Saturday, 30 May 2015

Property Advert of the Week: 1 Hosking Place (1996)

This week's property advert takes us to 1996, when apartments in 1 Hosking Place (just behind Martin Place) were on sale for those who needed an abode in the heart of Sydney's financial district. Apartments were selling off the plan from $267 000.
. 1 Hosking Place november 9 1996 SMH 21RE
Source: Walker Corporation. 1996. Untitled (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, November 9: 21 (Real Estate Liftout).

Monday, 25 May 2015

MILESTONE: Opening of the Captain Cook Bridge (1965)

The Captain Cook Bridge as seen from Taren Point. The gates to the former punt are still there five decades later. 

On Friday (May 29), it will be fifty years since the Captain Cook Bridge was officially opened. Before 1965, there was only one bridge spanning the Georges River that linked the Sutherland Shire with Sydney - Tom Uglys Bridge at Sylvania. The original three-lane bridge was opened in 1929. Two punts were also in operation. One was downstream at Sans Souci at the end of Rocky Point Road linking the suburb with Taren Point. There was also the Lugarno Ferry at Lugarno.

The end of World War II fuelled a population boom in the Sutherland Shire. The land was subdivided into new housing estates. By 1961, the region had a population of 112 000. Yet there was one road crossing. At Tom Uglys Bridge, Sylvania motorists were forced to wait in long queues to access the bridge, particularly at weekends. Each lane was carrying as much if not more traffic than a typical lane on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader was first published in 1960 and its lead story on its launch edition on June 29 1960, called for a bridge to replace the punt at Sans Souci. It would form a section of the proposed (and still is) Southern Expressway linking Wollongong with Sydney.

Page 1 of the first edition of The St George & Sutherland Shire Leader in June 1960 was calling for a new crossing over the Georges River.
Not long after this, tenders for a new bridge were called. The span would be 473 metres long  (road deck was 506 metres long) and contain six lanes to carry motor traffic.

Source: Anonymous. 1961. "Jumping-off Point".  The St George and Sutherland Leader, August 9: 1.

Construction began in 1962. John Holland was named as the winning tender.

Source: Anon. 1962. "New Bridge Goes Up". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, July 25: 1.

Here is a photo of construction from 1964 taken by Craig Birdsell as seen from Sylvania.

Source: Birdsell, Craig. 1964. "Untitled (Photograph)." 

Just months before opening, the spans met.

Source: Anon. 1965. "Bridging Distance". The Daily Telegraph, January 14: 11.

Below is a rare aerial of the completed bridge and punt taken days prior to the bridge opening.

Source: Anonymous. 1965. "Named for Captain Cook". The Daily Telegraph, May 27, 5. 

The bridge was opened to traffic on May 29 1965 after it was officially opened by NSW Governor Sir Eric Woodward. Five thousand people attended. A number of plaques were unveiled. They are located at both ends of the bridge and in the middle of the bridge.

The public was invited to walk over the bridge before motorists could finally use the bridge. In fact, that afternoon, the normally busy Tom Uglys Bridge was deserted as people wanted to see the new road for themselves, leading to significant congestion on the bridge approaches which lasted for the entire weekend.

Source: Anonymous. 1965. "Having a Look at the Bridge". The Daily Telegraph, May 31: 7. 

On that same day, the punt operated for the last time before being move upstream to Lugarno where it provided the punt service until 1974, one year after the opening of the Alfords Point Bridge.

I've also included the front page from The Propeller, which I scanned several years back to mark the opening of the bridge.

And last but not least, a photo spread from page three of the June 2, 1965 edition of The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader.

Finally, here is a newsreel clip courtesy of British Pathe that documented the opening of the bridge.

Updated November 2018 with the addition of a newspaper clipping. 

Saturday, 23 May 2015

Property Advert of the Week: Lend Lease Housing Village Advertisement (1962)

Here is a property advertisement straight out of a local rag (St George and Sutherland Shire Leader) from 1962. Though the demonstration village was out at Carlingford, locals in Sydney's south were given an invitation to check out the homes that they could build, including the three-bedroom Beachcomber.

Source: Lend Lease Homes. 1962. "Lend Lease Homes at the 1962 Demonstration Village Carlingford (Advertisement)". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, February 1: 10. 

Monday, 18 May 2015

1994: Rap Jumping in Sydney

For a while in the 1990s one building in Kings Cross was happy for people to let people engage in rap jumping where they abseil down a building as if they were walking, abelt at a 90-degree angle. It was at the Hotel Crest (currently Hotel Mercure Sydney Potts Point). The concept of rap jumping was used by Australian troops in the Vietnam War and allows gunmen to fire while abseiling down a cliff. Macka Mackail, a former SAS officer was operating the business.

Source: Wockner, S. 1994. "Rap jumping craze is a full-frontal business." The Daily Telegraph, January 25: 5.

However, if you want to rap jump off a building, Urban Central at Southbank in Inner Melbourne offers it, and from my knowledge, the only highrise building in Australia that currently offers it.

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Property Advert of the Week: The Wharf at Woolloomooloo (1997)

In 1997, apartments were placed on sale at Woolloomooloo's famous finger wharf as the building was converted into a hotel and residential complex. This is one of the official newspaper advertisements from that time promoting the official launch. Apartments started at $380 000.

 The Wharf at Woolloomooloo May 24 1997 SMH 19RE 

Source: The Wharf Woolloomooloo. 1997. "All Aboard! The Wharf at Woolloomooloo (Advertisement). " The Sydney Morning Herald, May 24: 19 [Real Estate Lift out].

Monday, 11 May 2015

1964: Original Wales Bank Scheme

At the eastern end of Martin Place and directly opposite to the headquarters of the Reserve Bank of Australia is the Westpac Building.

Today I will share a clipping relating to the evolution of the building that occupies the site.

In 1964, a 20 level building was proposed, which would have been according to The Sydney Morning Herald as about the same height as the Reserve Bank Building directly opposite. It would have been a "giant" for Sydney but today would be a "dwarf" against the 70 and 80 levels that some Sydney towers are or will be.

Source: Anonymous. 1964. "Office Giant for City." The Sydney Morning Herald, November 6: 3. 

However, in 1967, we saw the conception of the eventual design. The tower would end up being 30 levels or 119 metres tall.

Source: Anonymous. 1967. "381ft over Martin Place". The Daily Telegraph, December 8: 9. 

It was completed in 1970 and would be the headquarters for the Wales Bank (rebranded Westpac) until 2006 when it relocated its headquarters to in Kent Street.

The tower as seen from Sydney Tower. Photograph taken by the Author. 
The building has been upgraded since. The podium was enlarged. Westpac still has offices in the complex. However, a development application has been lodged with Sydney City Council to demolish the structure and replace it with a taller tower. Hassall has designed a 35 storey (139 metre) tower. The tower would also overhang St Stephens Uniting Church, though the plans have been criticised by those associated by the Church.

The proposed tower to replace the existing Westpac Building. Sourced from the Skyscrapercity Forums. 

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Property Advert of the Week: Panania Golf Course Estate - Milperra (1967)

This week's property advertisement dates all the way back to 1967. This time it is from Milperra where blocks of land were on sale from 1775 pounds ($3550). In today's money that represents a bargain at $39 815 according to the RBA inflation calculator. The blocks back onto the Bankstown Golf Club. So going by this advertisement, the land for sale was in what is now Inghram Avenue, Whittle Avenue and Keysor Place in Milperra.

Note again, that in 1967 housing advertisements were allowed to be advertised in pounds as part of the transition from pounds to dollars in 1966 for a two year period.

Source: Parkes Developments. 1967.  "Panania Golf Course Estate (Advertisement)". The Daily Telegraph, April 1: 41. 

Monday, 4 May 2015

1998: The Barriers that stop the shops

I'm putting this post up as our flashback for this week given that works are set to begin soon on the extension of Sydney's Light Rail Network from Central Station to Circular Quay.


Skelsey, M. 1998. "Barriers that stop the shops". The Daily Telegraph, June 25: 21.

As part of beautifying the streets of Sydney for the Olympics in the Year 2000, Sydney City Council spent tens of millions of dollars in upgrading city footpaths in parts of the Sydney CBD, particularly in the financial and retail precincts. In mid-1998, when works were undertaken in Castlereagh Street, retailers told The Daily Telegraph (see full article above) that the upgrade works had caused a considerable fall in trade. They were even linking it to the Asian Currency Crisis despite Australia generally remaining unaffected economically.

The picture in the article shows to the extent to which access was restricted. There were narrow walkways with fencing blocking out shopfronts.

What is more interesting that they suggested that the high-end retail precinct be relocated. One reason was the lack of sun. But we look to 2015 and it has only gone forward. The works did enhance the streetscape, making the area more attractive to shoppers and visitors. The upgrade of Westfield Sydney on the western side of the street provided further stimulus. It provided the retail spaces that the high-end retailers want. Sydney's boutique retailing precinct has also expanded north into Martin Place and west towards George Street.

While some city businesses are complaining about how the closure of George Street for works will affect them, it needs to be understood that sometimes we need to endure short-term pain for long-term gain. The street will not be clogged anymore and people will have control of the street. Walk the narrow pathways on George Street and you'll realise how hard it can be to navigate the crowds during the lunch hour. Some businesses have admitted that they prefer cars to drive past the front of their stores for they will be able to see what is on sale. But how can you see something that you want clearly from a car window?

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Property Advert of the Week: Woronora Gardens, Bonnet Bay (1965)

In 1965, Parkes Developments were selling blocks of land at what is now is  for a deposit of 150 pounds in an estate known as "Woronora Gardens". It was advertised as being Jannali, but it is really in what is now known as Bonnet Bay.

Woronora Gardens October 23 1965 daily telegraph 53
Source: Parkes Developments. 1965. "Woronora Gardens (Advertisement)." The Daily Telegraph, October 23: 53.