Elizabeth Street Heritage Walk

Named after the wife of the Governor, Elizabeth Henrietta Macquarie. Elizabeth Street in the 1820s became a desirable residential address, the newly built courthouse attracting members of the legal profession to the area. Houses overlooking Hyde Park were particularly envied and most reflected the wealth of their owners.

Former GIO Building
1929 - 60-70 Elizabeth Street (former Sun Newspaper Building). Sir Hugh Denison (1865-1940), heir to the Dixson tobacco fortune, formed the Sun Newspaper Ltd in 1910. He bought the Australian Star, founded in 1887, and changed its name in 1910 to the Sun, an afternoon daily. In 1929 Denison commissioned Joseph Alexanded Kethel, the son of a prominent Scottish businessman and state politician, to design a new head office for the Sun in Elizabeth Street. The Sun Newspaper, an afternoon daily in Sydney was published from 1910 until the 1980s.

The building is the best known building by architect Joseph Alexander Kethel (1866 -1946). It was the first building in Sydney to be erected in the Inter-War Skyscraper Gothic style, made popular by Raymond Hood's competition-winning design for the Chicago Tribune building in 1925. The building is one of only three of that style in the City, the others being the State Theatre and the Grace Building. It was the last of the major newspaper buildings to be erected in Sydney, and was associated with the Sun newspaper until 1956.
  • Heritage Listing

  • Old Supreme Court Building
    The Old Supreme Court building located at the corner of Elizabeth and King Streets is one of the three remaining Greenway designed buildings in the immediate area, the others are the Hyde Park Barracks and St James Church. The building has aesthetic significance as a design of Australia's first trained architect, Francis Greenway, and as a fine rare and largely intact, if modified, example of the Old Colonial Georgian style as used in a judicial building. The site is significant as the location chosen for Macquarie's first Georgian Public School but was modified during construction to accommodate the Supreme Court.
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    • Site of Georgian School
      In its early years the Georgian School had many uses including as a court house, and as a temporary church for various denominations. It was later used as the St James' church school at a time when education was largely provided by religious bodies or private academies, for those who could afford them. The last school to occupy the building was Sydney Girls' High School. It moved to new premises at Moore Park in the 1920s and the old school was demolished to make way for a new part of David Jones. The site is marked by a Green Plaque historic marker.

      Old Registry Office
      Cnr. St. James Road: This lovely building was purpose designed for the newly created office of Registrar. The duties of the office were originally concerned with the important job of the registration of land titles. To this was added the registration of births, marriages and deaths. Before this became the responsibility of the Registrar all such records had been kept only by the churches. These records are now eagerly searched by people tracing their family histories.

      This building which now forms part of the Supreme Court House Group is symmetrically designed in the Victorian Tudor style. Typical stylistic features include banded chimneys, narrow grouped windows set under projecting gable bays, a castellated parapet at the roofline and quoin detailing. It was the work of Colonial Architect Alexander Dawson. Janes Barnet, the following Colonial Architect, designed two additions in 1875 and 1886 including a matching wing on the SE corner.
      • Heritage Listing

      • David Jones Elizabeth Street Store
        113-133 Elizabeth Street, 114-110 Market Street and 84-110 Castlereagh Street, Sydney. Built 1926-28 as the first large modern department store in Sydney. It is of nine storeys clad in sandstone with a large basement shopping space. It occupies a major part of a city block and offers well mannered elevations of pleasing proportions to each street. Although externally unaltered much of the interior has been modified (especially the grand restaurant and ballroom on the seventh floor). The store was sold in December 2020 for $510 million to property group Charter Hall. David Jones continued to occupy the iconic 12-level department store under the sale and leaseback agreement.

        Hyde Park
        Hyde Park is an open space in the Sydney City Centre, bounded by Elizabeth, Liverpool, College Streets and St James Road. It is a popular place among people who work in the city for a lunchtime stroll. The underground city loop railway stations of St James and Museum are under Hyde Park but at opposite ends. Hyde Park is home to Sydney's Anzac War Memorial, which is the work of local Art Deco architect C. Bruce Dellit. Built to commemorate all Australians killed in wars, it features the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a reflecting pool, a downstairs photographic and military memorabilia exhibition.
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        • Mirvac Trust Building
          1923 - (former Manchester Unity Building), 185 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. An excellent, meticulously executed and maintained example of Inter-war Commercial Palazzo style, the facade features projecting balconies and a deep cornice. The design of the building was intended to be temple-like in appearance, thereby creating a reminder of the owners, the Manchester Unity of Oddfellows, a society founded on Masonic principles that acted as an insurance company for its members. Immediately after its construction a shelter shed was erected on the roof (1925) and between 1938 and 1958 various additions and alterations were made.
          Architect: John P. Tate & Young, A. W. Morrison (Engineer)

          1878 - The Great Synagogue
          187 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Acknowledged as the finest work of architect Thomas Rowe who also designed the Sydney Hospital, this Jewish synagogue features wrought iron gates, carved porch columns of Pyrmont sandstone and panelled ceilings decorated with tiny gold leaf stars which symbolise God's command at creation "Let there be light". The Great Synagogue is believed to have been inspired by the English synagogues of London and Liverpool. Its aesthetic and scientific significance derive from the remarkable richness and originality of its decoration in sandstone, carved timber, moulded plaster, metalwork and tiling, and for the degree of craftsmanship exhibited in its fabric by leading decorative firms of the High Victorian period from Australia, Britain and the United States. It is one of the finest works of architect Thomas Rowe.

          The Great Synagogue consists of two main sections; the original synagogue (with gallery and basement) and a five-storey modern section at the Castlereagh Street end behind the facade of the former Beadle's residence. Lightwells between these two sections have been filled in. The Elizabeth Street frontage and towers are of Pyrmont stone, and the remainder of the early structure is brick, with cast iron columns and timber floors.
          • Heritage Listing

          • Downing Centre
            1908 - 143-147 Liverpool Street. Purchased by the NSW Government and converted in Law Courts in 1984, the Downing Centre has a rich heritage as one of Sydney's most famous shopping landmarks, being the flagship emporium of retailer Mark Foy's Ltd. The inspiration for the building, though not its detail, seems to have been the Bon Marche in Paris (a connection commemorated still by UTS in its other former Foy building). No expense was spared when the building was erected in late Victorian Second Empire style and opened in 1908.

            Lavishly decorated inside and out, the three storey building featured an open air eating area, a white glazed brick exterior (the bricks were imported from Glasgow, Scotland), terracotta mouldings and decorative panels from Yorkshire and ceramic-tile mosaic signs along the Elizabeth Street facade which still advertise a variety of lines that were once sold inside.

            It even had its own entrance to the nearby Museum railway station, made possible by the fact that a government official had leaked information about the proposed underground railway before the emporium was built, and the architects made allowances for the railway and the store's own entrance to it in the building's planning stages.

            The building was originally intended to cover the whole block but this plan was never instigated. Insted, in 1924, Spain & Cosh & Epslin Architects in consultation with Ross & Rowe Architects designed numerous alterations and additions which included the addition of four extra floors. The opening of Town Hall and Wynyard stations in 1932 saw a shift in the city's working population northward and away from Mark Foy's Piazza Store, as it was then known. Retail trade never returned to its previous heights after World War II and the store closed its doors for the last time in January 1980. The building was purchased by the NSW Government and extensively modified and by May 1987 was operating as the Downing Centre, thus named after Robert Reginald Downing (1904-1994), a former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.
            • Heritage Listing

            • Cyprus-Hellenic Club
              1912 - 150-152 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. An unusual and whimsical Federation Free style building, significant because of its somewhat ungainly mix of architectural elements in odd proportions. The building was initially built to be used as a meeting place for cultural and social activities and was continuously used for these events including cinema and theatre. According to the centenary history of the German Concordia Club the building was completed and occupied by 11th March 1912. It had rooms to be used for social functions and also encased a committee room, bedrooms, bathrooms, stewards quarters, banquet room, and an area for a bar and billiards. The club was influential to the large German community in Sydney and was the focal point for local and visiting Germans.

              After its sale in 1923, its name was changed to Australian Hall, and became a site for wide range of popular activities at the time including dancing, cinema shows and live radio broadcasts from radio station 2UE. In 1938 it was the venue of an early meeting of Aboriginal groups. This event, known as the "Day of Mourning" conference, was the first protest by Aboriginal people for equal opportunities within Australian Society. It was attended by approximately 100 people of Aboriginal Blood and was the beginning of the contemporary Aboriginal Political Movement.

              In 1961 the building was remodelled as the Phillip Theatre, capable of seating 453 with a raised area at the back to give a balcony effect. It became the Rivoli Cinema in 1974. With Haymarket being increasingly identified with the Chinese community, the Rivoli was let to Chinese interests who reopened in 1976 as the Mandarin Cinema, showing Chinese language films. In 1979, the building became the home of the Cyprus-Hellenic Club Ltd. Architect: G L Grant (1912)
              • Heritage Listing

              • Metters Building
                1914 - 154-158 Elizabeth Street. A six storey building of Federation Anglo Dutch style with a corner oriel window and a central two bay facade surmounted by a high triangular pediment. The building is unusual for its original timber fire stair. Manufacturing company Metters Ltd bought the site from the Sydney City Council early in April 1913 for £10,000 and built their head office here. Architects: Robertson & Marks
                • Heritage Listing

                • Hyde Park Towers
                  1913 - (former Mark Foy's Parking Station / Hercules Motors) 142-148 Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Facing Elizabeth Street is a Federation period Free Classical style building, retaining masonry and tile facade elements and its overall form in spite of considerable alteration, including being converted into a car park and garage in 1934. Its construction was made possible by the widening of Elizabeth Street and demolition of existing properties in 1909. Construction of a new four storey building by the owner of the land - retailer Mark Foy's - was completed as Mark Foys Ironmongery. By 1930, motor vehicles were becoming an increasingly popular mode of transport, so the Ironmongery was converted into a Service Station and Car Park called Hercules Motors, as the Mark Foys store opposite was extended to embrace all departments. The building was predominantly used as a car park until 1993, though during World War II, it was occupied by the Royal Australian Air Force.

                  Hyde Park Towers, a predominantly residential building, was launched off plan in the early 1990's and completed in 1995. Part of the existing Hercules Motors, including its 4 storey facade, were retained while the other parts of the building were demolished. An historical archaeological excavation was carried out on the site. The original timber internal structure and trusses of the 1913 building which are Heritage Listed have been retained.

                  Wentworth House
                  1915: 67-73 Wentworth Avenue, cnr Elizabeth Street, Sydney. Built as a purpose designed hotel accommodation near the rail line in Sydney during the Inter-War period. Its wedge shape is characteristically Sydney. This four storey residential apartment building gives a strong definition to the corner of Wentworth Avenue and Elizabeth Street. The building is a well designed and detailed corner hotel building in a prominent location that exhibits features of the Inter-War period. These include stucco motifs in strong bands, heavy detailing, squat forms and limited use of applied detail. The facades have a symmetry to each facade and the design addresses the corner

                  The land that now makes up 67-73 Wentworth Avenue comprised several lots granted to Joseph Foveaux, amongst others, between 1790 and 1810. Foveaux's portion eventually passed into the hands of William Weymyss and then to the Wentworth Family who seem to have maintained control until 1861. Australia Hotel was at No 196 Elizabeth Street, however it appears to have been demolished, most probably as part of the 1908-1910 reclamation and road widening.
                  • Heritage Listing

                  • Hibernian House
                    338-344 Elizabeth Street (5-15 Kippax Street). A six storey reinforced concrete, brick rendered commercial building in Federation Free Style. It was erected in two stages; four bays in 1924, and the remaining five Elizabeth Street bays and the Kippax Street frontage in 1928. For many years the building was the headquarters of the Hibernian Australasian Catholic Benefit Society (HACBS). The HACBS had been the largest Irish organisation in Australia since the 1880s.
                    Architecture: W J Gilroy

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  • James Cook memorial, Hyde Park

    Downing Centre main entrance

    Hyde Parrk Towers

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