Whether you’re a new arrival to Balmain or you’ve been living here for years, we’re sure you’ll agree that Balmain offers a wealth of riches and a lifestyle that’s unique to Sydney.
The proximity to Sydney’s sparkling harbour, the village atmosphere and the sense of island living make the peninsula a sought after location. The great pubs, wonderful workers cottages and stately homes hold histories and stories of our forefathers. Then there’s the lovely foreshore walks, enjoyed by many residents and their pets, standing in stark contrast to the industrial history and life of mining and metal workers, a century ago.
There’s always something new to discover on the Balmain Peninsula. Following, are a few of our favourite places in and around Balmain, Balmain East, Birchgrove and Rozelle.
Historical Balmain buildings
Balmain, a Heritage Conservation Area, boasts many handsome buildings mainly from the Victorian era or in the earlier Georgian style, an architecture noted for its relatively restrained but classically beautiful exteriors and often characterised by ‘fanlights’ over the main entry.
A typical example of a Georgian construction is Hampton Villa. Although built in the early Victorian era, in the 1840s, this elegant residence was designed (we believe) by Sydney architect, John Verge, who worked during the Georgian period and was known for his beautifully proportioned buildings. Hampton Villa was briefly the home of Eliezer Montefiore (the first director of what is now known as the Art Gallery of NSW) and later, Sir Henry Parkes, the ‘Father of Federation’.
We couldn’t miss mentioning the fabulous Waterview Wharf Workshops, originally used by the Adelaide Steamship company to house trades and now preserved as a fine example of maritime industrial architecture. So colourful, this set of buildings is an Instagram favourite.
Shopping and eating in Balmain
We don’t play ‘favourites’ but we’ve chosen a couple of local businesses we think you’ll love.
The perfect antidote to a week working indoors, Ally Bell (493b Darling Street) is your one-stop shop for the best seasonal flowers in bloom, skincare, candles and diffusers.
If you’re hankering for a New York-style atmosphere with delicious American-Italian inspired food, head to Contessa Balmain (371b Darling St). Owner Marco Adoncello sources most of his food from Sydney-based family and friends who supply fruit, vegetables and meat.
Getting involved in Balmain
One thing we’ve learnt over many years living and working in Balmain is that locals are passionate and love being part of the wonderful peninsula community. There are so many ways to get involved; we’ve selected a few below to get you started.
The Balmain Association, located at The Watch House (179 Darling St), is your home for all things heritage-related. You’ll find some fantastic resources and archives, plus contribute to protecting our precious architecture and natural features. The Watch House also hosts art exhibitions throughout the year.
Volunteering is another way to tap into our Balmain peninsular community. The Inner West Council coordinates volunteering opportunities for the local government area. Keep an eye out for Balmain-specific volunteering.
Walking around Balmain
Whether you’re spending time in Balmain’s Gladstone Park to admire the delightful spring plantings, taking a picnic to Ewenton Park in Balmain East to enjoy the harbourside and city views, or strolling through our streets of historic buildings, you’ll find many hidden delights.
Ballast Park, at the end of Birchgrove, is one of our newest parks and celebrates its history as a quarry and then later as a Caltex fuel depot. It’s worth exploring.
Can we help with your Balmain home?
With decades of experience on the Balmain Peninsula, we’ve gone through many different property cycles. If you’d like advice as to the best approach to selling or renting your property and how to present your home to its best advantage, please feel free to give us a call. Whatever your question, we’re here to help.