National Art School

Surry Hills & Darlinghurst

Until 1912 these sandstone buildings were Darlinghurst Gaol: writer Henry Lawson was repeatedly incarcerated here for debt (he called the place ‘Starvinghurst’). If today’s art students think they’ve got it tough, they should spare a thought for the 732 prisoners crammed in here, or the 76 who were hanged. The central circular building was the chapel. A tiny former morgue near the Burton St exit has creepy skull-and-crossbone carvings. There’s also a cafe and an excellent on-site gallery showcasing students’ work.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Surry Hills & Darlinghurst attractions

1. Green Park


Once the residence of Alexander Green, hangman of Darlinghurst Gaol, Green Park is a cheery space during the day, but as the many syringe-disposal bins…

2. Taylor Square


You know it’s been a rough night if you wake up in Taylor Sq – a vaguely defined paved area straddling the gay hub of Oxford St. The rainbow flag flies…

3. Sydney Jewish Museum


One of Sydney's best museums revolves around a detailed and expertly curated exhibition on the Holocaust, with sobering personal testimonies and moving…

4. Black Eye Gallery

0.11 MILES

This attractive rectangular space is run by a photographer and dedicated to contemporary camerawork. It's well worth a look; there have been some really…

5. APY Gallery

0.14 MILES

Owned and governed by Anangu elders of the APY Art Centre Collective, this gallery is a fantastic place to check out the cutting edge of contemporary…

6. Rainbow Crossing

0.14 MILES

Unveiled just in time to celebrate 2019's Mardi Gras, Sydney’s proud arching rainbow crossing is the result of a six-year global campaign to reinstate the…

7. Australian Centre for Photography

0.22 MILES

The nonprofit ACP exhibits photographic gems from renowned Sydney and international photographers. It’s particularly passionate about photomedia, video…

8. St John’s Church

0.23 MILES

This lovely neo-Gothic sandstone church (1858) makes for a hushed escape from the urban jangle of Darlinghurst Rd. There's some fine stained glass; the…