Surry Hills, New South Wales
Sydney, New South Wales
Surry Hills Library and Community Centre
|Area||1.2 km² (0.5 sq mi)|
|Location||1 km (1 mi) south-east of Sydney CBD|
|LGA(s)||City of Sydney|
Surry Hills is an inner-city suburb of Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia. Surry Hills is immediately south-east of the Sydney central business district in the local government area of the City of Sydney. Surry Hills is surrounded by the suburbs of Darlinghurst to the north, Chippendale and Haymarket to the west, Moore Park and Paddington to the east and Redfern to the south.
It is bordered by Elizabeth Street and Chalmers Street to the west, Cleveland Street to the south, South Dowling Street to the east, and Oxford Street to the north. Central is a locality in the north-west of the suburb around Central Station. Prince Alfred Park is located nearby. Strawberry Hills is a locality around Cleveland and Elizabeth Streets.
The first land grants in Surry Hills were made in the 1790s. Major Joseph Foveaux received 105 acres (0.42 km2). His property was known as Surry Hills Farm, after the Surrey Hills in Surrey, England. Foveaux Street is named in his honour. Commissary John Palmer received 90 acres (360,000 m2). He called the property George Farm and in 1800 Palmer also bought Foveaux's farm. In 1792, the boundaries of the Sydney Cove settlement were established between the head of Cockle Bay to the head of Woolloomooloo Bay. West of the boundary, which included present-day Surry Hills, was considered suitable for farming and was granted to military officers and free settlers.
After Palmer's political failures, his reduced financial circumstances forced the first subdivision and sale of his estate in 1814. Isaac Nichols bought Allotment 20, comprising over 6 acres (24,000 m2). Due to the hilly terrain, much of the suburb was considered remote and 'inhospitable'.
In the early years of the nineteenth century the area around what is now Prince Alfred Park was undeveloped land known as the Government Paddocks or Cleveland Paddocks. A few villas were built in the suburb in the late 1820s. The suburb remained one of contrasts for much of the nineteenth century, with the homes of wealthy merchants mixed with that of the commercial and working classes.
In 1820, Governor Macquarie ordered the consecration of the Devonshire Street Cemetery. A brick wall was erected before any interments took place to enclose its 4 acres (16,000 m2). Within a four-year period the cemetery was expanded by the addition of 7 acres (28,000 m2) to its south. A road was formed along the southern boundary of the cemetery in the first half of the 1830s and was called Devonshire Street. The Devonshire Street cemetery, where many of the early settlers were buried, was later moved to build the Sydney railway terminus. Central railway station was opened on 4 August 1906. The area around Cleveland and Elizabeth streets was known as Strawberry Hills. Strawberry Hills post office was located at this intersection for many years.
In 1833, the Nichols estate was subdivided and sold. One purchase was by Thomas Broughton and subsequently acquired by George Hill who constructed Durham Hall on this and adjoining lots. Terrace houses and workers' cottages were built in Surry Hills from the 1850s. Light industry became established in the area, particularly in the rag trade (clothing industry). It became a working class suburb, predominately inhabited by Irish immigrants. The suburb developed a reputation for crime and vice. The Sydney underworld figure Kate Leigh (1881–1964), lived in Surry Hills for more than 80 years.
Surry Hills was favoured by newly arrived families after World War II when property values were low and accommodation was inexpensive. From the 1980s, the area was gentrified, with many of the area's older houses and building restored and many new upper middle-class residents enjoying the benefits of inner-city living.
The West Kensington via Surry Hills Line operated from 1881 down Crown Street as far as Cleveland Street as a steam tramway. It was extended to Phillip Street in 1909, Todman Avenue in 1912, and then to its final terminus down Todman Avenue in 1937. When the line was fully operational it branched from the tramlines in Oxford Street and proceeded down Crown Street to Cleveland Street in Surry Hills, then south along Baptist Street to Phillip Street, where it swung left into Crescent Street before running south along Dowling Street. It passed the Dowling Street Depot, then tuned left into Todman Avenue, where it terminated at West Kensington. The line along Crown Street closed in 1957, the remainder stayed open until 1961 to allow access to Dowling Street Depot. Sydney Buses routes 301, 302 and 303 generally follow the route down Crown and Baptist Streets as far as Phillip Street.
Urban character 
Surry Hills has a mixture of residential, commercial and light industrial areas. It remains Sydney's main centre for fashion wholesale activities, particularly on the western side.
Surry Hills Markets are held in Shannon Reserve at the corner of Crown and Collins Streets, on the first Saturday of every month, and the Surry Hills Festival is an annual community event, attracting tens of thousands of visitors, held in Prince Alfred Park. The Surry Hills Library and Community Centre sits opposite Shannon Reserve and houses the local branch of the city library and the Surry Hills Neighbourhood Centre. The building was "designed to achieve excellence in sustainable design and set new benchmarks in environmental performance" according to the City of Sydney website.
Central railway station, the largest station on the CityRail network, sits on western edge of Surry Hills. Surry Hills is also serviced by State Transit Authority buses. The Eastern Distributor is a major road, on the eastern edge of the suburb. Major thoroughfares are Crown Street, Cleveland Street, Bourke Street and Foveaux Street. Surry Hills is within easy walking distance of the Sydney CBD, and is included in a widening network of cycleways.
Places of worship 
- Cityside Church (Australian Christian Churches)
- St Michaels Anglican Church 
- Vine Church 
- St Frances De Sales Catholic Church
- St Peters Catholic Church
- Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church
- Society of Friends
- Surry Hills Baptist Church
- Chinese Presbyterian Church
- Dawn of Islam Mosque
- King Faisal Mosque
- Christian Israelite Church
- Sydney Streetlevel Mission [The Salvation Army]
Sydney Police Centre, Centennial Plaza, Belvoir Street Theatre, Tom Mann Theatre, Prince Alfred Park, Harmony Park, Surry Hills Library and Community Centre.
Surry Hills boasts a diverse range of cafes and restaurants serving a wide variety of cooking styles and cultures. The suburb has one of the highest, if not the highest, concentration of restaurants.
Pubs and bars 
Because of its industrial and commercial history, the Surry Hills area contains a significant number of pubs. The style of pubs range from the Victorian period, to Federation and Art Deco pubs from the mid-1900s. Many of these have been refurbished in recent years to include restaurants and modern facilities. Some of the more popular pubs in Surry Hills include
Heritage buildings 
- Bourke Street Public School, established in 1880 and located in heritage-listed buildings 
- Cleveland House, Bedford Street
- Former Wesleyan Chapel, 348A Bourke Street
- Former Police Station, 703 Bourke Street (designed by Walter Liberty Vernon)
- Public School, Crown Street
- St Michael's Church, hall and rectory, Albion Street
- Durham Hall, 207 Albion Street
- Riley Street Infants School, 378-386 Riley Street
- St David's Hall, Arthur Street (state heritage listing)
- Children's Court, Albion Street (state heritage listing)
- Society of Friends Meeting House, Devonshire Street (state heritage listing)
Surry Hills is largely composed of Victorian terraced houses with some converted warehouses and large apartment buildings in the western part of the suburb. The earliest apartment buildings were large blocks of Housing Commission 'flats' in the 1960s, including John Northcote Place. These public housing developments were intended to replace the worst of the area's decaying Victorian terraces and rehouse the working class residents of the area in homes near to their existing community and jobs. Ironically, newer developments such as  The Monument in Pelican Street (a residential complex located above the Oxford Square shopping centre, found at the boundary of Surry Hills and Darlinghurst), are usually aimed at wealthy residents who have colonised Surry Hills since the 1970s. The Monument is an example of contemporary architecture designed by architects based in Melbourne.
Bourke Street Public School, Crown Street Public School, Sydney Community College are notable examples. The Australian Institute of Music is also located in Surry Hills.
Demographically Surry Hills is now characterised as a mixture of relatively affluent newcomers who have gentrified the suburb, long-time residents and a number of transients. There are a large number of hostels and other facilities for transients and the homeless in the area.
44.8% of people were born in Australia. The most common countries of birth were England 6.1%, New Zealand 3.9%, China (excludes SARs and Taiwan) 3.2%, Thailand 2.3% and United States of America 1.4%.
Further reading 
- Christopher Keating. SURRY HILLS - The City's Backyard. Published by Halstead Press,Australia.1991. (ISBN 9781920831493)
- ABS Census 2006
- Gregory's Sydney Street Directory, Gregory's Publishing Company, 2002, Map 19
- The Book of Sydney Suburbs, Frances Pollon, Angus & Robertson Publishers, 1990, p.249 ISBN 0-207-14495-8
- Book of Sydney Suburbs, p.249
- Christopher Keating. "Surry Hills, The City's Backyard". Halstead Press, Australia. 1991 (ISBN 9781920831493)
- David R. Keenan. CITY LINES of the Sydney Tramway System. Transit Press Australia,1991. (ISBN 0646064452)
- Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide
- The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/88
- State Heritage Website
- State Heritage Website
- State Heritage Website
- The Monument
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Surry Hills, New South Wales|
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Albion Street, Surry Hills|