Sydney Architecture Images- Gone but not forgotten

Royal Exchange Assurance


No info currently available


75-77 Pitt St, Sydney, NSW


Built-    Demolished- 1935


Victorian Mannerist


Rendered brick Stone


Above- the building that replaced it (still standing on site). Built in 1936, this building was years ahead of its time (looks a bit drab now though...). The building on its right still survives.

The building at 75-77 Pitt Street was built as the Australian head office of the Royal Exchange Assurance Company, a company founded in London in 1720. In June 1936 the magazine Building reported that tenders were then being considered for the erection of this building, the design being of "an ultra-modern character". Building said that the architects, the Melbourne-based partnership of Seabrook & Fildes, had "set out with the object of giving Sydney something new". The front was to be faced entirely in glass and the effect of the design was to be achieved through the colour scheme and the materials used. When the building was finished twelve months later Building reported that it was "unique, striking, practical" and explained that the lower section of the building resembled a "gigantic waffle" being "virtually a large concrete trellis with thick sheets of glass inset", a system of construction known commercially as 'luxcrete'. The upper floors received natural light from horizontal rows of windows glazed with ordinary glass, with the bands between each series of windows faced with 'vitrolite', an opaque plateglass. The building was officially opened on 31 May 1937 by the NSW Premier in the presence of the Company's Australian General Manager and Company representatives from each state. In July 1937 the magazine Decoration and Glass carried a major article on the new building claiming that it was "the tallest known building to be faced with structural glass". Decoration and Glass also reported that architects Seabrook and Fildes had "devoted much time to the study of the psychology of colour" and had used this knowledge in the building but that "appreciation of its finer points" was as yet "beyond the powers of the general public." In November 1937 Art in Australia judged that "the use of structural glass as a facing material" and the "daring colour scheme of primrose and green" had made this building a "notable contribution to the street architecture of Sydney."
State Assurance Co Ltd

Address: 75-77 Pitt St, Sydney, NSW

Background: The State Assurance Co Ltd was established in Liverpool in 1891, as the State Fire Insurance Company and the company provided fire insurance in the United Kingdom, Australia and the USA. In 1910 it was renamed State Assurance Company and the company expanded into general insurance.

The company had offices in Sydney from at least 1913. In 1923 they acquired the fellow insurer British Equitable Assurance.

In September 1924 The State Assurance Co Ltd was in turn acquired by the Royal Exchange Assurance Co and became part of the Royal Exchange Assurance group which operated in its own right, but also traded through a number of subsidiary companies in Australia including both, State Assurance Co. Ltd. and British Equitable Assurance Co. Ltd. but also Java Sea and Fire Insurance Co. Ltd., Congregational Insurance Co. of Australia Ltd., Australia of the Sea Insurance Co. Ltd., Fire and Accident Insurance Co. of Australasia Ltd. and the Batavia Sea and Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. (later named Australian and Eastern Insurance Co. Ltd).

In 1968 Royal Exchange Assurance combined with the Guardian Assurance Company Limited to form Guardian Royal Exchange Assurance and in 1999 this group was acquired by AXA.