The City of Sydney is proposing to heritage list more than 60 industrial warehouses, which were once home to factories and manufacturing plants that helped transform Sydney into one of the largest industrialised cities in the South Pacific.
From chewing gum manufacturers to gramophone companies, confectioners, fabric mills and jam factories, the list of buildings and structures reflect the diversity of Sydney’s rich industrial past, and also helps to define its character.
A team of heritage, history, architecture, archaeology and planning experts spent 12 months surveying more than 450 industrial places across Sydney to identify the structures of greatest integrity and historical value.
The City will now consult with the community on whether the most significant 62 buildings, structures, complexes and two industrial precincts should be heritage listed as a reminder of Sydney’s industrial history and identity, and to provide certainty for developers.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said Sydney has the largest concentration of historic industrial and warehouse buildings in NSW.
”The two centres of industry in Sydney and Melbourne had far-reaching impacts on the country’s development, urbanisation, self-sufficiency, technology and social changes,” the Lord Mayor said.
“Sydney’s remaining industrial buildings and structures provide evidence of a major change in the history of Australia – industrialisation – when manufacturing first surpassed farming and mining as the main employer in the 1940s.
“These factories and industrial buildings also provide a unique and important opportunity to protect the character of our villages.”
The majority of buildings recommended for listing date from the peak period of Sydney’s industrialisation during the inter-war and post-war periods from the 1920s to the 50s.
Heritage listings do not freeze a place in time. It provides greater certainty in the development process for owners and the community. It also allows buildings to maintain their character and significance when being redeveloped or adapted for reuse.
Listing supports the urban renewal areas by retaining industrial identity, distinctive character and local landmarks.
The proposed heritage listings are open for feedback at sydneyyoursay.com until 30 June 2015.
The 62 former factories, structures and areas proposed for heritage listing include:
47–49 Bourke Road, Alexandria (designed by Harry Seidler)
Purpose-built as a store for the NSW Government in 1970, the ‘Q Store’ warehouse represents the later period of industrial development in Alexandria. The Q Store is a rare example of an industrial building by prominent Australian architect Harry Seidler and a fine example of a warehouse in the post-war international style.
The Q Store demonstrates Seidler's modernist design philosophy applied to an industrial building, and was one of only three industrial buildings or warehouses he designed. The dynamic building structure illustrates Seidler's creative solution for providing large open spaces for flexible storage and moving equipment, with glare-free internal lighting, a tetrahedron (four triangle) structural system for the roof, tapering concrete columns and highlight glazing.
Grace House, 426-430 Kent Street, Sydney (one of Sydney’s first skyscrapers)
Built in 1914 for warehousing the Grace family’s goods, this building represents the Federation development of one of Sydney’s earliest warehouse districts, associated with the major working port of Darling Harbour and the retail centre near the Queen Victoria Building.
Measuring nine storeys, or 59-metres above Kent Street level (125 feet in measurements of the time), the building is rare locally as one of the earliest skyscrapers of central Sydney. It provides evidence of the technological advancements that made taller buildings possible, the evolution of building-height laws and fire management concerns that shaped this period of development in Sydney.
Bonds Industries complex, including Chesty Bond mural, 64–106 Mallett Street, Camperdown
Built for major Australian textile manufacturers in the 1920s and 30s, the former Bonds Industries complex represents the large-scale industrial development of Camperdown during the mid-twentieth century.
Through its significant association with Bonds Industries from the 20s to the 80s, the site demonstrates the early development of this dinky-di Australian textiles company, which has produced a well-known range of clothing for almost 100 years.
Alexandra Spinning Mills, 40A–42 Maddox Street and 58–68 Euston Road, Alexandria
Built for the Alexandria Spinning Mills from 1924, this complex represents one of Australia's largest wool and cotton mills from the first half of the twentieth century and provides evidence of the formerly widespread textiles industry in the City of Sydney.
The complex has significant associations with the Alexandria Spinning Mills from the 1920s to the 60s and the knitting wool, knitting books, Australian military clothing used in World War II, and other products made at the site during this period.
As a major employer, in particular for girls and women, infamous for its poor working conditions, the former mills are also significant for their connection to the history of employment of women and the development of the labour movement in Sydney. The mills represent the site of major strikes during the 30s and 40s, which were a significant event in Sydney's twentieth century movement for improved rights and conditions for the working class, better conditions for women in the workforce and the growth of unions. For this reason, the site is likely to have social significance to the community of former workers and their descendants.
Jones IXL factory garage, 2–10 Golden Grove Street, Darlington
Built in 1937 as a motor garage for the Henry Jones and Company factory, this former garage represents the industrial development of Darlington during the mid-twentieth century.
The Henry Jones and Company garage is historically significant for its connection to the development of the Australian food processing industry for jams, tinned fruits and other processed foods. The construction of the garage to house delivery trucks for the former IXL jam factory also represents technological advancements of the inter-war period through the growing use of motor vehicles for the distribution of products.
The building is significant for its historical association with Henry Jones and Company, better known by its well-known brand name, IXL, which dominated the food processing industry in Australia for most of the twentieth century.
Factory chimney stack, 127 Railway Parade, Erskineville
Built around 1916 as part of the underwear and hosiery factory for Murray Spinning Mills, this chimney stack represents the industrial development of Erskineville during the early twentieth century.
It is historically significant for its connection to Australian manufacturing of hosiery and underwear during the 1920s and 40s, gramophones and records in the 20s and 30s and textiles between the 40s and 80s. The continued association of the site with manufacturing textiles provides evidence of the formerly widespread textiles industry in Sydney.
The chimney stack was associated with one of the first manufacturers of underwear and hosiery in Australia, Murray Spinning Mills. The construction of the former factory represents the growth of the company and the popularity of its products during the inter-war period.
The chimney stack is also significant for its association from 1925 with one of Australia’s earliest manufacturers of gramophones, the Gramophone Company, better known by its brand name ‘His Masters Voice’ or HMV.
Sydney Confectionary Company factory, 10–12 Egan Street, Newtown
As a former factory for Sydney Confectionery Company dating from 1926, this building represents the industrial development of Newtown during the inter-war period. The building is historically significant for its connection to Australian manufacturing of confectionery, such as ice cream cones, during the inter-war period, and for its continued use for a number of industrial purposes throughout the twentieth century.
The use of the factory for manufacturing ice cream cones demonstrates the expansion of industries during the inter-war period which were reliant upon the newly-developed refrigeration technology.The factory is historically associated with the Sydney Confectionery Company who manufactured confectionery at this site during the inter-war period, and a number of other manufacturers including Scoton Press who used the site as a printing works in the 1950s.
Hordern & Sons warehouse, 53–63 Great Buckingham Street, Redfern
Built between 1887 and 1889 for manufacturers and retailers, A Hordern & Sons, this former factory complex represents the industrial development of Redfern during the late nineteenth century.
The site is historically significant for its connection to Australian manufacturing of furniture, mattresses, bath tubs, pressed metal ceilings, clothing and a large variety of household goods by Hordern & Sons from the late-nineteenth century to the mid-twentieth century.
The scale of the factories and stables within this complex demonstrate the growth of Hornern & Sons, the size of its operations as one of Sydney's largest retailers and manufacturers for over a century, and the popularity of its products during the late nineteenth century. As one of the first factory sites built for Hordern & Sons, it also represents this major retailer’s transition from importing to manufacturing products locally.
Wrigley’s factory, 6–8 Crewe Place, Rosebery
Purpose-built in 1919 and extended in 1929 for the major American chewing gum manufacturers, Wrigley’s (Australasia), the former factory represents the model industrial development of Rosebery during the inter-war period.
Rosebery was planned by John Sulman in 1911-20 as a model suburb for both housing and industry, and this former factory is the oldest-known surviving industrial building constructed in that subdivision.
The factory is historically significant as surviving evidence of the former confectionary precinct that once defined this part of Rosebery when the large Stedman-Henderson's sweets factory from the same period was located opposite.
As the headquarters and principal factory for Wrigleys in NSW from the 1910s to the 50s, the site also provides evidence of the twentieth century operations of this major chewing gum manufacturer. The construction and scale of the former factory demonstrates the modern aspirations and growth of the company, and popularity of its products during the twentieth century.
David Jones factory, 47–97 Marlborough Street, Surry Hills
Built in 1914-1935 for major Australian retailer David Jones this building represents the industrial development of Surry Hills during the early twentieth century. It is historically significant for its connection to the Australian manufacturing of clothing and household goods.
The factory has significant associations with one of the largest and oldest department stores in Australia, David Jones, for most of the twentieth century from 1914 to the 70s, and the large range of clothing, furniture, luggage, homewares and kitchen fittings produced by David Jones during this period. The construction of this large-scale factory provides evidence of a major period of growth for David Jones and the popularity of its products during the early twentieth century. The site also represents this major retailer’s transition from importing to manufacturing products locally.
As a major former employer in Sydney with 800 people working at this site by 1921, the factory is likely to have social value to the community of former factory workers for David Jones.
Former Coote and Jorgenson Engineers factory, 602-612 Botany Road, Alexandria
Built in 1937 and 1942 for machinery manufacturers, Coote and Jorgenson Engineers, this former factory represents the industrial development of Alexandria during the mid-twentieth century.
It is historically significant for its connection to the Australian manufacturing of tanks and maritime craft for World War II and automotive and farm machinery during peacetime, and as evidence of this formerly widespread engineering industry in Alexandria.
While openings and brickwork on the ground floor have been altered for subsequent uses, the buildings retain a high degree of architectural integrity externally on the first floor and can still be recognised as industrial buildings from the inter-war period.
Comprehensive heritage reports for all 62 listings can be viewed at sydneyyoursay.com