I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published May 10th 2015
There are a lot of little cobblestone streets and alleyways in The Rocks. The largest and most frequented is Playfair Street, where The Rocks Markets are held every weekend. But another one worth visiting is Nurse's Walk, which runs parallel to Harrington Street and George Street.
This stretch of shops is largely hidden and only accessible via smaller entrances between buildings off the surrounding streets. Some of these can easily be overlooked, which means you have to know there's something worthwhile behind the shops to end up back here. The Suez Canal entry from George Street is less than a metre wide, for example.
This is a great point of access actually, as it takes you to the beginning of the walk, is centrally located and also worth looking at itself. The name is thought to be a pun of 'sewer' and the alley was a known haunt of 'The Push', a street gang in the nineteenth century. Within it you will find in situ images of some of the characters you may have once found here.
The Nurse's Walk was created in 1979 to honour the nurses that worked in the hospitals that were in this area between 1788 to 1816. Like in the Suez Canal, there are a lot of references to this past era around, in information panels, plaques and art. Each helps explain the site's history and evoke the past.
Although there is certainly a lot of history to discover back here, the walk isn't just for visitors interested in history. There are quite a lot of shops and cafes back here too. Some include Buttons Buttons Buttons, Australian Alpaca Barn, The Crystal Gallery, The Australian Arts and Gems Gallery, the Celebrity Vogue Photography & Seductive Art Gallery and more. Places to eat include Scarlett Restaurant and The Vintage Cafe on The Rocks.
At the opposite end of The Nurse's Walk to Suez Canal, the route ends at Globe Street, where you'll find some amazing street art by contemporary artist Vhils on the stairs up to Harrington Street. He has painted a portrait of Sydney environmental activist, Jack Mundey, who worked to preserve some of Sydney's built environments too, like Victoria St, Potts Point and other areas in the inner city.
If you're interested in the history of The Rocks, another good place to go is The Rocks Discovery Museum, which gives and overview of the whole area. However there are references to the past everywhere, if you look, such as the First Impressions Sculpture at the end of Playfair Street.