Meet Mary Mortimer – high above the light rail line in Pyrmont, a small corridor of bushland thrives with small lizards and native birds like blue wrens, finches and rainbow lorikeets and she couldn’t be prouder. She’s one of up to 30 volunteers transforming weed infested land with native plants to attract wildlife back into the area. Find out more.
Meet Margaret Ng – she vividly remembers the day she walked into Ultimo Community Centre as a new arrival from Hong Kong – and got herself in the frame for an artist’s job. So Margaret introduced herself and asked if the centre needed a resident artist. Happily, they did, so she began art classes for other Chinese immigrants. Find out more.
The culturally and socially diverse neighbourhoods around Harris Street have been shaped by their maritime and working-class heritage. The property boom of the late 1980s revitalised the area when it also gained the Chinese Garden, Maritime Museum and Powerhouse Museum, giving it a new identity.
Harris Street is a cultural and educational hub, also housing the University of Technology, TAFE, ABC, and Ultimo Library and Community Centre. Harris Street provides the Pyrmont and Ultimo villages with a local shopping street with nearby Broadway offering residents alternative shopping and entertainment.
Many of the heritage warehouses and woolstores in Pyrmont and Ultimo have now been converted into apartments and offices, attracting residents on high incomes and a range of creative industries side-by-side with long-standing public housing.
Open green spaces include Wentworth Park, the Harbour foreshore (including the new Pirrama Park) and neighbourhood pocket parks.
The Harris Street area is home to a broad social mix with long-term residents and public housing tenants alongside an increasing number of professionals and a growing student population. A large number of retirees, who value the inner city waterfront lifestyle, also choose to call the area home.
Young professionals account for 35% of the employed population. With Chinatown just a short walk away, the area has a large Chinese population. Of residents born overseas, there is a significant percentage born in China – 10% compared to 3.7% across Sydney. A large percentage of residents are attending university – 13% compared to the 5% Sydney average.
There are approximately 19,400 people living in this village group and this number is expected to increase to approximately 20,900 by 2030.
City projects & services
Some projects the City has completed or are underway through our Local Action Plans and Sustainable Sydney 2030 include:
Parks, streets and facilities
- Harris Street revitalised between Miller Street and Pyrmont Bridge Road as first stage of a broader upgrade, including new Smartpole street lighting and decorative lighting, a new pocket park and new sandstone street furniture
- Award-winning Pirrama Park designed and created through a $26 million rescue of public foreshore land
- $40 million Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre, designed by Harry Seidler, offering health and recreational services
- ‘Bridge to Bridge’ bike route from Anzac Bridge to the Harbour Bridge, with new landscaping on Union Street, connecting the inner west with the CBD and North Sydney
Culture and community
- Ultimo Community Centre, providing sport and recreation indoor and outdoor courts; arts and crafts room; meeting rooms; a library with Chinese-language newspapers; programs for seniors; child care and after school and vacation programs; home to Vibewire Youth Centre and the
Jessie Street Women’s Library
- Pyrmont Community Centre, offering a gym; art and craft room; a multipurpose hall for meetings, classes and events; children’s after school and vacation care and childcare
- Maybanke Pyrmont youth program, including educational, recreational and support services
- Public Housing Liaison Officer employed to support public housing tenants and help resolve their concerns with the City and Housing NSW
- Local community gardens support, including the Ultimo Community Garden at McKee Street Reserve and a community garden at the Powerhouse Museum
- A Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender (GLBT) Project Coordinator helps with access and advocacy
- Public Art Advisory Panel established to guide commissioning of new projects including Aspire, part of the Under the Freeway program. A new City Art website maps Sydney’s public art
- Free sustainability workshops at the Powerhouse Museum and Ultimo Community Centre
- Self-guided Port and Renewal Walking Tour maps and brochures published to help residents and visitors explore their area’s history and hidden treasures
- Safe cycling encouraged through free cycling confidence and bike maintenance courses
- Partnerships developed to promote Ultimo as a cultural and education destination, including Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority, UTS, ABC, Powerhouse, TAFE NSW and Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce
- Responsible pet ownership supported with a companion animals officer, free obedience classes and help for low-income residents
- Draft City Plan, prepared with extensive consultation and urban design studies, establishes new planning controls to balance preservation of our distinctive villages with the need for housing and office, retail and industrial space
- Pyrmont Ultimo Chamber of Commerce and Industry funded to help drive local economic development
- Environmental grants, which have supported the Pyrmont Ultimo Landcare Group for the Pyrmont Wildlife Corridor Extension to regenerate weed-infested land with native species to attract native wildlife
- Cultural grants, including support for the Pyrmont Art Festival, Ultimo-Pyrmont Uptown Festival and Ultimo Science Festival
- Matching and community grants, enabling projects such as Stories from our Streets, which invited the local community to take photos for an exhibition telling a story about their community
What is your vision for your area? Here are some suggestions -
- Harris Street provides a lively local ‘main street’ shopping precinct with a diverse retail mix
- A continuous Harbour foreshore walk links Glebe to Garden Island, via Pyrmont, Darling Harbour, Barangaroo, Circular Quay, Mrs Macquaries Chair and Woolloomooloo
- A network of green walking path and open space makes it easy to walk or ride from the Harbour via Harris Street, UTS, Central Station and Surry Hills to the Centennial Parklands and beyond
- A civic and community hub around the Ian Thorpe Aquatic Centre and Ultimo Community Centre provides facilities that meet community needs and are easily accessible
- Darling Harbour integrates into Pyrmont, Ultimo and the CBD, with the Western Distributor lowered and sensitive redevelopment to restore connections
- A world-class cultural and educational hub is established in Ultimo through collaboration with the area’s institutions
- Residents from diverse backgrounds and economic groups connect through community projects
- The area’s maritime history and industrial heritage is preserved and celebrated
- Adequate public transport and safe walking and bike riding routes reduce vehicle congestion and allow residents to get to parks, shops, work, school and cultural facilities