Phillip Street Heritage Walk

The name honours Arthur Phillip, Governor of NSW 1788 - 1792. High on the ridge between Sydney town and the Botanical Gardens, Phillip Street originally ran in a straight line from Hyde Park to Bent Street at a point where the original Government House blocked its path. When Govt. House was demolished, It was extended to Circular Quay. Phillip Street would remain a jumble of poorly designed and built residences until the 1850s when the Gold Rush brought such prosperity to Sydney. In the 1860s, the section between Bent and Hunter Street was modified to become the top end of Elizabeth Street. The business district soon began to engulf what previously had been residential streets and offices and warehouses took over.

Phillip Street Police Station
Cnr. Alfred Street: The Police Station was designed by Alexander Dawson and constructed in 1858. It was originally used by the Water Police but later for the regular police force. The building includes a lock-up, (imposing cells with high ceilings and heavy iron doors) and intimidating Charge Room and Sergeant's office. Police who occupied the building in recent years thought it a dreadful place to work in, but it was said to be a close-knit, friendly place to work - perhaps a reaction to the awful environment. The Police Station closed in 1985 when The Rocks Police Station opened.

The Court House, located between the Water Police Court and the Police Station in Phillip Street was designed by the colonial architect James Barnet and completed in 1886. In his design Barnet copied the basic elements of the earlier Water Police Court design to complement the buildings already on the site. The building was used as a Magistrates Court and later became known as Traffic Court No. 2 (the Water Police Court being Traffic Court No. 1). In the museum the court room has been restored to its original Victorian splendour. The building is now part of the Justice and Police Museum complex.

Site of Tramway Depot
Cnr. Bridge and Phillip Streets: The steam train route inaugurated for the opening of the Garden Palace International Exhibition was only meant to be temporary, for the duration of the Exhibition. It was such a success and so popular that it was kept on. The steam motors and double decker passenger cars came from the United States. The site is marked by a Green Plaque historic marker.

Intercontinental Hotel
The Treasury Building, on the corner of Macquarie and Bridge Streets (1849-51), was one of the first of a number of Government buildings on Bridge Street built of Pyrmont sandstone. This two storey example of the Classical Revival style is the work of Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis to a design 'borrowed' from the Travellers Club in London which was the work of Charles (later Sir Charles) Barry (1795-1860). The Treasury building featured an entrance portico facing Macquarie Street.

In 1896, a second building that would house the Treasury strongroom was erected on Macquarie Street away from but in the same alignment as the original Treasury Building. A bridging section between the two buildings featuring a large two storey entrance portico and two flights of steps was added in 1900, creating a single flowing facade on Macquarie Street. A further extension along Bridge Street, around the corner and along Phillip Street was proposed in 1916 by Government Architect, George McRae (1858-1923). The Bridge Street extension was opened in 1919 but the Phillip Street extension was put on hold and never built. All the buildings were cleverly incorporated into the 28-level, 530-room Intercontinental Hotel which was completed in 1986.

Museum of Sydney
Cnr Phillip and Bridge Sts.: A modern designed building below Governor Phillip Tower, the Museum of Sydney occupies the site of Sydney's first Government House, part of the foundations of which are on display. The Museum tells the story of life in early Sydney. Open daily 10.00am - 5.00pm

Edge of Trees Sculpture
Museum of Sydney, 37 Philip Street: Contemporary sculpture located in the forecourt of the Museum of Sydney, it is a collection of 29 sandstone, wood and steel pillars which symbolise the first contact between Aboriginal and European peoples. Organic material such as hair, ash, feathers, bones, shells etc. fill incisions in the pillars. The sound of the native tongue of the indigenous people who lived in the Sydney district when the First Fleet arrived can be heard as visitors read inscriptions of the names of the First Fleeters and those of botanical species in both Latin and the indigenous language.

Grave of Arabanoo
Arabanoo was an Aborigine who was taken captive by Marines at Manly in December 1788. He became Gov. Phillip's helper, and assisted in the care of aborigines who were struck down with smallpox. He eventually succumbed to the disease himself and was buried in the grounds of Government House in May 1789. His unmarked grave is believed to be located somewhere in the area bounded by Bridge, Bent, Phillip & Macquarie Streets, Sydney.

Governor Phillip Tower
(1989 - 1994): Rectangular in shape with a central core, this $300 million building has 64 levels with 10 basement levels for parking and plant facilities and a typical floor area of 1872 sq. m (52m x 36m), it is a typical office block skyscraper of recent years. Governor Phillip Tower is located within the first Government House site which is in the heart of Sydney's CBD and is bounded by Bridge, Phillip, Bent and Young streets. The site contains heritage listed terrace housing along both Young and Phillip streets as well as the important remnants of the footings of both the original, and many extensions to, the first Government House.

The brief called for a state of the art quality high-rise office building, in terms of both the design and construction, with maximum site development, while retaining the terrace housing and the remnants of the Government House footings undisturbed. It was very difficult to satisfy, and to make the development more commercially successful the construction also had to occur in the shortest possible time. The best way to satisfy the brief from a planning point of view, was to cantilever the east face of the tower some eight metres out over the historic terrace houses, 40 metres below. A very narrow service core of only twelve metres wide in the east-west direction, was required to obtain the ideal planning efficiency.
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  • 39-47 Phillip Street, Sydney
    Part of rare surviving group of mid to late Victorian residential terraces in the centre of the city. Though extensively altered, the basic early form and streetscape remains. The building's changes of fortune from substantial residence and fashionable to office premises through to the degraded form and inappropriate alterations of the second half of the 20th century and subsequent 1980s refurbishment reflects the changing fortunes of the city.

    The five terrace houses built at 39-47 Phillip Street in 1867-9 occupy part of the grounds of First Government House. This area, vacated after the demolition of First Government House in 1845-6, lay derelict until the 1860s. Sydney Council finally made residential lots available in 1961. Unlike the rest of the group, No.47 was built primarily as a home for the first owners and only later was it tenanted by government agencies, encouraged by its proximity to the Chief Secretary's Building. No. 47's restrained Victorian Neo Classical detailing also generally lends this building (and the neighbouring No. 45) a somewhat higher architectural quality than its more hybrid neighbours at No. 43 and the pared down Victorian Italianate of Nos 39-41.

    The site of The Lawsons' House
    Renowned Australian writer Henry Lawson lived with his mother in Phillip Street, Sydney and worked in Hudson Bros. railway carriage works at Clyde. In the evening he went to night school to improve himself. Famous for his short stories and ballads, Henry's life was not a story of personal success or fulfilment and alcoholism became a problem. His mother Louisa Lawson was a newspaper publisher, a feminist and writer. At her newspaper 'The Dawn' she employed female printers. The union, which would not admit women members, tried to get her to dismiss them. She was a supporter of women's suffrage and campaigned to secure the appointment of women to public office. The site is marked by a historical Green Plaque.

    Wentworth Hotel
    61 Phillip Street (1966). A twenty storey tower with Post War Minimalist influences. A significant decorative feature is its huge copper canopy over the entrance, which at the time of construction was one of the largest completely fabricated awnings in the world. The distinctive horse shoe design of the Wentworth Hotel is significant and unique in Australian architecture. It was Australia's biggest international hotel at the time of construction, it had the largest air conditioning system, a column free ballroom, and is still the largest brick structure in the southern hemisphere. It contains a rare example of a vertical passenger lift spanning four floors.
    Architects: Skidmore Owings and Merrill with Laurie & Heath.

    Chifley Tower
    Cnr Hunter, Phillip and Loftus Streets (1988-1993). One of the highlights of the present day Sydney skyline, Chifley Tower is a Post Modern office tower incorporating the latest in structural technology wrapped in a form reminiscent of of the picturesque romantic skyscrapers of early 20th century America. Complete with a turret and flagpole, it incorporates may features of the early Modernist ideals, yet is ultra-high tech., right down to its microwave technology, three electrical substations and an anti-sway counterbalance in the form of a 400 tonne steel block suspended on eight 75mm diameter steel wire from the top of the building. Connected to a hydraulic dampened gravitation system, it keeps the building stable in high winds. Architects: Kohn Pedersen (USA) and Travis Partners.
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    • Qantas House
      Phillip Street (Chifley Square) 1950-1957. Qantas House is a fine example of an intact, post-war, multi-storeyed Australian office buildings from the first phase in the 1950s, and is from a small group of Sydney buildings designed prior to the amendments to the Heights of Buildings Act in 1957 that heralded the subsequent 'high-rise' phase. It has particular rarity within Australia for its unique shape, and the outstanding quality of its curtain wall facade.

      A variant of the Post-War International style of architecture, Qantas House represents transitional aspects of 'moderate' 1930s European modernism, combined with the latest in post-war curtain wall technologies and materials and is the best design response to its setting in Australia from this period. Although altered internally, its external facade remains largely intact.

      Historically significant as the first planned world headquarters for Qantas Empire Airways, at the time Australia's only, and Government-owned, international airline, the building, and in particular the aerofoil-shaped aluminium mullions of its curtain wall, gives form to Qantas' forward looking and expansive image at a time when air travel was taking off. Qantas Airways remained as its sole occupant for twenty-five years and remains associated with the building through its lease of the ground floor. Architects: Rudder, Littlemore and Rudder
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      • Aurora Place Office Tower and Macquarie Apartments
        1996-2000 - 88 Phillip Street. A high tech building which replaced the former Premier's Wing and the State Office Block. It is comprised of two buildings linked by a glass-covered square. The office tower is 200 meters high, rises 44 levels, and encompasses 49,000 square meters. The residential building has 17 levels and faces Sydney's Botanical Gardens. The tower was designed to allow integration between the levels, which was achieved in part by the inclusion of winter gardens and terraces.
        Architects: Renzo Piano Building Workshop.
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        • Deutsche Bank Place
          2005: 126 Phillip Street, Sydney. 39 storeys. Height: 240 metres (including tower). At the time of its completion, it was the second-tallest building in the world with fewer than 40 floors - Al Faisaliyah Center (Riyadh) is taller. Construction began in 2002 and was completed in 2005. The building has 39 floors and was planned to be much larger, however it would have blocked sunlight from reaching the buildings on its east including the State Library and Parliament. The setback roof or step design allows sunlight to reach the south-eastern side of the building. The spires appear oversized for the building; this was caused by the height being reduced, the spires being proportionate to a taller building. The building has a hollow core that provides air and light throughout the building; this core rises from a large foyer area that covers the whole area of the ground floor. The foyer is named 'the assembly'. Architect: Norman Foster of Foster and Partners.

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