Monday, 16 October 2017

MILESTONE: Westfield Eastgardens turns 30 (1987)

Above: Two page spread from The Southern Courier in October, 1987

Back in 2015, I provided an overview of the opening of Westfield Eastgardens in 1987.

To mark its 30th anniversary, I have managed to scan through copies of the Southern Courier which ran a series of features and advertisements to promote the opening of the centre. The centre was officially opened on October 19 1987 with 1300 guests invited despite global share markets collapsing around them.

Sydney's "A" list stars were in attendance. NSW Governor Sir James Rowland, John Saunders and Frank Lowy (Westfield) presided over proceedings.  Interest in leasing the space was high with 750 applications made to lease retail space.

Above: Advertisement published in The Southern Courier on October 28, 1987 promoting transport options to the new centre. Some locals were initially unimpressed with transport options.

When the centre opened to the public on October 21, there were protests, but not about the centre itself. Fifty locals protested against changes to bus services in the area. Some services serving the area faced the axe while services to Eastgardens from nearby suburbs were inadequate.

Above: Two advertisements promoting the opening of the Super Kmart Store at Eastgardens as published in The Southern Courier in October 1987.

Super Kmart was unique to Eastgardens. It was a hypermart combining a discount department store and supermarket under one roof, modelled on hypermarts in the United States like Walmart, Target (USA) and Kmart (USA). In 1989, the Super Kmart brand was dropped by parent company Coles Myer. The space was divided into two, forming the current Coles and Kmart stores seen today.

Here were some of the opening specials at Super Kmart:

Below are advertisements for Target and David Jones:

Two years ago I had commented about the impact of the centre on Maroubra Junction retailers. Westfield was confident that normal trading conditions would return to the area, but did not eventuate. Not even the presence of Grace Bros at Marboura Junction helped. Grace Bros fell victim itself!!!

Recently, I went for a drive to Eastgardens. The 1987 signage is still visible today.

And another two advertisements that I found that were published in the lead up to Opening Day.

Saturday, 14 October 2017

Property Advert of the Week: "Guaranteed High Returns" at Kirribilli (1996)

Something different this week. In 1996, Home Unit Headquarters promised investors 8% annual returns on apartments in a new project being built at Kirribilli. 

Kirribilli apartments ad June 22 1996 SMH 11RE

Source: Home Unit Headquarters. 1996. "Guaranteed High Returns" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, June 22, 11 (Real Estate Lift out). 

Monday, 9 October 2017

1990: Pyrmont Redevelopment Scheme

Pyrmont renewal September 26 1990 daily telegraph

Source: Olsen, L. 1990. "$10bn city facelift: Master plan to develop Pyrmont". The Daily Telegraph, September 26, 9.  

In 1990, the State Government of Nick Griener was intent on urban renewal on the Pyrmont Peninsula, following the decades long decline in manufacturing and port operations to suburban centres. The residential population of the Pyrmont/Ultimo area had collapsed from 19 000 at the start of the 20th century to just 1500.

It was not to be undertaken overnight and believed it would take 20 years for the plan to be fulfilled.

Heritage wharves were retained e.g. Wharf Five. It is now Doltone House.

Harris Street was meant to be a "showpiece", but did they mean in terms of heritage protection or being a destination to shop and/or dine?

Jacksons Landing at Pyrmont is the biggest of the brownfields developments to occur on the Pyrmont Peninsula. It took more than a decade for the former CSR site to be turned into a high density residential estate. That included the waterfront housing.

The old power station was destined to be an office complex, but ended up being the site of Sydney's first Casino.

In light of all the changes, heritage buildings have been lovingly restored:

Despite amendments to the plans, Pyrmont has become a highly sought inner city address.

All photos were taken by the author.

Saturday, 7 October 2017

Property Advert of the Week: The Colonnades, Milsons Point (1999)

This week, I go back to the pre-olympic wave of residential development at Milsons Point. In 1999, apartments were on sale in the complex. Sadly, it would just miss the Olympic Games for completion. 

  Colonnades Milsons Point June 5 1999 SMH 11RE

Source: Colliers Jardine, 1999. "Fablous Harbourfront Milsons Point" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, June 5, 11 (Real Estate Liftout). 

The building just has that Flatron Building appearance when you look at it from the eastern side as this photo I took in 2003 shows.

Monday, 2 October 2017

1985: Rare Preview Feature on Australia's Wonderland

Just three months before Australia's Wonderland opened in 1985, The Daily Telegraph went inside "the Down Under version of Disneyland".


Source: Coombs, R. 1985. "A Down Under land of wonder". The Daily Telegraph, August 24, 23 & 23. 

Australia's Wonderland traded until April 24, when the site was redeveloped into a business park. There are plans for the theme park to be resurrected at a site in Western Sydney. 

It never evolved into the Aussie Disneyland that was envisioned. 

As a bonus, below is a video containing rare footage from opening day in December 1985, plus a short history of the theme park. It was presented as Seven News Flashback Report by Mark Ferguson in 2013 on Seven News.

Saturday, 30 September 2017

Property Advert of the Week: New Cottages at Mt Colah (1968)

An $895 deposit bought you a three bedroom home at Mt Colah in 1968, If you want to live there today, a similar home would cost you at least $1.1 million. That's an easy 100 fold increase in nearly fifty years.

Mt Colah Homes June 22 1968 daily telegraph 42

Source: Mel-Ok Constructions Pty Ltd. 1968. "Cottages...Brand NEW brick-veneer" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, June 22, 42.

Monday, 25 September 2017

1993: How Sydney Won the Olympic Games (Newspaper feature)

Yesterday marked 24 years since Sydney was successful in its bid to host the "Best Ever" Olympic Games in 2000.

But how did we win it? I came across a good article by Michael Cameron that was published on Page 3 of The Daily Telegraph Mirror on September 25, 1993. He believes that Sydney's two vote win was from the votes of Princess Anne (UK)and that of a British Delegate swayed the vote towards Sydney as Manchester had been elimanated in the third round of voting.

  Sydney Olympic Bid September 25 1993 daily telegraph (11)

 I also believed that the Americans had their role in aiding Sydney as they had concerns for rival bidder Beijing following the 1989 Tienanmen Square Massacre.

Also I have included the special wrap around front page from the same edition.

  sydney 2000 sept 25 1993 dt (3)

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Amalfi Terrace, Mosman (1966)

In 1966, $24 000 (twelve thousand pounds) bought you a unit right on the waters edge at Mosman Bay with easy access to Ferry services.

Amalfi Terrace Mosman Ad October 7 1966 The Sun 46

Source: A. Zaccardi Pty. Ltd. 1966. "Amalfi Terrace". The Sun, October 7, 46.

Monday, 18 September 2017

MILESTONE: Pitt Street Mall turns 30 (1987)

Tomorrow is thirty years since the Pitt Street Mall was officially opened to the people of Sydney.

It is believed that planning the mall dated as far back as 1970.

During 1980, Sydney City Council release a plan to close off Pitt Street between Market and King Streets with the intention of eventually extending it through to Martin Place and Hunter Street.

Castlereagh Street would become two way for buses, taxi's and delivery vehicles.

In 1982, the plan was amended to focus only on the mall running between Market and King Street and restricting through traffic from Hunter Street to Park Street.

By 1985, Sydney was the only Australian Capital City without a retail plaza, despite being the first Australian City to turn streets into plazas as evidenced through Martin Place during the 1970's. The NSW Government vetoed a Sydney City Council proposal to create the mall.

A year later, the NSW Government gave approval which was welcomed by city retailers, anticipating increased trade following the success of similar malls elsewhere. By November, plans were finalised.

Pitt St mall nov 7 1986  

Source: Aubin, T. 1986. "Pitt Street to turn into a pink mall". The Sydney Morning Herald, November 7, 5. 

Work commenced in February, 1987. The biggest impact on construction was on city traffic as drivers had to adjust to changes which continue to this day. For example motorists now drove north up Pitt Street to Market Street as opposed to south in previous years. Two way traffic was allowed on Pitt Street from King to Hunter Streets, but it would become southbound only.

The changes are best illustrated in this advertisement published prior to the closure:

Pitt Street Mall Advert January 27 1987 daily telegraph 15

Source: Sydney City Council. 1987. "Changes to City Traffic plan" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, January 27, 15. 

Below is media coverage of the chaos for city drivers.

Pitt Street Mall Construction February 10 1987 daily telegraph 9 

Source: Morris, L. & AAP. 1987. "Mall work creates city traffic chaos". The Daily Telegraph, February 10, 9. 

People did quickly claim the street. 

After seven months of construction, the mall was offically opened by NSW Premier Barrie Unsworth on September 19, 1987. . It was built at a cost of $5 million.
Pitt Street Mall Opens September 20 1987 sunday telegraph

Source: Harris, S. 1987. "Pitt St Mall only a start - Unsworth. The Sunday Telegraph, September 20, page unknown. 

A special party night was held on September 24 as retailers were permitted to trade through to


  Pitt Street Mall opens September 25 1987 daily telegraph

Source: Anonmonyous. 1987. "Pitt St Mall jam packed on party night". The Daily Telegraph, September 25, page unknown.

The mall itself in 2017 is vastly different from 1987, having undergone a number of upgrades. The most recent upgrade was in 2010-2011 coinciding with the redevelopment of the Westfield Sydney Complex.

Pitt Street Mall has proven to be a big success for Sydney. It is now a popular shopping destination, given its broad appeal to city workers, residents and tourists. The demand for retail space has made the mall one of the most expensive shopping strips in the world to lease. International retailers have also made their presence felt, particularly in the past decade including Uniqlo, Sephora and Zara.

The Pitt Street Mall in recent times. Photo taken by the Author (2016).

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Property Advert of the Week: New Texture Brick Homes by AR Homes (1968)

Below is a 1968 advertisement for  AR Homes.

AR Homes ad June 22 1968 daily telegraph 42

Source: Arthur Robinson & Sons. 1968. "New Texture Brick Homes" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, June 22, 42. 

Monday, 11 September 2017

1986: Donald Trump and Sydney's proposed casino - NEW FINDINGS

Last year, I shared some material relating to a proposal by Donald Trump to construct a casino resort complex on the eastern side of Cockle Bay at Darling Harbour.

This week, NSW Cabinet papers from 1987 were made to the public. In addition, The Australian last month had revealed information relating to how the Unsworth Government (1986-1988) handled his proposal to build a casino resort and will provide a short summary of the material.

Above: Donald Trump's Casino Resort proposal for Darling Harbour (1986).
We now have a model of what Trump's resort would have looked like which was published in The Australian on Friday. As I mentioned, Harry Seidler was commissioned as the architect by Trump. The hotel tower reminds me of Shell House in Melbourne.

Sydney was being promised something special. It would look quite dated by todays standards and perhaps a redevelopment might have been in order.

Last year, I referred to a report from The Sydney Morning Herald from May 1987. Trump had tried to evade police checks required for operators of casinos in NSW. Cabinet Minutes show that while the concept had "public appeal" a NSW Police Board Report had suggested that Trump had links to the Mafia. Financial viability was also identified as a concern by CIBC Australia.

While the Darling Harbour Redevelopment Authority and the Casino Operations Board were satisified with the Trump proposal, it (along with three other proposed schemes) were rejected by Cabinet.

Saturday, 9 September 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Regatta Wharf (1999)

In 1999, apartments in one of the first buildings in the Jacksons Landing development at Pyrmont (Regatta Wharf) was on sale. 

Regatta Wharf Ad June 5 1999 SMH 23RE

Source: Lend Lease Corporation (1999). "Regatta Wharf" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, June 9, 23RE (Real Estate Liftout). 

Monday, 4 September 2017

1967: When Collaroy's unit blocks faced collapse

Above: The Sydney Morning Herald published an aerial shot of the storm swells threatening properties at Collaroy on the front page of the September 7, 1967 edition of the paper.

Manly Beach Erosion September 5 1967 The Sun 1 and 3 (2)

Source: Anonymous. 1967. "Beaches Ruined: Battle to save esplanade, homes". The Sun, September 5, 3.

For many of us, we remember the devestation at Collaroy Beach last year when 10 homes faced collapse at Collaroy when the beachfront was eroded heavily during a storm.

Fifty years ago, homes and unit blocks along the beachfront were threatened with collapse when similar conditions affected the beach over several weeks in August and September of 1967

The worst affected dwellings were just south of Ramsay street. This included the Flightdeck and Shipmates apartment buildings. The foundations were exposed leading to the risk of collapse.
One nearby home, nearly fell into the sea. Fifty years and many storms later, its still standing.

  Collaroy Close up photo September 6 1967 daily mirror 5

Source: Anonymous. 1967. "Fight to Save Homes". The Daily Mirror, September 6, 5.

The battle against nature was won

  Collaroy Beach Erosion September 7 1967 The Sun 2

Source: Anonmonyous. 1967. "The Beach Battle Won: Rock Wall Holds" . The Sun, September 7, 2.

People were being warned back then about the loss of beachfront properties which could have occured within a lifetime e.g. fifty years. The beachfront homes are still standing today. However with natural processes, the Collaroy area will eventually subcumb to the sea. 

Collaroy Beach Erosion September 7 1967 The Sun 4

Source: Harrison, T. 1967. "Professor says... All this Will Go! But don't panic, it may take centuries". The Sun, September 7, 4. 

The properties in the affected area in 1967 eventually saw a rock seawall  placed in front their dwellings. This has prevented further erosion and any loss of property. However, it stopped at Ramsay Street. The worst affected properties in last years super storm were located to the immediate north of the street.

Is it worth spending a fortune on beachfront property? Some are prepared to fork out the money, but they do so knowing that the next storm could see their home washed out to sea.

Fortuantely, we have learnt in Sydney and NSW that building right on the foredune of a beach is not good in protecting a beach, but also the damage it can cause to buildings in the event of erosion. Highrise buildings are no longer permitted in beachfront areas that are vulnerable to beach erosion along with restrictions in housing development?

But what about homes built before the laws? One can still build, but bear the risks that the next major storm can bring.

Saturday, 2 September 2017

Property Advert of the Week: 5 Acre Farms at Horsley Park (1968)

In 1968, acreage was on offer at Horsley Park for just a $390 deposit. Quite interestingly the area in question is mostly now Crown Land - Western Sydney Regional Park. The M7 slices through its western fringe and even is home to the Sydney Equestrian Centre.

Horsely Park Ad June 22 1968 daily telegraph 43
Source: Allan H. Tuckey Pty. Lrd. 1968. "5 Acre Farms Fairfield West" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, June 22, 43.

Monday, 28 August 2017

MILESTONE: Sydney Harbour Tunnel turns 25 (1992)

Another milestone to celebrate this week. This week we celebrate 25 years of service of the Sydney Harbour Tunnel to the citizens of Sydney.

With congestion increasing on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the 1980's, the need for a second harbour crossing was pushed further.

Plans for a harbour tunnel evolved throughout the 1980's, but it was not until 1986 where concrete plans were proposed. Initially, the tunnel was to run from Hickson Road, Millers Point and run west of the Harbour Bridge. Like the final plans, it would meet the Warringah Freeway at Mount Street, North Sydney.

Source: Coultan, M. 1986. "Tunnel: how pipedream will become pipeline". The Sydney Morning Herald, March 14, 1. 

Several months later, the proprosal we see today was conceived in an attempt to reduce construction costs. While the motives might not be just, the decision had a long run outcome - The Harbour Tunnel would form a piece in what has evolved into Sydney's orbital network of freeways. Under the Hickson Road plan, this would not be possible.

Source: Coultan, M. 1986. "Slimmer Harbour tunnel to save $35 million. The Sydney Morning Herald, December 17, 1 & 2. 

There was one proposal that was tendered by a firm that for around $100 million, four lanes could be constructed above the existing road deck to increase road capacity. This was published in The Daily Telegraph Mirror on August 27, 1992 in a special supplement to mark the opening of the tunnel.

Plans to proceed with construction were announced by the NSW State Government on April 27, 1987. This included increasing the Harbour Bridge toll from 20 cents to $1 to fund its construction. It rose to $2 by 1992.

Kirribilli residents objected to the tunnel, particularly as the air ventilation stack would be located at Bradfield Park. Today, anyone using the park would be unaware of its presence, landscaped into the terrain.

Transfield and Kumagai Gumi were awarded the contract to construct the tunnel. Construction largely took place off site with tunnel sections built at Port Kembla, before being towed into Sydney where they were sunk into place at the bottom of Sydney Harbour. Official work commenced in 1988.

On August 29 1992, NSW Premier John Fahey offically opened the tunnel. The opening was marred by protestors that wanted to disrupt the event. The following day, the public were invited to walk through the tunnel. The walk acted as a fundraiser for charity.

Sydney Harbour Tunnel Opening August 30 1992 sunday telegraph 2-3

Source: Wilkins, M. 1992. "Light at the end of the tunnel...Greenies 'crash' the party". The Sunday Telegraph, August 30, 4.  

The tunnel was opened to traffic at 3am on August 31, 1992. It survived its first peak hour test without glitches.

Sydney Harbour Tunnel Opens August 1992 daily telegraph 1-2 (1) Sydney Harbour Tunnel Opens August 1992 daily telegraph 1-2 (2)

Source: de Vine, B & Toy, N. 1992. "It's Perfect: Tunnel opens with dream run". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, August 31, 1 & 2. 

Like any expansion to a road, a new road will only take the pressure off an existing road for a short period of time before traffic levels return to previous levels. It's not uncommon for traffic on the Warringah Freeway to be banked "past the channel nine tower" at Willoughby in morning peak hour irrespective of whether you are bridge bound or tunnel bound. Add the congestion once you cross the bridge, and  trek down the Eastern Distributor towards Sydney Airport. An estimated 200 000 cars crossed the Sydney Harbour Bridge daily at the time of opening in 1992. Today, it is estimated to be around 165 000 cars that cross the bridge. When combined with RMS data of approximately 90 000 cars that access the Harbour Tunnel, 245 000 cars cross the harbour each day. 

Statistics of Interest:

  • Construction costs amounted to $560 million.
  • Estimated savings in travel time - 10 minutes.
  • 4500 workers involved in construction along with 300 contractors.

The Daily Telegraph Mirror to mark the opening provided its readers with a special poster outlining construction. 

Sydney Harbour Tunnel Feature August 1992 daily telegraph (3)