Paddington Markets to celebrate 50 years
Paddington Markets began in 1973 as the brainchild of the late Rev. Peter Holden. Rev. Holden is considered by many to be a visionary young minister who had just returned to Sydney after helping to organise the legendary Woodstock music festival.
At that time, the church community saw the markets as a way to encourage the creativity Paddington had on offer as it developed a new bohemian new identity following the recent migration of artists to the area.
Rev. Danielle Hemsworth Smith is Paddington Uniting Church’s Minister. She told Insights the church had plans for a “big celebration” towards the end of 2023, and that they wanted the community’s ideas for what this could include.
According to Rev. Hemsworth Smith, Paddington Markets aims to be to provide space for creativity and positive community transformation in the local community. It provides a place of trade for artisans and small businesses.
“Because the purpose of the markets has not changed, we would like to think our identity has not changed too much- we continue to be an inclusive and creative place of welcome and community transformation,” Rev. Hemsworth-Smith said.
“We are super proud of our history as an advocate and voice for many people who live on the margins of society, in particular the LGBTIA+ community. However across the years, changes in the local community and our global context does mean that some change has been inevitable. Most recently, the pandemic has seen our us re-orient our focus more intentionally to the local community.”
“We have introduced a farmers markets aspect to the markets and are currently looking at ways we can include the large number of young families in the local area. Two emerging ways that we are doing this are recently established monthly craft activities for kids in the market, and the ‘Paddington Soapbox,’ a ‘busking’ style initiative, which aims to encourage encourage emerging musicians, poets and performers of all ages, including children, to tell their stories through music, song, and dance.”
While the markets still attract a lot of foot traffic, Rev. Hemsworth-Smith said they have yet to return to pre-COVID levels due to lower numbers of tourism.
“Things are slowly improving and we hope that our foot traffic will be stronger than ever soon,” she said.
In a time when much shopping has moved online, Rev. Hemsworth-Smith thinks the markets offer something unique.
“Every week is different at the market. Many of our stallholders are regulars, but what they offer always changes, and each week we always have many new stalls holders with different products,” she said.
“Some come to spend quiet time with God during our Saturday Holy communion service– recentering themselves before returning into the bustle of the markets outside and the busyness of their lives.”
“Many people come specifically for our ‘pop’ up events including our vinyl record fair, Fair Trade Fair, vintage fairs and plant fairs (among others).”
In the lead up to Paddington Markets’ 50th anniversary, Rev. Hemsworth-Smith is calling on people who have shopped at the markets before to participate in a community survey.
“If you are a stallholder, have visited our market, have been part of our team, or have been involved with the Paddington Uniting church we want to hear from you,” she said.
“It is our hope that in celebrating our incredible past we will be able to ensure that Paddington Markets continues to be to provide space for creativity and positive community transformation in the local community for the next 50 years and beyond.”
The survey is available here.
For more information, contact the Paddington Markets and Paddington Uniting Church team on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 02 9331 1331.