The heart of Surry Hills is the creative souls who inhabit it, those for whom ticking boxes is a waste of time. It's not about how far you've come: it's where to next. Influential. Original. Eclectic. Whoever, whatever, whenever: to live here is to love it. That's a constant.

StephenOrmandy

Stephen Ormandy
Dinosaur designs

Dinosaur Designs is the ultimate Australian homeware and jewellery design brand. Their distinct style is instantly recognisable - exquisitely handcrafted, chunky, bright-coloured resin in the form of serving bowls, vases and bangles.

Founded and run by Stephen Ormandy and Louise Olsen, Dinosaur Designs was conceived in 1985 when the pair were studying art together in Sydney.

Despite their incredible international success (Dinosaur Designs now has stores across Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and New York), Louise and Stephen remain very hands-on and spend most of their time in their beautiful Surry Hills studio.

What drew you to live/work in Surry Hills?

We found an amazing building that we felt reflected who we were as a business and as people… creative, welcoming and full of light.

What do you love about Surry Hills?

Surry Hills has an old industrial history, so that means it has large studio lofts as well and compact city-living apartments, so it attracts a really creative community. There's a lot to be inspired by in this area.

What changes have you seen since you've been in the suburb?

I've seen the suburb go from industrial to residential - and with that came the opening of a lot of very cool cafés, great restaurants and retail stores. It's turned into a sort of hub where people come to eat, drink and shop - but it still has a little bit of that industrial grit to it, in a good way. The streets are always buzzing with people hungry to check out the newest place.

Do you have a favourite Surry Hills moment or memory?

My favourite memories are probably from back when I was at art school - many parties and good times were had in Surry Hills back then.

How does the suburb inspire you?

It's where my studio is so it's more like a creative haven. There are also so many other creative businesses in the area, so just walking down the street, you can find a million things to be inspired by - even if it's just the smell of a good coffee being brewed.

What are your hopes for the suburb's future?

I hope the creative community can still afford to be here. The people here are what give Surry Hills its soul, they're what make it such an interesting place to be.

Are there any ways in which you give back to the community?

We donate to the Redfern Foundation, which supports the Aboriginal community in the innercity. They do a lot of great work with helping local indigenous people build the skills they need to lead positive, productive lives.

What's your ideal day - or night - out in Surry Hills?

Drinks and dinner with friends. Surry Hills is the kind of place that has so many fantastic options for eating out or having a glass of wine - it's almost a shame to stay in. It's so lively. I love Vini on Devonshire Street for the great food and wine - that's my go-to restaurant for a good night out with friends

What's your favourite season here and why?

All of them, because I love working at any time, in any weather. Our studio has the most beautiful light that pours in through the windows, so it is lovely when the sun's out. It's a very important place for us and we love spending time in it. It's a place of work but it's also very personal - almost like an extension of our home.

What sets Surry Hills apart from other Sydney suburbs?

It's so central. You're so close to everything - the city, beaches, Centennial Park, Chinatown... you can walk almost everywhere. There's also a creative spirit in Surry Hills that you don't find in many other places - it's very raw and very rare.

Please sum up Surry Hills in three words.

Creative. Vibrant. Engaging.

READ

MY TOP 5 SURRY HILLS SPOTS:

Vini:
Really yummy food and great service.
3/118 Devonshire St, Surry Hills
vini.com.au

Neighbourhood by Sean McManus:
This café is fairly new but the coffee is brilliant.
16 Buckingham St, Surry Hills

Dolphin Hotel:
They've had a revamp recently - it's a great place to unwind and have a drink.
412 Crown St, Surry Hills
dolphinhotel.com.au

Hub Furniture:
Beautiful furniture and interior design inspiration.
66-72 Reservoir St, Surry Hills
hubfurniture.com.au

Cleveland's:
This is where I come for a haircut - there's also a great café inside.
311 Cleveland St, Surry Hills
clevelandsoncleveland.com


Vini

01: Vini

Dolphin Hotel

02: Dolphin Hotel

Hub Furniture

03: Hub Furniture

  • Vini

    01: Vini

  • Dolphin Hotel

    02: Dolphin Hotel

  • Hub Furniture

    03: Hub Furniture Vini

EamonFlack

EAMON FLACK
BELVOIR ST THEATRE

Belvoir St Theatre is one of Surry Hills' most historic and culturally important establishments.

When the Nimrod Theatre building in Belvoir Street was threatened with redevelopment in 1984, more than 600 theatre lovers formed a syndicate to buy the building and save Sydney's most unique performance space.

More than 30 years later, under Artistic Director Eamon Flack, Belvoir engages Australia's most prominent and promising playwrights, directors, actors (including Cate Blanchett and Geoffrey Rush) and designers to realise work that is dynamic, challenging and visionary. It's one of Australia's most respected and celebrated theatre companies.

What drew you to live/work here?

I don't live here but I run a theatre company here, so I'm in the area day and night - which is what drew me to Surry Hills, that it's alive both day and night.

What do you love about Surry Hills?

It's got a good variety of life about it - some quick, take-away eating and some fine dining, life in the streets and life in the theatre. And, of course, I love that one of the country's great theatre companies has a home on a side street here in Surry Hills. It's full of such wonderful surprises!

What changes have you seen since you've been in the suburb?

Look, that's what's wonderful about Surry - there are good little changes, but on the whole it still has that great flavour of life about it. A bit of grit, a bit of beauty, a bit of convenience.

Do you have a favourite Surry Hills moment or memory?

Ha, yes, it involves a funny encounter with a bikie and a man on a park bench one lunchtime. It was a kind of welcome to Surry Hills for me, back when it was a little bit rougher.

How does the suburb inspire you?

I love the mix of old Sydney and new Sydney, and the mix of public and private life. It feels wonderfully lived in, and it makes me think a lot about the nature of community - what community used to mean, and what it means now. I love the cafés and small bars here, too - I'm always happy to see great new places opening up.

What are your hopes for the suburb's future?

I'd like it to keep its variety of life, but I'd also like to see it become even more of a home to the arts and to artists. It already is, but I hope it only flourishes more.

Are there any ways in which you give back to the community?

Our theatre is a magnet for arts lovers, so we bring people to the area - and not always people who can afford to pay. And that's what I'm proud of about Belvoir St Theatre - that we invite our neighbours, that we bring kids from tough areas, and we gather people together to see stories. That's a special thing for any neighbourhood.

What's your ideal day - or night - out in Surry Hills?

I'm sorry to keep harping on about Belvoir, but a standing ovation for one of our shows is the best night out I can have in Surry Hills. Otherwise I quite like a meandering conversation over an afternoon beer while the sun sets along Devonshire St.

What's your favourite season here and why?

Summer. I love to swim in the Albert Park pool at lunch, and read in the shade of the old avenue of trees. Beautiful.

What sets Surry Hills apart from otherSydney suburbs?

The wonderful variety of humans and shops and parks... variety! It's the greatest thing of all.

Please sum up Surry Hills in three words.

New, old, and green.

READ

MY TOP 5 SURRY HILLS SPOTS:

Belvoir St Theatre:
Of course, Belvoir is one of my top picks. It's home to great actors from all over Australia, and my great passion.
25 Belvoir St, Surry Hills
belvoir.com.au

Muum Maam:
The best Thai food I've ever had, and a menu of unique dishes.
1/50 Holt St, Surry Hills
muummaam.com.au

Vini:
Excellent Italian. Excellent.
3/118 Devonshire St, Surry Hills
vini.com.au

Dove & Olive:
I love sitting in the corner windows of this pub on a spring afternoon.
156 Devonshire St, Surry Hills
doveandolive.com.au

Cook & Archies Café:
Great scrambled eggs, smooth coffee, terrific lunches, and the best croissants in Sydney.
4/14 Buckingham St, Surry Hills
cookandarchies.com.au


Belvoir St Theatre

01: Belvoir St Theatre

Dove & Olive

02: Dove & Olive

Cook & Archies

03: Cook & Archies

  • Belvoir St Theatre

    01: Vini

  • Dove & Olive

    02: Dolphin Hotel

  • Cook & Archies

    03: Cook & Archies Vini

OrlandoReindorf

ORLANDO REINDORF
THE STANDARD STORE

The Standard Store is a Surry Hills icon. Located on Sydney's most off-beat high street (Crown Street, for those wondering), The Standard Store is seeped in heritage. It was a Laundromat, then a bookshop, and now one of the city's most loved local boutiques.

Established in 2011 by Sydney-based husband and wife team Nicola and Orlando Reindorf, The Standard Store has a unique mix of handpicked labels from Paris' hippest ateliers, New York's undiscovered studios and London's most unassuming warehouses. The Surry Hills store (there's now also one in Melbourne) is curated to reflect the style fingerprint of the area.

What drew you to live/work here?

I'm from Clerkenwell, which is a hip little suburb in central London, and we kind of wanted to recreate that type of inner city living in Sydney. We looked at Bondi, Balmain and Paddington but kept being drawn back to Surry Hills. It has great energy, grit and soul - it was an easy choice.

What do you love about Surry Hills?

It's just like a village - a vibrant, cosmopolitan village. Everything you could possibly want - from food, art, fashion and education - is within walking distance. Sometimes I spend a whole week without getting into my car at all. When the best of everything is at your feet, in the one suburb, why leave?

What changes have you seen since you've been in the suburb?

There's been a major gentrification of Surry Hills since I first moved here 16 years ago - in a positive way, and it's been phenomenal. This suburb just has so much going for it.

Do you have a favourite Surry Hills moment or memory?

The Surry Hills Festivals are always memorable, with camels walking down the street and all sorts of amusing things going on.

How does the suburb inspire you?

Surry Hills is a real melting pot. You've got Indian food, Caribbean food, fine dining, Asian street food, old and new communities - it's a never-ending list, there's just so much diversity.

What are your hopes for the suburb's future?

I'd hope for the grass roots authenticity of Surry Hills to stay and remain as it is - for the art scene to keep thriving. Clover Moore has done great work with expanding and improving parks in the area - I'd love to see more of that.

Are there any ways in which you give back to the community?

We support local kindergartens and take part in their annual fundraising events, and also donate to the Salvation Army on Crown Street. I think having an open shop also really adds to the community - people come in, mingle and interact.

What's your ideal day - or night - out in Surry Hills?

It'd start with a dog walk in the morning - we have a park just outside our home, and Surry Hills is a really dog-friendly suburb, which is great. Then I'd spend some time at the store, followed by a cheeky lunch at either Vini or Toko. I love going for a swim at Prince Alfred Park in the arvo, and sunset drinks at 121BC. Catching a show at The Belvoir in the evenings is also really nice.

What's your favourite season here and why?

Definitely late Spring - I love seeing the Jacaranda trees pop.

What sets Surry Hills apart from other Sydney suburbs?

Ultimately, its liveability and walkability. It's a multi-faceted, multi-cultural melting pot of diversity.

Please sum up Surry Hills in three words.

The Standard Store. Joking. I'd say: urban, liveable and energetic.

READ

MY TOP 5 SURRY HILLS SPOTS:

121BC:
This is the place to go for an extensive list of fine Italian wines – all handpicked by the sommelier..
4/50 Holt St, Surry Hills
121bc.com.au

Inyoga:
Of the many excellent gyms and fitness studios in Surry Hills, InYoga is my favourite for its great variety of classes.
115 Cooper St, Surry Hills
inyoga.com.au

Small Spaces:
This store has the most exquisite, eclectic homewares – I love going in and having a browse.
674 Bourke St, Redfern
small-spaces.com.au

Gnome Café:
A small corner café that’s close to work – this is where I get my coffee.
536 Crown St, Surry Hills
gnomecafe.com

Muum Maam:
Seriously tasty Thai food and a great ambience.
1/50 Holt St, Surry Hills
muummaam.com.au


Gnome

01: Gnome Café

121BC

02: 121BC

Inyoga

03: Inyoga

  • Gnome

    01: Gnome Café

  • 121BC

    02: 121BC

  • Inyoga

    03: CInyoga Vini

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