Sydney Architecture Images- Gone but not forgotten

Dalgety House


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1-9 Bligh Street (the current site of 1 Bligh Street) cnr bent & bligh streets


Built-  1880s  Demolished- 1970


Victorian Romanesque


Brick and Stone trim


Advertisements run by Dalgety & Co., the agency responsible for importing the car into Australia, suggest that batches of Cann & Co. vehicles were specifically designated to be exported for an Australian clientele. Despite the marque’s urban sophistication, Dalgety’s advertisements extolled Delaunay Belleville as the ‘ideal car for Australia’. These were, they claimed, ‘quiet running, most comfortable, extremely reliable [and] built for colonial conditions with an extra clearance from the ground, so that they may run on the worst of roads’.

Even if roads were non-existent, Dalgety assured buyers that the cars would ‘forge their way through mud, slush or sand without effort, and never falter at the steepest hills’.

Despite these claims, Edwardian cars were not typically reliable. This Delaunay Belleville’s racy torpedo body was especially strengthened, the suspension system stiffened and the paintwork finished in a light colour, probably a pale grey, with fine black pin-striping on the long curved mudguards.

Advertisement for Cann & Co., coachbuilders, 1913, Autocar, 26 July 1913, p. 16

Controlling Imperial trade

Long before this car was shipped to Sydney, Dalgety & Co. had firmly instituted itself as one of the foremost pastoralist agencies servicing the needs of rural Australia. The well-established nature of old Imperial trade routes allowed the brokers to supply Australian graziers and other wealthy patrons with almost unlimited equipment and supplies, and control the export of domestic goods including gold and wool. Frederick Dalgety (1817–1894), an enterprising financier who developed large-scale broking, marketing, and shipping facilities for pastoralists and other rural producers, established the company in the 1840s. Dalgety’s biographer, RM Hartnell, identifies him as ‘one of the first merchants to see clearly the potentiality and needs of the squatters, and to exploit the mercantile and financial resources of Britain for the growing requirements of the Australian economy’. By the 1880s, Dalgety had offices in London, Melbourne, Geelong, Launceston, Dunedin, Christchurch, and Sydney.
From their powerful position in Australian pastoralist society, the company was quick to seize on the opportunity offered by the European motor car industry. In about 1909, it began importing Delaunay Belleville cars, vigorously promoting the marque in the pages of the Australian Motorist and the Sydney Morning Herald. In April 1912, an attractive example was paraded for all to admire in one of the first motor shows to be held at Sydney Showground.

The promotional offensive intensified further the following June, when JJ Mann, an agent from Delaunay Belleville’s works in St Denis, visited Sydney especially to ‘meet owners and prospective owners’. It seems inevitable that wealthy Australians interested in new motor car technologies should fall under the spell of this promotional onslaught.
Above- the site today (the current site of 1 Bligh Street).