Saturday, August 29, 2020

What goes up must come down

From the website of the State Library of New South Wales at: 

What goes up must come down 

The Queen Victoria Building (affectionately known as the QVB) was designed by George McRae and completed in 1898. A magnificent shopping complex, built in a grand Victorian style, it was saved from demolition in 1982 - unlike many Sydney buildings. 

These photographs record Sydney as she appeared to earlier generations, her important landmarks, simple dwellings and small businesses, all sacrificed to meet the changing tastes and needs of an emerging and modern metropolis. 

Along with city buildings, Sydney streets have also come and gone. Sydney's oldest street, George Street, is one that has survived. Originally named the 'High' Street, even earlier this major thoroughfare was known as 'Sergeant-Major's Row'. In 1810 it was renamed 'George' Street in honour of the ruling monarch, King George the Third. 

Demolished landmarks 

Take a look at some of Sydney's demolished landmarks and wander through the city's changing streetscapes of the past 160 years. 

Volunteer Hotel, Pitt Street, Sydney 
c 1870 

This building had been on the south-west corner of Pitt and Park Streets since the 1840s as a butcher's shop. By the 1850s it had become the Butchers Arms hotel, which changed its name to the Volunteer Hotel around 1862. It was demolished in 1882, to be replaced by the Equitable Building. This became Park House, one of several buildings in the block now owned by the Sydney City Council and planned for demolition to create an open square opposite the Town Hall. 

Barker & Co Mills, Cnr Bathurst and Sussex Streets, Sydney 
Undated, pre June 1872 

Engineer Thomas Barker built a cloth mill adjacent to his flour mills near the corner of Sussex and Bathurst Streets in 1840. After several changes of ownership, he re-bought the mills in 1870. The tweed mill was destroyed by fire 1872 and then acquired by John Vicars in 1874 and moved to Marrickville in 1894. Much of the mill complex was destroyed during City Council resumptions for the construction of Day Street in 1915. 

Fort Macquarie 
c 1870 

Fort Macquarie was built in 1821 on the end of Bennelong Point, where the Sydney Opera House now stands. Completed by convict labour using stone from the Domain, the fort had 15 guns and housed a small garrison. The powder magazine beneath the tower was capable of storing 350 barrels of gunpowder. The fort was demolished in 1901 to make way for the tramway sheds that occupied the site until the construction of Utzon’s masterpiece. 

Sydney City and Suburban Sewage and Health Board: photographs, with excerpts from the final report of the committee appointed "To inquire into the state of crowded dwellings and areas in the city of Sydney and suburbs, so far as it affects public health" 
Nov-Dec 1875 

This photograph accompanied a scathing Government report into the city's sewerage system. Of these dwellings, it said, "Any one who may be curious to know how long Colonial timber will last, until, by the combined action of the elements, white ants, and other sources of destruction, it becomes triturated into powder, can satisfy their curiosity by ascertaining the date on which these houses were constructed. The corner house is occupied and used as a butcher's shop; it is a filthy stinking place..." 

Free Public Library, corner of Bent & Macquarie Streets, Sydney 

In 1845 the Australian Subscription Library moved to the corner of Macquarie and Bent Streets. It was taken over by the Government in 1869 and renamed the Free Public Library of NSW. It was demolished for the Premier Wing of the State Office Block (1967). This in turn was demolished for the Aurora Place/Macquarie Apartments complex, which won both the Wilkinson and Sulam architecture awards in 2004. 

Lyons Terrace, Liverpool Street, Sydney 
Undated, c 1875-1885 

In 1841, former convict and auctioneer Samuel Lyons built Lyons Terrace, a substantial row of elegant houses in Liverpool Street opposite Hyde Park. Each terrace cost $5000. The house on the extreme left was demolished in 1910 to make way for Wentworth Avenue. The next two became the Australian Picture Palace. The remaining terraces and the house on the right were demolished for the YWCA headquarters in 1923. Not all was lost. Lyons Terrace provided the cast-iron Ionic columns used by William Hardy at Eryldene, Gordon. 

The Garden Palace, Sydney, NSW 

As a showpiece for Sydney's 1879 International Exhibition, the Garden Palace was built in the grounds of the Botanic Gardens. Designed by the colonial architect James Barnett, it stood over 64 metres high. Using the new electric arc lamp to enable construction around the clock, workers completed the timber building in just eleven months. It burnt to the ground in 1882. 

Bond Street, looking West 
C 1884-1889 

The three-storey Australian Mutual Provident building (on left) was built in 1880. It was remodelled and enlarged in 19610 to become a six storey building. Further land was bought and in 1917-19 the building was extended to cover the entire Pitt, Bond Hamilton and Little George Streets block. It all disappeared under the Australia Square project in 1963. The island in the centre now accommodates the Dobell Memorial Sculpture by Bert Flugelman (known as the 'shish kebab'), transplanted from Martin Place in 1999. It is shown below.


Royal Arcade 
C 1892 

The Royal Arcade ran from George Street near the markets, through to Pitt Street, near the School of Arts. Over 90 metres long, it was well lit, with a lofty clerestory and gas lamps. There were 31 shops on the ground floor, 36 offices on the first floor and a photographic studio above them at the George Street end. Of Sydney's five Victorian arcades, only the Strand survived twentieth century development, the Royal disappearing beneath the Hilton Hotel in the mid 1970s. 

Fish Market Woolloomooloo – Sydney 

The Old Fish Markets at Bourke and Plunkett Streets Woolloomooloo were opened in 1871. They were extended and altered in 1888 and 1893 to cover the entire block bounded by Bourke, Plunkett, Forbes and Wilson Streets. Then known as the Eastern markets, they were demolished and replaced by the Astor Apartments in the 1960s. 

Views taken during Cleansing Operations, Quarantine Area, Sydney, 1900, Vol. I / under the supervision of Mr George McCredie, F.I.A., N.S.W. 

The Bubonic Plague hit Sydney in January 1900 and within eight months 103 people were dead. Carried by rats, the plague spread throughout the waterfront streets. Quarantine areas were established from 24 March to 17 July and local residents were employed in cleansing and disinfecting operations, including the demolition of 'slum' buildings. In the end, nearly 53,000 metric tons of rubbish was dumped at sea or burnt and professional rat catchers killed over 34500 rats. 

Nos 569-700 George Street, Sydney 

Anthony Hordern's Palace Emporium was built in 1904, after a fire destroyed the original Haymarket store. The new building had frontages in George, Pitt and Goulburn Streets. Advertised as the largest emporium south of the Equator, those tore employed 4000 staff. The building was remodelled in 1933. It was demolished in the early 1980s, but the site lay dormant for twenty years. It is now the World Square complex, which contains the 84 storey World Tower. 

National building, Nestle & Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Co., Norwich Chambers, 
ca. 1921-1927 

Despite the best efforts of these twin Atlases, carved in stone, the four-storey Norwich Building at the corner of Hunter and Bligh Streets was demolished in 1923. It was replaced by the ten-storey Metropolitan Building. This in turn disappeared in the 1960s rush to modernise Sydney 

Houses, offices and St Stephen's Church (just visible to the left) were demolished to create Martin Place. The widening had begun in 1892, but the final section from Castlereagh Street to Macquarie Street was not completed until 1935. Historic Burdekin House, regarded as the grandest town house in Sydney, was demolished in 1933 to enable the relocation of the new St Stephen's Church from Phillip Street to Macquarie Street, Martin Place did not become a pedestrian plaza until 1969. 

Demolishing Hoffnung's building, Pitt Street, Sydney 

Joe Dobson, seen here demolishing Hoffnung's building in Pitt Street, had been a demolisher for 15 years. The previous year, while demolishing the MLC building in Martin Place, he had fallen eight metres into a lift well. He broke both arms and his pelvis, but the experience did not seem to diminish his enthusiasm for the job.

Theatre queue for Regent Theatre (taken for Fox Films) 

Many years in the planning, the Regent Theatre in George Street opened in 1928. Inside was a massive marble stairway adorned with fountains and statuary, leading to a long salon, furnished with gilt chairs and settees of the Louis XIV period. It was sold in 1972, as J.C. Williamsons needed money to rebuild Her Majesty's Theatre, destroyed by fire in 1970. Although classified by the National Trust, The Regent was demolished in 1989. A 48 storey residential glass tower facing Bathurst Street and a 33 storey tower of 180 serviced apartments on Kent Street is proposed for the site. 

The art deco Rural Bank, on Martin Place between Phillip and Elizabeth Streets, was built in 1936. Despite public protest, it was demolished in 1983 to make way for the 40 storey State Bank Centre in 1985.

Prince Edward Theatre, Castlereagh Street, Sydney 

The Prince Edward Theatre, in Castlereagh Street, between Martin Place and King Street, was built in 1924. One of the first lavish picture palaces, it lasted 40 years and was regarded as 'The Theatre Beautiful'. The entrance from Castlereagh Street led to a richly decorated marble corridor lined with alabaster urns full of fresh flowers. At the end, stairs rose to the auditorium, where 1500 patrons could be seated. The building was demolished without ceremony over several years in the 1960s to be replaced by BNP Paribas Center.

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