Sydney is the New York of Australia – a beautiful, fast paced concrete jungle. But hidden in the cracks, in a secret laneway of the surrounding high rises, is one of the city’s greatest little gems.
Suspended from the sky in Angel Place are 120 birdcages. The installation by artist Michael Hill was originally part of the 2009 temporary laneway art project but became popular with both tourists and locals so was made permanent in 2011.
Forgotten Songs commemorates the songs of fifty birds once heard in central Sydney, before they were gradually forced out by development.
The laneway is alive. During the daytime you can hear the calls of the White-eared Honeyeater, Pallid Cuckoo, Spotted Pardalote, Leaden Flycatcher and Red-browed Finch. As it shifts into night, their calls disappear with the sun and the calls of the nocturnal birds such as the Australian Owlet-nightjar, Powerful Owl, Southern Boobook, Barn Owl, Tawny Frogmouth and White-throated Nightjar take you into the evening.
Although it is sad these birds have been driven out of the area, the installation is a great way to pay tribute to them. So next time you are on George Street, veer of the beaten track and escape briefly from the hustle and bustle. Switch off from technology, and from life, and just listen.