2040 Lilyfield

Lilyfield, like so many of Sydney’s inner suburbs, is a┬ásmall village in a city of villages. This one has one foot in both the Sydney that was & the Sydney that is. It sometimes has too much traffic, occasionally planes overhead, yet sometimes it’s surprisingly quiet. It has a connection to the city through road, rail and water, but also through history having been home to dock workers & those who worked at the nearby power station.

2040 is also home to Callan Park, Sydney’s former hospital for the mentally ill. It sits on 60 hectares alongside Iron Cove in Sydney’s inner western suburbs. Once home to dock workers & a heartland of the labour movement the area has seen the now familiar pattern of gentrification of inner city areas around the world take hold. Just as the working classes have been shunted into the outer ring of this city, the facilities here for the ill have been shipped out as well. The land is no doubt in the gunsights of developers across this city but the conditions attached to the site allow only for educational & health uses, so it remains partially in the hands of a university, while the balance has sat dormant for nearly two decades.

Paint has peeled, curtains have faded, wood veneer has splintered; weather, sunlight, time itself, they’ve combined to begin the slow process of turning the empty buildings into ruins. In the middle of a city hell bent on renovating every inch of itself lies a park that is constitutionally impervious. It might just be my opinion, but I hope it stays as it is for a little while longer, watching something so firmly rooted in the past age reminds me keenly that I’m part of something that is always passing, and like everyone and everything will always come up short in the battle against time.