A new future for Sydney’s industrial-era buildings

me of the last remnants of Sydney’s most industrial era warehouses and factories will receive a heritage listing, reserving a piece of the city’s industrial past and providing guidance to owners on how to adapt and incorporate interesting heritage elements on their properties for future use.

To download images of the buildings: then and now, then, now.

The City of Sydney proposal includes the birthplaces for many of Australia’s key brands, retailers and manufacturers, including IXL, Henderson Hats and Westinghouse. Also on the list is a rare, igloo-shaped World War II aircraft hangar where parts of the Beaufort bomber were manufactured.

Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills - then and now
Wentworth Avenue, Surry Hills – then and now

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said heritage listings allowed redevelopment of the sites to take place, but also helped protect Sydney’s historic buildings and their valuable contribution to the local area.

“Sydney had one of the largest collections of industrial buildings in Australia, and those buildings tell the story of the city’s growth and the nation’s rapid industrialisation,” the Lord Mayor said.

“With few undeveloped areas of the city remaining, these buildings are being converted into sought-after residential or commercial properties. The proposed listings will ensure the heritage value of these buildings remains, while retaining the current zonings for height limits and floor-space ratios.

“If you look at The Grounds of Alexandria, the look and feel of the former industrial site creates a unique setting for the eatery and an authentic experience for customers, adding to the attraction for their hundreds of visitors each week.”

41-45 Bourke Street, Alexandria - then and now
41-45 Bourke Street, Alexandria – then and now

The City undertook an exhaustive study of more than 470 industrial sites and buildings across Sydney to produce the list of 62 structures and two small heritage conservation areas that have the greatest integrity and historical interest.

The City spent three months consulting with building owners and the community and received more than 100 submissions.

684 Botany Road, Alexandria - then and now
684 Botany Road, Alexandria – then and now

The final list of 57 buildings proposed for listing include Harry Seidler’s 1970 Q Store warehouse in Alexandria, which was adapted into offices in 2009.

The former National Motor Springs hangar, known as the igloo building, is also on the list. The hangar was built in 1941 as a government annex to manufacture aircraft undercarriages for the Australian military.

The former Wrigley’s chewing gum factory, at Crewe Place in Rosebery, is also proposed for listing. The owners of the building have lodged a development application with the City, proposing to convert the building into 99 residential apartments, with the building’s heritage value touted heavily in its marketing material.

113 Mitchell Street, Glebe, 2015- then and now
113 Mitchell Street, Glebe, 2015- then and now

City heritage planner, Claudine Loffi, said that listing encouraged the creative re-use of these former industrial buildings in a way that retained some of their historic character.

“Listing does not freeze these buildings in time or prevent Council approval of future changes and development,” Ms Loffi said.

“Appropriate future development and new use will be resolved by owners, their consultants and Council on a case-by-case basis through the normal development application process, which also allows the community an opportunity to comment. These buildings add economic and social value to renewal areas.

“Without listing, these buildings could be lost as there is no guarantee that the community or Council would have a say, or their potential heritage value considered, before demolition is approved.

“Many owners understood they could still redevelop and adapt the sites, and saw it as a great opportunity to capitalise on the unique character of these buildings.

“The community also expects us to look after the city’s heritage – and the idea of what is, and what isn’t of value can change dramatically over time.

“For example, in the 1960s, a group of architects and planners called for the Queen Victoria Building to be demolished and replaced with a public park. The building was described as an ‘architectural monstrosity’ and ‘stupid’.

“Now, of course, we all accept the QVB is one of Sydney’s most well-recognised and valued heritage buildings.”


Tear down this city horror - Mirror 260961
Tear down this city horror – Mirror 260961


64-106 Mallett Street, Camperdown - then and now from side street