Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

Former Farmer's Store

  1928-76 Farmer's, 1976-83 Myers, 1983-94 Grace Bros, 1995-present Myer (currently owned by Westfield and operated as part of "Sydney Cenral Plaza").

architect

Designer/Maker: Robertson & Marks
Builder/Maker: Howie Moffat & Co.

location

436-450 George Street, Sydney

date

1929 - 1930

style

Commercial Pallazo

construction

Steel/Concrete frame, stone cladding.

type

Office Building
 
Occupying adjacent comers of the George Street and Market Street intersection
are two large retail stores which wear the Commercial
Palazzo style with distinction. To the north is the western half of the
former Farmer's department store (c 1930) by Robertson & Marks
to the south is the Gowing Brothers Building (1912 & 1929)
built in two stages, seventeen years apart - to the designs of Robertson
& Marks and C H McKellar respectively (Fig 33), but with none of the
first stage visible externally.

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436-450 George Street is of historic significance for its association with the expansion of large retailing companies in Sydney's centre c1920's. A significant landmark and demonstrative of traditional window display and trading retailing, the group of four buildings are of environmental significance for their contribution to the streetscapes of George, Market and Pitt Street in the heart of the retailing district. The George Street buildings have aesthetic, historic, social and scientific value as a large shopping emporium, for the landmark quality of the building form on the corner, for the shopfronts (amongst the finest in Sydney), for the awning, for the internal spatial layout (now compromised) and for features such as the ballroom. The building has high social value as a major determiner of shopping patterns in the city.
Shopfronts/display windows with surrounding detail.

The George Street building forms a part of a former group of seven buildings, all integrated as the central Sydney Grace Bros retail store. 436-450 George Street is the largest component of the complex. Most of the building has been demolished with facades on small sections of Pitt Street and part of George Street surviving. The column and beam arrangements of the George Street building impart a spatial quality which characterises the large department stores of this era. Elements are of particular importance include all of the facades of the combined buildings, the surviving original display windows, the scalloped footpath awning started as part of the 1930 building, and remnants of the former ballroom on the top storey not uncommon to the large emporiums in the 1930's. It is also interesting that the 1956 addition is almost indiscernible as such, externally as well as internally. (Ref Invent Nos 4057, 4068, 4069.) Category:Group of Buildings. Style:Inter-War Free Classical. Storeys:9 + 2 Basement Levels. Facade:Face brick & concrete construction faced with sandstone cladding. Side/Rear Walls:Face brick and concrete structure, sandstone cladding. Internal Walls:Plastered brick, light weight partitions. Roof Cladding:Corrugated copper sheeting, glazing panels, waterproof membrane. Internal Structure:Concrete encased steel frame. Floor:Reinforced concrete slabs, timber, vinyl, marble, carpet, ceramic tile floor coverings. Roof:Steel framing, reinforced concrete slab. Ceilings:Suspended plasterboard. Stairs:Some original stairs. Many of the public stairs have been removed. Escalators are the main means of travel from floor to floor. Five major stairs are still in use.. Sprinkler System:Yes. Lifts:Original x 3 in place.AirConditioned:Yes



436-450 George Street is the largest component of the Grace Bros complex, erected in two stages, the first in 1929-30 and the second in 1956 to the design of Robertson and Marks. In between these two stages, the service block, also designed by Robertson and Marks in 1938, was built.

The land at 436-450 comprised three titles. Title 1 was originally occupied by a hotel at least as early as 1830. In 1888 Charles James Roberts built the five storey Roberts' Hotel on the site. Farmer and Co purchased the property in July 1917 for the sum of £35,000, and five months later it was destroyed by fire. Title 2 was occupied by a shop and showroom. The building was sold by Sydney Burdekin (then deceased) to Farmer and Co in 1914. Title 3 was leased by Farmer & Co from c1889 until it was purchased by the company in 1919. In 1919 the company's architects were instructed to prepare plans for a new building on the three acquired titles. In April 1925, a contract was signed with Howie Moffat and Co. to complete the first portion of the new premises from designs prepared by architects Robertson and Marks. In 1926 the company purchased the vacant land behind Bateman's Hotel in George Street, to the north of the building and the company planning the construction of a service building to be used in conjunction with the main building. The first portion of the new building program was completed in 1928. In 1954 the remaining portion of the Old George Street Building was demolished which made way for the completion of the new building (around 1957). This was the building occupied by Farmer & Co in the 1880's. In 1960 Farmer and Co was acquired by the Myer Emporium Ltd. In 1976 the name of the store was changed to Myer. In April 1983 Grace Bros acquired the eleven Myer NSW stores, which became known as Grace Bros. Then in June 1983 Myer acquired Grace Bros. Holdings Ltd, the eleven stores retained their Grace Bros identity.

 

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