Fun things to do in Marrickville NSW

 




Popular activities in Marrickville



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Shibori Dyeing Workshop

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Foundations of Audio Engineering/music Production

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Dye Your Own Scarf

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Create Your Own Yarn Workshop



 

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The word most often associated with Marrickville, the southwestern Sydney suburb located just six kilometers outside of the city, is multiculturalism. Its blend of languages, international dining, and cultural spectacles make this community perfect for any visitor interested in learning about the diverse history of the larger Sydney area.

Get a feel for the culture

 

The best way to get intimate with this suburb’s deep cultural well is to attend the Marrickville Festival, which takes place annually in October (3). With an emphasis on diversity, attendees can expect a long list of cultural performances, from international dances to music competitions. Located along Marrickville and Illawarra Road, the outdoor fair will set up over 120 stalls featuring local arts and crafts, artisan goods, and fresh produce. Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a multicultural festival without the opportunity to taste international cuisine, so be sure to bring your appetite!

 

Open Marrickville is another cultural event which takes place for ten days each June (4). With support from the Inner West Council, this festival boasts of a truly multinational experience, with over 57 cultures being represented during ten days of performances, art workshops, and open mic competitions. With kid-friendly events as well as more mature workshops and music venues, Open Marrickville is sure to attract a wide variety of people.

 

Like many communities in Sydney, Marrickville celebrates Australia Day with festivities and ceremony, but not many neighborhoods can provide quite the same experience as this suburb (5). The events start at Enmore Park at around 3pm, with various award ceremonies for notable and outstanding Marrickville citizens. Families and individuals are encouraged to stick around for another six hours to enjoy live music, browse craft stalls, and taste some of the international dishes served at the food stands (not many places can offer Portuguese, Cuban, and African food side-by-side.) Children are particularly catered to at this festival, with old-fashioned games, face-painting, and even a child-friendly metalworking presentation put on by local blacksmiths.

 

Explore green spaces

 

One of the best aspects of the neighborhood is probably its proximity to Cooks River, which has been buffered by expansive green space on its Northern bank( 6). Recently the Marrickville Council promised to spend $70,000 in upgrades to the area, focusing specifically on a portion of Tempe Reserve called Cooks River Valley Garden. The improvements will highlight Australia’s indigenous wildlife and horticulture as well as construct a central gathering area to be enjoyed by groups and families.

 

There are a few other notable parks in the area, such as McNeill, Marrickville, Enmore, Wicks and Jarvie Parks, which all offer ample greenery and relaxation.

 

Not far from Marrickville

 

If you’re looking to explore some of the surrounding communities, Dulwich Hill offers a few exciting events. A local favorite is Movies in the Park which takes place every Thursday at 7pm at the park(7). Local families gather with blankets and picnic baskets for a night of community-bonding and free entertainment.

 

Dulwich Hill Village Fair in September is another great day-long event attracting shoppers, foodies and anyone looking for a relaxing day of music and cultural performances.

 

With all that Marrickville has to offer, you can be sure to find something fun and exciting to do any time of year. Be ready for some cultural immersion and a taste of the area’s rich multinational history!

 

A dubious beginning leads to success

 

The early days of Marrickville tell of a time of intrigue and secrecy. Dating back to the earliest European explorations, the low-lying valley, home to the Gumbramorra swamp, offered the perfect escape for runaway convicts (1). Whether many were able to successfully navigate the dense and wild wetlands can only be imagined, but the area soon gained the attention of industrial settlers in the late 1800’s. Indeed, the swamp was completely drained in 1890 to make way for the lumber mills that would characterize the commercial identity of the valley for the next few decades.

 

An important figure at this time of development was Dr. Robert Wardell who bought up and maintained 2,000 acres of the forested land. A successful businessman, Wardell was well-known as a flamboyant and wealthy socialite, entertaining some of Sydney’s most well-known celebrities. His parties were as notorious as his hunting expeditions, and Wardell went so far as to fence in his property in order to stock and maintain a healthy deer population.

 

The timber mogul launched a newspaper, fought a duel with the governor’s brother-in-law, and met his death at the hands of runaway convicts in 1834. In the wake of his death, the property was divided, making way for the what would soon become a municipal area welcoming wave after wave of immigrant community from Scotland, China, Germany, and Greece.

 

The small city finally became incorporated as the Marrickville Municipality in 1861, with Irish-born Gerald Halligan serving as the first mayor. Though the suburb gained its status relatively late compared to neighboring communities, the area is home to the fourth oldest town hall in Sydney on Illawarra Road, dating back to 1878. The building is a beautiful testament to the wealth and affluence of the suburb’s industry years, with high, ornate ceilings,  a mezzanine balcony, and large arched windows. The hall is also one of the only remaining government buildings that still houses a functional Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ(2).

 

The next hundred years saw an influx of migration, industrial business, and, of course, millionaire elite. By 1935, over 130 factories called Marrickville home, and that number would jump up to over 900 businesses by the centennial anniversary.

 

Since the 1970’s, industrialization has slowed significantly as factories have relocated to less expensive outer neighborhoods. In their place, schools and metro stations have swept up the large spaces. Today, it is a popular suburb for those interested living near Sydney’s city centre (Marrickville Station to Sydney’s Central Station only takes 15 minutes by public transport.)

 

The architecture is a blend of renovated historic bungalows and industrial-inspired apartment spaces. Because of its history as a cultural hub, Marrickville continues to attract a diverse community of international visitors and immigrants as well as sizable Aboriginal population.

 

 

References:

 

(1)  marrickville-heritage.blogspot.com

(2)  marrickville.nsw.gov.au/townhall

(3)  marrickville.nsw.gov.au/marrickvillefestival

(4)  marrickville.nsw.gov.au/openmarrickville

(5)  marrickville.nsw.gov.au/australiaday

(6)  marrickville.nsw.gov.au/cooksriver

(7)  marrickville.nsw.gov.au/dulwichhill



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