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Bringing the outside in: Cockatoo Island, Sydney

Outside In_Cockatoo Island

. For those of you who don’t know, I am originally from Sydney, Australia. The land of blue skies, soaring temperatures, good coffee and friendly people. I’ve been living here in London for almost 5 years now and every time I go home I remember how infinite the sky seems over there. So often you wake up to cloudless skies and it just appears to goes on for ever.

For me, one of the most interesting places in Sydney is Cockatoo Island. It is 44 acres of land in Sydney Harbour that has been divided into sections over the years for various uses.

There is a possibility that it was once a fishing base for Aboriginals, then in the early 1800’s it became a prison for re-offending convicts. It was in the late 1800’s that it was turned into an industrial reform school for wayward girls and then finally after being leased to an engineering company for a number of decades, it was given a UNESCO world heritage listing in 2010.

It was named in Australia as one of “the best surviving examples of large-scale convict transportation and the colonial expansion of European powers through the presence and labour of convicts”, and now hosts cultural events including the Sydney Biennale, Sydney writers festival and the Cockatoo island festival, to name a few.

For those of you who don’t believe in ghosts- you are more than welcome to hire one of the many tents on the island and stay the night! If your budget allows, then you could opt to stay in one of the Heritage houses on the island.

Last year the brilliant Sydney writer Yvette Poshoglian published a young-adult novel called ‘Escape from Cockatoo Island’ and tells the story of Olivia Markham, a young girl who is faced with living on Cockatoo island while she attends the infamous Biloela Industrial School for girls. It’s well worth the read to get an insight into what life might have been like living in a reform school in 1879.

If you fancy a bit of Cockatoo Island in your place, check out the items above!

Lucy x

1. Star Pillow, Carley Kahn | 2. Wire balloon cage, Urban Cottage Industries | 3. Outdoor oven, Dick van Hoff for Weltevree at Big Fire | 4. Grönskan potted plants, Ikea | 5. Patina (ageing with beauty) wallpaper, Mr Perswall.


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