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(within 5 kms)
Looking for inspiration, relaxation, or a fun way to meet people in your local area?
Whether you're looking for something to do this weekend, or planning your next big event, try Tea Brewing, Jewellery, Hand Made, Drawing, Mixed Media or Cooking with some of the Balmain area's most talented teachers, like Liliana The Tea Atelier, Pamela Woods, Soramame and Yoshiko Takeuchi.
Let's celebrate our local gems!
As a newcomer in Balmain, your first stop should be at Ewenton Park, where a spectacular scene unfolds every evening at sunset. Here, you can watch the last rays of the day fade over the high rises of Sydney’s skyline and reflect off the calm waters of White Bay. Wait a little bit longer, and you’ll be rewarded with the city’s dazzling night display. The perspective offers the grandeur of the Sydney from a tranquil setting.
Pretty soon, you’ll fall in love with Balmain’s rich history, divine eating options, and elegant shopping options.
What there is to do
For the retail-oriented visitor, Balmain offers a weekly market on Saturdays from 8am to 4pm at the historic St. Andrew’s Church on Darling Street (2). With 140 stalls in and around the 150-year-old church, shoppers can sift through jewelry, antiques, books, and other bric-a-brac. The market even offers fresh and local produce as well as houseplants and garden supplies for those farmer’s market enthusiasts.
This local favorite is the third oldest street fair in Sydney, servicing Darling Street since 1977, so it should definitely be scheduled in to any Balmain visit.
Further down Darling Street, Rozelle Market takes place on Saturdays and Sundays from 9am to 4pm and offers a slightly different set of goods, from records to furniture to vintage clothing (3). This market also promises an array of delicious international food, the opportunity for a massage, and tarot readings, for those who want to see what the future holds.
In addition to these weekly shopping outings, Balmain offers various retail shops for the high end shopper as well as the bargain hunter. Of course, much of these storefronts are located on Darling Street, so all of your shopping can take place on one central strip. Visitors often make a beeline for the well known duck egg blue (4), a fashion design store carrying the best Australian and international brands, but there are also leatherwood stores, bookstores, and consignment stores for every taste. Another main draw for Darling Street shopping is the iconic athletic-wear shop, Lululemon, which offers high-end sports clothing as well as community events like yoga (5).
Other opportunities for physical fitness are also common in Balmain, with annual events such as the Balmain Fun Run (6), taking placing for the eight year in a row on Sunday November 20th. The race offers a 10 km or 5 km option so that all athletic levels are welcome at the event, and participants get a chance to enjoy harbour views while running through Callan Park.
If competition isn’t your thing, there are a few other parks to enjoy, such as Ewerton Park (mentioned above), Gladstone Park, Punch Park and Elkington Park, which are all beautifully maintained public green spaces for the whole family (and pets!)
For those more interested in cultural events than outdoor exercise, Balmain’s Town Hall (of course, on Darling Street) is a great place to explore (7). The building includes a local public library, a meeting room and the beautiful main room, where concerts, theater, and conferences regularly take place. The Metropolitan Orchestra often uses the space for spectacular performances, with both classical music events as well as family-fun evenings.
Directly adjacent to the Town Hall is the must-see Balmain Glasshouse, a huge gardening project run by volunteers and commissioned by the Inner West Council (8). Every Thursday night from 6:30pm to 7:30pm, locals and visitors are invited to join in the fun by learning about the various plants and vegetables grown in the glasshouse as well as help to maintain the project. Who knows, you may end up bringing home some of the delicious crop!
Wherever your adventure in Balmain begins (probably on bustling Darling Street,) you can be sure to have a wonderful time. Since its humble roots as a working suburb, this area has cultivated a warm, welcoming atmosphere that you are sure to enjoy.
This bay-front Western suburb got its start thanks to Sydney’s principal surgeon, William Balmain, who was granted 550 acres of the prime land in 1800(1). Over the next fifty years, the land was divided up and sold off to various families putting up houses. A key development of this time was the construction of Darling Street by John Gilchrist, which connects the internal center of the suburb to the peninsula in the Northeast.
By the 1840’s a steam ferry connected Balmain to Sydney, triggering a boom in the area which would lead to the construction of a dry shipping dock in 1854, the largest in Sydney for the next forty years.
As more working families moved into the area, founding churches, schools and municipal offices, it became clear to the locals that their humble little suburb was deserving of incorporation. By 1860, Balmain celebrated its newfound status as a municipality, opening a public school, a newspaper, and a cemetery.
In the next phase of successful growth, various social clubs were created, such as a bowling and swimming club. By 1891, local workers were laying the foundation for a citizen’s league that would eventually become the Australian Labor Party.
The extension of tram services to Darling Street in 1892 as well as a public telephone at the Balmain post office further extended the region’s access to the outside world, solidifying its image as a popular working-class suburb.
By 1930, major thoroughfares had been successfully paved, and visitors could arrive to the area by motor buses.
Somewhat surprisingly, Balmain gave up its status as a municipality in 1948 to be absorbed by the city of Leichhardt, commemorating their final days by throwing a farewell ball which raised money for various charities.
Since then, Balmain has remained a strong working-class community, though industry and growth have been significantly reduced since its hey-day. Much of the original architecture, such as the working family cottages, has been restored and gives the area a fresh look. Such a combination makes Balmain a great place for tourism, with visitors enjoying the historical charm, gorgeous views, and laid-back neighborhood.
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