Friday, June 21, 2024

Ghosts of Hornsby past spirit of new community space

Visitors to Hornsby’s west side may have noticed an interesting new structure which has popped up on Coronation Street.

Commissioned by Hornsby Shire Council, the ‘ghost building’ is a nod to the Judge’s Bakery which once stood on the site and is a major feature of a new ‘micro plaza’ bringing vitality to Hornsby’s west side.

Funded by the NSW Government ‘Your High Street’ grant program, the Coronation StrEAT! project was officially opened by Hornsby Shire Mayor, Philip Ruddock on Friday.

It sees a portion of a tired car park reborn as a new community space to activate the area, supporting local businesses and community interaction.

At the south end of the car park, the new ghost building is a permanent fixture, providing an attractive new public space for people to meet, linger and enjoy something tasty from a local eatery. The northern end of the car park features new catenary lighting, surrounded by bushland themed murals and new landscaping.

Built to 1:1 scale of the former Judge’s Bakery, the ghost building pays homage to Hornsby’s rich (and delicious) history. Established as a bakery in 1886 by C.B. Smith, the former building remained a bakery for over 70 years and was part of the earliest shopping precinct in Hornsby.

Hornsby Shire Council commissioned a public art piece by Sydney muralist Fintan Magee installed on the side of the ghost building, inspired by a newspaper article about the bakery seeking women to work at the business during wartime. This article is referenced in a nearby mural by Hugues Sineux in Beattie Lane which features a patchwork of images of historic photographs and references of the neighbourhood from the 20th century.

Rowena Bryce, descendant of the Judge family who ran the bakery, expressed her pride in having her family’s history recognised in this way.

“We are all so proud of our family heritage. My great grandparents, as with many others from that era, had such courage and determination in establishing bakeries at all of the places they lived in. We are so proud of the fondness with which they are remembered in the stories of our local community… Thank you so much to the Hornsby Council for acknowledging our family in this way,” said Rowena.

A truly unique place, making the installation a focal point of a public art precinct, the ghost building not only represents a significant part of Hornsby’s cultural past, it has also been designed and built around an established tree, the Council said in a statement.

While this has certainly been a technical challenge, the community will be rewarded by additional shade and a continued connection with nature, it said.

The ghost building and micro plaza has a variety of seating options, as well as facilities for cyclists. The flexible design and supporting infrastructure of the adjoining carpark provides opportunities for pop up day or night celebrations, food trucks, outdoor dining, farmers markets, live music and other activities to attract people back to the west side precinct.

Hornsby Shire Mayor, Philip Ruddock said he is excited about what the future holds for the area.

“I’m delighted to see this place – once for cars, transformed into a unique place for people. This exciting new community space in Hornsby CBD will activate and enliven the area, provide greater options for people to enjoy our public spaces and support our local businesses. We thank the NSW Government for its support for this important project,” Mayor Ruddock said.

For further information visit hornsby.nsw.gov.au/coronation-streat.

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