Razorhurst – A slice of bygone Sydney life at The East Village Hotel


The now cosy and airy East Village Hotel in Sydney’s Darlinghurst was once an infamous den of iniquity known as the Tradesman’s Arms. In post-WWI Sydney a series of well-intentioned, but ill-advised law changes created the rise of an all new form of criminal in the form of the sly-grogging brothel madam and a new menace stalking the city’s streets – razor gangs, as the newly introduced firearm laws saw the cut-throat razor become the weapon du jour for local crims. Razorhurst – an interactive GPS game, designed and developed by Richard Fox, in partnership with arts media collective d/Lux – puts the punters under the employ of legendary sly-grog matriarch Kate Leigh with instructions to comb the streets to retrieve some nod & wink drink from bygone local drinking institutions and get it safely back to the old ‘Arms. Players get a handheld device pre-loaded with videos, maps and historic commentary of the era and the area and then have to navigate the back streets and lanes and marauding virtual razor gangs to deliver the sly stock. The fact that this small pocket of East Sydney has been largely un-raped by property development makes it all the more realistic as you dash through shadowy, sandstone-lined streets with the chilling sound of slashing metal filing your headphones. It’s an action-packed and informative hour, plus you get to soak in cheap, and presumably legitimate, gin upon your return. Feel the steel in July or on its return visit for history week in September.

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