Three brick buildings, with a covered jetty and a courtyard, stand empty at the northern end of Bank Street. They occupy an exceptionally attractive site on the banks of Blackwattle Bay. Surrounding the internal courtyard, two buildings have two storeys: the third has one. A fully equipped workshop amid carved wooden fittings stands idle. Whatever…

The imposing building at 100 Harris Street occupies a large block of land down to Pyrmont Street. It has had many owners, several names, and two main functions since 1910. Schute, Bell, Badgery & Lumby came to Pyrmont in 1906 as an established and ambitious wool broker. Buying lots 35 and 36 of the Pyrmont…

The main bridge work began in April 1992. The towers were completed in November 1993 and the decks by June 1995. The two halves met in July 1995, and the bridge was opened to traffic on 3 December 1995. The arterial length is 3 kilometres, the bridge itself 805 metres. The main span is 345…

Picturesque Blackwattle Bay, named in 1788, was soon vandalised. In the 1820s lots were bought for slaughterhouses and a distiller: on another lot Pig Mary fed offal to her charges. The bay declined into a foul swamp until the Reclamation Act of 1873. Wentworth Park was one happy consequence. However, once the foreshore was filled…

Operating 1937–1971. Demolished 1992. In the mid-twentieth century, a visitor to Bank Street – a busy thoroughfare bordered by small enterprises – would be amazed by a substantial building on the eastern side, not far from CSR. The building’s massive rectangular form, decorated with patterned pre-cast concrete tiles, could only evoke fantasies. One glimpse of…

This bay provided so much food that the Wangal and Gadigal clans of the Eora nation called it ‘Tumbalong’, a place to find seafood. They left such great shell middens that Europeans called it ‘Cockle Bay’ until 1826 when it was named for Governor Ralph Darling. Traders built wharves to bring commodities into the city,…

After subdivision in 1839, individuals reclaimed the ‘putrid mudflats’, by dumping cartloads of fill and rubble. Many jetties, slips, docks and wharves were built. Darling Island was then redeveloped as the shipyard of the Australasian Steam Navigation Company. By the 1880s the ASN yard occupied all Darling Island, inside a retaining wall that encompassed a…

Glebe Island, between Rozelle Bay and White Bay, was part of a land grant to Richard Johnson, chaplain of the First Fleet. Land given to the Church of England was known as a ‘glebe’. Johnson was not impressed by the craggy, scrubby land and swapped it for a new ‘glebe’ (now Glebe). Animals were butchered…

Blackbutts Bridge was the first bridge from Pyrmont to Glebe Island, built in 1857 from Tasmanian blackbutt timber, with a manual swing span. It enabled easier access to Glebe Island, and meat could be taken from the Glebe Island abattoirs across Pyrmont Bridge to Sydney. The bridge was privately owned. As the turn of the…

While Ultimo – the Harris Estate – covered almost the whole peninsula, Harris Street (named for Surgeon John Harris) carried almost all transport from the City, via Parramatta Road. The opening of the Pyrmont and Glebe Island bridges created new thoroughfares, reducing Harris Street’s importance. Bank Street, Union Street and Pyrmont Bridge Road brought Pyrmont…

Every aspect of the Centre complex aspires to be the biggest or best in the southern hemisphere (at least). The Centre itself, which opened in December 2016, is the centre piece of a $3.4 billion revitalisation of Darling Harbour. The complex includes a hotel, a 32,000 sqm Exhibition Centre and an 8,000 seat Theatre. There…

Jacksons Landing is a mainly residential complex at the northern tip of Pyrmont. When CSR decided in 1990 to close its Pyrmont operations, the company consulted and contracted the Lend Lease Corporation to redevelop the whole industrial site as a single residential estate. Like other developments of the same vintage, it is a planned residential…

The wharves in this complex were designed on the authority of the Sydney Harbour Trust, to cope with the unprecedented volumes of wool, wheat and other produce from NSW rural areas destined for export, the very large ships that carried these cargoes, and the speed required to avoid congestion. (Circular Quay was already too crowded…

In 1940 CSR provided land and buildings for Maybanke Playground, on Harris Street Pyrmont. It was named after Maybanke Anderson who helped found the Parks and Playgrounds Association and after whom Maybanke Kindergarten had been named. As well as the present site of the Maybanke Centre, the playground extended up the slope to a Mount…

Pirrama Park (formerly Pyrmont Point Park) is a very popular recreation area built on land known as Pirrama to the Eora people. In 1875 Pyrmont Public Baths opened on Pyrmont Point and a ferry wharf operated until the tram service along Harris Street began in 1901. In 1929 the Sydney Harbour Trust resolved to demolish…

Pyrmont baths 1917. City of Sydney archive

The history of the Pyrmont baths from their opening in 1877 to their demolition in 1946 was a remarkable journey. They rose to prominence in the early 1900s as one of the finest ocean baths in Sydney, for coaching and showcasing champion swimmers, and providing an important meeting and recreational space. Amid factories, warehouses, shipping…

Pyrmont Bridge is one of the world’s oldest surviving electrically operated swingspan bridges. It cost £112,500 to build, and opened in 1902, replacing the first bridge (that had been carrying traffic since 1857), allowing tall vessels to access southern Darling Harbour. Pyrmont Bridge is the best known of 583 designed by the engineer Percy Allen….

Pyrmont Community Centre was built in 1884 as Pyrmont Superior Public School, designed by Government architect William Kemp. As industry expanded and housing contracted, in 1933 the Government closed the school, sending its last pupils to Ultimo. For the next thirty years Sydney Technical College taught apprentices in the main building. Funded by a federal…

Pyrmont Point - Dr Morse's Pills 1900

Pyrmont Point was part of John Macarthur’s land grant, and probably the site of the picnic which reminded a guest of picturesque Bad Pyrmont. Frequently since then the site has been contested by authorities (for commercial benefits) and residents (for social services). Macarthur’s ventures (milling, salt boiling and timber) languished, but Thomas Chowne began building…

The marketing of fish in Sydney was haphazard at least until 1872 when markets were opened, first in Woolloomooloo and later at the Haymarket. Until 1945, marketing was done by licensed fish agents at the Haymarket, or by unlicensed operators elsewhere. In that year the NSW Chief Secretary took control, and in 1964 the Fish…

The Star entertainment complex (formerly Star City Casino and before that, Sydney Harbour Casino) was built on the site of the Pyrmont Power Station, and retains some of that structure. In 1985 the State government announced that a casino would be built in Darling Harbour. A great variety of opposition had to be overcome, but…

Union Square is an irregular and informal space between Union Street, Paternoster Row and Harris Street. Union Street began as a steep track from Harris Street to the foreshore where a ferry took passengers across the water to the city. By 1858 Union Street led to the first Pyrmont Bridge (a privately owned toll bridge)…

Wakefield House and Festival Records Building, on the corner of Bulwara Road and Miller Street, is listed on the State Heritage register as an example of an inter-war functionalist industrial building. Built in 1939, it was occupied by C C Wakefield & Co, then (from 1962) by Castrol Oil. However, it is chiefly famous as…

Wentworth Park began as a creek and swamp known, from the 1830s, as Blackwattle Cove Swamp. Noxious industries flourished, including abattoirs and boiling down works. Even after the removal of these enterprises, the stench persisted. Infilling the swamp began in 1876. Trustees were appointed to manage the new park and a design competition was held….