For nearly 50 years Paddington Markets have been the beating heart of Paddington’s progressive, creative and inclusive community. Despite the last two years being possibly the most difficult in their history, this time has been an opportunity to refocus and return the markets to their original ideal, reimagined for today’s local community.
Starting in 1973, Paddington Markets were the brainchild of the late Reverend Peter Holden, a visionary young minister who had just returned to Sydney after helping to organise the legendary Woodstock music festival. For him, the markets were a way to contribute to the creativity Paddington had on offer as it developed a new bohemian identity from the recent migration of artists to the area.
Over the years the markets have been a launching point for many local artists, who have gone on to attain international repute. This extraordinary legacy was acknowledged by the 2020 installation of a mural on the side of the church hall by local artist Stephen Ormandy.
The pandemic has been difficult for the Paddington Markets, but the Paddington Uniting Church community has used this period as turning point. While navigating the complexities of ensuring the markets are safe, we have also worked hard to refocus the markets on what is most important – supporting and enhancing opportunity for the local community.
In addition to the local designers, artists and vintage stalls who have played such an important role in the markets over the years, a wide variety of new and emerging creative artists are being strongly encouraged to share their art through the markets.
The brand-new growers market allows locals to source their weekly fresh food in the open air. It includes highest-quality seasonal fruit and vegetables, as well as artisan gourmet produce, sustainably sourced meat and seafood, fresh flowers and plants.
The vision for Paddington Markets in 2022 is that it becomes a weekly destination for all, not only to shop, but also to meet friends, to learn, to create and ultimately to be challenged to be an active part of the community and world we share. This year will see a range of new initiatives including the Paddington Soapbox – an opportunity for young and emerging creatives to play music, read poetry and perform; vinyl record fairs; vintage and fair trade pop-up events; and a range of social justice showcases.
Paddington Markets run from 10am-4pm every Saturday at 395 Oxford Street Paddington. They are part of the mission and ministry of Paddington Uniting Church.
The Rev. Danielle Hemsworth-Smith is the minister at Paddington Uniting Church.