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Discover Hunters Hill - Art & History Walking Tour

Home > Sydney > Walks | Historic Houses | Exhibitions | Cafes | Art
by Seafarrwide (subscribe)
Check out my blog at seafarrwide.com/ for more about me. Contact me : seafarrwide@gmail.com
Published May 23rd 2018
Sydney's oldest garden suburb with a fascinating history
Discover Hunters Hill, Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, walking tours
Image credit : Seafarrwide


The City of Sydney has several suburbs with an interesting history that can be discovered, not only by googling or history books but by participating in a walking tour. Hunters Hill on Sydney's North Shore is one of Sydney's oldest garden suburbs, rich in history and also very picturesque.

Discover Hunters Hill, Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, walking tours
image credit : Seafarrwide


The area was first sighted and charted in 1788 by Captain John Hunter. It was inhabited by the Aboriginal people known as Wallumategal. Eventually, the Aboriginal people died from smallpox or were forced out, leaving the way for the early colonisation which began in the early 1830s. Colonisation brought convicts, swindlers, murderers and shady types and also some clever citizens who saw the land's potential. Amongst them, was the respected emancipist Mary Reiby. Mary purchased 110 acres of land in 1835 and named her home Fig Tree Farm. Other famous and interesting Australian characters also moved to the area and started buying and developing.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Mary Reiby, Figtree Farm
Fig Tree House - from the collection of the State Library of New South Wales


Recently, I was invited by Discover Hunters Hill to enjoy one of their Art and History Walking tours. These tours have been operating now for three years. Each tour not only embraces the local history and architecture, also the fabulous art and local cafe culture.

The day commenced with a meet up at the Hunters Hill Town Hall at 10.30am. We were greeted by our Discover Hunters Hill Tour guide, Alison Voulgaris, and local historians, Greg Griffiths and Phil Jenkyn. Our $20 ticket included entry to the Hunter Hill art exhibition, an art catalogue, Hunters Hill heritage walks guidebook and a guided walking tour. The tour includes visits to several pop-up art galleries. While waiting for the other tour participants, my friend and I checked out the exhibition.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Collage image credit - Seafarrwide


I was impressed with the high standard of art on show. Some paintings were exceptional and made me feel rather in awe of their talent.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Photo taken by Seafarrwide


Once all had gathered and received their tour passes, we set off to our first historical landmark - Hunters Hill Congregational Church. The outdoor area displayed several sculptures from various artists.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


We moved onto Madeline Street, strolling past some quaint cottages and spectacular mansions. We also came across plaques on the path marking the sesquicentenary of each area. In all, we were told you can find up to 70 historic plaques throughout Hunters Hill.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


Our guides informed us that the area was initially developed by French colonists, notably Didier Joubert and his brother Jules Joubert. These two Frenchman had migrated to Australia from the Bordeaux area of France in the 1830s. After purchasing much of the land including Mary Reibey's Figtree Farm, together they began building sandstone villas and subdivisions.

Image credit - Seafarrwide


Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


Eventually, we arrived for a coffee break at the local Hunters Hill Club located at 12-20 Madeline Street. This is a not for profit club established for the local community.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Hunters Hill Club - Image credit - Seafarrwide


Here we viewed art by Olegna Kolsenik and Vanessa Encarnacod and enjoyed a steaming hot complimentary coffee out on the sun-drenched porch.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Olegna Kolsenik, Vanessa Encarnacod
Image credit - Seafarrwide


The Hunters Hill Club has some history of its own, now a bowling club and a local favourite venue for celebrating special events. I had to give the thumbs up on the great coffee. After a chat in the sun, we moved further down past more gorgeous cottages with meticulously kept gardens.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


The sandstone walls and buildings in the area are beautifully built.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


It's such a lovely area to walk around. I took several photos of lovely stately houses, charming cottages and enchanting gardens.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


The oldest homes are such a mystery. I couldn't help but reflect on how life might have been back in the 1840s. I daydreamed of what they wore, how they spent their time and what secrets each home held.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


I became quite mesmerized by the gorgeous homes, especially those overlooking the waterfront.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


As we meandered the streets, we learnt many interesting historical facts and stories about the area and its interesting characters. Our guides had a wealth of information and also some funny stories to tell from growing up in the area.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


Our next pop up gallery was inside the Bistro 54 on Alexander Street. This restaurant would be perfect for a special lunch or dinner. The outstanding artwork by Linda Joyce suited the location.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour, Linda Joyce
Art by Linda Joyce


Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Bistro 54
Bistro 54 - image by Seafarrwide


Then we checked out Garibaldi Square, named by the Cuneo brothers, a group of early Italian and Swiss Italian settlers that were known for their stonemason skills. John Cuneo, in particular, built the first suburb's hotel, The Garibaldi.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


This Garibaldi building, located on the corner of Alexandra and Ferry streets, is a beautiful sandstone building now used for offices, shops and cafes.

We strolled further to our next pop up art gallery in the Hunters Hill RSL Hall. Inside, we viewed works of art by Abdul Arian in tribute to the fallen soldiers of Afghanistan.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour, Abdul Arian
Art by Abdul Arian - fallen soldiers from Afghanistan


Then onto Hunters Hill Optical, where we viewed more stunning artworks done with resin paints by Patricia Santoso.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour, Patricia Santoso
Art by Patricia Santoso


We walked past more historical homes and beautiful gardens on our way to the All Saints Anglican Parish of Hunters Hill, where we viewed interesting outdoor sculptures.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Image credit - Seafarrwide


Next, we visited The Village Florist and viewed art by Jane-Marie Whiston and Jenny Fusca.



Upon leaving the exit, we found ourselves at Le Village Bistro. Here we were surprised with complimentary sparking wine.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour
Le Village French Bistro


Also, inside McGrath's Real Estate was a lovely artwork by Nicole Hunt.

Our last stop was at Otimo's Italian Restaurant, more art by Emily Monnignton. It had been a busy morning and all our walking had worked up a great appetite. We were fortunate that part of the group decided to stay on and enjoy a delicious tourers special priced lunch at Otimo Italian Kitchen.

Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Walking Tour, Ottimos Italian Restaurant
Ottimos Italian Restaurant


Discover Hunters Hill Art History Walking Tour, Hunters Hill, History, Ottimo Italian Restaurant
Ottimos Italian Restaurant


The food, wine and service at Ottimo was wonderful and was the perfect way to end our day.

I would totally recommend anyone booking the tour next time it comes up. It's a fun and informative day out where you can really take your time to explore and enjoy all that Hunters Hill has to offer. Alison and her guides are brimming with interesting information and they will ensure you have a fabulous day out.

If interested in exploring more areas further around the foreshores, there are several walking tours and information on self-guided trails available through the Hunters Hill Historical Society. The council has developed a series of 16 interlinked walks which highlight the area's history and heritage.

Walking tour cost: $20 per person
Tour time: 2-2 1/2hrs
Level: easy walking
Lunch: extra cost

If you wish to find out more, go to www.huntershill.com.au
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*Seafarrwide was invited as a guest
Share: email  facebook  twitter
Why? Discover History of Hunters Hill
When: Contact Alison at www.discoverhuntershill.com.au
Where: Hunters Hill - starting at Hunters Hill Town Hall
Cost: $20 per person
Your Comment
Hunters Hill does look like a photographer's paradise; so many beautiful buildings.
by Jenny Rossiter (score: 3|3945) 26 days ago
Love the photos.
by Gayle Beveridge (score: 3|6147) 25 days ago
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