CBD-CulwullaChambers2.jpg (74610 bytes) Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

Culwulla Chambers


Spain, Cosh and Minnett


corner of King Street and Castlereagh Street




Blood and bandage Federation Free Style (very similar to George's House)


reinforced concrete frame, stone and brick cladding (height of 50 metres)


Office Building
Sydney's skyline changed in 1912 when its tallest building to date, Culwulla Chambers, was built on the corner of King Street and Castlereagh Street to a height of 50 metres. Designed by Spain, Cosh and Minnett the building consisted of 14 floors and cost a record £100,000 to build. 

Culwulla Chambers was hailed a skyscraper by the press, however in being a masonry construction rather than a metal frame, it was simply a tall building. The construction of Culwulla Chambers resulted in much controversy. People feared Sydney would develop a 'New York style' skyline and the building itself was considered a potential fire hazard, as fire ladders could not reach its maximum height.

As a result of this concern a subsequent amendment was made to building regulations prohibiting the erection of buildings taller than 45 metres. This regulation remained in force until the AMP building was constructed at Circular Quay in 1961.


With the advent of tall buildings in Sydney in the early 20th Century, fears were expressed about the effect of such buildings on the city and its inhabitants; the dangers of fire, dark shadows in the streets, too much traffic and of disease in congested areas.

While the City Council was in favour of such development Parliament legislated for a height limit of 150 feet above street level. Culwulla Chambers (named after the owner's family home at Jamberoo) was built with fire proofing in mind, hence its marble steps and reinforced concrete construction.

  Then and now- not the giant it was!