Kings Cross, New South Wales

Kings Cross, New South Wales

Infobox Australian Place | type = locality
name = Kings Cross
city = Sydney
state = nsw

| caption = El Alamein Fountain
lga =City of Sydney
near-nw = Potts Point
near-n = Potts Point
near-ne = Elizabeth Bay
near-w = Woolloomooloo
near-e = Rushcutters Bay
near-sw = Darlinghurst
near-s = Darlinghurst
near-se = Darlinghurst
dist1 = 2
dir1 = east
location1= Sydney CBD

Kings 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, in the local government area of the City of Sydney. It is bounded by the suburbs of Potts Point, Elizabeth Bay and Darlinghurst. [Gregory's Sydney Street Directory, Gregory's Publishing Company, 2007] Kings Cross is colloquially known as "The Cross".

The area is known as Sydney's red-light district. Once home to musical halls and grand theatres, it was rapidly transformed after World War II by the influx of troops returning and visiting from the nearby Garden Island naval base. Today, it is still dominated by bars, restaurants, nightclubs, strip clubs and adult bookstores.

Kings Cross is undergoing gentrification with the revitalisation of William Street and the redevelopment of apartment buildings. [ [ Kings Cross Centre | Across the road from the Kings Cross Railway Station ] ]


The intersection of William Street, Darlinghurst Road and Victoria Street at the locality's southernmost limit was named Queens Cross to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee in 1897. Confusion with Queens Square in King Street in the city prompted its renaming as Kings Cross, after King Edward VII, in 1905.

Indigenous inhabitants

The traditional owners of the land were the Cadigal clan of the Eora people, who lived in the area for many thousands of years. After European settlement in 1788, the number of indigenous people was decimated by a smallpox outbreak in 1791 and the destruction of traditional food sources on the land and in the water.

European settlement

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.

In 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 (4 ha). The remnants of these gardens helped give the area its leafy character, and many of the mansions are commemorated in street names, such as Kellett Street.

Most 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.

Bohemian district

The Kings Cross district was Sydney's bohemian heartland from the early decades of the 20th century.From the 1960s onwards Kings Cross 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 geographical extent.

The 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 area—one 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.Fact|date=January 2007

From the late 1960s, drug-related crime was one of the area's main social problems, leading to the controversial establishment of Australia's first Medically Supervised Injecting Centre (where users of illegal drugs can inject themselves in clean conditions) at a shopfront site near Kings Cross railway station in May, 2001. An example of harm reduction, the injecting room is credited with reducing the occurrence of fatal overdoses in the injecting drug user community, as well as reducing the number of needles left in the street.cite paper | author = NCHECR | title = Sydney Medically Supervised Injecting Centre Evaluation Report No. 4: Evaluation of service operation and overdose-related events | publisher = National Centre in HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW | date = 2007 | url =$file/EvalRep4SMSIC.pdf | format = PDF | accessdate = 2007-12-23 "The reduction in opioid-related overdoses was much more substantial in the immediate vicinity of the MSIC than in other neighbouring areas. ... Counts of discarded needles and syringes collected locally indicated a decrease of around 50% following the establishment of the service."]

Since the turn of the century Kings Cross has witnessed a large number of real estate developments, both 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.Fact|date=December 2007


* The El Alamein Fountain is at the entrance to the Fitzroy Gardens on the corner of Darlingurst Road and Macleay Street was commissioned as a memorial to soldiers who died in 1942 during World War II in two battles at El Alamein, Egypt. It was designed in 1961 by the New Zealand-born architect Robert Woodward. Its dandelion design, which has since been copied for fountains around the world, was Woodward’s original design.
* The Coca-Cola sign.
* The Fire Station at the intersection of Darlinghurst Road and Victoria Street was designed by the Government Architect, Walter Liberty Vernon, and built from 1910-12. It is an example of the Federation Free Style and is now listed on the Register of the National Estate. [The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981]
* Kings Cross railway station is an underground railway station on the Eastern Suburbs Line of the CityRail network.


Events and celebrations

The Kings Cross Food and Wine Festival is a major local annual event held in autumn by the Kings Cross Partnership, a business action group.

Popular culture

Kings Cross has made several appearances in popular Australian culture including Paul Kelly's song "From St Kilda To King's Cross" from the Album "Post".


The area is the most densely populated in Australia, with almost 20,000 people living within a 1.4 km² (0.55 mi²) area.Cite news |url= |title=At the crossroads |first=Tim |last=Dick |publisher=The Sydney Morning Herald |date=2004-09-18 |accessdate=2007-03-07] The demographics have changed in recent yearsFact|date=December 2007.

Notes and references

External links

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