Paddington, like many of Sydney’s other neighborhoods, has its share of Victorian terrace-style apartments, quirky shops and interesting restaurants, pubs and cafes. The streets, however, are wider and tree-lined, many of the homes are especially well maintained and many of those on side streets have interesting boutiques and galleries on the ground floor and living spaces above. The neighborhood also has something else—the weekly Paddington Market—Sydney’s oldest, which has been held every Saturday since 1973.
Originally built in the 1830s as a working-class suburbs, Paddington evolved into a weekend destination for well-to-do Sydney-siders. Although a handful of grand Georgians and late-19th-century Victorians remain, most have long-since been replaced by more democratic rows of rather basic terrace apartments (some quite large, others as small as 15 feet in width), interspersed with a number of fun gingerbreads. These too, however, fell into disrepair early in the 20th-century before the area was reincarnated into one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods.
Although the neighborhood has interesting shops and galleries throughout it, most are especially concentrated around Oxford Street and the small, pretty, Five Ways intersection that is located in the middle of a residential area.
Among the neighborhood’s many sights are:
- Oxford Street, the area’s primary commercial thoroughfare that is lined by a number of beautifully restored Victorian, Georgian and even a couple Art Deco buildings that are home to many interesting boutiques, restaurants and some of the neighborhood’s largest, most distinguished buildings.
- Town Hall, an 1891 building with a tall clock tower than now houses a movie theatre.
- Post and Telegraph Office, a pretty Victorian-era structure that is graced with a coat of arms.
- Juniper Hall, a Georgian-era (1824) mansion that is now an art gallery managed by the Historic Trust (It currently houses an exhibition of Moran Prize-winning photographs.)
- Victorian Barracks, the 29 acre military barracks that was built in the 1840s and was largely responsible for generating growth in the surrounding neighborhood. The sandstone barracks remain the largest and best preserved group of late Georgian buildings in the city.
- Five Ways, a five-way intersection in the middle of a residential area that is home to a number of restaurants, bars, coffee shops and boutique.
- Centennial Park, which was created in the 1880s as a Commons, it is now a large public park.
- A warren of smaller, tree-lined streets that radiate off from Oxford Street and are home to many pretty boutiques that occupy the first floor of many row-house terrace apartments.
Although the entire neighborhood is lovely and interesting, one of our primary reasons for visiting Paddington—and the reason that we had to do it on a Saturday—was to visit Paddington Markets.
This institution has emerged as one of the city’s best design shows—a place for new, leading-edge artists and designers of everything from clothing and jewelry to pottery, wood carving and art, to show and sell their crafts and hope to be discovered as have so many of the city’s leading designers have before. So, while many of the city’s markets focus primarily on vintage products and designs, Paddington is primarily the domain of the new and modern.