Sydney Architecture Images- Gone but not forgotten

Sydney Harbour Trust Building


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Corner of Alfred and Pitt Streets Circular Quay


Built- 1901  Demolished-


Victorian Italianate


Rendered brick Stone


Above- Circular Quay circa. 1920.
Above- This building has been extended along its Pitt St frontage. Compare with photo from 1904 below.
Above- The steam launch 'Lady Hopetoun' at Commissioners Steps in front of the old Sydney Harbour Trust building (left) and the Metropolitan Fire Station No 3, Circular Quay, Circular Quay Dated: c. 01/01/1904
The old Sydney Harbour Trust building, Circular Quay

In 1900, the plague arrived in Sydney and it became the excuse to start the demolition of squalid buildings especially many located in and around The Rocks.
In reality, The Rocks was not the epicentre of the plague but it contained prime waterfront land that was required for a new and imaginative approach to Sydney Harbour wharfage. The Darling Harbour Resumption Advisory Board carried out the first demolitions but no new buildings were erected.

By 1901, the newly formed Sydney Harbour Trust controlled 152 properties that lay immediately behind the wharves. In June 1901, the Trust acquired another 401 houses, 82 shops, 23 hotels, 70 bond stores and 45 factories from the original resumption. Further acquisition meant that, in total, the Trust was now responsible for 803 properties.

Seventy-one of the worst properties were demolished and the rest rented out but no new housing was built. The focus of the Trust was to rebuild the Port of Sydney and it had the power to demolish any buildings that it controlled to facilitate wharf construction.
Streets disappeared making way for new wharves and facilities. Hickson Street became a reality; a product of quarrying the steep slope that ran down to Walsh Bay. We are reminded that Robert Hickson was the first President of the Sydney Harbour Trust.

The Irish-born Hickson was a civil engineer. It was he who oversaw improved facilities at Walsh Bay, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont and Woolloomooloo.
These works were carried out by Henry Dean Walsh, also an Irish-born civil engineer who had migrated to Australia in 1877 and joined the Department of Public Works. He was the Chief Engineer between 1901 and 1919 and, during his tenure, he designed and built many improved facilities for the ports of Sydney and Newcastle.