Looking for startling stories set in Sydney’s past?

The Imaginative Recreation Project aims to collect, curate and share little-known stories from Sydney’s past and to build awareness about the art of crafting stories from archival material.

In 2023, we offered writing workshops and masterclasses designed to inspire and support new, emerging and experienced writers to invent stories drawn from the archives.

In 2024, we will produce audio stories selected from this callout and these will be featured on our Sonic City Sydney website. We will also offer public talks about the art of finding stories in the archives as well as a live performance. To stay informed about upcoming events, sign up for our newsletter and follow Spineless Wonders on social media.

Past events

Ekphrasis and the Archives: Writing Prose Poetry and Flash Fiction, A masterclass with Cassandra Atherton and Paul Hetherington.
WHEN: Saturday, Oct 21, 10.30-12noon
WHERE: Customs House Library Meeting Room, 31 Alfred St, Sydney
Register here.


The Memory Place, Writing personal history through the objects we love with Caroline Reid.
Sunday, Nov 11, 10am-1pm,
WHERE: Tote Building, Zetland.


Submissions to the Imaginative Recreation project may be inspired by your own personal archives, family history or experiences. Or you could start exploring the City of Sydney archives available through such sources as City of Sydney Archives, Sydney Cultural Walks (PDFs and app), Dictionary of Sydney, Sydney Oral Histories, Museum of Sydney, Pride History Group Sydney, State Library of NSW, Trove.

You can submit your work in the form of written words (Word doc) or an audio recording (such as mp3).

If your submission is selected, you will be invited to work with our curators to prepare your work for publication as an audio-story on the Sonic City–Sydney website.

Deadline: Midnight, Sunday 17 December, 2023

No entry fee. Selected writers will be paid $200.

Word limits: 450 to 500 words or 2-3 mins of audio recording

Submissions will only be accepted via this link.

This project is curated and presented by Spineless Wonders and Echidna Audio. We would like to gratefully acknowledge the support of the City of Sydney Cultural Grants Program.

We acknowledge the Gadigal of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of this land and pay our respects to the Elders both past and present.


Got a question? Email us at info@shortaustralianstories.com.au