Daniel McDonald’s Guide to Exploring Sydney This WorldPride
Daniel McDonald knows many things. As an LGBTQIA+ man he knows about struggle – and pride. Being hearingimpaired, he knows about living with a disability. As a visual artist with works in private and corporate collections, he knows success. Having lived in Darlinghurst and Paddington for the past 30 years and as a current member of the Metropolitan Local Aboriginal Land Council he knows the value of community. And he knows that people coming together from all over the world – LGBTQIA+, those with disabilities and locals – “to rejoice in the freedoms and the acceptance that’s been so hard fought for has to be celebrated”.
When WorldPride rolls into town, McDonald – one of 45 Rainbow Champions – will not only offer the Welcome to Country at the Mardi Gras Parade (in a costume made by Sydney couturier Catherine Colubriale), he’ll also deliver a speech with his interpreter at the Human Rights Conference and have his art – he learnt dot painting from his grandmother and his Aunty Mum Shirl – on show at Flinders Street Gallery.
But back to what else he knows. He knows some cracking places to take visitors in Sydney, such as his favourite restaurant, Zafferano Trattoria Mediterranea in Paddington, close to Oxford Street (once a route for Aboriginal people travelling to what is now the CBD). His pick? The risotto marinara.
Also close to home, McDonald loves Paddington Markets for the diversity of shopping, the gathering of locals and visitors, and the eateries. On summer Saturdays, “I go to the beach early then catch the bus back to the markets to get some of my favourite food and flowers.” It’s a more refined seven-days-a-week scene in Queen Street, Woollahra (Willarra or Wallara – “the lookout” – to the original inhabitants) with its high-end shops, boutiques and galleries that are “well worth a browse”.
Personally, McDonald draws inspiration on the ferry from Watsons Bay to Circular Quay, especially the reds and yellows that paint the sky at sunset. When the built environment takes over, “the city lights and the Harbour Bridge are far more visually appealing from the water than on a bus”. (Watsons Bay was known as Kutti by the Aboriginal people who fished the area.)
Three pubs are on his itinerary for visitors: The Beacham and The Light Brigade hotels in Oxford Street and The Imperia in Erskineville, a long-time champion of Pride and LGBTQIA+ rights, the location for scenes in The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and “great nightlife in a diverse community”. The family-ownedand- operated Beacham is “friendly, with good, reasonably priced food and drinks” and The Light Brigade’s rooftop bar “is a favourite for sunsets and a relax after the beach, with great cocktails and food”.
To the Gadigal people it was Koojay; today it’s seaside Coogee and the place, especially Wylie’s Baths, for a morning dip to beat the heat and mark a new day in Sydney, home to the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation.
SEE ALSO: Suzy Wrong’s Glittering Tips For Exploring Sydney During WorldPride 2023
Image credit: Kristoffer Paulsen