COFFEE @ Hyde Park Barracks Cafe – Sydney 2000.
The Hyde Park Barracks Cafe is hidden behind the historic sandstone walls of the World Heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks site on Sydney’s Macquarie Street.
Despite the awful stainless steel cafe chairs, sitting in the outdoor gravel-covered picturesque courtyard is a beautiful experience; it’s hard to believe that you are in the middle of the CBD. Equally as difficult to believe, is that the site once housed hundreds of male convicts with as many as 50,000 passing through the gates over three decades.
Inside the cafe, the decor is a little formal and dated and the artwork a bit ordinary; however the space is gorgeous and definitely worth a visit. High ceilings, abundant natural light, an open fire place and the exposed timber roof structure atop the elevated seating area are inspiring. The Hyde Park Barracks Café is all about the experience of being in a heritage listed building.
The coffee is good and the food is fresh and generous.
NOW & THEN around Hyde Park, Sydney.
Hyde Park, in the central business district of Sydney, is the oldest public parkland in Australia and is surrounded by many beautiful heritage listed buildings. The following images highlight the changing landscape around Hyde Park and identifies some of Sydney’s most treasured buildings.
The ANZAC Memorial (1934) and the Pool of Remembrance as seen from Hyde Park South, near Liverpool Street.
The south western corner of Hyde Park as seen from the intersection of Liverpool Street and Elizabeth Street. The Hyde Park Obelisk (1857) can be seen in the distance in the c.1900 image but is hidden by trees in the 2015 image. The Museum Station entrance (1926), constructed in the Inter-War Stripped Classical style, can be seen on the right hand side of the 2015 image.
Looking north along Elizabeth Street at the intersection of Park Street. The Great Synagogue (1875) is on the left and the former Tram Shelter (1910), built in the Federation Queen Anne style, can be seen on the right.
View looking north along Elizabeth Street at the intersection of Market Street. The Sydney Supreme Court House (1820-1828) and the oldest church building in Sydney, St James’ Anglican Church (1824), can be seen in the middle of the image. The mature trees in Hyde Park now hide the view of the church tower and spire.
View looking north toward Queens Square as seen from the St James Road boundary of Hyde Park. Hyde Park Barracks can be seen on the right, the colonnade of The Mint can be seen on the left of the image with the The Sydney Hospital Group (1800s) to the far left. The Statue of Queen Victoria (1888) can be seen in the centre.
St. Mary’s Catholic Cathedral (foundation stone laid 1868) on College Street as seen from Hyde Park North. The William Bede Dalley statue (installed 1897) can be seen on the right of the image.
View looking south at the intersection of College Street and Park Street. Park Street intersects Hyde Park. The Australian Museum (1846) is the main building visible in the image.
View looking east down Oxford Street as seen from the south eastern corner of Hyde Park. The ‘Emden’ four-inch naval gun (installed 1917) can be seen in the image.
A photographic record of my visit to Sydney’s CBD
The reality of modern demands within the context of a historic environment often requires new building elements to be introduced into significant existing heritage structures. The following images illustrate how contemporary walkways have been inserted into significant building fabric without causing irreversible loss or damage to the buildings. The transparent walkways connecting to ‘Westfield Sydney’ replace more intrusive ‘heavier’ non original structures.
The images below demonstrate the modern additions to the Royal Mint Coining Factory buildings in Sydney. They highlight how contemporary fabric and detailing can be used alongside significant older fabric without distorting or obscuring the cultural significance of the place; new works are clearly recognisable as such, but they do not dominate or detract attention from the original fabric.
City of Sydney Council website, Dictionary of Sydney, Office of Environment & Heritage – State Heritage Inventory, Sydney Living Museums website.
Historical images courtesy Flickr Commons.