The Writers Walk is easy to miss on the way to the famous opera house. We walked from the train station past the ferry jetties. In the bright sun, with the bustle and noise and color of Circular Quay all around, it was hard to remember to look down. My daughter finally spotted the first plaque, and then we retraced our steps to find the rest. The 60 plaques run from the Overseas Passenger Terminal on West Circular Quay (where the cruise ships dock), past the train station all the way to the side of the Sydney Opera House forecourt on East Circular Quay.
The Walk commemorates both Australian writers (many I had never heard of) and those who visited Australian. It makes writing part of the Sydney’s daily life and reveals a culture that really values literature--not just its own but literature from around the world as well.
Below are some highlights from among the 60 plaques.
A woman named Kath Walker took the name of her indigenous tribe Oodgeroo Noonuccal in 1988. Oodgeroo means “paperbark tree.” Noonuccal was the first indigenous Australian to publish a book of poetry, called "We Are Going," in 1964.
Arthur Conan Doyle, who created Sherlock Holmes, visited Australia in 1920 as part of a five-month speaking tour in Australia and New Zealand. While Sherlock Holmes is the ultimate rational character, ironically his creator was here giving lectures on spiritualism.
Sydney also offers guided tours of the Writers Walk, something I plan to do the next time we visit.