This week in Sydney Revealed, we visit a hidden gem tucked away in a lane way.
In the heart of the Sydney CBD, just off George Street, you step into a laneway called Angel Place, paved with square stone-like brickwork, amidst a concrete jungle of cold cement in various forms. You’re engulfed by two tall buildings on either side, one boasting gorgeous carved bulky brick stonework and you instantly feel like you’re stepping into another realm. you’re being lured in. And as you stroll down Angel Place about 20 metres in, your treated to a spectacular scene of Bird cages suspended above you of varying shapes, sizes and colours.. What is known as Forgotten Songs. Map Location here
Whilst I’d like to confess these cages are completely out of place, that would be telling a lie. As mentioned earlier, one really does feel as if you’ve stepped into another world. The air is distinctly cooler down this lane way, naturally by the abundance of mortar and brick and the lack of direct sunlight able to peek through the buildings. This lane way is well and truly tucked away from sunshine, from sight, from the main road, but the chilled air is somewhat refreshing and adds to the mystery of its location.
Along the length of the bird cages to the left is an a La Carte Restaurant/Cafe called China Lane. Outside lined with tables with a comfortable feel. Definitely an invitation to sit, relax and linger if ever there was one.
And as most do wonder and pose the question; why exactly are bird cages suspend mid air in the middle of the city? Valid question no doubt and the answer is this.
“Forgotten Songs commemorates the songs of fifty birds once heard in central Sydney before they were gradually forced out of European settlement. Habitat loss is credited as the biggest threat to bird survival with 129 species of birds native to New South Waves, formally listed as extinct or threatened with extinction”
Below the awning of suspended cages, are stone plaques in the walkway engraved with the names of some of the birds that once populated the area. The installation of over 100 bird cages by Artist Michael Thomas Hill was commissioned in 2009 and part of the City’s 2009 Temporary Laneway Art Program but due to public popularity, it became a permanent fixture and the cages were reinstalled along with speakers that play the songs of 50 bird species that echo throughout the lane way as you wonder beneath this beauty.
By day, it’s a beautiful sight to observe. By night, it’s a spectacular ethereal feel standing under the stars gazing up at hundreds of empty bird cage while the sweet sounds serenade you softly in the background. So if you’re in the area, be sure to pass by Angel Place and gaze upon this beautiful feature. It truly is a hidden little gem.
More information can be found here: http://www.cityartsydney.com.au/artwork/forgotten-songs/
Tune in Sunday 16 August for my next Bi-Weekly Sunday Feature …