Chinatown Thematic History

Thematic History

City of Sydney Council

Haymarket, NSW
Gadigal Country

The City of Sydney Council engaged GML to prepare a thematic history of the area in central Sydney known as Chinatown.

Chinatown is located in Haymarket and is centred around Dixon Street and extends out towards Sussex, Hay, Harbour and Liverpool Streets. Chinatown is a place of significant cultural heritage and history.

The key objectives of the study were to provide a platform for future heritage management and planning in Chinatown by providing a thematic history of Chinatown and identifying the historic themes and heritage significance of the Chinatown precinct as well as its significant characteristics and places.

GML undertook a review of prior heritage studies and primary documentary resources and research collections as well as extensive consultation with representatives from important local Chinese Australian history and cultural organisations and community members.

The thematic history encompasses the following four themes: Evolving Chinatown; Living and working in Chinatown; Belief, cultural and community; and Change and renewal in Chinatown.

The thematic history will inform Council’s work to assist the community and businesses in reinvigorating Chinatown and helps link Chinatown’s history with its important places to guide Council’s actions in the area including historical interpretation, urban character controls, heritage conservation and public domain design.

Modern China Cafe (Mr Pang), 651 George Street. Photo: Sam Hood. Courtesy State Library of New South Wales

Opening of Dixon Street pedestrian mall, Chinatown Haymarket, 1980. Photo: City of Sydney