Previously known as Windsor Road and later Station Street, this street was re-named after Queen Victoria in 1897 to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee. Throughout the history of St Marys, Queen Street has always served as a main boulevard reflecting a unique sense of place.
Queen Street reflects the best of traditional main streets in Western Sydney. It offers a uniquely imaginative narrative of the past while depicting the present. It reveals the unique make-up of St Marys and the identity of its communities by presenting a mixture of images filled with rich social and cultural expressions: casual neighbourhood connections, transport and trade, food and cuisine, diverse multicultural restaurants and shops, rural and urban heritage, festivals and cultural celebrations.
Queen Street Riches and Textures explores opportunities for community engagement in re-discovering, documenting, creatively expressing and interpreting the street’s past, present and future. The project’s approach is one of creative collaborations, social connection and conversations, between artists and community and people and places.
The project engages with people of all ages, neighbours, businesses, restaurant owners, and surrounding social and other services to respond to some simple questions: What does Queen Street mean to you? What is its importance and character? What are the personal and collective memories connected to the street? What is Queen Street going to look like in the future?
Developed through collaboration between contemporary artists and the community, Queen Street Riches and Textures examines the socio-cultural dynamics of the St Marys Town Centre. It explores the multiple dimensions of social life in an interactive and visual way using the medium of photography and public presentations.
Queen Street Riches and Textures has multiple objectives. It serves as a platform for conversation and dialogue, community engagement and interaction, mentorship, growth in the skills of the participating artists, and the presentation of new work by these artists.
Queen Street Riches and Textures 2012 has also been developed in collaboration between contemporary artists and the commercial centre of St Marys. This year we invited professional photographer John Slaytor to mentor a group of students from the Nepean Arts and Design Centre TAFE NSW-Western Sydney Institute and Caroline Chisholm College and develop the photojournalistic work that comprises Queen Street Riches and Textures 2012.
The Queen Street Riches and Textures project was born from the aspiration to explore the connections, uniqueness and vibrancy of the main street of St Marys through the eyes of the artist. We wanted to express the human face of Queen Street, which is far more than just a place to shop, it is a community!
By forming creative partnerships and engaging mentor John Slaytor, a renowned photographic artist, six creative young photographers took the opportunity to experience and develop a range of technical skills in photography. The camera acts as a silent observer facilitating a connection with the everyday, capturing the personal interaction, the conversations, the shared knowledge and friendship between retailers and customer. Only a main street such as Queen Street can offer these opportunities.
Adnan Begic and Karen Harris
Cultural Development Team
Penrith City Council