The Psychedelic Era: What Sydney looked like in the 1960s

Sydney, Australia, in the 1960s, was a time of significant change and growth for the city. After World War II, the city underwent a period of modernization, with many new buildings and infrastructure projects being constructed. The population of Sydney also grew rapidly, as did the number of immigrants from around the world. This period of growth and development was reflected in the changing cityscape, with new shopping centers, apartment buildings, and office towers being built in the inner-city areas.

At the same time, the 1960s were also a period of social and cultural change. The decade’s youth culture was marked by the rise of rock and roll music, the popularity of hippie fashion, and the growing influence of the counterculture movement. This was reflected in the city’s vibrant nightlife, with popular music venues such as the El Rocco and the Cell Block offering a range of musical styles, including rock and roll, jazz, and rhythm and blues.

The 1960s also saw the rise of surf culture in Sydney as the sport of surfing became increasingly popular. Beaches such as Bondi and Manly became hotspots for surfers, with surf shops and surf schools popping up to cater to the growing demand. This was a time of great creativity and experimentation, with new surfboard designs and techniques being developed that would change the sport forever.

Despite the many changes and challenges of the 1960s, Sydney remained a vibrant and bustling city with a thriving arts and cultural scene. The decade saw the emergence of new art movements, such as Pop Art and Minimalism, and the development of new forms of media, such as television and film. This was a time of great creativity, with many artists, musicians, and filmmakers pushing the boundaries of their respective fields.

#1 The Baragoola and the Manly hydrofoil Fairlight embarking at Circular Quay, Sydney, 1968

#2 A favourite lunchtime spot for office workers at Australia Square, Sydney, 1968

#13 Fitzroy Gardens by the Alamein Fountain, Kings Cross, Sydney, 1968

#24 Soviet Whaling ship at Circular Quay, Sydney, 1968

#28 Sydney’s first American style shopping mall, Roselands, 1968

#29 Sydney’s first American style shopping mall, Roselands, 1968

#30 The fountain in the Village Centre, Kings Cross, Sydney, 1968

#31 The Opera House under construction viewed from the Botanical Gardens, Sydney, 1968

#33 Alamein Fountain, Kings Cross, Sydney, circa 1969

#36 Drive-thru, Paramatta Road, Petersham, Sydney, 1969

#38 George Street looking south from outside what is now the Museum for Contemporary Arts, Sydney, 1969

#39 Hotel Metropole, Sydney, 1969. Young, Philip and Bent Streets. Now demolished

#48 The ferry Lady Ferguson and the Canberra at Circular Quay, Sydney, 1969

#49 The harbour ferries Kooleen and Kameruka in the foreground with an unknown ocean liner, probably the P&O Canberra, and the harbour bridge behind, Circular Quay, Sydney, 1969

#81 Gold Fields House and Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia, 1968.

#86 View from Sydney Harbour Bridge of the Circular Quay wharves and Overseas Passenger Terminal underneath the recently completed AMP Building office block in downtown Sydney, 1960s

#87 Visitors sunbathe under umbrellas on the sandy beach facing the Pacific Ocean in the suburb of Manly in northern Sydney, 1965

#88 Fans await the arrival of the Rolling Stones at Mascot Airport, Sydney, January 21 1965.

#89 The Rolling Stones arrive at Mascot Airport for their 1965 Australian tour, January 21 1965.

#90 Construction of the shell-shaped roof of the new opera house in Sydney harbour, 1963

#91 The Sydney Harbour Bridge in Sydney, Australia, 1965.

#92 St Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia, seen from Hyde Park, 1965.

#93 Students relax on grass lawns in front of the Main Campus Building of the University of Sydney in the Camperdown district of Sydney in New South Wales, 1965

#95 A ferry docked at the Circular Quay Railway Station passenger terminal underneath the AMP Building office block in downtown Sydney, 1963

#96 View from the top of Sydney Harbour Bridge of ships moored at wharves alongside Hickson Road and Walsh Bay in the Dawes Point district of the city of Sydney, 1963

#97 Sydney Harbour Bridge of the Circular Quay wharves and Overseas Passenger Terminal overlooked by the recently completed AMP Building office block in downtown Sydney, 1963

#98 The AMP Building under construction at Circular Quay, Sydney, 1960

#99 New housing commission flats are under construction in Surry Hills, Sydney, 1960

#100 The Young Memorial in King’s Square, Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada, with the tourist bureau (later the Old No.2 Engine House Museum) on Sydney Street in the background right, 1960.

#102 Hillman Hunter, P.Brown on 1968 London to Sydney rally.

#103 A view looking west down King Street, Sydney, 1964

#104 Harbour Bridge and Cityscape, Sydney, Australia, 1960’s

#105 Float for My Fair Lady in annual Waratah Festival parade, spring 1960, Macquarie Street, Sydney, 1960s

#106 Orient Line passenger ship about to set sail and leave the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay, Sydney Harbour, 1960s

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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