The Dictionary of Sydney was archived in 2021.

Demolished Sydney

There’s an interesting exhibition on at the Museum of Sydney at the moment called Demolished Sydney: Georgian town to global city’. It features the buildings and places that once shaped the city’s skyline and were demolished to make way for change. This week on 2SER, Nicole and Nic went for a look in the Dictionary of Sydney at the history of some of these lost buildings

  Listen now

Henriette Lamotte hat salon, 27 Rowe Street c1950 by Kerry Dundas, Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW (a1528035 / SV/128) Henriette Lamotte hat salon, 27 Rowe Street c1950 by Kerry Dundas, Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW (a1528035 / SV/128)
One of the fascinating places featured in the exhibition is Rowe Street, which was a laneway between Pitt and Castlereagh streets. It was the place to go in Sydney for a ‘touch of Paris’ during the 1950s and 1960s, and featured a series of tiny shopfronts including milliners, designers, artists and cafes. The French milliner Henriette Lamotte whose boutique can be seen in this photograph designed for the rich and famous - one of her clients was the English actress, Vivien Leigh. Artist studios were another feature of Rowe Street and included artists like Lionel Lindsay. There were also several bookshops including a discreet downstairs shop which sold erotic literature ranging from DH Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover to Gillian Freeman’s The Leather Boys. In 1931, the Sydney Mail described the laneway as ‘the primrose path of dalliance’ which beckoned onlookers with ‘irresistible charm’. The newspaper lyrically described ‘the milky sheen of ivory gleaming among the disorder of an art shop’ and ‘the exquisite example of the dressmaker’s art…which arouses the worst possible instinct in feminine breasts’.
St Stephen's Presbyterian church, Phillip St c1930 by Harold Cazneaux, Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW (a2057029 / PXD 806/29) St Stephen's Presbyterian church, Phillip St c1930 by Harold Cazneaux, Courtesy Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW (a2057029 / PXD 806/29)
Despite the vibrant character of Rowe Street, by 1973, the laneway was demolished to make way for the MLC Centre. The Kent Brewery in Chippendale was opened in 1835 by John Tooth and Charles Newnham. Over the decades the brewery expanded and flourished, but it was closed in 2005 and most of its buildings were demolished to make way for the Central Park development of apartments, offices, shops, and public spaces. Many people may be aware of St Stephen’s Presbyterian church on Macquarie Street, but perhaps fewer are aware there used to be a St Stephen’s church on Phillip Street. The church on Phillip street was just as grand, was built in the neo-Romantic style and opened in 1857. It was demolished in 1935 to make way for the extension of Martin Place. There are other perhaps more well known buildings featured in the exhibition, such as the Fort Macquarie Tram Depot, which was built on Bennelong Point in 1902, and demolished to make way for the Opera House.
Fort Macquarie tram depot 1953, Courtesy City of Sydney Archives (Len Stone / Vic Solomons Collection: 491) Fort Macquarie tram depot 1953, Courtesy City of Sydney Archives (Len Stone / Vic Solomons Collection: 491)
And also of course the very grand Garden Palace in the Royal Botanic Garden, which burnt to the ground in 1882 along with many important historical artefacts and records which were lost in the fire, including the grand organ and the foundation collection of the Technological and Mining Museum (now the Powerhouse Museum), and all of the Aboriginal artefacts compiled by the Australian Museum. The exhibition, Demolished Sydney: Georgian town to Global City, is on show at the Museum of Sydney until April 2017. Click here for details. demo_digital-slm-carousel-2 Listen to Nicole & Nic here and tune in to 2SER Breakfast with Nic Healey on 107.3 every Wednesday morning at 8:15-8:20 am to hear more from the Dictionary of Sydney.
Categories
Tags