• Humans of Newtown is a publication which develops a theme that has appeared around the world in the form of blogs.
    Humans of Newtown is a publication which develops a theme that has appeared around the world in the form of blogs.

A new book showcasing the locals of the inner Sydney suburb of Newtown will be launched in September.

Humans of Newtown is a collection of portraits taken on the streets of one of Australia’s most alternative suburbs – Newtown in Sydney’s inner west. Newtown is a place where being different isn’t just encouraged, it’s celebrated. Humans of Newtown shares the stories behind the renowned suburb’s most unique, eccentric and colourful personalities.

Having lived in the heart of Newtown for almost two decades, photojournalist Jo Wallace observed the many quirks and charms that make Newtown such a distinct pocket of urban Australian life. "This project has provided a wonderful opportunity to create a social snapshot of the distinctly unique vibe that attracts people to Newtown from all over the world," said Wallace.

For many years Wallace had wanted to document the unique characters in the community. In late 2013 she came across the myriad of “Humans of” web pages. There are well over 280 “Humans of” sites, including Humans of New York. Each blog, with its own distinct style, tells the tales of local community members around the world through words and pictures.

Wallace’s project featured on the current affairs ABC program 7.30 as well as ABC News Breakfast, Channel 10 News, Guardian Australia and local media outlets. Newtown resident Val Lehmann-Monck, who shared her story on the blog about her battle with breast cancer said, “The responses were so amazing and heart-lifting. Humans of Newtown is a local ‘gem’; peeping into and sharing the hearts of people who live here. The project has touched so many, including me. I even had strangers come up to me and tell me how moved they were by reading my story. It was amazing.”

Humans of Newtown is published by newly launched Inner West publishing house, King Street Press. Pre-sales are available online at www.humansofnewtown.com.au/shop. The book will also be available in bookshops from September 1, for $39.95.

Elly and friend, from Humans of Newtown.

Finton Magee, from Humans of Newtown.

Don Sweetnam, from Humans of Newtown.

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