Sydney Architecture Images- Gone but not forgotten

Australian Gas Light Company Plaque 44 of the Green Plaques

architect

n/a

location

Jenkins St.

date

Built- 1844  Demolished-

style

Victorian / Federation Warehouse

construction

Rendered brick Stone

type

Utility
 
 
Gas Lane today
Above- the view of the area from Observatory Hill.
 
Millers Point Gasworks

The Australian Gaslight Company purchased land in Jenkins Street, Millers Point, for the Gasworks in July 1839. Construction of a retort room, purifying room, forge, wharf and gasboilers commenced soon after. In 1844 AGL decided to build a store and cottage on the site. The buildings were designed by Henry Ginn, John Morris was the builder. The stone used for the construction of the buildings was quarried on site by Morris after the quarrymen refused to supply the material. Added to over the years, by the end of 1868 the building existed in its present form. The additional building at Hickson Road level was probably constructed in 1899 -1900 to house the Carburetted Water Gas Plant. The Gasworks continued to operate until September 1921 when the Sydney Harbour Trust took over and the gasworks equipment was removed. The Trust used the building as a store and renovated the top floor to include offices in 1923 and again in 1950s.

The effects of the gas works then and now at Darling Harbour (and no doubt at Mortlake) have been detrimental for Sydneysiders – for example, in the 1850s, a resident of The Rocks, George Puzey worked as a gas purifier at the Darling Harbour works. He started having fits and was sent to a mental asylum and died, leaving behind a wife and lots of children. It’s thought that his workplace was the cause of his illness and subsequent death.

The site has now been cleared up (30 The Bond) and is currently the HQ for Lend Lease.

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Andy Brill
Wooden gas main c1840
The male component of a wooden bell joint on a wooden gas main.

This extremely rare wooden gas main was unearthed during excavations in Jenkins Street near Kent Street, Millers Point, Sydney in 1981 - 140 years after being laid.



The gas main of about 12" (30cm) diameter supplied gas to Sydney street lights during the initial operating phase (in 1841) of the Australian Gas Light Company (AGL Co) gas works at Kent St , Sydney.

The shortage of cast steel pipe caused AGL to have local contractors fabricate the wooden pipes.
The pipes would have been reasonably gas tight as they were painted with tar and then further coated carefully with tar impregnated calico. Also the gas pressure was quite low at about 15 to 30 KPa ( 2 to 4 psi).

Enlarge the image to note the carefully machined tongue-in-groove joints in each length of timber to both improve gas tightness and increase strength under applied street loads.
[From original faded 35mm colour slide]

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Jenkins Street
Came into being as a boundary road between properties created by the subdivision of surrounding land in 1842. The name honours ex-convict James Jenkins, who owned the land prior to subdivision. It was for many years a private laneway across the end of Gas Lane which led to the gasworks there.

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Gas Lane
Parts of a sandstone office and store at the end of Gas Lane are all that now remain of a large gas works which used to exist here on the shores of Darling Harbour. Merchants and professional people fostered the foundation and development of the public subscription company. Gas lighting in the streets of Sydney was inaugurated in 1841 on 24 May, Queen Victoria’s birthday (Empire Day). The gas for these lights came from this gas works.


 

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