Sydney: Off the beaten path

Although the city has no shortage of world-famous attractions, (the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge come to mind almost immediately, as well as Bondi Beach) travelers seeking interesting alternatives to the mainstream sights may find themselves lost in the seaside city, doomed to forever wander the CBD.

Despite the popular narrative often found in the literature on Sydney’s tourism, there is plenty to see and do in the areas outside of the city center, off the so-called beaten path, and that’s what we’ll be focusing on in this article.

White Rabbit Gallery

Located in the inner-city suburb Chippendale, the White Rabbit Gallery is a contemporary art museum that houses over 1000 pieces from the White Rabbit Collection at any given time. Since the collection itself is so massive, the museum will put up new exhibits twice a year, refitting the entire building in the process. The White Rabbit Gallery features pieces from many significant Chinese and Taiwanese contemporary artists and the collection is one of the largest of its kind.

Since the gallery is registered as a charitable, philanthropic institution which is funded in entirety by the Neilson Foundation, they are able to stay true to their goal of making the complex and nuanced world of Chinese contemporary art more accessible to the public by offering free admission to all visitors.

That’s right, it’s completely free, and according to Sophia King, an art critic from THEGOODESTATE, “The White Rabbit Gallery houses some of the most evocative pieces from it’s genre, and provides much more value than their for-profit counterparts.”

Museum of Human Disease

A must see for med-students, weirdos and those with a morbid sense of curiosity, the Museum of Human Disease is exactly what the name suggests: a citadel of sickness, death and decay. Featuring and showcasing thousands of isolated, infected specimens, the exhibits do a fantastic job of demonstrating the effects of various genetic, viral and bacterial diseases as well as the effects of long term lifestyle choices such as regular smoking and chronic drug abuse.

The museum itself serves to remind visitors and locals alike that, although many of the diseases held within are no longer a concern thanks to advancements in medicine, many of these things still plague the Australian community as a whole, and that there will always be a need for medicine and social programs.

The museum is only open on weekdays from 10am to 4pm, because unlike harmful pathogens, museum curators and workers need to rest and sometimes pursue a social life on the weekends.

Forgotten Songs

A powerful and moving art installation found in Angel Place, Forgotten Songs is a piece of art that invites us to look at urbanization and the repercussions of our modern lives through a critical lens. Composed of 120 suspended, empty birdcages, the installation is a tribute and obituary to the many bird species who have been pushed out of the city center due to development. Many of these species have since been labeled as endangered, while others have already gone extinct.

In their absence, we instead have haunting recordings of their (hence, the title of the installation) forgotten songs, suspended and frozen in the overhead canopy of brass and wire.

Such attention to detail was given that different songs play depending on the hour, as the daytime birds give the stage to their nocturnal counterparts when the sun goes down and the sky dims. Truly the result of a determined, interdisciplinary team, the installation has been granted permanent status by the local government and is here to stay.

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