We’re looking for an artist to work with local community groups to create a mural at Wolloomooloo Playground.
Even among rising towers and recent warehouse conversions, Woolloomooloo has a special character sustained by a diverse local community. Its terraced streets are punctuated by historic parks, pubs and playgrounds that are still well in use. One of these places, the Wolloomooloo Playground bounded by Dowling, Pring and McElhone streets and Sydney Place, dates as far back as the Great Depression when it was built in an effort to curb juvenile delinquency. Despite ‘moral reform’ intentions, this playground was a space for kids to play cricket, basketball, badminton and generally stay out of trouble and became an important gathering place for the local community.
Teams were formed and locals had the chance to get involved in district competitions. The playground even had a field house equipped with a library and piano. Andrew Lazaris, a man who lived in the area, remembers:
There was this bond there and even after we left Wolloomooloo, after the railway went through our homes, we went back down there and still played basketball.
Far from a memorial to street life, Wolloomooloo Playground is still used for everything from basketball competitions to festivals. The new mural will beautify the playground and continue the tradition of a community making a mark on its local area.
The artist or an artist-led team will work with community groups to develop ideas and a theme for the mural. Artists may choose to continue this collaboration by involving the locals’ creative talent, or act as an interpreter for their wishes for the artwork.