Sydney Architecture Images- Gone but not forgotten

Ultimo Public School


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Built-  1880  Demolished- 1932


Victorian Free Gothic


Rendered brick Stone


Summary The gorgeous Ultimo Public School of 1880, demolished in the 1930s for railyards.

Postwar Ultimo
By the 1950s, it seemed everything was closing down. Wentworth Park had been commandeered during World War II for use as an encampment for American soldiers stationed in Sydney on leave, with the result that some residents even had to carry passes to get to and from their own houses. After the war, temporary wool storage sheds remained in the park for years and further reduced public enjoyment of the park.

The great Ultimo Powerhouse, commissioned in 1899 to power Sydney's electric trams and some of its trains, went out of service in 1963. The wool stores became empty shells when modern handling facilities were opened at Yennora in western Sydney. The city markets, which had occupied space at the head of Darling Harbour since the early years of the century, were closed and relocated to Flemington in 1968.

The clientele of the pubs where the workers had drunk disappeared. The state primary school in Wattle Street watched its numbers fall and the Catholic St Francis Xavier School in Bulwara Road closed its doors in the 1970s. St Alban's Anglican church in Ada Place, built in the 1880s, was sold to a private buyer in 1975, and the Presbyterian church in Quarry Street, built in 1883, was given over to the Dutch Presbyterians in 1960, as the local community no longer supplied a congregation.

Run-down houses became even more run down, and the streets became ever more clogged with traffic, as commuters struggled through Ultimo to get to the city. Plans for various freeways from the CBD and going in various directions promised to turn Ultimo into one giant traffic interchange, and many of the hundreds of properties that were 'DMR affected', where the Department of Main Roads had plans for freeways, became derelict.

From this low point, Ultimo has struggled back. Resident action groups, known as RAGs, fought the freeways, although by the time the Wran Labor government curtailed many of these plans in 1976, many houses had been demolished. About the only positive thing that could be said about Ultimo was that in terms of population and jobs, it did not collapse as heavily as next-door Pyrmont.