Monday, 11 December 2017

Why were the (1928) Brighton Baths demolished?

In May, The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader published a Flashback Friday Feature on the demolition of the 1928 swimming enclosure at Brighton-Le-Sands in 1980.

While the article was based on the content available within the archives of the newspaper, I felt that it didn't provide an explaination as to why or how its fate was determined.

The argument presented was that one storm in May 1968 all but sealed its fate, along with rising maintenance costs and declining patronage (access was via paid entry). The storm was reported to be one of the worst ever to impact on the bay. The storm swells generated massive erosion of the beachfront at Brighton-Le-Sands, including the collapse of a number of Norfolk pine trees and a historic cannon. Homes were flooded at Kurnell, when waves crashed over Prince Charles Drive. Scans from the May 22 1968 edition of The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader are included below including the editorial from page 2.

I wanted to also consider other sources as well. I consulted the local history collection of the former Rockdale City Council but also some of the scanned material that I have managed to obtain through my ongoing scans.

A search of the image collection through Bayside Council revealed images of significant storm damage to the baths as early as 1962. I found one image that had a concrete staircase overhanging from 1965. In addition, the beachfront at Brighton had been damaged in a number of storms in the lead up to 1968. The walkway on the perimeter of the baths had buckled during storms, forcing the baths to close

I found an article by former Rockdale and Alderman Ron Rathbone (date unknown) in a vertical file. Rathbone mentioned that council had prior to the 1960's faced difficulties in managing the baths. Patronage had declined as swimmers flocked to free enclosures located in nearby suburbs. Costs of maintainence had increased.

In 1970 the council struck an agreement with the Maritime Services Board and the Department of Lands and Planning to demolish the baths and replace it with a pier and floating net.The Seymour Pavillon was also to be demolished.

The former dressing sheds were converted into the Le Sands restaurant, opening in 1972. In 2017, the restaurant celebrates 45 years of trade.

A report in 1978, identified major structural concerns and it was recommended that the baths be demolished immediately. The following year, demolition took place.

Source: Anon. 1979. "Just a Rusting Ring of Mesh: Brighton baths may be rebuilt". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, February 14, 19. 

In mid 1980, the tender to construct the new floating net and pier was awarded by Rockdale Council. By the end of 1980, the new baths were completed at an estimated cost of $160 000. It was in fact bigger than the one that it had replaced. In the 2000's the council demolished the pier.

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Crestwood Hills, Baulkham Hills (1966)

Here is another classic advertisement from Parkes Developments in 1966. This was for the Crestwood Estate at Baulkham Hills, in the vicinity of St Michaels Catholic Church. Note that while Australia now had decimal currency, Parkes advertised the deposit price in pounds.

  Crestwood Estate Baulkham Hills Ad October 7 1966 The Sun 47

Source: Parkes Developments Pty. Ltd. 1966. "Crestwood Estate" (Advertisement). The Sun, October 7, 47.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Visions of the Future: Sydney Skyline, 1975 (1972)

While the illustrations may not be the best, this vision of Sydney's skyline in 1975 was published in the October 3, 1972 edition of The Daily Telegraph.

ViewScan_0156 (2)

While the buildings featured were generally built (bar two or three), they were completed well after 1975. I have listed the completion dates of some of the buildings below:

MLC Tower (11) - 1977
Sydney Tower (7) - 1981
AMP Centre (18) - 1976
Law Courts Building (16) - 1977
Qantas Centre (5) - 1982
Gateway Tower (14) - 1989

Saturday, 2 December 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Pelican Quays, Concord (1999)

This week head back to the late 1990's when the brownfields sites along the Parramatta River were undergoing redevelopment into new waterfront residential estates.

Below is an advertisement for Pelican Quays at Concord dating from 1999.

Source: Trafalgar Properties Limited. 1999. "Pelican Quays" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, April 17, 31RE (Real Estate Liftout).

Monday, 27 November 2017

1970: The Origins of Shorelink

I was having a look at the proposed corridor for the proposed Shorelink tunnel and noticed that the route is virtually identical to that proposed by the NSW Government in 1970.

The only difference between the 1970 and 2017 is that the 1970 proposal was above ground whereas it will be tunnelled under this plan.


Middle Harbour Bridge April 3 1970 daily telegraph 3 closeup

Source: Anon. 1970. "Bridge for Middle Harbour". The Daily Telegraph, April 3, 3.


Spit Bridge tunnel map

Source: NSW Government (2017). [image] Available at: [Accessed 20 Nov. 2017].

Below is the full article on the 1970 scheme as covered by The Daily Telegraph. This included a proposal for a double decker bridge over Middle Harbour. The estimated cost was $70 million ($781 million in today's money). Compare it with the estimated $3 billion to be spent with the 2017 scheme which is tunnelled. Estimated completion - 1980.

Source: Anon. 1970. "Bridge for Middle Harbour". The Daily Telegraph, April 3, 3.

Saturday, 25 November 2017

Property Advert of the Week: The Concierge Apartments Cremorne (1999)

At the end of the 1990's, the former Metropole Hotel at Cremorne was converted into an apartment complex while some former hotel rooms ended up as serviced apartments.

The Concierge Apartments Cremorne June 5 1999 SMH 10RE

Source: The Hayson Group. 1999. "The  Concierge Apartments" (Advertisement). The Sydney Morning Herald, June 5, 10RE (Real Estate Liftout).

Monday, 20 November 2017

1987: Pitt Street Mall Opening Feature (The Daily Mirror)

Back in September, I posted an entry to mark the 30th anniversary of the opening of the Pitt Street Mall in September 1987.

I have since scanned in a supplement that was published in The Daily Mirror on September 23, 1987. It was to promote the retailers that were based in the mall (reported to be 500).

They did foresee the mall becoming a fashion destination!!!

The Daily Mirror was even predicting further closures of city streets to traffic, along with more underground walkways and skybridges by 2001. What happened to this idea? Why aren't we raising this in 2017? Sydney City Council at present has banned construction of skybridges for the fact they wreck the streetscape and views along city streets.

Also, I found this preview article from the September 18, 1987 edition of The Daily Mirror. 

Source: Darmody, J. "At Last, The Mall will be Opened". The Daily Mirror, September 18, 12 & 13.

Grace Bros (and other retailers) were permitted to trade through to midnight on September 23 as the mall marked its first night of Thursday night trading. Some advertisements do feature in the scans above.

Prouds was not in the mall but took advantage of its proximity to join in the celebrations.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

Property Advert of the Week: The 10 pound block of land (1966)

We have heard of the ten pound Pom's, but in 1966, ten pounds bought you a block of land (deposit) at Campbelltown, which was being marketed as our first Satellite City.

Source: Parkes Development Pty. Ltd.  1966. "Campbelltown: Sydney's First Satellite City" (Advertisement). The Sun, October 7, 47.

Monday, 13 November 2017

1992: The end of Grace Bros Broadway

In November 1992, Grace Bros closed its flagship store at Broadway after 107 years of trading on the site.

Source: Molloy, R. 1992. "Graceful Departure: Staff give their regards to Broadway". The Daily Telegraph Mirror, November x, x. 

In the lead up to its closure, there were specials to rid the store of stock and on its final day (November 8), the bargains got bigger. A special lunch had also taken place in the former auditorium.

Source: Coles Myer Ltd. 1992. "Broadway Closing Sale Ends November 8 (Advertisement). The Sunday Telegraph, November 1, 12.

As for its demise? It can be said that it began as early as 1933 when trams were diverted away from the store. The Sydney Harbour Bridge had opened the previous year and other transport changes saw retailing drift away from Central and Broadway towards midtown.

But it was the 1980's that began the beginning of the end. In 1983, Grace Bros was purchased by Myer. Myer had a store in Pitt Street (accquired through the purchase of Farmers decades earlier) which was the flagship store for Myer (Farmers).

On January 22, 1992 it was announced that the "Model Store" would close by January 1993. Less retailing space was required along with increasing costs of maintaining a presence at Broadway. Grace Bros was prepared to consider opening a store in the inner west if a suitable site was found. Otherwise shoppers would have to head to either Pitt Street, Burwood or Bondi Junction.

Employees at Broadway were to be redeployed to Burwood and Bondi Junction. No one lost their job.

In 1998, one of the buildings was incorporated into the new Broadway Shopping Centre while the other building was converted into student accomodation - UniLodge to cater to students attending universities nearby.

Both buildings are currently heritage listed.

Saturday, 11 November 2017

Property Advert of the Week: 379 King George's Road, Beverly Hills (1966)

This week, I remain in 1966. I found this advertisement for a red brick unit block at 379 King George's Road in Beverly Hills. This is one block of units that I drive pass on a regular basis. I now know when they were built.

Beverley Hills Units Ad October 7 1966 The Sun 46

Source: Cripps & Cripps Pty. Ltd. 1966. "Home Units Strata Title Beverly Hills" (Advertisement). The Sun, October 7, 46.

The advertisement claims that Beverly Hills Station is 300 yards (approximately 275 metres) away but the real distance is around 500 metres. 

Monday, 6 November 2017

MILESTONE: East Hills line connected to the South Line (1987)

Source: State Rail Authority of NSW. 1987. "East Hills - Glenfield Line" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, December 21, 17.

In a few weeks, it will be thirty years since the opening of the extension to the East Hills Rail line that connected the line with the main South Line, providing another route for services to operate from the city to Campbelltown.

An extension to the southern line had been envisioned for over a decade. It was formally announced by NSW Premier Neville Wran in 1983 with the aim of having it completed in three years (1986). The challenge was that the rail corridor would trek through the Holsworthy Army base and required negotiations with the Commonwealth. This was successful with the line running towards the northern boundary.

Two stations were initially proposed, but only one station (Holsworthy) was built.

As part of the extension, the line between Riverwood and East Hills was duplicated to accomodate the additional trains that would operate to and from Campbelltown

On December 21, 1987, the extension was opened. A report from the ABC is featured below.

The biggest winners out the extension were those residing in the Campbelltown region, with reduced travel times to and from the city by rail.  It also opened up development in suburbs including Holsworthy and Wattle Grove.

Building this extension has provided planners with further options to expand the network further. The South West Rail Link (2015) can operate services to the city via the East Hills line, though they operate via the South Line at present.

With the second airport at Badgerys Creek a decade away, it is proposed that the South West Rail Line be extended through to Badgerys Creek and then possibly connect with the Western and North West Rail lines.  I can see foresee the ability for an orbital rail line to be connected. The East Hills Line would be one piece in the jigsaw. It is also connected to the Airport Line (2000) and an extension to Badgerys Creek would allow travellers to travel directly between the two airports.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Padstow Heights Land Release (1966)

In 1966, ninety pounds ($180) bought you a block of land at Padstow Heights. Road access had improved during the 1960's following the completion of the bridge over Salt Pan Creek in 1962, providing residents with easy access to Hurstville. Note that the price is advertised in pounds, which was legally permitted for two years following the decimalisation of currency earlier that year.

Source: Parkes Investments Pty Ltd. 1966. "Water Panorama: Padstow" (Advertisement). The Sun, October 7, 47.

Monday, 30 October 2017

1997: Big Screens for central Sydney

Times Square in New York is famous for its array of advertising billboards and big screens screening television broadcasts and animations.

In the 1990's, Sydney City Council explored the idea of permitting big screens to show advertising but also broadcast major events like the Olympic Games.

But I recall the idea was ditched because motorists would be "too distracted" by the activity. Interesting though. In Times Square, the traffic flows smoothly and chances are people if distracted might stop their cars altogether.

The Yellow M&M is unhappy with the lack of attention given by motorists at 1600 Broadway, New York (Times Square). Drivers are doing the right thing keeping their eyes on the road!!!

I've seen footage from September 11 taken at Times Square and cars did stop for a few seconds for people to see the graphic footage that was shown on the ABC (America) big screen.

But really the main audience is the pedestrians and keep in mind, that no street corner was destined to become like Times Square with billboards on every square inch of space. It was merely going to be one screen at each location.

With the corner of George and Park Street, it was assumed that the site was going to remain undeveloped by the Olympic Games in 2000 (2 Park Street was in fact almost finished). Whether or not they were going to incorporate it into the structure. Who knows?

Had they become reality, they might have been short term with the intention of dismantling them after the Olympic games.It had been proposed in a December 1998 article in The Daily Telegraph, that it would be there for 2001. The screen would be 7.5 metres by 4.5 metres.

Downtown Sydney has tended to be a billboard free zone on city buildings. Even today, its like that. In Sydney, they are restricted to the motorways, major highways and around Sydney Airport.

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Property Advert of the Week: Ingleburn land release (1972)

This week, we head to Ingleburn. One needed $8000 in 1972 to secure their block of land at Ingleburn.

  Ingleburn ad April 22 1972 daily telegraph 48

Source: Landfiners Pty. Lid. 1972. "Grand Opening - Ingleburn" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, April 22, 48.

Monday, 23 October 2017

1989: The start of Nightride Services

Younger generations like mine (Generation Y) are accustomed to using late night bus services to get home from the city after a night out.

In the 1980's trains services did operate after midnight in Sydney. However in 1989, the NSW Government made a controversial decision to replace late night rail services with Nightride Buses. It was in response to concerns over violence on trains at night but also to reduce operating costs.

Source: Nicholson, L. "All stations go for travellers: Buses to run taxi service". The Daily Telegraph, May 26, 5.

It was phased in two stages with a trial implemented on the Illawarra, East Hills and Bankstown Lines during June and July. By July, late night rail services on those lines ceased.

Source: Ministry for Transport (NSW). 1989. "Midnight to Dawn Services: Nightride" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, July 21, 19.

Below is a timetable that was published in The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader.

Source: Ministry for Transport (NSW). 1989. "Midnight to Dawn Transport Services: Night-Ride"(Advertisement). The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, July 25, 30.

Source: . Anonmonyous. 1989. "Night Trains replaced". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, June 6, 7.

The opposition were not too impressed. Shadow Transport Minister Brian Langton (ALP, Kogarah) raised concerns that buses would not cope with demand

Source: Philpott, P. 1989. "Nightride bus claim refuted by minister". The St George and Sutherland Shire Leader, July 6, 2.

When initially announced, the reaction from late night commuters was not positive citing that buses added extra travel time, safety concerns and would be forced to travel in taxi's for some or all of their journeys. The article above highlighted a weakness in the Nightride System - Many stations missed out on Nighride services altogether. Note that Penshurst, Mortdale and Gymea have since been added to the Nightride Bus Network. 

Those that were happy claimed that they felt safer on buses (research shows that you are less likely to be a victim of crime on a bus than a train). 

By the end of the year, it had been introduced on remaining lines.

Source: Ministry for Transport (NSW). 1989. "Midnight to Dawn Transport Service: Nightride". The Daily Telegraph, October 27, 14.

One advantage of the Nightride Network was the ability for buses to serve suburbs without rail stations including Sylvania and the Parramatta Road corridor. Some suburbs with rail stations ended up having non station stops.

Fast forward three decades later, the Nightride Network has expanded. Services now operate from Town Hall to Richmond (N71) and Carlingford (N61) along with Railway Square to Bondi Junction (N100)

Saturday, 21 October 2017

Property Advert of the Week: 57 Gerrale Street, Cronulla (1968)

In 1968, $11990 bought you an apartment across the road from Cronulla Beach with ocean views. 

Cronulla units June 22 1968 daily telegraph 42

Source: Palnor. 1968. "Ocean Front Units Cronulla" (Advertisement). The Daily Telegraph, June 22, 42.

Recently, unit owners in the complex along with those at 49-51 Gerrale Street managed to combine together to sell their apartments for an average of $1.7million to real estate developers. Brilliant return if you had bought off the plan. 

Under current planning guidelines, Sutherland Council would allow a building of up to nine levels on the site, which is generally the maximum allowed in central Cronulla. However, council may change this given its willingness to consider buildings in excess of that height within Cronulla like a proposal for a 21 level hotel on the Kingsway.  

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.