s about finding something lost, you’re looking for something unique. I like giving people that.

SHNC thanks Alli Sebastian Wolf for interviewing Joe and taking his photo.

Surry Hills Festival 2018 – Music Line Up Announced!

July 18, 2018 12:56 pmby


With a reputation for showcasing the best in outstanding Sydney live music, today Surry Hills Festival announces its 2018 music line up comprised of some of the cities best First Nations performers. Joining the festival on 22 September is singer-songwriter pop duo Chymes, funky collective The BIG ILCH, smooth as folk/pop duo Microwave Jenny, one of Sydney’s most beloved talents Joyride and soul toasting legends King Tide rounding out the Ward Park stage lineup. Experimental rockers Rackett will be headlining the Shannon Reserve stage alongside rising hip-hop star DOBBY, energetic garage rock band Crocodylus, psych indie pop group Pirra, retro pop singer Iluka, and the amazing Jackie Brown Jr. The event will be MC’ed by locals Gavin Ivey from Koori Radio and Emily Nicol of NITV with amazing DJs to be announced for the offical afterparty at The Clock Hotel.


Plus, returning by popular demand is the curated Pop Up Stage featuring up and coming artists from the Australian Institute of Music (AIM).

“Surry Hills Festival is a local Sydney community focused event, when programming I felt it was important to showcase and support artists from within the Sydney region and surrounds. Their music is integral to the soundtrack of the city and the lineup not only reflects the high quality of Sydney contemporary music and art but also its cultural diversity and vibrant musical heart.”
– Michael Hutchings, Program Director Live Music, 2018 Surry Hills Festival

Spread across Ward Park, Devonshire Street, Shannon Reserve, Crown Street, laneways, pop up spaces, local venues, creative spaces and everything in between – Surry Hills Festival invites everyone to be immersed in the creativity that the locals celebrate 365 days a year.

Spread over ten days leading up to the Festival, this year’s program, themed Spring into Surry Hills – kicks off from 13 September. Bold and fun, the theme celebrates founding of Surry Hills Neigbourhood Centre in era of Flower Power (late 1960s/70s). Selected creatives will overlay Devonshire Street and surrounds with a curated trail of projections, installations and performances, running 13 – 23 September.

The Surry Hills Creative Precinct will be hosting a program of special tours, exploring the heritage, art and architecture, wonderful eateries and creative enterprises of Devonshire Street and surrounds. Meet the neighbourhood’s talented entrepreneurs, the curators and artists who bring you Spring into Surry HIlls. Kicking off in August, there will be 5 tours leading up to the Festival, plus two tours across Festival highlights on Festival day. Visit HERE for bookings.

Themed tours include:
1. Art/Architecture Creative Trail – Saturday 25th August
2. Craft Beer Creative Trail Saturday – 15th September
3. Art/Architecture Creative Trail – Saturday 15th September
4. St Peters Church Choir & local history – Sunday 16th September
5. Surry Hills Spring Tasting Trail Thursday – 20th September

Guided tours on festival day will visit all the highlights. Surry Hills Festival, Saturday 22 September, 11am to 1pm and 3pm to 5pm.

Surry Hills Festival, a FREE family-friendly day, will be packed with the trademark live music line-up, plus free tours, pop up spaces, nooks and crannies bursting with performance, local narratives, food and art – an engaging showcase of what makes Surry Hills the heart of Sydney’s innovative creative district. Join the thousands of Sydneysiders expected for the unofficial welcoming of spring.

All funds raised on the day go to community programs presented by Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre.

SAT 22ND SEPTEMBER 2018, 10AM – 10PM


NAIDOC Celebration – Because of Her, We can!

July 9, 2018 1:05 pmby

On the 4th of July Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre and Surry Hills Community Drug Action Team (CDAT) hosted a NAIDOC Afternoon Celebration at the Neighbourhood Centre, above Surry Hills Library. This year’s NAIDOC theme “Because of Her, We Can!” inspired the event and the celebration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women and their vital, although often unrecognised, contribution and service at the community, local, state and national levels.

“As leaders, trailblazers, politicians, activists and social change advocates, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women fought and continue to fight, for justice, equal rights, our rights to country, for law and justice, access to education, employment and to maintain and celebrate our culture, language, music and art.” – the NAIDOC Official website.

Many community members attended the event, including the honoured guests – Aunty Donna Ingram and MP for Newtown Jenny Leong.  Aunty Donna opened the event with a poignant “Welcome to Country”, and Jenny Leong also spoke to the theme,

“Watching the aunties, sisters, mothers and daughters stand strong at rallies and actions, speaking out against injustices and ensuring that the harm done to their loved ones, their family members, their children is never forgotten is always such an inspiration for me.”

Central to the afternoon celebration was the showing of the movie “Yajillara” by Melanie Hogan. “Yajilarra” is a powerful, inspiring documentary about the courage and resilience of Aboriginal women from the Fitzroy Valley, in the remote Kimberley region of outback Australia. In 2007 a group of courageous women from the Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre led a transforming pioneering campaign to ban full-strength ‘takeaway’ alcohol in their community. The alarming statistics in their town – 13 suicides in 13 months, commonplace reports of family violence and child abuse, high levels of dangerous alcohol consumption – gave them resolve to unite and insist on change. Braving the opposition and standing their ground, these women saw the ban officially introduced, bringing not only reduced levels of alcohol abuse and domestic violence, but also giving back hope to the community, for the health and wellbeing of their children and future generations.

The topic of the film resonated strongly with the event participants, many of whom take an active part in the work of the local CDAT, aimed at introducing harm reduction measures around alcohol and drug use and improving the health of the community. Jenny Leong commended and encouraged this approach,

“The work of the Surry Hills CDAT is an example of the important collaboration and integration across services, organisations, and community members that happens locally to ensure a harm minimisation approach to drugs in our local community.”

Stephen Lunny, the Chair of Surry Hills CDAT, in the process of acquiring rights for the screening of the film, got in touch with the community of Fitzroy Crossing and the women featured in the “Yajilarra”: “A powerful moment for me was when I made contact with the community and women of Fitzroy Crossing, and Emily Carter said to me, “We need non-indigenous Indigenous Champions. We can’t do this on our own”. Emily was referring to a broader shift in thinking and an acknowledgement of our First Nations peoples and their place in our history and future. This inspired me to want to do more. We must do more; as individuals, as organisations, as a country.”

We thank South Sydney Herald for publishing the article in their August 2018 issue.

Pocket parks coming to Surry Hills

July 9, 2018 11:24 amby

Pocket parks coming to Surry Hills – News from ALTRAC Light Rail

A key environmental aim in designing and building the CBD and South East Light Rail project is to retain as many trees as possible. Each tree is assessed on a case-by-case basis. Every effort is made to minimise the number of trees that are removed for this project.

Where the loss of trees is unavoidable, the ALTRAC Light Rail team will plant two new trees for every small tree removed; four for every medium tree; and eight replacement trees for every large tree removed. At the end of the project around 1,800 new trees will be planted in consultation with Randwick and City of Sydney Councils, including around 900 new trees that will be planted along the alignment. The remaining offset trees will be planted across the LGAs in consultation with Councils.  At the time they are planted the trees will already be 3-4 metres tall.

Some unique features of the project are the pocket parks that will characterise the Surry Hills section of the alignment.

Located along the Devonshire St intersections of Buckingham St, Holt St, Waterloo St and High Holborn St, the pocket parks will create new green public spaces for people to enjoy. The pocket parks will include trees, garden beds as well as street furniture.

These locations are ideal as they are the end of streets that are closed to traffic. The pockets parks are a key feature of the project’s revegetation program and will contribute to the distinct character of Surry Hills.

The construction of pocket parks will start towards the end of the year.

ALTRAC Light Rail is a proud supporter of Surry Hills Festival.


Meet the artisans behind SHM favorite pottery stall!

April 3, 2018 3:18 pmby

Meet the artisans behind Surry Hills Market favorite fired handcrafts – Em Pottery by Emi Mutch (and baby Maih), and Ichijoy Handmade Ceramics by Keiichi Aikawa and Richard Kaye-Smith.

Instagram: @empottery and @ichi_joy

What do you like most about Surry Hills Markets?

Emi: I love how it’s local – it’s really close to me – and I like the atmosphere. People are really nice here. I love how there’s kids’ play area and lots of families – the atmosphere is really nice.

Keiichi: Everyone is friendly, down to earth. I love the culture and there is a nice collection here; I get books and cds, it’s a nice collection.

Emi: Some months we have a “no leaving the stall” rule or we buy everything – if you don’t see anything, you can’t buy anything.

When did you start doing Surry Hills Markets?

E: Maybe three or four years ago. I started in winter and I remember it was so cold and dark when we got here at 6:45am.

You left for a little while to have Miah?

E: I was actually here till I was 30 something weeks – she was born in August and I did the August markets a few weeks before. A lot of my friends told me not to do that, but I did it anyway and it was fun.

And when did the guys join?

E: In September last year. We met in ceramics class.

Richard: We study together with a Japanese teacher once a week in Artarmon, Emi Tanaka – she’s a professional artisan who’s been doing this 20 years, and, of course, teaches in the Japanese style.

And how did you two meet? (Keiichi and Richard)

R: We’ve been together for 28 years. We met in Tokyo – I was living there, starting as one of the first Australians to be awarded a working holiday visa. We met at a gay bar, but I had to take him on three dates before he kissed me, he’s very conservative.

It must have been hard in Japan for a queer couple then?

R: You had to be careful – if his company found out, he’d lose his job. But the same was true in Australia. You just surrounded yourself with a group of friends and you protected each other.

Are you doing anything for Mardi Gras tonight?

K: I’m working at a Japanese restaurant

R: We’re not young anymore. We’ve lived in Surry Hills since we came to Australia 17 years ago, so we’ve seen our share.

What do you like most about creating these art pieces?

K: I’m studying the wheel, but I prefer painting – painting the plates or making Japanese style.

R: It’s just so much fun, satisfying, a stress release. If it were possible, I’d retire today and just do this.

What got you started in pottery?

R: We’re both artistically educated – design and painting.

K: Before we both loved painting and wanting something more, to try something new. It’s so nice – when you touch the clay – it’s so calming.

R: Keiichi’s been doing it for 3 years, I’ve been doing it almost two. I like the surprise of it – with handmade ceramics, once it goes in the kiln – it’s fingers crossed! – anything could happen. So everything is a one off piece.

SHNC thanks Alli Sebastian Wolf for interviewing Emi, Keiichi and Richard and taking their photos.

Hand knitted blankets for Chris O’Brien Lifehouse

March 27, 2018 11:06 amby

Once again we are so proud to showcase the amazing work that our Sewing and Knitting group does. Over the last few months Cathy, Jan, Carol and the rest of the group have been knitting the dozens and dozens of colorful squares that were then weaved together into blankets and donated to the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, who work tirelessly to care for Australians with cancer, their carers and families. Wonderful work! ????

The Sewing and Knitting group meets weekly on Thursdays and everybody is welcome to join. You can work on your own projects and learn new skills, or join in a community project. In the past few years the group worked on knitting beanies and scarves for Canteens, weaving stars for One Million Stars to End Violence , and raising money for Ronald McDonald House in Randwick.