Suburb Showcase: Newtown

February 25th, 2021 - by Brad Gillespie

This hustling, bustling, colourful, friendly suburb is home to students, families, singles and professionals alike, comprising a glorious microcosm of Sydney’s diversity.

The Location

Newtown lies at the heart of Sydney’s inner west, just four kilometres from the CBD and surrounded by suburbs such as Enmore, Camperdown, Marrickville, Erskineville, Glebe and Redfern, all of which, by in large, share its cosmopolitan, free-spirited vibe.

The heart of the suburb is its main street, King Street, which has long been a commercial and entertainment hub teeming with shops, pubs, bars and eateries galore. Together with Enmore Road, which branches off King Street near Newtown Station, the strip runs more than nine kilometres and includes over 600 shopfronts, making it the longest commercial precinct from the late Victorian and Federation period in Australia.

Newtown has a long, proud countercultural history and, while it may be more upscale today, it retains its urban vibe and progressive bent – since 2015 the state member for Newtown has been Greens MP, Jenny Leong.

Many artists and musicians call Newtown home and, despite its size, it has a village vibe where long-term residents know one another. It’s also famous for being proudly LGBTQI-friendly.

Most of all, Newtown is all about nightlife. Here, you can find endless eateries, iconic pubs, hipster small bars, and a thriving live music scene.

Property market update: Newtown real estate

Newtown’s property market has gone from strength to strength. There’s a good diversity of houses here, from its workers’ cottages and Federation-era terraces to large Victorian mansions, converted warehouses and modern high-rise apartments. According to realestate.com.au, median property prices over the last year have ranged from $1,400,000 for houses to $788,500 for units.

Newtown’s proximity to Sydney University means it is popular with students, although rising rents have edged many out as residents. It’s also super close to RPA Hospital, which is a large employer and contributes to rental demand. The suburb represents good value for investors with units renting for $450 per week on average, with a rental yield of 3.0%. Based on five years of sales, Newtown has seen a compound growth rate of 2.9% for houses and 4.4% for units.

Five fascinating facts about Newtown

How it got its name

Newtown was a residential and farming area in the early 19th century. In 1832 a couple opened a grocery store near to where Newtown Station is today. They placed a sign on their store reading “New Town Stores”. The name New Town was adopted and, over time, became Newtown.

It’s a street art hub

A lot of the best street art in the inner west can be found in Newtown. There’s so much to see here you could plan a whole day around it, with lots of stops at the many local cafes and pubs to refresh of course. We recommend dropping into the legendary Black Star Pastry to try its world-famous Strawberry-Watermelon Cake and a great cup of espresso. Check out the Newtown Graffiti map and plan a self-guided tour. There’s some truly amazing local artists to encounter, including the famous UK-born but now Sydney-based Steven Nuttall, known as ‘Ox King’, whose arresting murals grace many streets in the suburb.

Its terrace houses were once cheap accommodation

Today, Newtown’s charming terrace houses are much prized and fetch high sales prices, most having been extensively renovated over the years. However, from the late 1800s, many “two up two down” small terraces – typically with rear kitchen, adjoining walls one brick thick and a continuous shared roof space – were cheap homes for the working classes that manned nearby warehouses, brickyards and the Eveleigh Railway Workshops. In later years, larger, more stylish terraces were built, along with Victorian mansions on large estates.

You can eat your way around the world

Newtown abounds in delicious food from all corners of the globe, whether you’re seeking a Thali for less than $10 or an upscale meal at hip restaurants such as Bloodwood, Hartsyard or the Continental Deli Bar Bistro.

Eat delicious fresh food inspired by the street food of Cairo at Cairo Takeaway, grab a late-night feed at Pakistani-Indian institution Faheem’s Fast Food, check out the new digs of the Maltese Pastizzi Café on the northern end of King Street, or enjoy any one of the seemingly endless Thai restaurants in and around King Street, with Thai Pothong a suburb staple.

Reflective of Newtown’s eco-friendly vibe, the area is home to a high proportion of the inner city and inner west’s best vegetarian and vegan eateries. Among them, vegan ramen at Lonely Mouth, vegan pizza at Gigi Pizzeria, Golden Lotus’ vegan Vietnamese. Or drop into Suzy Spoon’s Vegetarian Butcher to get all the fixings for your next veggie/vegan barbecue. There are also great late-night eateries for when you’ve got those 2 am munchies after a night on the tiles at Newtown’s many iconic pubs.

It’s been a star of both the big and small screen

Is it any wonder that colourful Newtown has now been the backdrop for television shows, films and music videos? To name just a few: Aussie TV drama You Can't See Round Corners featured a draft dodger hiding out in Newtown in the late 1960s. In the 1980s, the Spanish Mission-style service station on King Street was used as a location for scenes in the film adaptation of Peter Carey’s novel Bliss. The ABC television drama Love is a Four-Letter Word, starring Peter Fenton, included live bands in each episode, many of which were filmed at Newtown’s Courthouse Hotel (“the Courtie” to locals). Then, of course, there were the scenes from Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, which was shot in the Camperdown Cemetery.

If you’re interested in making this vibrant neighbourhood your home, contact us today.

Photo credits: Wikipedia