Sydney’s art and history now in step

Sydney’s art and history now in step

Sydneysiders and visitors can explore the city’s cultural gems and historical nooks and crannies while improving their fitness levels with the launch of a free walking tour app.

For the first time, the City of Sydney is unveiling Sydney Culture Walks, an iPhone and Android app that provides 10 virtual walking tours of the streets of Sydney. There are six guided walks highlighting historical landmarks and four showcasing public artworks.

The walking tours app brings together information that until now has only been available as separate brochures and printed maps.

Launched to coincide with the City-sponsored Art Month, the app also features more than 400 historical and public art points of interest, a selection of which can be enjoyed as guided walking tours.

“Our city is dotted with amazing historical and artistic points of interest that many of us walk past every day, yet we don’t know their history, or indeed their significance,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“This new app will allow us all to not only explore Sydney in a new way, but also learn the great stories behind these historical and artistic landmarks right on our mobile devices.

“It is a wonderful new way for both locals and tourists to navigate, enjoy our great city, and then share the sites they visit through social media.”

Sydney Culture Walks is a curated guide to the city that has been created by the City’s Art Team and History Team.

“I love that the walks combine art and history, and also that we can take people into some hidden nooks and crannies,” the Lord Mayor said.

“It allows locals and visitors to experience the city in a more exciting way and opens up the city for everyone.

“We’ve selected points of interest that are artistically and historically significant, but have also focused on works that we know have captured the hearts and minds of our residents and visitors.”

The app will be continually updated with new content to coincide with events and historical anniversaries.

The Sydney Culture Walks app can be downloaded for free on the App Store, Google Play and at


Youngsters, City Art Tour
Youngsters, City Art Tour


Highlights of Sydney Culture Walks app include:

Youngsters, City Art Tour
Caroline Rothwell’s two diminutive bronze sculptures on George Street are real crowd stoppers. The clothing of the figures are coated with bronze casts of quartz and coal to reflect Australia’s mineral economy and the popular culture of crystals.

Aspire – Under The Freeway, City Art Tour
The idea for an artwork under the freeway was initiated by the people of Pyrmont and Ultimo. A forest of trees rises to support the vast freeway overhead. The glowing trees can be enjoyed at close quarters by pedestrians, and from afar by passing traffic.

Abercrombie Lane, Historical Tour
Walking down Abercrombie Lane, it’s easy to imagine that you are heading for the Tank Stream. When the water supply ran low in colonial Sydney, convicts were set to work digging holding tanks into the watercourse and became known as the Tank Stream. Today, the stream runs silently through a city drain below the pavement.

Skippedy Skip, City Art Tour
This 2.4-metre-high and 80-metre-long metal school fence incorporates highly coloured fence sections in its design. The completion of the work coincided with the 150-year celebrations of Glebe Public school in 2008 and soon after was voted in the top five favourite public artworks by the local community.

Always Was Always Will Be, City Art Tour
Through his art, Reko Rennie explores what it means to be an urban Aboriginal in contemporary Australian society. In this work, a collaboration with architects Cracknell and Lonergan, Rennie uses geometric diamonds, referencing his associations to the north-western NSW and the traditional markings of the Kamilaroi people.

Site of first Government House, Historical Tour
Overlooking Sydney Cove, Sydney’s first Government House was built for Governor Arthur Phillip in 1789. In 1789, Bennelong and another Aboriginal man, Colebee, were captured at Manly under Phillip’s orders and held at Government House. Today it is the site for the Museum of Sydney on Bridge Street in the bustling city centre.

Forgotten Songs, City Art Tour
Commemorates the songs of 50 bird species once heard in central Sydney before they were gradually forced out by European settlement. A soundtrack of birdsong plays as you walk below a canopy of birdcages suspended above Angel Place.

Cast iron urinal, Historical Tour
The last remaining cast iron urinal in the city is on George Street, The Rocks. Public conveniences and urinals (or pissoirs) were common streetscape features in early 20th century Sydney.


Forgotten Songs, City Art Tour
Forgotten Songs, City Art Tour


The Sydney Culture Walks app is just one of many steps being taken by the City to transform Sydney into a world-class walking capital.

Walking initiatives include:

  • Improving the quality and condition of footpaths, including paving, shelter and urban design;
  • Creating a Liveable Green Network for walkers and cyclists;
  • Decluttering footpaths for easier access and navigation on foot;
  • Reducing pedestrian delays and congestion at intersections;
  • Improving signage to support walking, including a uniform way-finding system;
  • Opening new public walks, such as the Glebe Foreshore Walk;
  • Creating pathways for better school access for children; and
  • Commissioning public art to enhance the city experience.

In October, Sydney will also play host to Walk21, the world’s leading international conference on walking and liveable communities.

Hosted by the Premier of NSW, Barry O’Farrell, and the Lord Mayor, the three-day conference will provide a platform for policies that support people walking and that enable cities to be more walkable.

The City’s Sustainable Sydney 2030 program has a target of ensuring that at least 50 per cent of city trips are by pedestrian movement and 10 per cent by bicycle by the year 2030.


For more information, contact Matthew Moore, City of Sydney, 0431 050 963 or

For interviews with Lord Mayor Clover Moore, contact Tyron Butson. Phone (02) 92659652 or email