Up the Cross, at the Museum of Sydney
is a new exhibition presenting the iconic people and places of Sydney s Kings Cross, captured by photographers Rennie Ellis & Wesley Stacey from 1970 to1971.
Spending six months in Australias legendary red light district, Rennie Ellis was an avid photographer, writer and diarist and Wesley Stacey, a magazine photographer. Together they captured characters from all walks of life, from the flamboyant Auntie Mame to the fresh-faced American sailors as they chatted to the spruiker at the Golden Orchid strip club.
Snapping the infamous nightlife, Carlotta and the Les Girls, hippies and Hare Krishnas, avant-garde artists and wide-eyed tourists and passers by, the exhibition is a glimpse into the fascinating portrait of life 'up the Cross' in the 1970s.
It was the 'summer of love' and Kings Cross was as much a magnet for long-haired pilgrims and avant-garde artists as it was for American servicemen on leave from Vietnam.
Photographers Rennie Ellis and Wesley Stacey spent time in the Cross over the summer of 197071, getting to know the locals and delving behind the scenes. Together they captured the sights, sounds and pulsating rhythms of life on the streets and in the clubs and private pads of Sydney's infamous red-light district.
Celebrities stayed there, Les Girls strutted their stuff on stage, Hare Krishnas danced in the streets, while old-timers met in the park or went about their daily lives. This was the heyday of the famous Yellow House, centre of Sydneys experimental pop-art scene, where 24-hour multi-media happenings took place.
Ellis and Stacey recorded it all, and their photographs provide a fascinating portrait of the Cross at a unique moment in time.