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.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Property Advert of the Week: Parkes Developments Land Release at Mt Colah (1966)

In 1966, you could snap a block of land at Mt Colah for just a deposit of fifty pounds plus the promise of a quick 40 minute train ride to your city job. Sadly in 2015, that trip now takes an average of 55 minutes.

Mt Colah Ad February 12 1966 daily telegraph 43

Source: Parkes Developments Pty. Ltd. "Station Estate Mt Colah" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, February 12: 43. 

Monday, 2 November 2015

1993: Light Rail & Public consultation

With the light rail extensions now underway in central and eastern Sydney, I thought I'd cast our minds back to 1993 when the public was being invited to comment on what would become stage 1 in our current light rail network which was to operate from Central Railway Station to the Sydney Fish Markets.

Source: Department of Transport (NSW). 1993. "Light Rail Development Application" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph Mirror, October 13: 14. 

Within six months, tenders had been called for the 3.6km link. Note that they anticipated trams operating down George Street by 2000.  Light rail services commenced in August 1997.

Source: McDougall, B. 1994. "Trams return to city: Plans for inner-suburban service". The Daily Telegraph Mirror,  May 2: 15.