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.