It has been decades since the lawns of the Domain were packed with crowds on a Sunday afternoon, to hear strangers preach from their soapbox.
Speakers' Corner dates back to 1878.
It was where Sydneysiders gathered for public debates - normally about politics, sexuality and religion.
Even now, hecklers take every opportunity to air their opposing points of view.
Steve Maxwell, 65, has been a regular fixture at Speakers' Corner since 1984.
“You can tell somebody to rack off to their face," he says.
“That’s the best part about Speakers’ Corner, we have learnt to outwit the bullies and hecklers that come down here at any given moment.”
With crowds dwindling, the weekly event is about to undergo a transformation.
"Speakers’ Corner 2.0" is a proposal by 107 Projects and ABC radio presenter Tim Brunero, to revitalise the event - to attract a younger crowd.
Mr Brunero describes Speakers’ Corner 2.0 as "a real-life Facebook comments section" free from the trolls and anonymous behaviour.
“At the moment... Speakers’ Corner has become a bit of a sad state of affairs and I see it as something really important to Sydney [by] keeping its
history alive,” he said.
"We want to create a space [where] people can have educated debates. A place that people can walk away from actually having learnt something interesting."
In June this year, Mr Brunero and 107 Projects - a registered charity - were successful in receiving a City of Sydney Matching Grant of $10,000
to restore the tradition.
“As Australians, we take our democracy for granted. We applied for this grant because we want people to use Speakers’ Corner as an opportunity to get involved – to stand up and to speak their minds," Mr Brunero said.
People are losing their skills in how to speak and how to have a debate.
The inaugural 'Speakers’ Corner 2.0' starts this month with a series of four live-streamed debates.
The organisers say there will be a rejuvenated range of stimulating and informed speakers. Each will have ten minutes to focus on one specific topic.
Their mission is to engage the audience with a thought-provoking topic, or with their "educated opinion".
Mr Maxwell says it will be a change from the regular speakers - some who've been coming for the past 15 years.
“Occasionally we get new people come along who start speaking, but we have the same faces standing up to speak most weeks," he said.
“The crowds started to drop off when the shops opened on Sundays, also when they started to play football on Sundays."
The Lord Mayor of Sydney Clover Moore, said that the matching grants program is about supporting the community to run diverse and interesting programs.
“Through the program, we are able to support initiatives, events and activities that make our city more engaging and inclusive, and I’m glad we could support Tim Brunero’s efforts to bring lively discussion back to Speaker’s Corner," she said.
“These grants are about helping members of the community bring their projects to life and though some may be small, their impact can be enormous."
Jonathan Sterling, 22, is a recent graduate and a Young Liberal.
He's set to attend Speakers’ Corner 2.0 but says many of his colleagues and classmates have no idea about its history.
“I think activities like Speakers’ Corner are really important for young people in today’s society," he said.
"A lot of people have never even heard of it and not many people standing here really understand what’s going on.
“I often stop and listen, and sometimes just laugh, after I visit the Art Gallery. But most of the time it’s just the same people speaking and yelling at each
As a young person with an opinion, this could be a really useful tool for debating...
Mr Sterling's talk will be about introducing quotas for young people in parliament.
He will explore the reasons why parties need a diverse representation of the community and will be completely open to comments and discussion.
These are exactly the "fresh eyes" the organisers are hoping to attract.
They have sourced a range of speakers for each of the events, including academics and members of the community who can back up their opinions with research and evidence.
“People are so culturally nourished as they walk out of the Art Gallery, that their minds are open and hungry to learning something new," Mr
“I thought, we have got a platform right in front of us. So let’s use it effectively so that people can walk away from here with a piece of knowledge
they didn’t have before. It's... a really great opportunity for people to take responsibility for their opinions and openly discuss and debate them face to face.
“It’s rare these days."
If the live streamed events are a success, the team behind Speakers’ Corner 2.0 hopes to receive regular funding from the City of Sydney.