New South Wales


Wollongong’s geographic proximity to the southern sprawl of Sydney, accessible transport and  cultural diversity have been an attractor for many inward bound creative migrants, helping it diversify away from its industrial past. Wollongong City Council, understanding the importance of the creative industries, has been very proactive in ensuring that the heart of the city has been well and truly activated by sectors of these industries, while the University of Wollongong and its Innovation Campus have also proved a boon to both specialist and embedded creatives. Wollongong maintains a balance between traditional creatives and newer tech-oriented operatives, most with local, national and international suppliers and clients.

Wollongong Report



West Albury Community Centre
Albury-Wodonga, situated in Wiradjuri country, sits astride the Murray River and has benefitted in many ways from its almost equidistance from Sydney and Melbourne. It has found strength in the earlier push for decentralisation begun in early 1970s. A number of State and Federal agencies have ensured middle class professionals now call this region home. Light industry is a feature of Wodonga while Albury maintains the traditions and culture of its former life as part of the agricultural squattocracy. Both Local Councils are keen to work cooperatively to ensure the region is an attractive place to live signing an historical partnership agreement. The region’s road, rail, increasing air links and now digital infrastructure, keep it closely connected to events elsewhere. At the same time its distance from the metropolitan centres has meant it has had to ensure that its creative and cultural life has been taken into its own hands. The establishment of the sophisticated Murray Art Museum Albury (MAMA) as well as the presence of the LibraryMuseum, Hothouse Theatre, Fruit Fly Circus, The Cube, Arts Space and the development of Gateway Island on the Murray River as a cultural hub, as well as the high profile activities of its energetic, entrepreneurial and internationally savvy locals running many small businesses, events and festivals, ensures Albury Wodonga has a creative heart to add to its rural and regional activities.

Albury-Wodonga Report


Coffs Harbour

Coffs Harbour Jetty
Coffs Harbour on the north coast of NSW is a highway city sandwiched between the Great Dividing Range and the Pacific Ocean. For thousands of years it was the traditional land of the numerous Gumbaynggirr peoples. Tourism now appears to be the major industry, supplanting agriculture and timber getting, while a large service sector has grown up around a sizable retirement community. It is major holiday destination. Located further away from the coast in the midst of a dairy farming community, Bellingen has become a centre of alternative culture which relies heavily on a variety of festivals activated by energetic tree changers and numerous professionals who have relocated from Sydney. Both communities rely on the visitor economy and there have been considerable changes to how local government in this region approach strategic planning for arts and culture. The newly built Coffs Harbour Education Campus (CHEC) is an experiment in encouraging cross pollination between innovative businesses and education and incorporates TAFE NSW, Coffs Harbour Senior College and Southern Cross University as well as the Coffs Harbour Technology Park and Coffs Harbour Innovation Centre all on one site. The 250 seat Jetty Memorial Theatre is the main theatre in Coffs Harbour for local and touring productions while local halls and converted theatres are the mainstay of smaller communities in the region. As peak body Arts Mid North Coast reports, there is a good record of successful arts related events which range across all genres of music, art, sculpture, Aboriginal culture, street art, literature and even busking and opera. These are mainly managed by passionate local volunteers.

Coffs Harbour Report



Sydney Street, Marrickville
Marrickville is located in the western heart of inner-city Sydney and is the beneficiary of the centrifugal process that has forced many creatives out of the inner city itself and further out into more affordable suburbs. This locality is built on the lands of the Eora nation. It is one of the most culturally diverse communities in the country but is slowly being gentrified creating tensions between its light industrial heart, its creative industry community and inner city developers. SME’s, co-working spaces and live music venues, are all in jeopardy as they occupy light-industrial warehouses which either have been re-zoned or are under threat of re-zoning. Its location underneath the flight path of major air traffic may indeed be a saving factor in its preservation as the creative industries operate across all major sectors here and the air traffic noise keeps land prices down. Despite these pressures the creative industries in Marrickville have experienced substantial growth since 2011, with the current CI intensity sitting at 9.2%. This is the only region in this study where the cultural production sector holds more than half the employment for specialists and support workers, when compared to creative services.

Marrickville Report


New South Wales Creative Hotspots Project Webinar

Videos of findings of the Creative Hotspots project presented to research partners and stakeholders on 10 May 2021.

National overview
Part 1

Part 2

NSW overview
Part 1

Part 2