Read and relax among the reservoir gardens

Read and relax among the reservoir gardens

The City of Sydney’s popular Lawn Library is branching out to the Paddington Reservoir Gardens, where booklovers can enjoy a week of free books, jazz, drawing classes and children’s storytelling.

The pop-up library, which houses an ever-changing collection of over 1,000 books and is a hub for events and activities, will be at the award-winning gardens from Saturday 29 March to Sunday 6 April.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the Lawn Library was the perfect fit for the Paddington Reservoir Gardens on the corner of Oxford Street and Oatley Road, which is already a favourite spot for workers on their lunchbreak.

“Lawn Library first appeared at the Festival Village at Hyde Park in January and was an instant success, with more than 11,000 books shared over three weeks,” the Lord Mayor said.

“The mobile bookcases are moving to Paddington Reservoir Gardens, among the stunning tree-fern gardens and 19th century ruins of the original reservoir. The unique gardens are the perfect place to read and relax the mind.”


Paddington Reservoir Gardens
Paddington Reservoir Gardens

Lawn Library will be available daily from dawn to dusk, with everyone welcome to browse the shelves and choose a book from the wide range of fiction, architecture, history and children’s titles.

The City is also hosting a number of Lawn Library events in the gardens, including a drawing class with artist Kathe Payne, a talk about the Sydney Artists’ Balls by historian Deborah Beck, and jazz afternoons with musicians from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

A City librarian will be on hand at Lawn Library to assist with information about the range of library services available from midday to 2pm on weekdays and 10am to 3pm on weekends. Free Wi-Fi will also be available at the gardens, as part of a six-month trial by the City.

Paddington Reservoir Gardens
Paddington Reservoir Gardens

The two large chambers of the Paddington Reservoir were built in 1866 and 1878 and were an important part of Sydney’s early water supply system until being decommissioned in 1899. They were later used as a workshop and parking garage before being closed for safety reasons in 1993 after a partial roof collapse.

In 2009, the chambers were transformed by Tonkin Zulaikha Greer architects and JMD Design into a stunning urban park, combining the delicate stone ruins of the reservoir with Victorian-era tree-ferns, a sunken garden, plants and grassy areas.

Lawn Library at Paddington Reservoir Gardens, corner of Oxford Street and Oatley Road
Saturday 29 March to Sunday 6 April, 7am – 7pm daily

Saturday 29 March, 11am–midday
Scandalous Nights – Sydney’s Artists’ Balls
Join historian Deborah Beck as she discusses the notorious Artists’ Balls, which took place in Sydney and Paddington town halls from the 1880s.

Tuesday 1 April, 10am–11am
This fun session of storytelling and songs for pre-schoolers fosters an early love of reading and develops literacy skills and social interaction. For ages three to five.

Saturday 5 April, 11am–midday
Drawn on Life
Artist Kathe Payne hosts this drawing workshop where budding artists can develop their sketching skills and learn the basic techniques for bringing imagination to life.

Sunday 6 April, 11am and midday
Guided tour of Paddington Reservoir Gardens
Join the associate director of Tonkin Zulaikha Greer architects, Julie Mackenzie, for a guided tour of the gardens.

Saturday 29 March, Sunday 30 March, Saturday 5 April and Sunday 6 April, 3pm–5pm
Acoustic jazz session
Enjoy an afternoon of acoustic jazz in the gardens with musicians from the Sydney Conservatorium of Music.

For media inquiries or images, contact City of Sydney Senior Media Adviser Jodie Minus, phone 0467 803 815 or email

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Ty Butson on 0427 044 768 or email