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163 Castlereagh Street- Sydney lost some heritage today

17 May

The former Angus and Son coachbuilders building was demolished today to make way for the entry area for the new Grocon / ANZ  high-rise tower at 163 Castlereagh Street.

The building last week, now demolished.  The demolition hoardings were being erected.  The building was the showroom for ‘Angus and Son, Motor Cars Carriages and Buggies’. Angus and Son were an important carriage maker at the turn of the century- they disappeared with the introduction of the imported motor car. This Edwardian building was built at the end of their power. The five arched windows were originally above doorways. The top floor was a large naturally lit showroom.

Above- a rather sketchy image from the Angus and Son catalogue, circa 1902.

Angus and Son coachbuilders were established in the mid nineteenth century. The catalogue was produced some 57 years after their establishment at the end of the horse drawn era and at the beginning of the motorised transport. The catalogue was produced to illustrate their leading and favourite types of horse drawn vehicles.

The Angus and Son catalogue is a 40 page booklet, stapled in the centre with a cardboard cover. The cover bears the title ‘Principal Depot and Show Rooms’, a photograph of the facade of the building and the address ‘165-167 Castlereagh Street (between Park and Market Streets) Sydney’. The building on the cover features the wording ‘Angus and Son, Motor Cars Carriages and Buggies’.

The catalogue is illustrated with photographs and line drawings of the types of horsedrawn vehicles available for purchase from the company. The drawings are accompanied by notes on specific features, prices and materials.

The future elevation, showing the public entry area to the new 46story, 188m 163 Castlereagh St office tower.

Also to be demolished, the striking Brutalist Greater Union Pitt Centre (along with “corduroy concrete” facade).

Heritage items on the site


who knew? Sydney then & now 3

15 Feb
site- cnr george and bathurst streets
Originally Regent Theatre
August 1968 (40 years ago)
now-Lumeire (nov 2007) had been and
empty plot of land for 16 years! Continue reading 

who knew? Sydney then & now 2

15 Feb
Site- Scots Presbyterian Church (Portico York Street) in York St /cnr Jamison st, Sydney looking south-1930 Assembly Church (70m long x 30m high). 2005- stone Facade & chapel saved and intergrated into new 17storey/70m residential bldg-Portico Continue reading

Gunyah Beach House

29 Jan

The construction process of this building on a steeply sloping block of absolute waterfront, required an acute degree of forethought & management. The design concept required a flush-finished building envelope using materials in their raw state.

This concept dictated the necessity of fine tolerances at the structural stage of the project, beyond what may be expected as the industry standard. Insitu concrete walls were formed using oregon boards running horizontally through the building. The pre-construction of these walls necessitated a prolonged programme of labour-intensive carpentry & on site surveying to verify al1 tolerances. As the structure was the final finished face, the installation & maintenance of the wall & floor protection was extensive and became a trade in it’s own right. Continue reading

A city subtracted- demolition of a city block.

22 Jan

December 20, 2009 . Charles Waterstreet SMH

To be demolished to make way for the John Boyd Tower (46st/188m/office)

A city is more than the sum of its parks, buildings and houses; it is more than the sum of the souls who live there. It is the spirit and imagination that resides in all its grand mansions, shanties and slums, and on the streets and in the hearts and heads of its people. As Russell Brand says, quoting a discussion with a schoolfriend, in his philosophical tome My Booky Wook: “‘See all these buildings? All these buildings were once a drawing on a piece of paper and before that they were an idea in someone’s head. Any idea that you have, you can make manifest’ … Wow. Man. That, like, totally blew my mind.”


Inner-city Sydney was severely dispirited this week as the buildings between Pitt Street and Castlereagh Street were permanently vacated by tenants. They are to be pushed down to the ground to make room for a concrete tribute to a bank, ANZ, and to commercial lawyers Freehills, funded by Grocon.

Grocon is part of the Grollo family group which literally cleaned up after Cyclone Tracy, building 400 cyclone-proof houses for the government. Luigi Grollo arrived from Treviso in northern Italy on July 24, 1928, with not a lira to his name. The Grollo business grew so large that it went on to own the Melbourne premises that were leased to the Tax Office, which, through the Commonwealth DPP, brought unsuccessful criminal tax evasion conspiracy charges against Bruno and Rino Grollo. In Sydney, Sir Paul Strasser owned the Stocks and Holdings Building, which housed the Corporate Affairs Commissioner which investigated his dealings. The threat of repossession is nine-tenths of the law.

One of the buildings earmarked for demolition is the Greater Union Pitt Centre. It hasn’t shown a movie in nearly 10 years but it was the home of my first opening-night premiere televised live across Australia. Continue reading

UTS Tower- Education with altitude

21 Jan

5 May 2008

The building most readily identified with UTS is Building 1, better known as the Tower. On more than one occasion it has been singled out as Sydney’s ugliest building. For many UTS staff, this has become a matter of pride. The Tower has provoked beautification schemes from irate architects. It has inspired kitsch material culture in the form of Tower lapel pins and snow domes, both now sought-after objects. And it has given rise to various stories about its design and construction.
Some journalists from the nearby Fairfax building rowed across the flooded excavation site in an idle moment.

The original 1964 plan provided for a row of seven twelve-storey buildings on the site. This was gradually modified. In 1965 it was to be four buildings of fifteen, twenty, nineteen and fourteen storeys. And by 1966, three buildings were planned of thirteen, twenty-two and sixteen storeys with two basements and five podium levels. By the mid-1970s, with cutbacks in Commonwealth funding, the grand plan was reduced to two buildings, the second to be beheaded. In the euphoria of the late sixties and early seventies, however, with money readily available and the Brickfield Hill campus bursting at the seams, NSWIT – which became UTS in 1988 and the largest of the institutions which ultimately amalgamated as the new UTS in 1990 – was keen to acquire new buildings. Continue reading

Ultimo site gets ultimate architect – Frank Gehry

21 Jan

THE acclaimed architect Frank Gehry, who creates buildings that ”look like a party of drunken robots got together to celebrate”, is about to unleash his vision for Sydney.


The University of Technology, Sydney yesterday announced that Mr Gehry, who designed the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao, Spain, will create a concept design to transform a former industrial site at Ultimo into a building of international repute.


The new Faculty of Business building will be the 80-year-old architect’s first in Australia, pending the university’s council approval of his finished concept design next year. The building, on the former Dairy Farmers site wedged between the ABC Ultimo Centre and the Powerhouse Museum, will house an estimated 2000 students and more than 400 academics. Continue reading