Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Macquarie Street - The Mansion Era (1819 - c.1900)

Macquarie St today looking south (up the ridge) from History House at #175

Yesterday, I wrote about the early housing on Macquarie Street, using "History House" (#175) as an example. However, as I noted, this was not constructed until 1873, even though Macquarie was Governor from 1810-1822, and had a massive enough ego to name a street after himself during his term in office.

Today, I will mention some of the other early residences for which there is evidence.

Two sketches of Hdye Park by John Rae, one in 1842, and the other dated 1847. I have noted the stone house built for D'Arcy Wentworth.

The first stone residence on the street was built for D'Arcy Wentworth in 1819, on a parcel of land adjacent to the race-course (Hyde Park) and in what is now the forecourt of St James, which was not constructed until 1824. I say "residence" because there were government buildings constructed prior to 1819, to whit, "the Rum Hospital" in 1816, and Hyde Park Barracks in 1819. All these institutional buildings were allocated to the eastern side of Macquarie Street, leaving the western side for private residences. D'Arcy was the father of William Charles Wentwoth who carved such a massive public profile for himself in the latter parts of the 19th century. He never lived in this house, but on-sold it, and it eventually became so entwined with St James it is referred to as "The Parsonage". It was demolished in 1888.

Left: Horbury Terrace today, replete with temporary hoarding;
Right: Horbury Terrace in 1946 taken by Max Dupain. The original 8 went to the right, meaning that even the building fragment Dupain included is no longer standing.

Another residence for which records are available is the Horbury Terraces. The AHS Green Plaque states
These houses, once part of a terrace of eight, were built in 1842, for Ouseley Condell. Their name derives from the second owner, Thomas Holt, a native of Horbury, Yorkshire.
Today, there are two left. Rather, there appears to be two left from all external appearances. However, internally it is all one building with just the facade representing a nod to our heritage1, from the 1970s restoration. In my current image, the other 6 terraces stretched to the right up to the Bent Street corner. They are partly obscured because of the hoardings required for the restorative work on the adjacent "Wyoming Tower". I have not been able to determine yet, th demolition date for the other terraces.

Left: Burdekin House c. 1930
Right: More of the streetscape showing Burdekin House and the equally ill-fated "Albany".

Which brings us to Burdekin House, another Macquarie Street resudence constructed in 1842. You may recall my post about the Burdekin Terraces in College Street. Burdekin House was demolished in August 1933, to make way for the redeployment of the St Stephen's in Phillip Street. All this change being required as M artin Place was pushed through to link with Macquarie Street. Burdekin House was not the only building for the high-jump in that concern. It had been described as the finest, most elegant terrace of them all. But it was the Depression. Jack Lang was in charge of the state, amd all this style, and grace, and alegance was against the grain. St Stephen's in Phillip Street, can be seen in the historic image on the right. See the spire st the back on the left?

Burdekin House taken in August 1933, the day before the demolition team descended. Oh what we have lost!

The other great original during Macquarie Street's "mansion ra" stands at 175, and is today occupied by the Royal Australian College of Physicians. However, it is currently totally hessianed-up for restoration. Built in 1848 for John Fairfax, I believe it has the most elegant surviving facade from that era. I will keep an eye on it, and return for photographs at some later date when the covers come off.

John Fairfax's 1848 city pad, now the home of the Royal Australian College of Physicians.

Dotted around my city, as around many cities world-wide, there are plaques which serve citizens well re the history which is under their very nose. The Australian Historical Society has 100 or so "green plaques" here and ther, quite a few in Macquarie Street. The state government wedges its plaques into the pavement. This is a shot of one of many which add to the feel of the street:
For the half-century to 1900, Macquarie Street was Sydney's best address. Here the wealthy, the powerful, and the aspiring, lived in grand style, their houses the outward sign of their status.

Patrician Sydney: a state government plaque

Images were sourced from:
State Library NSW
NSW State Records
Powerhouse Museum, and
Historic Houses
Some information sources are referenced in the text. Much information was gleaned from the relevant page of the NSW Office of Environment & Heritage.


Cloudia said...

We too have wonderful period buildings, some of them built with assist from Aussie artisans and materials! Nice post

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ALOHA from Honolulu,

Joe said...

How unfortunate that Burdekin House is no more Julie.

Kate said...

Is Macquarie Street still an impressive address in the city as it was in the past? I wish all cities would honor their past and keep many of the older buildings rather than razing them. Economics often is the determining factor in decisions.

Julie said...

It is still a pretigious street, Kate, in my opinion. But not for its private residences. There are still some lovely old buildings on the western side, by they are cheek-by-jowl with some shockers. It is the eastern side of the street, where the government-type buildings are, which is prestigious. All my opinion, though ...

Luis Gomez said...

Again Julie wonderful post about Sydney.

William Kendall said...

How time changes....

I really like the sense of depth in the first shot.

Jim said...

Learning a lot here