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Cat Alley

Home > Sydney > Free | Historic Houses | Outdoor | Walks
by Carina Mancinone (subscribe)
I'm an aspiring writer living in Perth. I like to take the scenic route and take pleasure in the simple things in life, such as good food and good company.
Published January 25th 2016
Find out where all the alley cats hang out

Sometimes the most delightful sights can be found in unassuming places and McElhone Place attests greatly to this.

Famously known as 'Cat Alley' to Sydneysiders, it is a gorgeous alley lined with tiny houses which have big character. Built in the 1870s, the houses served as workers cottages for the McElhone family.

Facing a number of battles, such as threats of demolition in the early 1920s, the street was able to surmount its struggles and come into its own. Thanks to resident Olive (Ollie) Batty, who founded the garden project by simply installing window boxes, the street literally flourished to become a garden oasis and example of ethical and positive communal living.

With no front or backyards, the residents have made the most of their limited space. Pot plants are aplenty and green foliage decorate the walls and doors of the tiny cottage houses. Looking closely, I even spotted herbs and vegetables growing amongst the vegetation.

It was truly inspiring to see how the residents made use of such minimal space, and just goes to show that no matter the space, gardening is achievable.

The plants aren't the only draw card of this 'secret garden'. Attributing to its adopted name, the alley is home to a number of cats who can be found prowling amongst themselves and taking naps in the sunshine.

They were all very friendly, probably being used to the attention. I'll admit to being a little envious of them, as they live in such a gorgeous area.

So, if you find yourself in Sydney, make sure to pop by. A visit to Cat Alley, accompanied by a takeaway coffee from one of the many hip cafes in Surry Hills, will make for a lovely morning stroll. What's more, it will inspire you to cultivate your green thumb once you return home.
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Why? Sometimes the most delightful sights can be found in unassuming places.
Where: McElhone Place aka ‘Cat Alley’ in Surry Hills, NSW
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