Some of the last remnants of Sydney’s most industrial era warehouses and factories will receive a heritage listing, reserving a piece of the city’s industrial past and providing guidance to owners on how to adapt and incorporate interesting heritage elements on their properties for future use.
January 15th, 2016
The City of Sydney proposal includes the birthplaces for many of Australia’s key brands, retailers and manufacturers, including IXL, Henderson Hats and Westinghouse. Also on the list is a rare, igloo-shaped World War II aircraft hangar where parts of the Beaufort bomber were manufactured.
Lord Mayor Clover Moore said heritage listings allowed redevelopment of the sites to take place, but also helped protect Sydney’s historic buildings and their valuable contribution to the local area.
“Sydney had one of the largest collections of industrial buildings in Australia, and those buildings tell the story of the city’s growth and the nation’s rapid industrialisation,” the Lord Mayor said. “With few undeveloped areas of the city remaining, these buildings are being converted into sought-after residential or commercial properties. The proposed listings will ensure the heritage value of these buildings remains, while retaining the current zonings for height limits and floor-space ratios. If you look at The Grounds of Alexandria, the look and feel of the former industrial site creates a unique setting for the eatery and an authentic experience for customers, adding to the attraction for their hundreds of visitors each week.”
The City undertook an exhaustive study of more than 470 industrial sites and buildings across Sydney to produce the list of 62 structures and two small heritage conservation areas that have the greatest integrity and historical interest. The City spent three months consulting with building owners and the community and received more than 100 submissions.
City heritage planner, Claudine Loffi, said that listing encouraged the creative re-use of these former industrial buildings in a way that retained some of their historic character.
“Listing does not freeze these buildings in time or prevent Council approval of future changes and development,” Ms Loffi said. “Appropriate future development and new use will be resolved by owners, their consultants and Council on a case-by-case basis through the normal development application process, which also allows the community an opportunity to comment. These buildings add economic and social value to renewal areas.
“Without listing, these buildings could be lost as there is no guarantee that the community or Council would have a say, or their potential heritage value considered, before demolition is approved. Many owners understood they could still redevelop and adapt the sites, and saw it as a great opportunity to capitalise on the unique character of these buildings. The community also expects us to look after the city’s heritage – and the idea of what is, and what isn’t of value can change dramatically over time. For example, in the 1960s, a group of architects and planners called for the Queen Victoria Building to be demolished and replaced with a public park. The building was described as an ‘architectural monstrosity’ and ‘stupid’. Now, of course, we all accept the QVB is one of Sydney’s most well-recognised and valued heritage buildings.”
For more information on the stories behind the buildings, visit sydneyyoursay.com.au.
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