A Sydney-siders ode to a suburb where time hold no sway and cats are king – it’s always wise to get a little lost in your own city.
Nestled between bold boisterous Sydney suburbs – whose resounding voices are as cacophonous as they are merry – is what can only be described as the secret garden’s city love-child. A place that is cultivated and wild, pristine and earthy, and no stranger to a paradox.
In Erskineville edifices speak of great wealth and lack thereof, of creativity and character. This place doesn’t put on a show, but in the same breathe, offers the most sincere welcome. It’s in the air. Come in, take your time, your quirks and idiosyncrasies will do well here. Encased in silence the sojourner can stop amiably and drink it in. No signs point to the nearest museum, nor will the main street yield boutiques. But there are terraces, and plenty of them, covered in vibrant paint that has started to crack beneath the Australian sun. Each home a unique statement, a reflection of those who live within. Suburban beauty at its most unique.
It is the need for respite that often sees one sashay into Erkos’ midst. If this sounds appealing then I implore you to bring along the book that has meekly, then with growing indignation, demanded that you consume its contents. Here plot twists and narratives reveal themselves slowly as you’re unlikely to ever feel rushed. It is expected that one ambles in Erskineville, admires the sites, breathe deeply, recall the quiet joy of counting a ladybug’s spots.
But there are signs of life. And plenty of them. Pubs and cafes line the one main street, perfect hideaways. Happily one coffee can be stretched out for hours, that book can be devoured, because the main rat race is several streets over. Distance makes the heart fonder.
As for wildlife, this habitat has given rise to a dominant creature. Even though quaint houses and artful gardens have replaced rolling hills, beasts still prowl. While sharing the same ferocious appetite for aesthetic elegance and menacing stares as to their forebears, all these urban beasts seem to crave is attention. But be warned, should you pause to play with an Erskineville cat, they’re not likely to tire of your quickly. Like a shadow they will be persistently by your side. Stealth must be used to disentangle from their gaze.
As the afternoon draws to a close, make sure to bid adieu to the trimmed hedges, the assorted pots, the carefully arranged birdcages. These form the metropolitan jungle, a quiet oasis populated by plastic flamingos and cats – an inner-city haven that shall wait here, patiently, until you return, keen to forget what it feels like to be rushed.
Words & Photographs by Amy Henderson