Sydney Architecture Images- Gone but not forgotten

Royal Arcade


Thomas Rowe


Pitt and George Streets (demolished to make way for the Hilton Hotel)




Victorian Free Classical


rendered brick, steel and glass


Shop Arcade.
The demolished arcades- Royal Arcade, Sydney Arcade, Victoria Arcade, Imperial Arcade
Following the sustained economic growth of the 1860s and 1870s came prosperity, culminating in 
the building boom of the 1880s. Commercial buildings designed during this decade included retail 
arcades, which were designed to maximise street frontage in cities where business space was 
reaching a premium. Between 1881 and 1892 six large retail arcades were developed in Sydney 
Accomplished architect Thomas Rowe designed three arcades during this period - the Royal Arcade 
in 1881, the Sydney Arcade in 1882, and the Imperial Arcade in 1891. He brought a European 
influence to his designs creating elegant, spacious arcades with optimal retail frontage and 
  Nineteenth Century images- State Library of New South Wales
Pitt Street Entrance to the Royal Arcade.
The Royal Arcade ran from George Street where the Hilton Hotel now stands, through to Pitt Street near the School of Arts. Over 90 metres long, it was well lit, with a lofty clerestory and gas lamps. There were 31 shops on the ground floor, 36 offices on the first floor and a photographic studio above them at the George Street end.

Collingridge was a painter, illustrator and teacher who became staff artist for the Illustrated London News and The Graphic both very successful London newspapers, before emigrating to Australia. He founded the New South Wales Art Society and was staff artist of the Illustrated Sydney News.

From the original edition of the Illustrated Sydney News.

The Illustrated Sydney News, which was published from 1854 to 1889 and included a number of high quality engravings to illustrate the accompanying news and articles. It was issued on a monthly basis due to the time consuming process of having to engrave each illustration which would take one engraver between one and two weeks to make each one.
Many famous Australian colonial artists and illustrators were employed in the making of them, such as Julian Ashton, Albert Cooke, Charles Conder, Samuel Calvert, Frank Mahony and Arthur Collingridge. The engravings provided a unique glimpse into colonial life, often depicting situations or scenes that were less than flattering, in contrast to the majority of sanctioned views that provided a sanitized portrayal of life in Australia. Increasingly expensive to produce, the few illustrated newspapers that made use of original engravings for their illustrations, and that survived the economic collapse of the late1880's found themselves competing against the new technology of photographic produced half-tone and lino type processes the illustrations. By the turn of the century most of the illustrated newspaper had closed.
  Below- on the site today