Monday, 30 June 2014

1996: Manly Wharf's highrise tower

It has been the dream of some to build highrise at Manly Wharf like this plan floated back in 1973 by Manly MP Douglas Darby.

Source: Owens, W. 1973. "Mr Darby builds a travel dream: Rocket trains to Manly," The Sun Herald, October 21:39. 

But moving two decades later, Manly Wharf Pty Ltd led by Robert Magid had a six storey hotel planned for the famous wharf with about 200 rooms. He also wanted to upgrade the retail complex, which had opened just six years earlier (2 level complex).

Source: Morris, L. 1996. "Opponents of wharf plan 'parochial'," The Sydney Morning Herald, June 17: 9. 

Source: Smith, F. 1996. "Wharf hotel lands Magid in hot water". The Australian Financial Review, June 19, 41.

Sue Sacker, Mayor of Manly Council did not support the concept opting for a two-level hotel. She felt there were too many rooms despite arguments from Magid that 200 rooms were needed to make it financially viable. In addition, she was concerned about the influence of developers in Manly. Yet council wanted to rejuvenate Manly particularly the Corso. I look at the scheme and six storeys isn't that high when you compare it with other high rises in Manly not to mention nearby buildings. The benefits were there for Manly including more hotel accommodation and that also helps tourism within greater Sydney. Federal Tourism Minister John Brown was right about the NIMBY sentiment expressed by locals given people wanted to visit the area and needed to "share".

By December, the hotel height was scaled back with the hotel to be two storeys except for a section of the site where six floors would remain.

Source: Skelsey, M. 1996. "Developer enlists sports stars to help sell proposal to residents: $40m hotel for Manly Wharf," The Daily Telegraph, December 14:17. 

Unfortunately for Mr Magid, Manly Council knocked back the development application. In 1996, they had passed a development control plan that regulated development around Manly Cove. State Legislation was put forward (and passed) the following year by Independent MP Dr Peter McDonald which was known as the Manly Cove Development Control Bill.

The only change that happened to the wharf was an upgrade of existing facilities and that it is now the single level we see. Aldi is an anchor tenant and retailers cater primarily to a commuter crowd. There are bars like the Manly Wharf Hotel and Bavarian Bier Cafe to cater to visitors and locals alike.

But I ask the "What if" question had this been approved by Manly Council. I think there would have been engineering challenges in building this project and the cost of building would have been a big challenge. The financial viability of the developer would have come into question and perhaps it was another fantasy scheme like the one from 1973.

For the time being, high rise above Manly Wharf will be nothing but a fantasy.

Updated November 10 2018 with rescan of article. 

Saturday, 28 June 2014

Property Advert of the Week: Parkes Developments Housing sites (1969)

This week, we feature a commercial from Parkes Developments advertising homesites across Sydney. All you needed was a deposit for $95. According to the RBA Inflation Calculator that would be the equivalent of about $1040 in todays money. While the housing sites were predominantly located in the west and south west, there were also sites at Dee Why, Terry Hills and Jannali.

Parkes Developments Ad December 1969 daily telegraph

Source: Parkes Developments Pty. Ltd. 1969. "Stake out a claim on your new Homesite," The Daily Telegraph, December 26:6. 

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

2004: Breakfast Point takes shape

During the early 2000's one of the many new residential developments that were taking shape along the Parramatta River was Breakfast Point. Now it is a suburb in its own right.

Here is a photo that I snapped that year.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Fab Sydney Flashbacks Facebook Group Now Online

I've now got a Facebook Group up and running for those who use Facebook. You'll get informed on the latest updates plus space to discuss and chat.

Monday, 23 June 2014

1979: Opening of the Eastern Suburbs Railway Line

Today is the 35th anniversary of the Official Opening of the Eastern Suburbs Railway Line between Central and Bondi Junction. Four new stations joined the CityRail Network: Martin Place Kings Cross, Edgecliff and Bondi Junction. It was the first rail line in Sydney to have all its stations underground. For the first two years of operation, it was a shuttle service between Central and Bondi Junction. It was connected to the Illawarra Line in 1981 and Redfern also got its underground platforms (11 and 12).

On that day in 1979, it was a Saturday and the Premier Neville Wran had the honours of officially declaring the line open.

Below are two advertisements promoting the opening of the line. For the opening weekend, travel was free. After that a single trip cost between 10 and 30 cents.

Source: Public Transport Commission of New South Wales. 1979. "Be our guests, take a free train ride on the new Eastern Suburbs Railway," The Sun, June 21: 27. 

Source: Public Transport Commission of New South Wales. 1979. "Eastern Suburbs Railway Now Open," The Daily Telegraph, June 25, 32. 

The Sydney Morning Herald and The Daily Telegraph reported (above) on June 25 that about 250 000 people took advantage of the opening weekend and free rides. There were long queues at stations and platforms overflowed with people.

Most Sydney newspapers were happy. The Daily Telegraph in its editorial on June 25 praised its completion and its addition to the existing rail network. With the Second Oil Crisis underway, it also highlighted the dependence on the motor car and the need to rely on it when one could not use their car. The Sun was quite similar in its view on June 25. The rail line actually made providing transport to Sydney's east even cheaper to about $1.5 million per year. If the oil crisis continued, the savings could increase. However, The Sydney Morning Herald in its editorial on June 23 was critical, suggesting the Eastern Suburbs did not need it and should have focused on spending on improving public transport in the outer suburbs.

Originally, the line was to extend south from Bondi Junction through to Waverley (Charing Cross), Randwick, the University of NSW and Kingsford. The line was to be built in four stages: Edgecliff (1973), Bondi Junction (1974), Randwick (1976) and Kingsford (1977).

Source: State Political Roundsman. 1967. "$12 million a mile track: Bondi Junction on Rail Route," The Daily Telegraph, March 1: 7.

Rushcutters Bay was originally set to have a station but was axed in 1969. It was deemed unviable due to the construction of the William Street tunnel and "small population". Woollahra was also to get its own railway station but construction stopped in 1976 as part of cost-cutting but locals also objected to having their own station.

The platforms between Edgecliff and Bondi Junction are a reminder of what could have been.

Source: Cohen, S. B. 1994. Untitled. accessed June 17, 2014, 

By completion in 1979, it was five years behind schedule.

Saturday, 21 June 2014

Property Advert of the Week: Topmast, Kurraba Point (1970)

This week we head over to Kurraba Point, wherein 1970, $43 000 bought you a prestige apartment with city views. When converted to today's money, $43 000 is equivalent to $455 000. The median unit price for the suburb is currently $758 000 for apartments. 

Source: Henley Constructions Pty. Ltd. 1970. "Topmast - Kurraba Point," The Daily Telegraph, July 18: 44.

Monday, 16 June 2014

1964: The Beatles in Sydney

To mark the 50th Anniversary of The Beatles Australian Tour, I managed to scour through the archives of The Sydney Morning Herald online and share some of the photos as taken by photographers at the paper.

The "Fab Four" arrived on a cold and windy day at Sydney Airport on June 11, 1964, where large crowds braved the elements to greet them. Sydney was the first stop on their tour of Australia and New Zealand. They did not perform that day and flew to Adelaide the next day to present their first set of concerts before heading to Melbourne.

On June 18, The Beatles returned to Sydney. They performed six concerts over three nights at the Sydney Stadium, Rushcutters Bay performing to a combined crowd of about 40-50 000 people (conservative figure but could be 60 000). The image below was taken from the first two concerts. We think young girls go crazy for groups like One Direction but that was nothing compared to this. Imagine a young girl hearing this today from their grandmother.

And they attracted big crowds to their hotel at Kings Cross (Sheraton Hotel, Macleay Street) hoping to score a glimpse of the group. This was taken on June 18, 1964. Police was stretched to the limit in controlling the crowds.

I also came across a newsreel which documents their visit to Sydney. It also includes footage of their visit to Adelaide, where crowds of 350 000 welcomed them to the city (They believe it was half the population of the city at that time).

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Property Advert of the Week: "Grand View" Estate, Leumeah (1972)

While this 1972 advertisement advertises the "Grand View" as being in Campbelltown, the estate was actually located in Leumeah as shown on the map at bottom right. $4950 would buy you a block of land. In today's money that would be about  $46 575 (RBA Inflation Calculator).

Back in those days, there was no East Hills Line and they were claiming that the trip from Leumeah to the city (via Granville) would take 61 minutes. Thanks to the construction of the East Hills Line from East Hills to Glenfield (T2 Airport Line) in 1987, that trip was shaved down to 50 minutes. However if you do wish to trek via Granville, takes longer than in 1972. It is 69 minutes and that's for an express service. 

The reference to the new shopping centre would be what is now Macarthur Square at Campbelltown. 

Source: Parkes (Sales) Pty. Ltd. 1972 "Grand View Estate Campbelltown Advertisement". The Daily Telegraph, April 22: 43. 

Monday, 9 June 2014

1987: Freeway free-for-all

To coincide with the opening of the Georges River Bridge (southbound bridge for the Princes Highway at Tom Uglys Point) in October 1987, The Daily Telegraph ran a special photo spread showing the construction of freeways across the city including the Western Distributor, Southern Cross Drive and the F3 (Sydney-Newcastle Freeway). The road building at the time was deemed by journalists to be the most "ambitious" in years.

Source: Reid, C. 1987. "Freeway free-for-all," The Daily Telegraph, October 13: 26-27.  

Saturday, 7 June 2014

1986: NSW's last ever cracker night

Normally we wouldn't have two entries in one day, but this one has come about because of a conversation on Sydney's 2GB radio station yesterday afternoon. Fill in drive presenter Glenn Wheeler bought up cracker night, which was a long-standing custom in NSW for many years as we mark the Queens Birthday long weekend. The last such night happened to be on this exact day in 1986. Believe it or not, I had a clipping from The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader warning people to be careful but also the fact it could be the last one. In fact, it was the last such night. The sale of fireworks is now banned in NSW to the general public.

Quite interestingly, there are calls to reinstate the event. What do you think?

Source: Anon. 1986. "'Take greatest care this cracker night': Specialist warns of eye injury," The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, June 3: 5.

Property Advert of the Week: Boulevarde Towers, Brighton-Le-Sands (1970)

In the St George area, one of the first high rise towers was built at Brighton-Le-Sands. Below is an advertisement from The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader dating back to 1970 promoting apartments for sale in the Boulevarde Towers. It was the first high rise building built within the Rockdale Municipality.

The eight level building certainly guaranteed the best views in the area (ocean, bay and city) for a while. Soon after, just to the east of the building, in the same block, a building of the same height was constructed taking away some of the ocean and bay views. City views were then eaten away by development in streets to its north (Princess and Gordon Streets). In 1990, the Resort Hotel (now Novotel) was completed which also ate away even more at the sweeping views into the city and eastern suburbs.

Source: John Blight Real Estate. 1970. "Boulevard Towers Advertisement," The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, January 21: 24.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

2004: Spirit of Tasmania unloads its cargo

A photo I took at Sydney Tower of the Spirit of Tasmania unloading cars and buses in October 2004 at East Darling Harbour (Barangaroo).

Monday, 2 June 2014

1989: A Hole lot of work

An interesting report from The Daily Telegraph in 1989, where it looks at the early stages of the construction of the failed World Square project in central Sydney. Demolition work had begun on the former site of the Anthony Horderns department store three years earlier in 1986. Now the entire site was a hole in the ground. A year later, disputes led to the collapse of the project. By then the basement levels were under construction and a lift core for one of the four proposed towers was well above ground. It was not until the late 1990's that work would resume on the site (well part of it at least) with the construction of the first tower known as Hordern Towers, a hotel and residential apartment tower at the corner of Liverpool and Pitt Street. 

Construction work on the four towers and shared retail podium was estimated to cost about $1.5 billion. Completion was set for 1992, a quite ambitious goal given the scale of the project. 

Source: Deegan, L. 1989. "A hole lot of work: City digs deep for a $1.5 billion job," The Daily Telegraph, March 8:17.