Monday, 28 December 2015

New Years Eve 25 Years Ago: 1990

Let's head back a generation to see how the people of Sydney marked the start of 1991.

Source: The Festival of Sydney. 1990. "Skyshow: Sydney's Concert In the Sky for the Festival of Sydney 1991" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph Mirror, December 30:28. 

Unlike 2015, where the celebrations take place at midnight with activities to count down the final hours, celebrations were a mid-evening affair.

Just like the year before, the thirty-minute fireworks skyshow held at 9pm marked the start of the 1991 Festival of Sydney. This was the second annual show and would be a forerunner to the displays that we see today. The Daily Telegraph Mirror prepared a wall chart ahead of the event.

Fireworks were to be launched from four barges off Bennelong Point which was spread over 100 metres. Even though they were tightly condensed, you were able to see it from anywhere in the harbour. No fireworks were to be let off the Sydney Harbour Bridge. I've enlarged the map provided on the preview poster above to give you the idea.

As per the year before, the music for the display was simulcast on 2DAY FM and those attending the fireworks were invited to bring their Sony Walkman along. Even if you are watching the fireworks this Thursday, you will need to take your Sony Walkman (no joke you can get them still) or Ipod Nano if you want to listen to the soundtrack.

Sydneysiders certainly flocked to it as hundreds of thousands descended on Sydney Harbour. It was believed that as many as one million flocked to central Sydney though The Daily Telegraph mentioned of fewer crowds at The Rocks.  For those who didn't flock to the harbour, they were partying the night away at Darling Harbour. In fact it was quite hard moving around that part of the city according to The Sydney Morning Herald on January 1.

Source: Jones, B. 1991. "Happy New Year". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, January 1: 1 & 3. 

There were plenty of buses and ferries to get you around.

Source: State Transit. 1990. "Ringing In The New Year? Catch a lift with us." (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph Mirror, December 31: 14. 

Rail services were increased, though there were concerns over the lack of interurban trains running after midnight.  The Daily Telegraph Mirror reported on its commuter club page on December 31 that there very limited interurban services. Central Coast commuters only had one train after midnight - 12:35am to get them home and one extra service to Wollongong an hour later. The explanation by Cityrail was that there were celebrations in those regions that did not necessitate the extra trains.

I don't think people will have much to worry about in terms of heading into the city to celebrate on Thursday evening with lots of trains to operate throughout the evening. As celebrations have grown, transport authorities have had no choice but to respond.  There will be plenty of buses and ferries as well, though many city bus services will have to be either re-routed or suspended to cater for closures to city streets. Ferries will also have to stop for the fireworks. With so many people travelling into the city and harbour, it's imperative that as many services as possible can be provided. And we will smash Melbourne  Melbourne are pretty slack shutting down rail stations for no reason, for instance, this Thursday and funnelling revellers to Flinders Street & Southern Cross Stations. Circular Quay Station here in Sydney will close to those arriving by train between 6pm and 1am.

While the night's entertainment is free like in 1990, there just seems to be fewer places each year allowing one to celebrate for free, and where its free, crowd numbers are restricted for comfort reasons. Unlike 25 years ago, if you want a good view of the night's celebration, you'll have to camp out. If you want to see it at Mrs Macquaries Chair, you'll have to camp out in a queue until early Thursday morning. Otherwise, you'll have to pay, and through the roof as well.

One thing that hasn't changed is the international interest in the night's festivities by visitors to Sydney who got into the spirit of celebrations. One German was reported by The Daily Telegraph Mirror (see above) wanting to become an Australian. A quarter of a century later, they come by the planeload and in fact it has become a pilgrimage as the celebrations are now the best on earth. In f,act you will be lucky if you can find Sydneysiders at some sites Thursdayday like Mrs Macquaries Chair, which attract the global visitors because of the spectacular view of the Harbour Bridge & Opera House.

Finally this is my last flashback for the next four weeks. Our Property Advert of the Week entries will continue through January given their popularity by visitors to the site. 

Saturday, 26 December 2015

Property Advert of the Week: AVJennings Display Village, McGraths Hill (1991)

This week, I'd like to share a great commercial by AV Jennings which was screened on Sydney TV Networks in mid 1991. They promoted the AV Jennings Display Village which was at McGraths Hill near Windsor. Their ambassador was Geoff Harvey, who was then director of music at the Nine Network.


Today, they have the one display home and sales office at Eastwood.

Monday, 21 December 2015

Christmas Snapshot: 1990

Christmas is on this Friday, and this week we focus on how Sydney marked Christmas in 1990.

1990 wasn't as a dramatic as the year before, but Australia was entering the recession "that we had to have". In November, Paul Keating delivered the news that the nation was going to dread.

So Christmas 1990 was going to be tough for some and the fear of losing one's job or income would see some keep their cash in their wallets.

It was up to the retailers to persuade you to put your fears aside as these advertisements show.
Grace Bros were happy to save the best deals until the last moment, a bit of a forerunner to some of the deals you see in the lead up to December 25.

Source: Grace Bros. 1990. "We've Left The Best 'Til Last (Advertisement). The Sunday Telegraph, December 23: 18.

Source: Brashs. 1990. "Brashs 4 Day Christmas Sellout (Advertisement)".  The Daily Telegraph Mirror, December 21: 22. 

And Woolworths promised lots of specials.

Source: Woolworths. 1990. "Christmas brings you Lower Prices (Advertisement)". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, December 19: 56-57. 

As with 1989, retailers were permitted to trade on the two Sundays in the lead up to Christmas Day (December 16 and 23) which actually required legislation by the NSW Government to be passed before it was approved. Sunday trading was generally still not allowed in NSW.

The Christmas Season in Sydney had begun over a month before. On November 11, Grace Bros put on their second annual Christmas Pageant which began the Christmas season as an estimated 200 000 lined city streets to welcome Santa Claus to Sydney on November 11. The parade was held under sunny skies as celebrities and Santa himself was paraded down Macquarie, Market and George Streets through to Darling Harbour.

Source: O'Rourke, J. 1990. "200 000 join parade". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, November 12, 4-5. 

Carols in the Domain was held on December 22. It had an earlier starting time than today (7:30pm) and the Electricity Commission replaced Esso as the main sponsor.

Source: Anonymous. 1990. "Carols in the Domain". The Sunday Telegraph, December 23: 4. 

Western Sydney had their major carols event to compete with those in the east. On December 16, 40 000 packed Parramatta Stadium for the St George Carols by Candlelight.

Christmas 1990 didn't produce the dramatic news events that shaped the following Christmas, but bushfires on the northern beaches tried to put a dampener on celebrations. Fires swept through suburbs including Wahroonga, North Turramurra, Forestville, Killarney Heights, Terry Hills & Allambie Heights on December 23. Around 20 homes on the Central Coast were destroyed by fires. Cyclone Joy was also menacing Far North Queensland but was downgraded to a tropical low by the time it crossed the coast near Townsville.

The front page of The Sydney Morning Herald on December 24, 1990, with some amazing pictures of bushfires on Sydney's Northern Beaches. 

On Friday, I was taking some Christmas themed photos in the city, and one of my stops was the Queen Victoria Building, where their Christmas tree just becomes more and more ornate each year.

Photos taken by the Author. 

Compare that with 1990, which was quite modest in my view.

Source: Bishop. K. 1990. "Artificial Christmas trees - a growth industry". The Sydney Morning Herald, December 22: 3. 

Next week, New Year's Eve 1990 is our focus and then we will scale back to one entry for the month of January. Given the huge interest in old property advertisements, I'll keep them going and that also gives me time to research.

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.

Saturday, 19 December 2015

Property Advert of the Week: Hyde Park Towers Ad (1997)

In 1997, Hyde Park Towers in Elizabeth Street had apartments on sale with the promise of immediate occupation when settlement was made. Prices were not listed, which might have been seen as a little odd.

Hyde Park Towers SMH May 24 1997 17RE

Source: Accord Pacific Holdings. Ltd. 1997. "Hyde Park Towers" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, May 24: 14RE (Real Estate Section).

Monday, 14 December 2015

1983: Opening of the Sydney Entertainment Centre

The Sydney Entertainment Centre in 2015. Photo taken by the Author. 

A special cover was produced by The Daily Telegraph to mark the opening of the Sydney Entertainment Centre.
This week, we are going to say goodbye to the Sydney Entertainment Centre after 32 years of wonderful service to our city. On Friday, Cold Chisel will reunite for a special gig (performed its final concert at the venue in 1983) while its most loyal client - Elton John will be the last man standing the following night.

To celebrate the end of an era, why don't I go back to the start of the era in 1983 when it first opened.

Opening Day was May 1 1983, opened by NSW Premier Neville Wran before a capacity crowd. The opening event was an entertainment spectacular which was broadcast Australia wide on the Nine Network.

The night was compered by Bert Newton. Entertainers included Olivia Newton-John, Peter Allen & Jon English.

And how did Sydney get its entertainment centre?

Photo taken by the Author. 

In the 1970's, Sydney simply did not have a world class indoor entertainment venue. The major concerts had to be held outdoors. Our older readers might remember for instance having to watch Neil Diamond or ABBA perform at the Sydney Showgrounds. At the start of that decade, Sydney Stadium which hosted major concerts including The Beatles was demolished to make way for the Eastern Suburbs Railway Line.

In 1975, the city's fruit and vegetable markets had relocated to inner-west Flemington from Haymarket which provided an opportunity for the area to be revitalised. Other venues were proposed, including Kings Cross and the Sydney Showgrounds but the Government decided on Haymarket. Work began in 1979 and cost $41 million to build.

The Entertainment Centre had a capacity of 12 000 for concerts or 10 000 for sporting events. As a theatre venue, it could accomodate 3 500 people.

Apart from concerts, the Sydney Entertainment Centre has also functioned as a sporting venue, home to the Sydney Kings who compete in the National Basketball League. For the Olympic Games in 2000, it hosted the volleyball final.

Finally for those who love their facts - Dire Straits performed the most concerts as part of a tour (21) in 1986, while Elton John has performed 45 concerts, the most by a performer over the lifespan.

We will have to wait one more year before our Entertainment Centre reopens as part of the Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre. the ICC Performance Centre will be smaller than Entertainment Centre with a capacity of 8000. The reduction in capacity is to make it more distinct from AllPhones Arena (Sydney Olympic Park) which can host in excess of 20 000 people for a concert.

Recent work on the ICC Performance Centre. Photo taken by the Author. 

Recent work at the rear of the Sydney Entertainment Centre as part of The Haymarket Development. This was the former carpark. Photo taken by the Author. 

There are proposals at the moment to build another multi-performance venue that would have the same capacity as the existing centre. One location suggested is Wentworth Park.

As for the site, this is how it will look in a few years from now. It will be a place where people will live, work and play in a new city precinct - The Haymarket.

Photo taken by the Author.

Saturday, 12 December 2015

Property Advert of the Week: Sunrise Estate, Kingswood (1962)

This week, I head to Kingswood where 590 pounds landed you a dream plot of land in 1962. The agents Ronald R. Keed & Co did make an epic error in referring to Kingswood as Kingsford. I was fooled to start with when I saw this one, thinking that the advertisement was for land in eastern Sydney. Read the small font towards the bottom and notice that the Great Western Highway is the meeting point for a sales representative. It's a case of Go West my friends. No chance of getting away with that error today.

  Kingsford Ad April 14 1962 daily telegraph 48

Source: Ronald R. Keed & Co. 1962. "Land...Kingsford" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, April 14: 48.

Monday, 7 December 2015

1972: Opening of Miranda Fair's new office tower

Westfield Miranda is known widely as Miranda Fair, which opened in 1964 as a shopping centre owned by Melbourne's Myer Corporation. In the early 1970s, the shopping centre was expanded from approximately 40 shops to 80 shops. This included a Grace Bros Department Store. Part of the expansion also included the construction of a small office tower facing the Kingsway.

In 1971, Westfield began advertising space for lease in the tower.

Source: Westfield Development Corporation Limited. 1971. "Miranda Fair Shoppingtown" (Advertisement). The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, August 18: 19.

It was officially opened in March 1972, six months after the retail expansion had been opened to the public.

Source: Anon. 1972. "Tower has a vantage point for shire panorama". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, March 8:7.

Source: Anon. 1972."Miranda Fair tower a magnet for tourists". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, March 15:11.

The office building was a local icon, namely for its famous revolving star, the symbol of the centre. You'd have to stare at it for a half a minute to notice its movement.

Photos taken by the Author (2005). 

Sadly, it was demolished in 2013 to make way for an expansion of the centre which bought it right onto the Kingsway. What outraged locals (like me) at the time was that it led to the loss of the star. Westfield promised they would retain elements of its part, but they have only kept a Moreton Bay fig.


I look at the roof of Westfield Miranda today and is it really that hard to plonk a spire atop it.

Above: Westfield Miranda following its recent expansion (2015). Photos by the author. 

Saturday, 5 December 2015

Property Advert of the Week: Vista Court, Penshurst (1967)

This week's property advertisement sees us head up just two stops on the Illawarra Rail Line to Penshurst. Funny enough it's just two years later - 1967. For 6450 pounds or just under $13, 000 would snap up a "big" two bedroom unit in Vista Court at 30 Jersey Street. The "big" is emphasised because I think they may not be big enough by today's standards.

Source: Richardson & Dahl Pty. Ltd. 1967. Untitled (Advertisement). The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, June 7: Page Unknown. 

Monday, 30 November 2015

1985: Plans Unveiled for Darling Harbour

I have been following with great interest, the redevelopment of Darling Harbour. Sydney's Exhibition and Convention Centre are being rebuilt from scratch in a multi-billion dollar project. This also includes incorporating the Sydney Entertainment Centre into the complex along with a smaller concert hall that can be used for conferences and exhibitions.

It was thirty years ago, in 1985 that Sydneysiders were introduced to what is now the original Darling Harbour development. It was a very bold vision of the NSW Government led by Neville Wran, to redevelop what was then a goods yard and port. The initial plans were announced the year before, but it did take time to come with the final plan. There is no mention of the monorail that was to link the city with the precinct.

Source: 1985. "Vision of our future city". The Daily Telegraph, August 19: 10-11.

The goal was to have it ready by January 26 1988. That didn't happen. Only Tumbalong Park was ready on time with other projects opening several months later. The Sydney Exhibition and Convention centre opened in May 1988 while the first stage of the Harbourside Shopping Complex opened in March 1988. The National Maritime Museum did not open until 1991. I do encourage you to read the editorial because it is spot on in its predictions for Sydney. One comment, in particular, draws attention:

  "Darling Harbour will be a showpiece for the people of today and for generations to come."

And it did from day one. The crowds flocked from everywhere and has been a constant hive of activity especially at weekends. The Sydney Exhibition and Convention Centre was a highly sought location for exhibitions and turned Sydney into one of the worlds most popular cities for exhibitions and conventions. Tumablong Park is a favourite with families and regularly hosts major events and festivals.

Additions in the 1990s like the IMAX Theatre and Cockle Bay Wharf further enhanced the area as a major destination for Sydneysiders and visitors to the emerald city.

Recent years have also seen an introduction of office and hotel space on the site itself, adding to the mix of uses that the area has.

Even with the redevelopment of the Exhibition and Convention Centre, I believe that the area will still be a showpiece for the people for Sydney. Some might ask why such good facilities were pulled down? They were victims of their own success, and really some flexibility is needed as well.

There has been the discussion of a redevelopment of Harbourside, which has probably been the big disappointment with the Darling Harbour project. It may have leading restaurants, cafes and bars, but the general retail offering is poor, like that of a suburban shopping centre along with tacky souvenir shops. One idea is to demolish and rebuild a new centre, but build an office tower above it.

Saturday, 28 November 2015

Property Advert of the Week: 34 Letitia Street, Oatley (1965)

The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader continue to show some great gems from the past. In 1965, a unit block at 34 Letitia Street in Oatley had units for sale.

Oatley is famous for being a suburb where you can start with a small unit and work your way up to a waterfront mansion with every housing type available. I wonder how owners of the units in the 1960s have moved into their waterfront abode nearby.

Source: C.A. Sanders & Co. 1965. "New Home Units in Lovely Oatley" (Advertisement). The St George and Sutherland Leader, July 5: 63.

Monday, 23 November 2015

1990: The birth of Sydney's 24 hour newspaper - The Daily Telegraph Mirror

You can probably tell in this blog, that I have a liking for newspapers and this entry is about the newspapers themselves.

In 2015, newspapers are a 24/7 product thanks to the rise of digital technologies like the internet and tablet computers, which allow you to download and view the latest news as they happen around the world.

But there is a step that links the publication of news in the traditional print format with that of today, the birth of the 24-hour newspaper.

So what did this mean in 1990? It was simply about bringing out editions of a newspaper throughout the day and dispensing with publishing a newspaper either in the morning or afternoon.

For decades, Sydneysiders woke up to either The Daily Telegraph, The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian or The Australian Financial Review (Still that way in 2015).  For those who wanted to read the news of the day on the way home, there was either The Sun or The Daily Mirror.

But times were changing. As Sydney grew, more found themselves driving to work, taking away that opportunity to sit and read a newspaper while commuting either to or from work. The bigger threat was the rise of television. People could simply watch the days events visually and the news was often fresher.  The news was becoming live. You didn't have to wait for the next morning to find out what had happened during the day.

At the start of October 1990, Rupert Murdoch made a major announcement concerning his major papers in Sydney and Melbourne. In Melbourne, The Sun News Pictorial and The Herald would combine to form The Herald-Sun. In Sydney, The Daily Telegraph would merge with The Daily Mirror to form The Daily Telegraph Mirror. Murdoch also announced plans to build new printers in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Adelaide that would allow colour printing. It was anticipated that this would be done by 1992, but it was not until 1994 that colour became a routine part of The Daily Telegraph Mirror. 

The reasons given by Murdoch and News Corp were simple:
  • Fall in advertising revenue, particularly for The Daily Mirror. Advertisers preferred the all-day exposure that a morning newspaper could offer. 
  • Circulation growth for The Daily Mirror following the closure of The Sun in 1988 did not materialise. However, it did sell more copies than The Daily Telegraph - 360 000 compared to 280 000.
  • Consolidate News Limited at the forefront of newspaper publishing.
The final edition of The Daily Mirror was published on Friday, October 5, 1990.

As for The Daily Telegraph, its final edition was October 6, 1990.

October 8 saw the first editions of The Daily Telegraph Mirror roll off the press. the leading story on Page 1 was Kerry Packer's heart attack from the day before which saw him clinically dead for six minutes. There was also a short feature and photo to celebrate the launch of the newspaper.

 At Broadway, The Sydney Morning Herald took interest in the merger. Two years earlier, its afternoon paper The Sun was axed due to falling circulation. It reported on the decision by the newly merged paper to provide those on the Blue Mountains, Central Coast and Illawarra regions with country editions, instead of metro editions as they did with The Daily Telegraph. They would also miss out on afternoon editions. However initial sales were reported to be strong particularly the afternoon and evening editions.

On January 2, 1996, readers awoke to the news that the "Mirror" had been removed from the masthead and the paper was reverted to The Daily Telegraph. The only difference now was that the paper was still a 24-hour paper. On January 25, 2002, the final afternoon edition was published citing that growth in afternoon sales was not as strong as morning sales. 

But I will recall as a teen that the final edition came out at 1:30pm in the final years of afternoon editions, which wouldn't have covered the news effectively for those reading on the way home (and only available in the Sydney CBD). Late editions from what I am aware were out at 4pm. How could you maintain the growth of afternoon editions if the material was little changed from the morning editions? As of September 2015, approximately 256 000 copies were published daily in print form, while thousands more view the paper on mobile devices (like yours truly who has a teacher subscription to The Daily Telegraph, alongside his home delivery of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Weekend Australian). 

A front page of The Daily Telegraph in September 2015

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Property Advert of the Week: Apartments for sale at Newington (2000)

Back in 2000, an apartment at Newington could cost you as little as $325 000. The marketing slogan was "There'll be no draggin you off the balcony". Since 2000, the price of units has doubled with reporting that the average unit sells for $680 000. Maybe you'll have to drag them off the balcony if you want really a unit.

  Newington June 10 2000 SMH Domain 21A

Source: Mirvac. 2000. "There'll be no draggin you off the balcony" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, June 10: 21A (Domain Liftout).

Monday, 16 November 2015

1987: Westfield Eastgardens Opens

In October 1987, Westfield opened their first major shopping centre in the Eastern Suburbs on the site of the former General Motors - Holden Manufacturing Plant at Pagewood. Here is an advertisement that was published in The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader at the time of its opening.

Source: Westfield. 1987. "Westfield Shoppingtown Eastgardens at Pagewood (Advertisement). " The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, October 15: 27. 

Westfield Eastgardens is built on what was once the Pagewood Bus Depot factory and the W.D.  & H.O. Wills factory. The site had to be rezoned to allow the development and included crown land. It was seen as a way of stimulating the local economy and provide employment to locals.

The original centre in 1987 was two levels with 150 shops, six-screen cinema, 24-hour medical centre and an international food court that would seat 550. Parking was available for 3000 cars.

The shopping centre like other centres has had an adverse impact on local shopping centres, particularly Maroubra Junction which was the main retail centre for the area. Grace Bros which opened in 1981 became an outlet store for the chain during the 1990s (Good Buys Clearance Store) and closed in 2002 to allow for the construction of Pacific Square Shopping Centre and residential towers.

The shopping centre also led to the creation of Eastgardens as suburb, which was gazetted during the late 1990s. Parts of Pagewood were gazetted into the suburb surrounding the centre.

In 2002, a third level was added taking the total number of shops to around 250. David Jones was the main department store, but was replaced by Myer in 2007 as part of a site swap between the two chains. This also marked a return of Myer-Grace Bros to the southeastern suburbs of Sydney.

Photo taken by the Author. 

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Property Advert of the Week: Crown Land Sale at East Killara (1968)

In 1968,20 blocks were going up for Auction at East Killara in Saiala Road and Parnell Street. Note that settlement required a 20% deposit. Reserve prices were to begin at $7000.

  East Killara Ad April 5 1968 daily mirror 55

Source: NSW Department of Lands. 1968. "20 Home Sites: East Killara" (Advertisement)".  The Daily Mirror, April 5 1968: 54. 

Monday, 9 November 2015

1970: Drummoyne's Towering Giants

Drummoyne doesn't have anything exceptionally tall at all but in 1970, there was a proposal to build major highrise apartment towers at Birkenhead Point. This would have resulted in the demolition of the Dunlop Tyre Factory buildings that would later become the Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre.

The tallest tower was to rise 42 levels (left of picture) or about 8 levels shorter than Australia Square in the Sydney CBD.

Princess Properties International was to develop the site. Apart from providing apartments for 3000 people, there would also be office, motel and retail space included. In addition, a ferry terminal and marina would be built on Iron Cove.


Source: Anonymous. 1970. $50 million complex near harbor". The Daily Telegraph, July 25: 1 & 8.

It may have never got off the ground, but we did manage to keep the original Dunlop Factory Buildings and that would form the Birkenhead Point Shopping Centre, one of Sydney's major outlet shopping centres.

Photos taken by the Author.