William Street runs from Kings
Cross to Hyde Park where it turns into Park Street. The street forms the border between the two suburbs of
Woolloomooloo and Darlinghurst. Today the newly completed Cross City Tunnel follows much of the route of William
Street. It was constructed in an attempt to ease traffic congestion in the CBD.
The street was built through the farm land of the valley between the city centre
and Potts Point in the 1840's to allow traffic to and from the fashionable and expensive Eastern suburbs around
Elizabeth Bay. Originally the NSW Surveyor-General Thomas Mitchell wanted the street to be further to the south,
but whilst he was away exploring the interior of Australia, the street was constructed in its now
In the 1880's notable Australian
poet Henry Lawson lived in a boarding house along William Street before he became famous for his poetry. In 1909
it was decided to resume the south side of the street to widen the street into a more larger boulevard style.
The resuming was conducted between 1910 and 1914.
It seems Kings Cross is not directly named after its London counterpart. A century ago it was actually called
Queens Cross until a change in the monarchy. Apparently "the Cross" part relates to the crossing of 3 major
thoroughfares - Darlinghurst Road, Victoria Street and William Street.
Until American G.I.s made it
their home away from home starting with WWII, through the Vietnam War and on, it was a quiet hamlet of the
aristocrats. Now its home to the full gamut, the 'down on their luck', nouveau riche, inherited, TV/Film
celebrities, writers, artists - you bump into them all.