Thursday, 5 March 2015

Hyde Park - the widening of Elizabeth Street

Walking south along Elizabeth Street, just after Thornton's Scent Bottle on the Bathurst St intersection (2015)

The final report of the "Royal Commission for the Improvement of the City of Sydney and its Suburbs" was dated 25th June, 1909. The photo of a decimated Hyde Park was taken 25th August 1909. Implementing the reommendations of a Royal Commission are no longer that speedy!!

Paris was "made-over" by Haussman between 1853 and 1870. Plans for a Chicago "make-over" were drawn up by Daniel Burnham between 1906 and 1909. These designs were organic, and visionary; whereas the plans that came out of our Royal Commission were largely practical, and pragmatic. A nip here, a tuck there.

Before WW1, came the widening of Elizabeth, College, George and Oxford Streets. In the medium term, came the conversion of Randwick Road to Anzac Parade, the extension of Martin Place, and the construction of both the city circle underground, and the harbour crossing (bridge), together with an electrified suburban above ground railway system.

Elizabeth Street, facing north, just after the intersection with Park Street. The spire is St James Anglican Church on King Street. This was before the David Jones Department Store which now dominates this section of Elizabeth St. (August 1909)

All these changes had a massive impact upon Hyde Park, which is bordered by Liverpool, College, and Elizabeth Streets, all of which were widened by crimping a metre of parkland here, and three feet of greensward there.

Walking south along Elizabeth, this time closer to the Liverpool St intersection. The building with the faux-gold turrets was the Mark Foy Department Store flagship, but now serves as the Downing Centre Local Court (2015)

The next history post will be on the widening of College Street.


Tahiti Daily Photo said...

Interesting Julie ...

William Kendall said...

The north and south views certainly do have a dramatic feel to them, Julie.

Jim said...

Lots of interesting info there. You were opposite my office building in that first shot.

Joe said...

I like the sound of organic and visionary designs rather than the practical and the pragmatic.

Julie said...

Yeah, me too, Joe. We don;'t get them in this coutry often. The $$$ mean that we don't look too far ahead.