Monday, 21 August 2017

MILESTONE: 20 Years of Light Rail in Sydney (1997)

Sydney trams August 10 1997 daily telegraph 5

Source: Stuart, S. 1997. "All aboard the city streetcars tomorrow: Trams right on track". The Sunday Telegraph, August 10, 9.

This month is 20 years since the return of trams to Sydney. In August 1997, the first services commenced operation from Central Station through Pyrmont to Wentworth Park at Glebe.
The first services began on August 11 but were limited in frequency until the end of the month.

  Trams resume service august 11 1997 daily telegraph 3 

Source: Rogers, J. 1997. "Back on Track: After 36 years, the trams return to Sydney". The Daily Telegraph, August 11, 3. 

However the grand opening was not until August 31 1997 with festivities at all stations along the line.

  Sydney tram opening ad august 28 1997 daily telegraph

Source: Sydney Light Rail. 1997. "Don't miss our 4 kilometre party!" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, August 28, 26 & 27. 

The following day (September 1) saw the commencement of full services.

Sydney light rail opens september 1 1997 daily telegraph 17

Source:  Birch, S & Robinson, M. 1997. "One passenger, 8 minutes late". The Daily Telegraph, September 1, 17. 

The return of trams to Sydney was not without its problems. One concern was the speed of the trams as they made their way through Haymarket. They were merely too slow.

Sydney Light Rail september 22 1997 daily telegraph 17

Source: Skelsey, K. 1997. "Slow tram coming: Delays force review of 20km/h speed limit". The Daily Telegraph, September 22, 17.

Motorists faced fines blocking trams.

  Sydney Trams June 16 1997 daily telegraph 6

Source: Bissett, K. 1997. "Trams bring new road fine hazards". The Daily Telegraph, June 16, 6.

The changes were too much for some...

Tram Accident September 23 1997 daily telegraph 17  

Source: Porter, B. 1997. Sydney's most confusing corner claims another victim ... and another ... and another. The Daily Telegraph, September 23, 17. 

The line was extended from Wentworth Park to Lilyfield in 2000 with a further extension to Dulwich Hill opening in 2014. Initally, the light rail was privately owned and managed by TNT Transit Link (also operators of the monorail) , before changing ownership to CGEA Australia. In 2012, the State Government purchased the company for $20 million before integrating fares and services into the broader public transport network.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Karingal, Lane Cove (1971)

The swinging 1960's saw the appearance of the first villa and town house complexes in Sydney. Here is one for Karingal at Lane Cove dating back to 1971.

Karingal Townhouses ad May 8 1971 daily telegraph 58

Source: Duncan Properties. 1971. "Visit lovely 'Karingal' Town Houses". The Daily Telegraph, May 8, 58. 

Monday, 14 August 2017

MILESTONE: The M5 Motorway turns 25 (1992)

Today (August 14) is the 25th Birthday of the M5 Motorway. I have obtained material from the time of opening in 1992.

M5 opening Ad August 9 1992 sunday telegraph 48

Source: Interlink Roads Pty Ltd. 1992. "M5" (Advertisement). The Sunday Telegraph, August 9, 1992, 48. 

When opened in August 1992, Stage 1 ran from Fairford Road, Padstow to the Hume Highway at Casula. Drivers were charged $1.50. When extended to King Georges Road, Beverly Hills several months later, the toll rose to $2. In today's money, that would be equivalent to $3.64. Excluding GST, motorists pay $4.04 to use the same road at present ($4.60 with GST).

The opening of the M5 was marred by protests. Premier John Fahey left it to his deputy and roads minister Wal Murray to open the road. Driving legend Peter Brock was the first driver on the new motorway. He was the marketing ambassador for its owner Interlink Roads.

Source: Skelsey, M. 1992. "M5 drama as 300 heckle Murray". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, August 15, 7. 

One challenge with new toll roads in Sydney has been the ability to attract traffic upon opening. The M5 was no stranger. Opening Day had virtually no traffic.

Even a year later, it was being criticized for the fact it took people "nowhere"

  M5 East november 1 1993 daily telegraph 10

Source: Allan, C (Editor). 1993. "Making M5 a road to somewhere" (Editorial). The Daily Telegraph Mirror, November 1, 10. 

Not even promoting the motorway as the only way into Sydney worked.

M5 opens Aug 25 1992 SMH  

Source: Stapleton, J. 1992. "This way to the M5 but where's the free way?". The Sydney Morning Herald, August 25, 4. 

Fast forward a quarter of a century later and the M5 is one of Sydney's most congested roads. Not even adding second and third lanes (1999 & 2011) in each direction would relieve congestion. The M5 East (2001) connected the motorway to the Orbital network, allowing motorists direct access into central Sydney, Sydney Airport and Port Botany.

Saturday, 12 August 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Greenwood, Botany (1998)

This week, we head to Botany with two bedroom apartments in a village style setting available for $210 500 in 1998.

  Greenwood Botany SMH May 2 1998 23RE

Source: Colliers Jardine. 1998.  "Greenwood" (advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, May 2, 23 (Real Estate Liftout). 

Monday, 7 August 2017

1962: Tom Ugly's Bridge as a double deck bridge?

In 1962, there was only one crossing over Georges River to link the Sutherland Shire with the rest of Sydney - Tom Ugly's Bridge. The bridge could only carry three lanes of traffic. The postwar years saw a boom in the population and congestion on the bridge approaches was becoming an ever increasing problem.

tom Uglys Bridge Vision February 6 1962 the leader 1

Source: Anonymous. 1962. "Engineer proposes an answer to the chaos". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, February 8, 1. 

One engineer - James Stewart had a plan that would allow for an additional three lanes built atop the existing lanes of the bridge. It was an efficient proposal, but the challenge would have been with the approaches to the bridge. This may have had implications on both sides of the bridge as we see it today. 

Cars Could drive over Tom Uglys February 8 1962 the leader 3

Source: Anonymous. 1962. "Cars could drive over the top of Tom Ugly's". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, February 8, 3. 

It was not until 1987, that a second bridge was built roughly parallel to the existing bridge - Georges River Bridge which would carry southbound traffic on the Princes Highway, allowing tom Ugly's Bridge to carry northbound traffic only. 

Also he suggested a rail line travelling from Caringbah to Rockdale to relieve congestion on the single deck Como Bridge with the tracks incorporated into the soon to be built Captain Cook Bridge. He felt that while tenders had closed, the design could be modified. The line would have followed the corridor for the F6 (Southern) Freeway, and rejoined the main Illawarra line at Rockdale. This would have led to signficant reductions in commute times on the Cronulla branch line and provided South Coast services a second route through Southern Sydney.

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Gymea Land Release (1966)

Treloar Reality had blocks of land for sale in Gymea in late 1966 for just a seventy pound deposit ($140). The lots were  in First Avenue and Yarra Burra Street and appears to also include Conjola Place and Cobargo Road.

Gymea Land Release Ad The Sun October 14 1966 63

A Google Streetview reference to the area today is available here.

Source: Treloar Reality Pty. Ltd. 1966.  "Sensational New Release !!!" (Advertisement). The Sun, October 14, 63.

Monday, 31 July 2017

1979: The Sirius is opened

Photo taken by the Author (2015)

Last week, the NSW Government lost a court case against the NSW Heritage Council's council to proceed with the decision to list the Sirius Building on the State Heritage Register. This has set back plans by Housing NSW to sell the site to a building developer and allow for a private housing development to rise on the site.

Source: Berryman, M. 1977. Vast Rocks Unit Complex Will Change Skyline. The Sun Herald, September 4, 19. 

In 1977, there was some excitement when the plans for the building were unveiled. It was to be the first residential apartment complex to be built under the The Rocks Redevelopment Authority which had been established in 1970. The complex was designed by Architect Theo (Tao) Gofers. An early scheme (below) included a second building, which was to be commercial.

Some might say its disjointed but it was for a reason - to reflect the disjointed skyline. It would form the shape of a Pyramid. In addiiton, it was to minimise the impact of the complex on the skyline itself. In addition, it was to follow the layout of the area.

The apartments were designed primarily for the aged and families. For instance, access to apartments in the Sirius was via lifts and no stairs could be found at the entrance. The first residents moved into apartments in 1979.

In addition, there was a community hall, library and a rooftop garden available to residents, except the garden was never really made available.

As of May, two residents remained in the complex, the NSW Heritage Council has recommended that it be listed on the NSW Heritage Register for its brutalist architecture, but also was a project that proceeded despite initial Green Bans on the site.

However the NSW Government has opposed it and allowing its demolition would allow for the site to be sold for a higher price, and allowing greater scope for redevelopment. If Sirius was allowed only to be converted into a private housing complex, potential revenue from its sale would be lower.

The Sirius gave those from the working class and the disadvantaged an opportunity to share in the spoils that living around Sydney Harbour had to offer. The views themselves are worth millions. This era is set to come to an end, irrespective of whether or not the Sirius is allowed to remain.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Harrington Grande (1998) - NEVER BUILT

This week, we head to Harrington Street in the Sydney CBD where apartments in the Harrington Grande tower were on sale in 1998. One problem though, it never went ahead and was replaced with the Harry Seidler designed Cove Apartments in 2003 (Approved by Sydney City Council in 2000).

The developer is not mentioned, unless they were trying to find a developer to purchase the development application.

Quite a rare find.

  Harrington Grande SMH May 2 1998 23RE

Source: Anonymous. 1998. "The Harrington Grande" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, May 2, 23RE (Real Estate Liftout). 

Monday, 24 July 2017

1987: Early Highrise Proposal for 400 George Street

A contact of mine at Sydney City Council - Richard Braddish has mentioned to me and other highrise enthuaists that there was a major proposal in the late 1980's for an office tower at 400 George Street.

We ended up with an office tower a decade later, but shorter than what was envisioned.

Source: Jackson, D. 1987. "Up, up and Away". SMH Style (The Sydney Morning Herald), January 15, 4.  

The 1987 proposal would see the tower rise 43 levels above George Street. The architect was Andrew Metcalf. His scheme proposed that the tower would rise above a five storey retail podium, retaining facades of historic buildings, yet adding a human element to it. The tower itself would rise set back from the podium.

400 George Street as viewed from Sydney Tower. Photo taken by the Author (2012).

It would be a decade before an office tower was built on the site, following the collapse of the property market at the end of the 1980's combined with reduced demand for office space in central Sydney. However it only rose 35 levels or 138 metres above street level.

The retail complex became known as the Sydney Arcade which followed an arc from King Street through to the Pitt Street Mall. It offers high end retail. If the original scheme had gone ahead, we probably might have ended up with a retail complex like the Glasshouse and Mid City Centre as originally built in those times with disjointed layouts etc. In fact we might have seen a redevelopment of it to compete with the offerings of the current Pitt Street Mall.

Photo taken by the Author (2004)

Saturday, 22 July 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Kenthurst, Mosman (1966)

In October 1966, just $10 000 (5000 pounds) would land you an apartment in Ourimbah Road, Mosman. It's located near McPherson Street and would be in walking distance of shops at Cremorne Junction and Mosman.

I have included a Google Streetview Reference.

The agent was allowed to advertise in pounds and pence despite the conversion to decimal currency months earlier.

Kenthurst Mosman Ad October 14 1966 the sun 48

Source: Anonymous. 1966. "Kenthurst" (Advertisement). The Sun, October 14, 48.

Saturday, 15 July 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Oscar on Hollywood, Bondi Junction (1995)

This week, we head to Bondi Junction where Meriton were selling apartments in the Oscar on Hollywood complex.

Oscar on Hollywood Ad June 24 1995 SMH 84

Source: Meriton Premier Apartments. 1995. "Oscar on Hollywood" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, June 24, 84. 

Monday, 10 July 2017

1965: Rare Aerial Photo of the State Office Building

After finding a feature on the Water Board Building upon its completion in 1965 from The Sydney Morning Herald, the same edition featured a rare aerial photo of the nearly completed State Office Building in Phillip Street. It featured on Page 1.

It had become the tallest building in Australia at 35 levels or 128 metres tall. It would be surpassed by Australia Square within less than 18 months.

Source: Anonymous. 1965. "Untitled" (photograph). The Sydney Morning Herald, December 21, 1. 

The building was demolished in 1997 for the Aurora Place complex. It is the tallest building in Australia to be demolished to date and 18th tallest against other world buildings.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Terraced Gardens Estate, Kirrawee (1966)

This week, we head to Southern Sydney, where $3000 (£ 1500 ) bought you a block of land at Kirrawee in 1966. Note the advertising in pounds, despite the introduction of decimal currency earlier in the year. This was allowed until 1968. 

Kirrawee Ad October 21 1966 the sun 58

Source: Parkes Developments Pty. Ltd. 1966. "Terraced Gardens Estate" (Advertisement). The Sun, October 21, 58. 

Monday, 3 July 2017

1965: Sydney's new Water Board Building

In 1962, it was announced that the Water Board (Sydney Water) would construct a new building next to its existing 1938 building at the corner of Bathurst and Pitt Street.

It would be the first major tall building built towards the southern end of the city, rising 23 levels above the street level to a height of 330 feet. A major feature was the sun control panels to control sunlight streaming into the building.

By the end of 1965, it had become reality. Below is a feature article as published by The Sydney Morning Herald on December 21 (Click image to see a larger version).

Source: Edwards, N. 1965. "First giant office block at the southern end of city since war". The Sydney Morning Herald, December 21, 18.

In 2008, the Water Board (now Sydney Water) moved to a new complex at Parramatta, and the building was sold to Brookfield Multiplex for $150 million. It was intended that a new, modern office tower be built on the site. This did not proceed.

Chinese developer Greenland Properties bought the site from Brookfield Multiplex for $100 million in 2013. It has proceeded with plans to gut and partially demolish the tower for a new apartment building that will more than double the height of the building. Work is underway.

Greenland Centre Sydney Render
Above: Greenland Sydney

Source: Untitled [Still Image]. In Build Sydney. January 17, 2017. Accessed June 30, 2017.

When completed, the tower will rise 68 levels or 237 metres above street level. At this stage it will be the tallest skyscraper in Sydney until the completion of the 272 metre Crown Resort at Barangaroo in 2021. It is also anticipated that it will also lose the mantle of tallest apartment in Sydney with a number of residential towers proposed for Central Sydney that will rise up to 260 metres in height.

Above: The Sydney Water Building is gutted as part of its conversion into an apartment tower. Photo taken by the Author (2017). 

Saturday, 1 July 2017

Property Advert of the Week : Weekly Meriton SMH Advertisement from June 13 1998

I love these classic weekly advertisements from the late 1990's by Meriton Apartments in The Sydney Morning Herald. They kept the rivers of gold flowing at Broadway each weekend and maximised the broadsheet layout to its advantage. All of their developments featured on the one page. Take a look and see what projects were featured.

Meriton Apts Ad June 13 1998 SMH 25RE

Source: Meriton Premier Apartments. 1998. "Invest in a way of life" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, June 13, 25RE (Real Estate Lift out). 

Monday, 26 June 2017

1959: Sydney City Council Proposal to turn the Queen Victoria Building into a public square

Some might remember in the early 1970's when architect Harry Seidler called for the demolition of the Queen Victoria Building in George Street and that a multi storey carpark replace the building.

Demolishing the QVB was an idea for more than a decade. In the late 1950's Sydney City Council wanted the building demolished for a public square with an underground carpark modelled on public squares in San Francisco and Los Angeles.

One proposal called for York Street to be tunneled.

Source: Anonymous. 1959. "Lord Mayors Idea For A New Square". The Sun Herald, May 10, 12. 

They felt that the building was just half the value of the site itself and not earning revenue for the council, who were the landholders.  They felt the public square and carpark would earn more revenue.

The question will be asked - What if it became reality?

  • The proposed square for the eastern side of George Street would never be in the works.
  • Stricter building codes for York, Market and George Streets. Some of the tall buildings we see today might not have been allowed, especially those in more recent years. The impact would go even to King Street and beyond.
  • The focal point for events around Town Hall would have shifted to its north instead of the east. The public rallies and civil gatherings along George Street would not happen in the way we see today.
We should be grateful that one of finest buildings in Sydney from the Victorian era is still with us today. The decision to convert the building into a shopping centre has paid off massive dividends for Sydney. It is a much loved destination for shopping in central Sydney and the most famous retail complex of all. It is a meeting place for people too. One can dine at a cafe and restaurant and watch the world go by. 

Saturday, 24 June 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Parkview Towers, Pyrmont (1995)

This week, I share another advertisement courtesy of Meriton Apartments. It is for Parkview Towers at Pyrmont dated from 1995.

  Parkview Towers Pyrmont June 24 1995 SMH 85

Source: Meriton Premier Apartments. 1995. "Parkview Towers". The Sydney Morning Herald, June 24, 85.

Monday, 19 June 2017

1970: The birth of Martin Place as a Pedestrian Mall

Martin Place. Photo taken by the Author (2014).
Martin Place is Sydney's most loved pedestrian mall which expands the entire stretch of the street. Achieving this feat was not an overnight process, but took time.


Source: Anonmonyous. 1970. "The Big Takeover of Martin Place". The Sydney Morning Herald, September 1, 1. 

On September 1 1970, Martin Place between George Street and Pitt Street was closed to vehicular traffic for a four month trial to determine whether or not it should become a Pedestrian Mall - Martin Plaza. It was officially opened by Lord Mayor - Alderman Emmet McDermott

Source:  Dunn, M. 1970. "Let the Sun Shine In, Said the Lord Mayor...but raindrops kept falling." The Sydney Morning Herald, September 1, 9.

Fast forward to September 1, 1971 and Martin Plaza becomes a reality with the first stretch closed off to traffic permanently. In fact it took just weeks in 1970 for calls for it to become reality as the editorial from The Daily Telegraph from October 29, 1970 (below) shows. Even the State Government was coming on side.

Martin Place October 20 1970 daily telegraph 2

In 1972, Sydney City Council announced that it would convert over three years, the remainder of Martin Place into a Pedestrian Mall. In Stage 2 between Pitt Street and Castlereagh Street, there would be a sunken recreation area along with a cafe precinct. Construction began in late 1973. This was opened to the public on July 22, 1976.

The remainder of the conversion was timed to coincide with the completion of construction of Martin Place Railway Station, built as part of the Eastern Suburbs Railway Line. Those areas were opened to the public on May 7, 1979.

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Property Advert of the Week: The Domain Apartments (1995)

During the mid 1990's, the former office block on St John Young Cresent was one of a number of ageing city office blocks that was converted into apartment use.

From my understanding, the office building was built back in the 1970's as part of plans to turn Woolloomooloo into an extension of the Sydney CBD, and was built before the rezoning was axed. Two decades later, Wooloomooloo had actually turned from what had been seen as a "working class slum" into a desirable address.

With the fact that highrise was not allowed in the area opened up a great opportunity for a residential developer to earn a good return by selling premium apartments. The never to be built out views were enough. Also the decision of the ANZ Bank to move out of the building also pressed the case for residential conversion.

The Domain Apartments June 24 1995 SMH 85

Source: City Unit Sales. 1995. "The Domain Apartments" (advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, June 24, 85. 

Monday, 12 June 2017

1974: The end of the Manly Harbour Pool

Manly's famous Harbour Pool had served the people of Sydney well since 1931, but in May 1974 it fell victim to the 'Sygna' Storm.

The bathing closure was located to the west of Manly Wharf and its walkway allowed a person to walk directly from the wharf to Marineland (Oceanworld). It even had a popular diving board and floating platforms for swimmers.

On the Weekend of May 25 and 26 1974, the harbour pool was battered by strong swells as the 'Sygna' Storm pummelled the NSW coast. The swells had surged through the heads causing chaos in harbourside suburbs.

The damage occured during the evening of May 25 when the worst of the storm unleashed its fury. It was not until daylight that the magnitude of the damage became apparent. Page 1 of The Manly Daily on May 28 1974, summarises the carnage.

Symga Storm May 28 1974 Manly Daily 1 & 3 (1) 

Much of the walkway had completely collapsed into Manly Cove and had washed up onto the beach. Whatever was left had buckled. Within weeks, the remants had been demolished. Page 16 from the same edition of the paper published the famous photo of the buckled remains of the walkway.

  Manly Pool May 28 1974 Manly Daily 16 

 A netted swimming enclosure replaced the harbour pool which remains to this day.

There have been calls to rebuild the harbour pool such as in 1984, but was deemed to be "cost prohibitive". However in 2012, a group lodged their case for the rebuilding of the harbour pool, but with an eco-friendly twist that preserved the aquatic environment yet encouraged tourism.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Moore Park Gardens (1999)

This week, I share an advertisement from 1999 for the Moore Park Gardens complex at Redfern East. 

Moore Park Gardens June 5 1999 SMH 19RE

Source: Jones Lang La Salle. 1999. "Your Apartment...Your Apartment Clock". The Sydney Morning Herald, June 5, 19RE (Real Estate Liftout)

Monday, 5 June 2017

1971: The forerunner to the Proposed Wynyard Pedestrian Network

Back in 2014, I shared an article in relation to the proposed double decker pedestrian walkways for Wynyard in 1972.

I have found a clipping from the previous year that featured in The Sydney Morning Herald when the proposal was tabled with Sydney City Council which shows an even more extensive network of walkways than what has eventuated.

Source: Frizell, H. 1971. "New deal for hurried Harold". The Sydney Morning Herald, November 2, 9.

For instance, there would have been a second underground walkway under George Street near Martin Place. Australia Square was envisioned to be linked (it never did) through to Wynyard. Even the walkways under the Western Distributor were to form the network. Sadly the Western Distributor walkways were never connected. It was envisioned that the old tram tunnels under Wynyard would be a pedestrian underpass. As we know it is a parking station today. We also get a mention of a proposal to close Pitt Street from King to Park Streets between 12pm and 2pm. We did get a 24/7 pedestrian mall in Pitt Street (From King to Market Streets) in 1987.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Rockwall Gardens (1997)

This week, we head to Potts Point. In 1997, apartments were for sale in the Rockwall Gardens complex in Macleay Street. 

Rockwall Gardens Ad SMH May 24 1997 15RE

Source: Colliers Jardine. 1997. ""Rockwall Gardens" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, May 24,  15RE (Real Estate Liftout). 

Monday, 29 May 2017

1992: Introduction of Sunday Trading

Last week, we explored the introduction of Saturday afternoon trading in NSW in 1984. As the decade rolled on, pressure was being applied by some retailers to allow shops to trade on a Sunday. A number of major retailers had been flouting a loop hole in trading laws to allow them to trade.

This was led by Electrical and Whitegoods chains like Harvey Norman and Norman Ross. the argument was simple - Sunday provided time for people to buy goods that they needed for their homes.

Meanwhile, illegal sunday trading continued as The Sydney Morning Herald highlighted in 1985. Hardware chains were trading on Sundays in order to compete with smaller operators, who were allowed under legislation to trade.

Source: Howlett, S. 1985. "Sunday Trade is Booming". The Sun Herald, April 2, 28. 

By late 1987, Premier Barrie Unsworth announced that he would explore allowing Sunday trading in parts of Sydney. The Greiner Government was elected the following year and took it a step further. It deregulated retail trading hours from Monday to Saturday. Furniture, Electrical and Hardware Stores were permitted to trade from 10am to 4pm on Sundays.

Sunday Trading October 23 1988 Sunday Telegraph 4

Source: Taylor, T. 1988. "The shop counter revolution". The Sunday Telegraph, October 23, 4. 

Other retailers could exemptions from Sunday trading laws. In 1988, Grace Bros was allowed to open their CBD store on a Sunday. It had become the first department store in Australia to trade on a Sunday. 

  Grace Bros December 11 1988 Sunday Telegraph 30-31 

Source: Coles Myer Ltd. 1988. "Our City Store is open Today and Every Sunday (10am-4pm). The Sunday Telegraph, December 11, 30 & 31. 

However they were unsuccessful in gaining approval for another six of their stores to open.

Grace Bros Sunday Trading November 16 1988 daily telegraph 8

Knowles, C & Bowditch, D. 1988. "Grace Bros bid to open Sundays". The Daily Telegraph, November 16, 8. 

The Sydney Morning Herald did foresee that Sunday trading for all retailers was inevitable as shown in this editorial from late 1988.

In December 1989, retailers were given permission to trade on the two Sundays leading up to Christmas, after successfully persuading the NSW Government to change its decision on keeping shops closed. I posted them in a Christmas feature several years back if you wish to browse through them. The public voted with their feet (and wallets).

This was repeated through 1990 and 1991.

During 1992, Sunday Trading was introduced throughout Sydney. It began with major shopping centres or retail precincts like the Sydney CBD, Parramatta and Chatswood and expanded through regions across the metropolitan area. By the end of the year, Sunday trading was available in all suburbs. The argument by big retailers was that it was shoppers, not the law that should determine when a shop should be open. The State Government also passed legislation that finally led to deregulation of standard retail hours.

For your interest, I have also included another editorial relating to sunday trading as The Sydney Morning Herald saw it in 1992.

For the first time too, Post Christmas sales could also commence on a sunday as December 27 was the first day that trade could be allowed after Christmas. It happened that December 27 fell on a Sunday that year.

When you look at Sunday trading 25 years later, shoppers have voted with their feet. How hard is it to find a place to park your car on a Sunday if you are at a major shopping centre? There are some that would prefer that the shops still stay close on a Sunday on either religious or social grounds i.e. give time for people to be with loved ones, but its each of us that has the choice.

Sunday Trading was generally between 10am and 4pm, though it has now been extended to 5pm. Supermarkets and other major retailers initially had to stick to those hours, but gradually were relaxed.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Plaza Apartments Rockdale (1997)

Here is a treat for those in southern Sydney this week - An old advertisement for the first tower in the Plaza Apartments in Rockdale in 1997. For those of you not familar with southern Sydney, the Plaza Apartment towers are located directly above Rockdale Plaza. It is actually one of the first shopping centres in Sydney where apartment blocks were built directly above the complex.

  Plaza Apartments Rockdale Ad May 24 1997 SMH 27RE

Source: City Freeholds. 1997. "Plaza Apartments" (advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, May 24, 27RE (Real Estate Liftout). 

Monday, 22 May 2017

1984: Introduction of Saturday afternoon retail trading

Older readers would recall well the days when shops were required to shut at noon on a Saturday and in shops and shopping centres across the city, the battle was on to get the shopping done in the morning.

I would love those readers to share their stories of those battles.

By the 1980's however, retailers had found loop holes in trading law that had allowed them to trade seven days a week provided that they were a "small" business. However if a major retailer sold identical goods on a Sunday, they could be fined. Shoppers wanted more time to shop as well.

Electrical and furniture stores like Harvey Norman, Joyce Mayne and Norman Ross were trading on Saturday afternoons and Sundays, yet were not subject to prosecution under state law. However if Grace Bros, Waltons or David Jones opened during those hours, they would be prosecuted.

This was used by the unions to oppose further extensions to trading hours.

In 1983, the State Government passed legislation to allow all retailers to trade on a Saturday afternoon along with a second evening of late night trading during the week. It was proposed to be implemented from February 1984, but it was not until August that retailers were allowed to trade on Saturday afternoons.

The winners from extended trading hours were:

  • Shoppers - No need to rush on a Saturday to complete their shopping. They could take their time to purchase, but also have more options.
  • Major retailers - Opportunities to earn more income, even if it meant that the costs of operating stores were higher.
The losers were:
  • Retail workers - Unions argued that workers would lose time to spend with their families and even threaten full time jobs. From an employment perspective however, there would be scope for more jobs to be created. Longer hours would increase demand for labour.
  • Small businesses - With fewer employees, small businesses like corner shops could trade on Saturday afternoons and Sundays without competition from the big retailers.
The Sydney Morning Herald wrote a feature following the first weekend of Saturday afternoon trading in August 1984, and for small businesses it wasn't a good day. Shoppers seemed happy though.

Source: Hill, R. 1984. "Big stores happy, but not the small shops". The Sydney Morning Herald, August 13, 3. 

However one exception was David Jones, who decided to introduce Saturday afternoon trading from the following Saturday (August 18).

With retailers allowed to trade all day Saturday, the push would soon be on for trading on Sundays.

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Property Advert of Week: Tulong Place, Gymea Land Auction (1972)

This week, I share an advertisement for blocks of land in Tulong Place, Gymea, dating back to 1972.

  Tulong Place Gymea Ad October 4 1972 The Leader 62

Source: Harvey Real Estate (Caringbah) Pty. Ltd. 1972. "Land Auction". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, October 4, 62.

Monday, 15 May 2017

1997: M2 Motorway opens to the Public

In 1997, those in the booming North West suburbs now had a motorway that would make travel much easier, but yet they were reluctant to use it despite the reductions in travel time that it promised.

M2 Opens May 26 1997 daily telegraph 1
M2 Opens May 26 1997 daily telegraph 2

Source: Hilferty, T & Walsh, P. 1997. "M2 Chaos: Traffic anger as tollway opens". The Daily Telegraph, May 26, 1 & 2. 

 And then there were those who opposed it because it involved the loss of trees and vegetation. They were vocal from the planning stages and even on opening day wanted to spoil the celebrations. While for others, it was the fact one had to pay for the toll ($2.50).

Three months later, people still stayed away.

  M2 Motorway August 9 1997 daily telegraph 15

Source: Gibson, B. 1997. "Going nowhere fast". The Daily Telegraph, August 9, 15. 

But eventually the motorway did fill up with traffic and would form a piece of the Sydney Orbital network. Early in 2006, the M7 allowed drivers on the M2 a direct link through western Sydney down to the M5 Motorway and Hume Highway. In 2007, the Lane Cove Tunnel connected the M2 to the Gore Hill and Warringah Freeways.

During 2011 and 2013, an additional lane was added in each direction with improvements to on and off ramps.

Currently, the NorthConnex Project will connect the M2 Motorway to the M1 Motorway. This will be completed in 2019. Drivers will no longer need to use Pennant Hills Road or the Pacific Highway if driving in or out of Sydney.