Take a Walk on the Wild Side

Nicki Alchin
18th Jan 2016

street art tours by Culture Scout

There’s no doubt Sydney is filled with iconic landmarks to entice admiration from all who visit, but in reality a glossy postcard excursion gives little reward if you want to discover the underbelly of our city’s creativity. This gap has now been filled by a new and unique walking tour company, Culture Scouts – the brainchild of art aficionados Emilya Colliver and Melinda Vassallo.

By pooling their extensive art experience and knowledge, Emilya and Melinda are providing visitors and locals alike with the opportunity to go beyond the tourist candy. Culture Scouts detours off the beaten track to take in the hidden gems of Sydney’s street art and foodie scene on foot. It was therefore no surprise I accepted the chance to be immersed in Culture Scout’s two hour Street Art Basic walking tour of Newtown.

Right off the bat, the outing took me to a backstreet. We met Emilya and Melinda at hipster central, the out of the way Young Henrys brewery and bar that encapsulates what Sydney’s inner west is all about – a touch of bohemia and creativity. Of course I knew of Young Henrys but never knew that its HQ was tucked in under my nose just off Enmore Road.

Before we headed out on the tour, Young Henrys co-owner, Oscar McMahon regaled us with tales while we tasted a refreshing cold ale or cider matched with a bountiful antipasto platter from Newtown foodie haven, Bloodwood restaurant and bar. My adventure into the graffiti/street art world of Newtown was starting well.

Off we trooped with Melinda guiding us into the area closest to Young Henrys known as the ‘triangle’ of Sydney’s graffiti scene. A world of colour, artistic whims, tags, stickering and sculpture surrounded us on the walls of the back lanes. Melinda’s intelligent and knowledgeable patter gave insight to what we saw. She touched on techniques, materials, styles (including names of artists), the legality and consequences of putting your art on the street, the projects that local councils are devising to help provide creative landscapes by matching building owners and artists, the history of the scene as well as the “rules of the street”. The passion of the artists and their art came to life for me.

Next we crossed the other side of Enmore Road to see some street art examples. Some of the large murals Melinda directed us to I already knew about but what astounded me was a wall of a hostel down a lane off King Street that is apparently well known internationally as a place to paint street art. We then proceeded up King Street and crossed over Enmore Road again to go behind the Newtown Neighbourhood Centre. We continued to roam around the laneways to see more fantastic street art, to finally conclude the tour at the infamous Hub building. Within two hours we had investigated the graffiti/street art world of Sydney’s inner west and traversed sections of Newtown I had never explored before (even though I have lived in the area for 20 years).

Culture Scouts definitely delivers an impressive antidote to the usual tourist experience of Sydney. The other tours they currently offer include:

  • a whole day Newtown Lunching Tour full of art, coffee, cheeses, wine and dessert stops
  • an Afternoon Inner City Tour of galleries in Chippendale and Redfern
  • a Twilight Tour of Newtown, and
  • private customised tours.

To book these wonderful innovative tours, get in contact with Culture Scouts:



0405 067 667

For more information on Young Henrys got to:


For more information on Bloodwoods go to: