Isn’t it incredible that you can’t get far in the local area without bumping into a world-famous building or heritage-listed site! Here’s our list of just a few favourites…
North Sydney Olympic Pool
Can you believe this is right on our doorstep?! Our local public pool has a great history, opening its doors in 1936, and with 86 world swimming records being set there. With its art-deco style, incredible views and proximity to Luna Park, it’s no wonder it has become an Australian icon (and yet the tourists don’t seem to know about it!). The facilities include a 50-metre heated pool, gymnasium, sauna, spa, indoor 25-metre pool, children’s pool, creche and cafe. With adult swim entry just $8.50 and kids’ entry $4.30, it’s also one of the most cost-effective leisure or exercise options nearby. An upgrade is also in the works which will include new pools, new children’s play zone, new sundeck and Gelato Bar, new café and much more. Council is seeking funding from State and Federal Government currently. You can keep up to date on the development by clicking here, or find out more about the North Sydney Olympic Pool here.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge
The view of one of the world’s most famous bridges never gets old. How lucky are we to be the custodians of one end! Nicknamed The Coathanger due to its shape, the Sydney Harbour Bridge opened in 1932 and is now heritage listed. Many will know the famous story of its opening ceremony where NSW Premiere Jack Lang was to open the Bridge by cutting a ribbon, but Francis de Groot rode through on a horse and slashed the ribbon with his sword declaring the Bridge open in the name of the people of NSW. Tolls have always been a feature and it originally cost a car or motorcycle six pence to cross, and a horse and rider three pence. The Bridge has made news most notably in the last few years with two special crossings – Prince Harry did the Bridge Climb last year to launch a flag to open the Invictus Games, and nothing could beat the sheer Aussie picture-perfect moment when a male swamp wallaby decided to cross the Bridge earlier last year.
Another art-deco treasure in our midst, Luna Park has been delighting children and families since it was constructed in 1935. It is heritage listed and the site it is built on is historically significant as it was the first regular North Shore ferry service site. Luna Park’s iconic face, known worldwide, has had several remarkable face-lifts including some questionable ones.
Coney Island on the other hand has been beautifully restored but hasn’t changed much at all and remains as a wonderful example of an original amusement park funhouse. Old-school rides such as the Rotor, Carousel, Dodgem City, Tango Train and the Ferris Wheel are a magical part of most Sydneysiders’ childhood memories, while new rides such as the HairRaiser and Volaré have ride enthusiasts from all over the world making the trip specifically to try them.
Click here to visit Luna Park’s website
Often it depends on who’s in the position as to how much we want to boast about it, but typically it’s pretty amazing that the leader of our country lives in Kirribilli House (whenever he/she’s not at The Lodge in Canberra). John Howard caused a major stir when he opted to make it his primary residence instead of moving to Canberra – and who can blame him? Kirribilli House is heritage listed for a few reasons, not least being that it has housed Australian Prime Ministers since 1957. It is also, according to the Heritage Register, a “rare example of a Victorian Rustic Gothic style single-storey house with attics”. Its origins date back to the 1850s when, in 1854, Sydney merchant Adolf Frederick Feez bought the land for 200 pounds. It wasn’t until over 100 years later, in 1956, that the Commonwealth decided to appoint Kirribilli House as the residence of the Prime Minister when visiting Sydney and as accommodation for overseas guests of the Commonwealth. There’s usually one Open Day in May each year when the public can visit and picnic on the grounds of Kirribilli House.
North Sydney Oval
Good old North Sydney Oval, home of the mighty North Sydney Bears, a magical summer venue for the Sunset Open Air Cinema and one of the oldest cricket grounds in Australia. The Oval is heritage listed and was first known as St Leonard’s Reserve. According to heritage specialists Heritage 21 the area has been set aside as a reserve for public recreation from as early as 1838. “The stands in the Oval No. 1 precinct each bear the name of a prominent Australian athlete – Mollie Dive, Charlie Macartney and Bill O’Reilly. They were designed in the 1980s, as part of the urban regeneration project for the suburb of North Sydney undertaken by Mayor Ted Mack.” The Bob stand came from the SCG, also courtesy of Ted Mack after he heard it was to be demolished. “The stand takes its name from the entry fee paid to enter the SCG during Cricket games held there during the Depression. The fee paid was a shilling otherwise known as a ‘bob’.” The Oval won the title of ‘Ground of the Year’ in 1992, and there have been significant upgrades in the last few years. These are ongoing according to North Sydney Council and include bar and kiosk improvements, upgrading of change rooms, CCTV system installed, refurbishment of media broadcasting facilities and new grandstand seating.
The Coal Loader, Waverton
Our local area is home to one of the most innovative and creative hubs in the country – The Coal Loader. Isn’t it amazing that when presented with a huge ex-industrial site that holds prime position right on the harbour, North Sydney Council did not sell it off to the highest bidder. Instead, they kept it for the community and turned it into a place of not only beauty, but one that served to demonstrate and educate on sustainability practices. It now has community vegie patches, Aboriginal bush food gardens, a chook run, extensive wetlands and parklands, a native bush nursery, and an onsite cafe with a menu designed around locally sourced produce. Oh and The Coal Loader also has one of Sydney’s largest publicly accessible green roof spaces located on the old coal-loading platform with spectacular views of the harbour. The Coal Loader regularly holds amazing community events such as The North Sydney Art Prize, The quarterly Artisans Market, Fashion Shows, Sunday Sunset Sessions on the Platform, as well as various incredible events underground in the Tunnels. Visit The Coal Loader’s Facebook page here.
Main image credit:Colin Dunleavey Photography