I am always looking out for new experiences, wherever I may find myself.
Published June 27th 2013
People hurry through the transport interchange in Chatswood every day. Most are on their way to and from work or to one of the shopping centres in the area, and I doubt they really pay much attention to their surroundings. It's a pity, because if you know what to look for and take a few moments to glance around, there's a lot of public art to discover here.
Public Art at Chatswood Transport Interchange One work which can be found within the interchange itself is a tall, yellow tower by Daniel Tobin. It's located on the eastern side of the space, not far from the crossing to the bus interchange and the stairs up to Victoria Avenue. Though in quite a central location, I had never noticed the piece until recently, probably because it looks so much like a sign, the kind of work I learnt when I did the Walsh Bay Sculpture Walk, that I often ignore.
Rising from the concrete like the plant etched on its surface, Tobin's sculpture (which has been made from recycled car panels) is all about sustainable living. Looking closely, you will find phrases like 'dump the car' and 'catch the train' printed on it, but I'll leave the rest of its features for you to discover for yourself
Daniel Tobin's piece
Similarly brightly coloured, but situated in a less frequented area of the interchange, Roses by Peter D. Cole, is a work that is more likely to command your attention. It consists of a series of coloured roses in decreasing size, mounted along the wall near the Garden of Remembrance, just past the station's ticket office.
Depending on what direction you take when you leave the interchange, there are also other artworks to look out for. If you exit on the eastern side, towards the shopping centres, you'll probably already have noticed Ripple, by Hew Chee Fong & L M Noonan, which can be found not far from the top of the stairs.
This work is one I've always been familiar with, mainly because the slabs of granite, which have been carved to look like a ripple, work well as seats. It's all I thought they were for ages, but the piece has been carefully designed to bring a sense of calm to the busy area, which I think it achieves in both look and function.
Ripple makes a great set of seats
Keep walking towards Anderson Street and you'll also come across railings designed by Suzie Bleach and Andrew Townsend. They're located on your right where the street intersects with Victoria Avenue.
One of the railings
West of the Interchange On the other side of the interchange, more artwork can be found if you head down Railway Street. Pause outside the Mantra Hotel and Chelsea Hotel on Brown Street and you will see terrazzo inserts in the tiles by David Humphries.
These works have been inspired by the childhood stories of actress Ruth Cracknell, most well known for her role in the television show Mother and Son, who lived in a house on this site during WWII. There are two sets to look for, one featuring the words of Cracknell's story and another series which looks like the reflections of trees in water, with ripples running through them.
One of the terrazzo inserts in the tiles
Outside Zenith Theatre there's Zenith Towers by architects Ross Shepherd and Jessica Hodge. You can't miss the five tall blue towers, but unfortunately, if don't know to look for it, you can miss the engraving of Henry Lawson's poem 'Chatswood' in the surrounding pavement, which I didn't know about when I was here. Next time, I guess.
At the end of the road, a little far away from the interchange now but easily viewed by drivers turning off the Pacific Highway, is Shadow Play by Daniel Tobin. I felt this piece tied in perfectly with its surroundings; the rounded shape works so well with the concave buildings around it, while the geometric pattern on the surface matches the squares of nearby windows and pavement.
A Dash of History Too
As well as the artwork, there are also a few other things to see at the interchange and its immediate surrounds which focus on the area's history, such as all the boards in the station which offer information on the area's past. While you're waiting at the ticket office, you should also look out for an outline in the pavement of where the Station Master's Residence once stood.
Look out for the outline of the Station Master's Residence
Over near the bus interchange, the original Chatswood Station Signal Room has also been reconstructed. It's not just the exterior that has been rebuilt either - look through the grill and you can see all the signal levers which were once used to keep the railway traffic under control.
The reconstructed Signal Room
And the Rest...
If you're a frequent visitor to Chatswood Transport Interchange, I bet you've found a lot of works on this list that you've never even noticed before. It's not all there is around here either: Chatswood is full of artwork and other attractions, like Tingha Woman at Currey Park and ingress at The Concourse.
If you want to find out how to track down more public art in the area, click here.