Bar Cafe. Potts Point, Sydney, Australia
Cross is an inner-city locality of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is located
approximately 2 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district. The area
is encompassed within the suburbs of Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay, which have
both been administered by the City of Sydney since March, 2004.
area is infamous in Australia as being a "red-light" district, with
numerous strip clubs and "girlie" bars along Darlinghurst Road, although
many now accuse the City Council of seeking to gentrify the area, and recent years
have seen changing demographics. It is also known for its Neon signs and advertising
posters, the most famous being the iconic Coca-Cola sign. It is often referred
to by Sydneysiders by the affectionate colloquialism "the Cross".
locality is also the most densely populated place in Australia with a population
of around 20,000 people in a 1.4 square kilometre area. Kings Cross consists chiefly
of a retail and entertainment precinct extending approximately 100 metres along
both sides of Darlinghurst Road.
During the early 19th century the Kings Cross-Potts Point area
was one of Sydney's most prestigious suburbs, being far enough to escape the noise
and smell of the central city but close enough for easy travel. An additional
attraction was the commanding harbour views to the east and north and (from some
points) views to the west as far as the Blue Mountains.
the early 1800s the Governor of NSW granted several large estates to favoured
subordinates and leading businessmen. They built a series of grandiose mansions
with sprawling gardens of up to ten acres (40,000 m²). The remnants of these
gardens helped give the area of its leafy character, and many of the mansions
are commemorated in street names, such as Kellett Street.
of the grand estates were ultimately subdivided with all but a handful of the
great houses demolished. One of the surviving estates is Elizabeth Bay House,
a quintessential example of Australian colonial architecture.
as Queen's Cross until the early 20th century, it was renamed King's Cross after
Edward VII of the United Kingdom. The "cross" is a reference to the
major intersection formed by William Street and Darlinghurst Road, which forms
the locality's southernmost limit.
Kings Cross district was Sydney's bohemian heartland from the early decades of
the 20th Century. From the 1960s onwards it also came to serve as both the city's
main tourist accommodation and entertainment mecca, as well as its red light district.
It thereby achieved a high level of notoriety out of all proportion to its limited
area boomed during the late 1960s, with hundreds of American servicemen on R &
R leave flocking to the area each week in search of entertainment. Organised crime
and police corruption was well entrenched in the areaone of Sydney's most
notorious illegal casinos operated with impunity for many years, although it was
known to all and located only yards from Darlinghurst police station. Much of
this activity can be related with Abe Saffron, commonly known as Mr Sin or "the
boss of the Cross". This inevitably led to a rise in crime, vice and corruption,
and a massive increase in the influx and use of heroin, much of which was initially
brought in by American servicemen in the pay of drug rings.
the late 1970s and 80s, drug-related crime was one of the area's main social problems,
leading to the controversial establishment of Australia's first legal drug injecting
room (where users of illegal drugs can inject themselves in clean conditions without
harassment) at a shopfront site near Kings Cross railway station in May, 2001.
As an example of harm reduction; the injecting room is credited with saving the
lives of some injecting drug users who have overdosed at the facility since its
the turn of the century Kings Cross has witnessed a large number of real estate
developmentsboth refurbishments of historic apartment buildings, and the
construction of new ones. This has resulted in demographic changes as affluent
professionals are increasingly residing in the area and are in turn significantly
altering the character of the area.
local business action group is the Kings Cross Partnership and the major annual
event each autumn is the Kings Cross Food and Wine Festival. (Credit:
activities at Kings Cross, by Michael West - 1st December 2004
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