The Nurses Walk: Colonial Hospitals and Postmodern Symbols

Esther Cheung


Within contemporary Australian society there lies a potent contrast between its modern, colonial foundations and the radical changes of postmodernism. In many ways, this contrast marks the Nurses Walk in the Rocks, the site of Australia’s first hospital. As with much of Sydney city, it is historically significant due to its connections with Enlightenment era values of the early nation, imbued with ideas of progress, development and science. Yet, as we move into an era of growing consumerism and cultural symbolism, sites such as the Nurses Walk can be viewed as markedly postmodern, challenging and subverting typified notions of what makes a historical site today.  This paper will draw together academic theories and historical events to critically examine these changes in the Nurses Walk, and how they reflect on cultural juxtapositions within Australia.

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