Inspired by local architects Peter John Cantrill and Philip Thalis, the Museum of Sydney has launched a new exhibition which reveals stories about Sydney’s best loved public spaces.

'Public Sydney: stop, look, live!' features photographs, drawings, objects and video to share stories about five Sydney sites: Bennelong Point, the Museum of Sydney, Hyde Park, Town Hall and Central Station .

The exhibition opened 30 March, revealing ‘a raft of hidden stories, fascinating people and obscure objects discovered in central Sydney’, including flair bartenders from Hyde Park, corporate ping pong players at Darling Quarter, an historic one-tonne canon and a handmade cedar coffin from one of our city’s oldest cemeteries.

The exhibition stems from the Historic Houses Trust of New South Wales (HHT) involvement with a new book by Cantrill and Thalis, ‘Public Sydney: Drawing the City’, to be published in April 2013.

The book features scale drawings of almost 100 of Sydney’ most important public places, as well as accompanying essays from architects, historians and academics on the city’s geography and urban character.

Map of the City of Sydney c.1927 (State Records NSW). Image: HHT blog

The exhibition is said to reveal what draws Sydney’s bike couriers to the GPO steps in Martin Place, why people visit the boar statue at Sydney Hospital and what a canon has to do with the history of our most famous landmark, Sydney Opera House.

In addition, visitors can learn where Australia’s first-ever horse racing meeting took place and which prominent building was once the site of a cemetery. Objects including the original hands from Central Station’s clock tower are also on display.

 “All too often, when we are passing through the city we forget to look up, look around and take in what’s happening in our public spaces. Public Sydney: stop, look, live! celebrates life in Sydney today, its historic landmarks and residents,” said Kate Clark, Director of the HHT.

Public Sydney: stop, look, live! runs from 30 March to 8 September at the Museum of Sydney. It will be accompanied by a program of special events including walking tours, curator talks and entertainment on the Museum of Sydney forecourt.

Bloggers including will also be sharing their take on the exhibition, as well as insights into Sydney’s public spaces. Visit to join the conversation.