Roaming Gnomes was launched at the Chatswood CBD during May this year and formed part of Council’s Culture Bites program to stimulate economic activity and visitation.

The 23-day event featured 12 giant inflatable gnomes in key public places accompanied with QR codes pointing visitors to food reviews of local restaurants from leading food bloggers.

Visitors who took pictures with all 12 gnomes were able to enter a competition and go in the draw to win a share of $20,000 in prizes. The event included a 3D animation projected on the façade of the Concourse building and musical performances every Friday night.

So did the gnomes work?

Well, the initiative is estimated to have drawn an additional 210,000 people to Chatswood in May and provided employment for 28 local musicians and four event management staff. Each of these visitors spent on average $40 and stayed for three hours in the Chatswood CBD.
(These figures are from independent economic data, Spendmapp figures).

Willoughby City Mayor Tanya Taylor said the Roaming Gnomes offered Sydneysiders an incentive to discover Chatswood’s point of difference.

Below is a photo of Mayor Taylor with one of the gnomes.

“Chatswood is a vibrant place which is always buzzing with excitement with attractions including live music performances, the Mall Markets and retail therapy,” Mayor Taylor said.

“Our Culture Bites program is all about maintaining Chatswood as the cultural heart of the North Shore and capitalising on opportunities to attract theatre, music, art, events and more to the CBD.”

“I’m heartened to see the Roaming Gnomes has helped local businesses thrive as we continue to bounce back from the impacts of COVID-19.”

The Roaming Gnomes project was made possible as a result of Council securing $890,000 in NSW Government funding under the CBDs Revitalisation Program.