It’s been about 9 months since we arrived in Wollongong, and although it was a familiar place, it feels like only recently that I have been getting a better feel for what’s going on around the city.
On the surface Wollongong is a city in some trouble. Recent layoffs at the steelworks have people forecasting the decline and death of the area. In some places you can already see some of that impact as the demand for manufacturing work is decreasing. Empty shops can be found all the way along Crown St, and travelling to somewhere like Port Kembla feels a little like a visiting a ghost town.
But just recently I have been picking up on little bits of activity around the city. Signs that underneath the exterior, there are interesting things going on. My hope is that these continue to grow and that Wollongong is reinvented as a creative, and technologically advanced city – not a city scarred by the loss of old industry.
I thought it worth sharing a few of the interesting things I’ve found around the place…
Coffee mornings is a once a month get together of creative and social media types in Wollongong. It’s been great to meet new people, have a good old chat, and enjoy the fabulous coffee from Swell. We’ve even decided amongst ourselves to organise…
BarCamps are conferences run by the people, for the people. Anyone can turn up and present on whatever they would like.
We’re hoping to get one up and running for a little later in the year.
These are 2 great initiatives stated by local designer/artist Dioni Pinilla. Gong101 is an artistic collective for creative types/artists in the Wollongong area to pool their resources and share their talents. Tied to that is a new shop/gallery GoodJelly which is in part sponsored by Wollongong Council in order for members of Gong101 and other creative talents to show their wares.
This is a great little space which doubles as a little gallery and a design book/paraphernalia shop. Hidden away in a great little building off the mall there is always something great to look at in here.
Need a haircut AND craving a great coffee? Barberista is hidden away in an old building off a little alleyway, but as soon as you enter you feel instantly at home. A great selection of retro furniture and wall decorations lend a really laid back atmosphere. Great spot for a quiet coffee, and they do a GREAT job of cutting hair.
It’s been really great discovering these sorts of places and events that fly a little under the radar. There’s certainly a lot more going on in Wollongong than meets the eye.
What great little secrets have you found in Wollongong? or in your local area?