Sydney is an international city with a multitude of unique and exciting communities and suburbs throughout. Perhaps one of its greatest, and certainly one of its oldest, is Haymarket – better known to most as Chinatown. A lot of cities, particularly major trade centres, have their own version of a Chinatown. The initial aim of the community was to provide a transitional place for Chinese migrants. As time moved on, the areas gain historical purpose as well as remaining a vivid demonstration of Chinese culture. This is certainly the case for Australia’s largest Chinatown in Sydney, which begun to establish itself in its current location around 1920. It’s interesting too that from the late 19th century, Sydney’s Chinatown had actually been located in the Rocks, another of Sydney’s historical landmarks.
People visiting the area will find many restaurants, festivals and events. If you’re from out of town and want to get a head start, Tastetours looks to be a great way to explore Haymarket. From their website, “This Sydney food tour is a slice of history and culture alongside deliciously diverse cuisine, telling the Aussie story of migration and settlement from the early days to the most modern”.
Paddy’s Market is another famous site that is located in the Chinatown area. A central spot for over 150 years, the market runs everyday with an enormous variety of stalls selling fruit vegetables from across Sydney.
Another favourite of the precinct is the public art. The area has just recently been taken over by the Market of Lights with 38 tree loving red fire monkey light sculptures illuminating the heart of Sydney’s Chinatown. More permanent installations include Jason Wing’s ‘In Between Two Worlds’ on Little Hay Street and the 4a Centre forContemporary Asian Art, an ever evolving and changing exhibition of excellence and innovation by contemporary Asian and Australian artists.
I could keep going, there is so much to see and do in Sydney’s Chinatown, but this isn’t the forum to promote one of Sydney’s many tourism draws. Rather, I bring these things up as evidence for why the area needs protection alongside development. In 2012, the area had nearly 2900 employing businesses (20% of which was Food & drink), 88.3% of those businesses employed 20 or less people. Subsequently, the area remains predominantly small business. Over the next 15 years, Chinatown’s residents and workers are expected to grow at an approximate rate of 2.2% and 1.1% respectively.
In 2010, City of Sydney implemented a ‘Chinatown public domain plan’ that aimed to celebrate the unique character and heritage of Chinatown. The plan notes “while we have been putting the plan into place to create a precinct that celebrates the unique character and heritage of Chinatown, recent significant changes in the southern part of the city centre present a need to update the plan”.
As Lord Mayor of Sydney I will continue to support the interests of the many small business owners that are the fabric of this local community. I will also work alongside Grace Zou, who is the Sydney Matters candidate for the upcoming local Government election.
Help me to maximise the unique atmosphere and culture of Chinatown, rather than stifle it. I want to present a balanced government, standing for the residents of neighbourhoods like Chinatown as well as providing support for small businesses.