Secret Sydney: Birdsong in the city

What's New — By rruge on February 28, 2012 at 10:02 am
Collage of Public Art ForgottenSongs by Lightwell

Collage of Public Art Forgotten Songs by Lightwell

Keen to get off the tourist track and explore some of Sydney’s hidden gems? Then venture down an alleyway near Angel Place to discover the quirky art installation that is bringing the streets alive with the sound of birds.

Just off Angel Place and one street back from George Street (near Martin Place in Sydney’s CBD) you round a corner to find the laneway where a canopy of 180 empty bird cages hang above the street making graphic shapes and shadows against blue Sydney skies. This permanent public art installation plays a soundscape of birdsong. The calls, tweets and twittering are from bird species that used to live in this area, before the city replaced their native habitats. The installation is known as ‘Forgotten Songs’ and is part of the Laneways: By George! Hidden Networks project.

During the day, you may hear the calls of the Eastern Whipbird, Rockwarbler, Regent Honeyeater, Grey Shrike-thrush, Fan-tailed Cuckoo, Spotted Pardalote, Brown Gerygone, Jacky Winter, Scarlet Robin and many more.

As twighlight draws in and the city workers leave their offices, the soundtrack switches to nocturnal birds like the Australian Owlet-nightjar, Powerful Owl, Southern Boobook, Barn Owl, Tawny Frogmouth, and White-throated Nightjar.

Following your new discovery, head around the corner to Ash Street and there you will find Ash Street Cellar (part of the Ivy complex) a cosy bar where Parisian boulevard-style chairs spill onto the cobbles of the laneway, tightly packed around round marble-topped tables and serving superb wines by the glass, boutique beers and satisfying nibbles and small plates like char-grilled chorizo, fried and spiced chick peas, oysters, cured meats and anchovies with toasted sourdough.

A perfect ending to a laneway adventure!

Ash Street Cellar at Ivy, street level, 330 George St, Sydney, NSW, (02) 9240 3000,