Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo

Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo is a lively and creative village with a rich working class history evident along the foreshore. The workers' cottages and terraces are set amongst new apartment blocks and open spaces.

The village is serviced by 1 train station as well as buses, however the inner city location promotes cycling and walking in and around the village.

The provision of community facilities and the organisation of village events strengthen the community atmosphere between residents and promote the area to those outside of the village.

Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo village is located in the north-east of the City of Sydney local area, and includes the suburbs of Elizabeth Bay, Woolloomooloo and parts of Rushcutters Bay, as well as the locality of Kings Cross.

It is bounded by the harbour foreshore to the north, Woollahra Council to the east, Bayswater Road and William Street to the south and Sir John Young Crescent to the west.

Despite the reputation of Kings Cross as one of Sydney’s hottest nightspots, the village is a predominantly residential area with pockets of commercial, entertainment and institutional uses, including the Royal Australian Navy base on the waterfront at Garden Island.

What do residents like about their village?

“The café culture. Diversity of places to eat. The mix and diversity of people.”

“Aesthetically pleasing tree-lined streets and diverse architecture.”

Source: City of Sydney Resident Consultations

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Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo has a diverse range of dwelling types in the village varying across the different suburbs. Woolloomooloo retains many rows of 19th century workers' cottages and terraces. Potts Point has a mix of old and new architecture including many impressive Art Deco apartment buildings along Macleay Street. Rushcutters Bay has a range of historic terraces accompanied by apartments and a range of parks and sports fields. Elizabeth Bay with its sweeping harbour views has numerous Victorian mansions coupled with Art Deco architecture.

Chart 1 shows the distribution of dwelling types within the village. As would be expected in an inner city location, the most common dwelling type within Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo village is the apartment category, which makes up 91% of all dwellings and is significantly above the average across the City of Sydney (76%) and Metro Sydney (26%). Apartment living has long been the norm in this village where harbour views and proximity to the city centre have tended to promote high density development. Semi-detached dwellings make up the other 9% due to the historic terraces spread across the village.

Chart 1 – Dwelling Types

Chart 1 – Dwelling Types

Figure 3 – Population Density, 2011

Figure 3 – Population Density, 2011


The main corridor through the village is Darlinghurst Road and Macleay Street, which provides north-south access from Kings Cross through Potts Point and on to Garden Island. Access west to the city centre is available via William Street on the southern border of the village as well as via Cowper Wharf Roadway, which runs along the edge of Woolloomooloo Bay.

Figure 1 shows public transport infrastructure across the City of Sydney local area, including the barrier counts for train and ferry stations in 2012. Kings Cross railway station on the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line sits within the village borders. This station receives daily passenger movements in excess of 24,000. Aside from this station the village is serviced by buses, which mainly run along William Street as well as Darlinghurst Road/Macleay Street and around the foreshore at Woolloomooloo Bay.

The focus of pedestrian activity in the village is on Darlinghurst Road near Kings Cross railway station. Pedestrian counts in October 2013 estimated 23,600 pedestrians per day on a weekday and 24,900 per day on a weekend. Not surprisingly, given that this location is a nightclub strip, the majority of pedestrian activity was observed at night particularly on the weekend when the busiest time interval was 11pm to midnight.

Figure 1 – Transport Infrastructure & Barrier Counts

Figure 1 – Transport Infrastructure & Barrier Counts


In addition to the dense areas of residential land uses within Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo there is also a significant provision of open space and parks, with local parks such as Arthur McElhone Reserve, Reg Bartley Oval, Embarkation Park, Macleay Reserve, Beare Park and Fitzroy Gardens. Other major facilities within the village include the naval base at Garden Island, St Luke’s Hospital in Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay Marina. Additionally, the western boundary of the village is bordered by the Botanic Gardens.

Significant community facilities within the village are displayed in Figure 2 and include:

  • Kings Cross Library
  • Kings Cross Customer Service Centre
  • Reg Murphy Centre, a community theatre in Kings Cross
  • Mary McDonald Centre, a community centre in Woolloomooloo
  • Juanita Nielsen Community Centre in Woolloomooloo
  • Rex Centre, a function centre in Potts Point
  • Woolloomooloo Police-Citizens Youth Club.

The City of Sydney Wellbeing (Residents) Survey highlighted the following opinions of residents regarding community facilities in their village:

  • excellent access to parks/open space
  • high levels of satisfaction with the range and quality of public art installations and artworks
  • above average attendance at arts and cultural activities and at Aboriginal Torres Strait Islander arts and cultural events/activities
  • high levels of attendance at sports matches or competitions (as either a participant or spectator).

Figure 2 – Parks and Council Facilities

Figure 2 – Parks and Council Facilities


Macleay Street and Woolloomooloo village is host to a range of events occurring both regularly and on a yearly basis. The variety of events highlights the efforts of the local community and business owners to create a strong sense of community within the village and promote some of its offerings. These events provide opportunities for local businesses to combine their efforts and involve themselves with the local residents in addition to those from surrounding areas.

Some of the popular events include:

  • Weekly Rotary Market: These weekly markets are held in Fitzroy Gardens every Sunday. The markets are run by the Rotary Club of Kings Cross and vendors sell items ranging from books and costumes, to candles, accessories and clothing.
  • Kings Cross Festival: The festival attracted 30,000 people in its first year and aims to bring together shop owners, venues and residents to promote the local area. It takes place in November.



This information has been compiled from various sources. The publisher and contributors accept no responsibility for any injury, loss or damage arising from the use, error or omissions therein. While all care is taken to ensure a high degree of accuracy, users are invited to notify the City of Sydney of any discrepancies. No part of this information, including maps or data, may be reproduced without written permission.

Last updated: Tuesday, 3 July 2018