Ask any Sydney real estate agent, Darlinghurst ranks amongst the most lively, diverse and historic suburbs of our great city, with a colourful past and a bright future.
Darlinghurst has been called home to the wealthy and the working class in equal measure, from its inception in the early 1800s. In the 1900s it gained notoriety as a red-light district housing many (illegal) brothels, many owned by the infamous madame Tilly Devine and for most of that century Darlo had a respectably hefty criminal underbelly.
From the 1950s the area around Stanley St. became Sydney’s first ‘Little Italy’ and from the late ‘60’s Darlinghurst had established a reputation for colourful nightlife. Significant landmarks include the courthouse and jail, St Vincents hospital, and a plethora of smaller independent theatres such as Belvoir St and The Stables.
These days the suburb is very much gentrified and home to a cosmopolitan blend of café society, and small bars frequented by the local intelligentsia and slick city dwellers.
Darlinghurst has battled through Sydney’s history to become one of its favoured suburbs. Its criminal past has been forgiven, but not altogether forgotten.
Galleries and restaurants have replaced the sly grog shops and red light residences, but the suburb is still edgy enough to be considered ‘on the fringe’ in many respects.
New, wealthy residents are moving into trendy new apartment blocks, such as Republic on the site of the old Sargent’s pie factory or Harry Seidler’s ‘Horizon’ apartments which loom over the valley. Although rows of terrace houses are still the norm, many of the mean little terraces and back lane hovels of the 1860s are now expensively renovated showpieces.
Darlinghurst remains a popular residential suburb, whether that is despite, or because of, its history is anyone’s guess.What is for certain is if you want to be a part of Sydney’s beating heart, you will probably want to live in Darlinghurst.
When buying in Darlinghurst it can be as much a case of what to avoid, as what to look for. Street noise, rising damp and moisture, lack of sunlight, these are all issues that need a professional eye to circumnavigate — unless the late night sounds of breaking bottles or early morning garbage pickups are your thing.
Darlo is delineated on a street by street basis, and it is important to know which streets are more amenable than others. Many of its dwellings are centuries old, with inherent age related challenges, and these are factors to consider when choosing your spot.
A locals inside info is imperative when buying in Darlinghurst, coupled with an eye for risk mitigation and an understanding of what makes this place wonderful and challenging to live in all at the same time.