Police Station (former)
Statement of SignificanceThe former No 4 Police Station located at 127-129 George Street is considered to be of State Heritage Significance for its historical and associational importance. The buildings rarity and research potential confirm its importance in providing ongoing evidence of the practice and experience of policing and incarceration in New South Wales during the Victorian era. Aesthetically and technically the architectural design of the station places it as one of Colonial Architect, James Barnet's most notable small scale buildings. The site has been part of the evolving settlement, and later city, of Sydney since first European settlement. Its historical development mirrors the major historical themes of Sydney from convict settlement, to mercantile centre in the 19th century. The police station was one of the two major stations in Sydney city from the 1880s until the 1930s, and is the only one of these two to survive. The building, along with its predecessors in Cumberland and Harrington Streets, and successors in George Street, has served this part of the city continuously since 1810. A number of police officers who serve here rose to become senior officials in the NSW Police Force. The building figured prominently as the base for a number of criminal or other investigations and cases over its working life (1882-1974). The Police Station at 127-129 George Street stands as a substantially intact example of a 19th Century Station. The building retains the ability to yield information about the design developments and construction technologies employed for Police buildings in the early Victorian period. The building's intact and rare plan form and architectural design provide evidence of the experience of incarceration and practice of policing. The former Police Station is arguably the most elaborate of the NSW police stations designed by the Colonial Architect James Barnet surviving from his term in office and is also one of his finest small-scale buildings. The architectural motifs have been cleverly combined to provide allusions to both the city and the authority of police force. The city gate motif selected for the façade is an unusual choice for a public building, and there are very few precedents in Australia and Internationally. The building is the most intact metropolitan examples of a nineteenth century police station or watch house. The lion's head keystone is one of three known surviving examples, within police stations, only one of which (Newtown) today retains the truncheon in its mouth.
Builder/Maker: W Cains and Sons
Construction Years: 1882 - 1882
Physical Description: The façade features an interesting Palladian water gate design with heavily articulated piers, quoins and voussoirs. It also has a well carved lion's head key stone to the arch and a coat of arms to the Neo Classical pediment. (AHC 1978)Style: Neo-classical; Storeys: 2; Facade: Stone; Internal Walls: Brick; Roof Cladding: Slate and Copper; Internal Structure: Brick; Floor Frame: TimberThe building is highly intact, retaining much of its original form and detail internally and externally. The symmetrical sandstone façade forms the front elevation of two-storey verandah/void. The slate roof is a pitched from behind the stone parapet. The rear of the building is constructed of dry pressed clay bricks which is generally unrendered. The building has two stories to the front, comprising former offices on both levels connected by a timber stair. Most original joinery and other finishes remains intact,; including stair, architraves, window. The upper level offices (facing street) have access to separate balconies which project across the double height portico space. The balconies are of timber construction with wrought iron balustrades. The single storey rear of the building is defined by two side boundary parapet walls, from which the two main roof planes pitch down to the middle. A timber framed clerestory window (curved roof over) runs the length of the building, and is located in the centre valley of two pitched rooves. Internally, there is a central corridor off which are a number of single and double cells. The cells retain many of their original (or early) fixtures including, metal cell doors and hardware and window grilles. There are external open spaces associated with the cells.
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: To the Gadigal people of Sydney the western shoreline of Sydney Cove (known to them as Warrane) was called Tallawolladah. The Gadigal traditional lands ranged from Darling Harbour in the west to the Heads in the east and included Manly. No evidence of Indigenous occupation is evident in the immediate vicinity due to the extensive nature of subsequent building activity. With the outbreak of Smallpox among the Indigenous people in 1789-90 many came or were brought to the hospital on the site of the future Police Station.When the First Fleet arrived in 1788 and area roughly bounded by George, Globe, Harrington and Argyle Streets was set aside for the colony's first hospital. The hospital operated on this site until 1816 when it relocated to Macquarie Street. The hospital began as two buildings roughly constructed in February 1788, the lands also included a herb and vegetable gardens. A portable hospital arrived with the 2nd Fleet in 1790 and was constructed straight away, on completion it was filled with around 500 people, convicts who were maltreated on board the 2nd Fleet convict transports.In 1797 High (George) Street was realigned. This required the portable hospital to be dismantled and re-erected on a stone foundation slightly west of its original position. A store and dispensary were then built to the north and west of the hospital buildings. In 1816 the new (Rum) Hospital opened in Macquarie Street and the old one closed. Building materials from the old hospital were advertised the next day. The Portable hospital, however, remained on the site until at least 1880. Plans from 1857-1880 indicate that the building was divided into four distinct tenements.William Davis purchased the site of the former hospital in 1816 and was formally registered as the owner in 1836 when all land ownership was formalised. Upon his death in 1843, the property was bequeathed to his niece, Ann Nolan, who retained it until the mid-1870s. In April 1876 it was sold to William Whaley Billyard for £600. In June 1876, Billyard subdivided the property into the allotments that are still evident today.Police control of the Rocks during the mid-19th century was achieved with the Water Police in George Street, a single constable in Harrington Street, a station house in Cumberland Street, and, at Miller's Point, a station at the corner of Kent and Argyle Streets. Gazettal of an official police force occurred in 1862, when the Police Regulation Act, No.16 was proclaimed. The Rocks had paled in police significance and, taking into consideration factors elsewhere, was less a charge on the city conscience. There were still sporadic eruptions of violence, and those whose business or inclinations obliged them to pass through The Cut, were aware of the sandbag and the footpad and the garrotter in gas-lit early 20th century. But these were not confined to The Rocks. The 1874-5 Sewerage Commissioners Report to the Legislative Council condemned some of the building stock in The Rocks as substandard. The Watch-house in Cumberland Street was among them. Another Watch-house had been built in Harrington Street in c1829 although it hadn't been used since 1847. The Harrington St Watch-house stood directly behind the site where the new Police Station was to be built and probably influenced the decision to purchase that lot on George St. The site was purchased from Mr Billyard by the New South Wales Department of Public Works as a site for a Police Station in December 1879. The Government Architect, James Barnet, designed the new Police Station Building in the form of a Palladian Water Gate. This was a structure where boats could discharge passengers with comfort and dry feet, and was considered as a 'curious conceit for a police station'. Tenders were called for the erection of the Police Station in 1881, and it was awarded to W Cain & Sons. It was completed in 1882 and occupied by the Police in 1883. It is only one of two 19th century Police Station Buildings remaining in the inner city. Above the lofty entrance arch to the Police Station are Queen Victoria's initials with a lion's head, the symbol of British justice, with a policeman's truncheon in its mouth. The message of the head and truncheon is clear: Uphold the law, or else. . . They are representative of the very visual and conscious representation of government authority Barnet imbued in the design of his government buildings. These buildings were also a reflection of a type of conservatism in Barnet's attitude towards authority through the use of symbolism in carvings and an imposing, classic, style and form that reflected the authority of the function of the building. He also used this motif on the Newtown Police Station, erected around the same time and also designed the entrance as a Palladian Watergate.The history of the head and truncheon are a constant source of interest. Folk legends abound about how many times the truncheon gone missing. The original truncheon was made from an unknown material, and it has been suggested that it was originally bronze. The truncheon has been replaced twice between 1995 and 2000, and then again at the end of works to the building in 2013. The truncheon is currently a hardwood, and is now located in the lion's mouth facing in the opposite direction to the original. When Barnet retired, he listed among his works 155 police stations. In all, he produced over 1350 works. Early on he established general plans for building types. That is, there was a standard style for post offices, a style for courthouses and so on. Police Stations have received limited attention in studies of Barnet and his work. In one recent study of Barnet's work the only police station listed among Barnet's significant works is the former Police Station at The Rocks. The General Post Office, the Lands Department and the Australian Museum together with court houses, hospitals and post offices generally have received greater attention. This is perhaps because police stations were often a part of courthouses, broader law and justice complexes or combined with policeman's residences. In the 1890s a Royal Commission was formed "to make a diligent and full inquiry with the view of ascertaining the undoubted facts in the matter of alleged illicit gambling and immoralities among the Chinese resident in George-Street North, in the said City of Sydney and neighbourhood, and the alleged bribery or misconduct of any members of the Police Force in relation thereto". The commission's investigation was to take 3 months from the 20th August 1891, but required two extensions before a final report was given in January 1892. There were also many allegations against policemen taking bribes from the Chinese gamblers to turn a blind eye on the illegal gaming rooms. However, the commission found that the witnesses bringing bribery charges against the police could not substantiate their claims. Without exception they had based their statements on mere suspicion, or upon allegations that had come to them second-hand...For the most part the evidence was hopelessly general. Indeed, so far as the more serious allegations made by the deputation to the Colonial Secretary were concerned, the witnesses against the police had so utterly failed to establish their case that the police were examined, and severely cross-examined, to see if they would implicate themselves; and that they certainly did not. In general, the Commission emphatically discredited the charges of bribery against the police and rejected the charge of alleged inactivity by the police towards the Chinese gambling problem.The new Sub-Inspector, Alexander Atwill (1838-1912), had served in the Royal Irish Constabulary from 1856 until his departure for Sydney in 1864. On arrival he immediately joined the NSW Police Force and was stationed at the Cumberland Street Watch House. Atwill was deployed at the Mint in Macquarie Street from 1870-82 before being appointed Sub-Inspector in charge of the newly completed No 4 Station, replacing Samuel Dillon Johnston (1824-1907) who had retired.James Mitchell commenced in the Police Force in 1889, attached to No 4 Station as a probationary constable. In 1899 he succeeded William Benton Scott, acting as Sub Inspector for a number of years. In 1914 he attained the supreme position in NSW as Inspector General (later Commissioner) of Police. Mitchell was succeeded by another policeman who served his early days at No 4 Station, Walter Henry Childs (1872-1964). Childs was Commissioner from 1930-35. Childs recalled the rough nature of The Rocks as he knew it, and was himself wounded in 1893 in the course of carrying out an arrest in George Street. Between them, Mitchell and Childs held the top police position for twenty years, covering events such as the General Strike of 1917, the visit of the Prince of Wales in 1921, and opening of the Harbour Bridge in 1932, Both cut their teeth on the Rocks Push at the end of the 19th century, and guided Sydney through the gangland "Razorhurst" activities in the 1920s-30s.The construction of 127 George Street coincided with the devastation of a short-lived Sydney landmark. The Garden Palace had been built in the Domain in 1879 to house the International Exhibition in that year. On its closure it was intended to be a museum of arts and sciences. In the meantime it was used to store former exhibits, and government records including the census data from 1851-81. Police from No 4 Station were detailed to patrol the site, making contact with the site's night watchman. In the early hours of the morning of 22 September 1882 the Garden Palace caught fire. A number of police later gave evidence of their movements and observations on that night. Their testimonies provide a valuable insight into the activities of the police of No 4 StationIn December 1941 the United States entered the Second World War following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbour. On 24 March 1942 the Allied Combined Chiefs of Staff declared the Pacific region the Pacific Theatre (of war), under the United States strategic command of Admiral Chester Nimitz and General Douglas Macarthur. Following the fall of the Philippines, Macarthur relocated to Australia to direct defensive and offensive operations against the Japanese. Sydney became a major supply base for the operations, and an important naval base for the repair and construction of ships given the existence of Cockatoo Island and Mort's Bay dockyards. Following the Battles of the Coral Sea (May 1942) and Midway (June 1942) US Naval ships were frequent visitors to Sydney Harbour. During the Japanese attack on Sydney on 1 June 1942 the USS Chicago, berthed at Garden Island, was a prime target.The United States Navy Shore Patrol took over use of the five cells and both exercise yards from 29 July 1942. This was later extended to all upstairs rooms, leaving the Charge Room, Sergeant's Room and Constables' Room for NSW Police use. On 8 March 1943 the entire building was taken over by the US Navy. A telephone was relocated to a cabinet at the front door to allow the public to call the Phillip Street station. The prime purpose of the US Navy Shore Patrol's occupancy of the building was to ensure order among US Naval personnel while on shore leave. It is probable that the former Muster and Store rooms were converted to cells during the Navy's occupation. An opening in the north wall of the charge room, opening onto the hallway, may also date to this period.The Sydney Morning Herald carried a brief report of an escape from 127 George Street on 2 November 1942: U.S. SAILORS ESCAPE FROM LOCK-UP Four American sailors escaped from the George Street North police station yesterday April afternoon by smashing the iron grille over the exercise yard. Openings were made between the bars large enough for them to squeeze through. The sailors were being held in custody by the U.S. Navy shore patrol, and police were asked to assist in recapturing them. In August 2009 archaeological clearance of a roof space above the northern cells revealed a series of artefacts relating to the United States Navy's use of the building. These consist of a number of cigarette and chewing gum packets, a ciphered telegram, matches and match boxes, a tinware dish, and pages of newspapers from 8-10 October 1942.On 11 March 1950 the 127 George Street was resumed by the NSW Police as offices, and the whole building occupied by the Traffic Division of No 4 Station, which included the Special Parking Police. The main station continued to be based at Phillip Street until 1983. In 1900 the control of traffic came under the jurisdiction of the NSW Police, largely due to the introduction of electric tramways in Sydney which shared the public streets with horse-drawn vehicles and pedestrians.With 127 George Street occupied by traffic police rather than regular police, there was a lesser need to utilise the cells. It is possibly for this reason that the cells have remained in almost original condition and not upgraded. It is likely that the US Naval Shore Patrol had converted the former Muster Room into a cell and in 1957 this room was extended over the adjoining side exercise yard to become a meal room. Technology and regulations took much of the professional police roll out of the Traffic Police. Gradually the role of traffic police was taken over by clerical staff attached to the Police Force.On 2 November 1974 the NSW Police Force finally vacated the building, handing it over to the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority (SCRA). The Traffic Police relocated to another SCRA building; 16-18 Grosvenor Street, along with the Police Records Division. In 1983 the police returned to The Rocks (renamed The Rocks Local Area Command) following the closure of the Phillip Street Station (now the Justice and Police Museum). The former ASNCo Hotel at 91 George Street was leased from SCRA and refurbished for their use. They remained here until moving to larger premises across the street at 132 George Street in 1997 where they still remain. The NSW Police can therefore demonstrate a presence of over 200 years in The Rocks, 92 years of which were spent at 127 George Street. There are 5 extant buildings in The Rocks that have served as police premises; Cadman's Cottage (Water Police 1847-1858), 127-129 George Street (No 4 Station 1882-1974), 16-18 Grosvenor Street (Traffic and Records 1974-1990), 91 George Street (1983-97) and 132 George Street (1997-present).Modifications to the building have been minor only. In 1900 a further two cell rooms were added. In 1921 a roof was erected over the exercise yard. In 1923 electric light was installed. The meal room was extended in 1957. The floor of the exercise yard has been raised. In 1937 additions to the first floor balconies were drawn up, for timber windows to be inserted into the balcony openings to George Street, and new flooring across from balcony floor to balcony floor to create a complete balcony at upper level over the portico. The unsympathetic windows which were inserted into the façade at the upper level balconies appear in a photo from 1970. These were removed and the original openings restored in the 1970's alterations.The police station ceased to operate as such on the 2nd November 1974, the building was transferred to the SCRA and was later opened as the Australian Craftworks Gallery. The Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority (SCRA) (now the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority - SHFA) was established in the late 1960's by the State Government with the aim of redeveloping the entire Rocks area. Initial schemes for complete demolition of all the buildings within The Rocks and erection of a series of towers were received with considerable public opposition, and re-development projects were halted by Green Bans imposed by the building worker's unions.The main focus of the work undertaken by the SCRA in the 1970's was the adaptive re-use of buildings such as the subject place and the Argyle Centre.During 1977 the front balconies were restored by the SCRA, which also provided the toilets on the first floor. The following year the raised exercise yard and part of the old covered yard were removed to make way for the Nurses Walk. Restoration work then proceeded, the work included the copper roof and the yard, cleaning of walls, stone paving and the steel fence to the present-day remains of the exercise yard. The building is currently occupied by a French cafe, the Craftworks Gallery having vacated the building in 2003. The building is intact and in good condition, and remains under the control of the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.
Historical significance: The site of 127-129 George Street has an important association with the historical development of Sydney, and the metropolitan area, since European settlement in 1788, and earlier with the Cadigal people of Sydney Harbour. To the Cadigal the site formed part of a strip of land along the western shore of Warrane (Sydney Cove) which they called "Tallawolladah". The fact that this area was named denotes it as a special or particular place for the indigenous peoples of Sydney Harbour before the coming of the Europeans. This land became part of the site of the hospital in 1788. In 1790 the portable hospital, which arrived in the Second Fleet, was erected largely on the site, and generally used by the military. The site is therefore important as being part of the earliest European settled part of Australia, with specific importance in the establishment of medical practice. The general hospital relocated to Macquarie Street in 1816, and a new Military Hospital erected on Observatory Hill which survives today as the National Trust headquarters. The George Street hospital site was sold, the site of 127-129 George Street being purchased by prominent Rocks resident William Davis whose family retained ownership for many decades, The Portable Hospital remained, subdivided into four tenements until 1882 when it was replaced by the No 4 Police Station. William Davis is recognised as a promoter of Roman Catholic emancipation in Australia, having held church services illegally on his property on Church Hill, which later became the site of Sydney's first Roman Catholic Church (St Patricks). The Davis family retained the site for much of the 19th century. In the period from 1880-1887 the George Street frontage from No 121 to Globe Street was almost entirely remodelled with the addition of the Port Jackson (now Russell) Hotel, sandstone-facaded shops, ES&A Bank, No 4 Police Station and row of three Italianate-style shops. The police station therefore forms a significant part of this street frontage rejuvenation in a prominent part of George Street, situated as it was near the Queen's Wharf. At the same time, directly across George Street, commercial buildings from the 1800s-10s were demolished for civic wharfage and transport improvements, and an ornate Fire Station was constructed in what is now First Fleet Park. The current building relates to the policing of the northern half of the CBD, as well as subsidiary watch houses at locations such as Manly, North Sydney and Balmain. It served this function for 90 years, and relates to a suite of other buildings in The Rocks that for part of their lives, though not purpose built, also served policing functions In 1891, a time when anti-Chinese sentiment was at its peak, police officers associated with No 4 Station faced charges of bribery. These charges related to officers who were seen as taking bribes to allow illegal gambling among the Rocks' extensive Chinese population. On a National scale this is associated with the development of the White Australia Policy soon after, and in the following decades. During World War Two the building was requisitioned by the US Naval Shore Patrol for the maintenance of order among US Naval personnel on shore leave. The item meets this criterion at a STATE level. The historical significance of 127-129 George Street is demonstrated by: ·The site's association with the first Hospital. ·Rejuvenation of this portion of George Street near Queen's Wharf in the 1880s ·Continuity of policing in The Rocks for over 200 years. ·The temporary occupation of the US Navy during war time.
Historical association: The Police Station at 127-129 George Street was designed by James Barnet during his term as Colonial Architect (1862-1890). During his tenure Barnet oversaw the design of 155 police stations throughout the state, mostly located in regional towns and of a domestic scale reflective of their dual role as residences. The Police Station at 127-129 George Street is arguably the most elaborate of Barnet's Police Stations and is also one of his finest small scale buildings. The building has associations with Police Commissioners James Mitchell (1914-1929) and Walter Henry Childs (1930-35) who both served for many years at 127-129 George Street from soon after it opened. Mitchell also served as the officer in charge during the Rocks Resumption period. Both were instrumental in NSW law and order during the "Razorhurst" gangland period in the 1920s-30s. The police station is associated with the US Navy's operations in Sydney during World War II. The building occupies a large part of site of the Portable Hospital, designed by Samuel Wyatt (or his nephew Jeffry Wyattville) and shipped to Sydney in 1790 The item meets this criterion at a STATE level. The associational significance of 127-129 George Street is demonstrated by: ·Colonial Architect James Barnet term (1862-1890). This building reflective of more refined projects, importance of this building in his portfolio ·Association of Police Officers posted to the Station with the 1891-2 Royal Commission on Alleged Chinese Gambling and Immorality and Charges of Bribery Against Members of the Police Force. ·Policing activities in the period of anti-Chinese sentiment (1880s-90s) including raids on Chinese gambling premises. ·Associated with general policing operations and development in NSW. ·Associated with US Naval operations in the Pacific during World War II.
Aesthetic significance: The George Street North Police Station is a rare representation of international design motifs combined to portray to the public the authority and force of the Police. The building is aesthetically distinctive for the city gate motif employed to the George Street façade. Very few precedents are to be found in Australia or indeed Internationally. The building's landmark qualities are demonstrated through the combination of the elevated arcade, the large scale and studded detailing of the front door and the carved lions head with baton fitted in its mouth and ornately carved pediment containing the cipher of the monarch (VIR= Victoria Imperatrix Regina, or Victoria, Queen and Empress). Together these elements convey an imposing message of law & order unparalleled in other Metropolitan Police Stations. The lion's head keystone is one of three known surviving examples, only one of which (Newtown) today retains the truncheon in its mouth. The quality of the materials palate including the controlled Sydney Yellowblock (commonly reserved for significant public buildings), and the considered construction detailing and quality of workmanship by builders Messrs W. Cains and Son, reflect the focus of the Government on the development of governance and quality building stock. The building, designed by Colonial Architect, James Barnet, dates from a period following the 1876 Commission of Inquiry regarding poor levels of sanitation throughout the city. Its design is representative of the Governments acknowledgment of previous sub-standard building and sanitary conditions in lock-ups and the transfer of the design of future buildings to the office of the Colonial Secretary. The design and construction of the building responds to the need for improved ventilation, light, access to an exercise yard and buildings ' fitted up with due regard for convenience.'The Police Station at 127-129 George Street replaced the Cumberland Street Watch House which in 1878 had been condemned following the findings of the Sanitary Commission. Barnet's design sought to improve the hygiene of police stations through the implementation of simple design features such as the spine of timber louvres through the corridor of the cell block for ventilation and light which could not be obstructed by building encroachments as had been the case with its predecessor. The item meets this criterion at a STATE level. The aesthetic significance of 127-129 George Street is demonstrated by: ·The quality and rarity of the architectural detailing and motifs, especially to the George Street façade. ·The symmetry and elevated nature of the George Street arcade. The technical significance / creative achievement of 127-129 George Street is demonstrated by: ·James Barnet's promotion of the use of concrete flooring in the cell block rather than the previous use of hardwood flooring boards or sandstone flags. Concrete flooring and later structural formwork subsequently gained greater acceptance in construction after c.1900. 'This question of flooring has many times been under my consideration, and of all available materials it seems to me that cement is the best for the watch-houses.'15 ·The design of the passive ventilation system through the spine of the cell block, and the individual cells which sought to improve hygiene. ·Improved light penetration as achieved by the cell block's central lantern roof windows.
Social significance: No 4 Station was responsible for law and order in the sector of Sydney north of King Street. As such it figured prominently in events such as the burning of the Garden Palace in the Domain in 1882, the anti-Chinese sentiments in the late 19th century, the Rocks Push gang organisations of the 1890s-1900s and the policing of the US naval forces in Sydney during and after World War II (1942-47). The item meets this criterion at a LOCAL level. The social significance of 127-129 George Street is demonstrated by: ·The buildings association with Policing in the north of the City.
Research significance: Archaeological remains are expected to be present on site relating to the hospital period (1788-1816) and subsequent conversion of the portable hospital into four tenements, Sub-floor, and inter-floor deposits have the potential to yield further archaeological evidence for the site's use. Archaeological material recovered to date can be further studied, and can form the basis for site interpretation installations. The former Police Station at 127-12 George Street retains the ability to yield information about the design developments and construction technologies employed for Police buildings in the early Victorian period. The buildings intact and rare plan form and architectural design provide evidence of the experience of incarceration and practice of policing. The research significance of 127-129 George Street is demonstrated by: ·The archaeological potential relating to the first Hospital ·Archaeological material retrieved from roof spaces has provided valuable information about the site's use by the US Navy during World War II. Further relics are likely to exist within the roof and under-floor spaces. ·The spatial arrangements within the building are indicative of significant developments in policing and incarceration in the later Victorian period. ·The item is representative of a new direction with regard to the design and detailing of more appropriate accommodation within public buildings. This is demonstrated through the use of concrete floors, improved ventilation design. ·The building retains evidence of historic colour schemes. ·The cell blocks have the potential to yield information and interpretative opportunities for incarceration. The item meets this criterion at a STATE level. The archaeological significance of 127-129 George Street is demonstrated by: ·The site covers the largest area of potential remains relating to the 1790 hospital building. This building was demolished for the construction of the police station in 1882. Located where the cells are constructed, the concrete floor of the cell block seals this potential archaeological deposit.
Rare assessment: The Police Station at 127-129 George Street is a substantially intact example of a 19th century police station of the Victorian period designed in response to Colonial Government actions to improve the sanitary and accommodation facilities in Sydney's Metropolitan Police Stations. Aside from the reduced extent of the rear exercise yard following the construction of Nurses Walk 1977 and modification of the doorway to the Muster Room the plan configuration of the building remains as constructed, including the cell block. The building retains fixtures and fittings associated with its original use The item meets this criterion at a STATE level. The rarity of 127-129 George Street is demonstrated by: ·The former station is the most intact major police station in NSW from the Victorian period. The building is the most intact and least altered of the Victorian metropolitan police stations.
Representative assessment: The former No 4 Police Station at 127-129 George Street is a fine example of a Victorian metropolitan police station. It retains the important and typical characteristics which readily identify the building as a distinctive police station. The cell block of the building retains architectural design, materials and detailing which emerged following the Government Inquiry into sanitation and later became typical for police cell designs. Architectural motifs and symbolism employed by Barnet in the design of the former George Street North Police Station distinguish it as a significant variation to other police stations. The station presents as a bold statement of law and order and architectural refinement that places it in the same league as those public buildings to Macquarie and Bridge Streets. The building's condition defines it as an outstanding example of a metropolitan Victorian police station. The item meets this criterion at a STATE level. The representativeness of 127-129 George Street is demonstrated by: ·Its departure from the more modest design of other Metropolitan police stations as well as the domestic design of those regional stations constructed during the Victorian period. ·The buildings embodiment of the layout, detailing and materials employed in police stations of the Victorian era following Government improvements to incarceration conditions and sanitation.
Intact assessment: Archaeology partly disturbed. The site covers the largest area of potential remains relating to the 1790 hospital building. This building was demolished for the construction of the police station in 1882. Located where the cells are constructed, the concrete floor of the cell block seals this potential archaeological deposit.
Physical condition: While the building is in overall good condition, there is some damage/deterioration of the sandstone due to poor drainage and related issues. The interior whilst largely intact, requires some maintenance. The impact of modern fittings and fixtures such as the fairy lights, and shop display fittings may require review as part of future management of the building. The modified central entry, while intrusive, is reversible and the long-term management of the building should seek to reinstate original form and detail.Archaeology Assessment Condition: Partly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Floors level with George Street, and terraced up to former level of Nurses Walk.
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Governing||Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0336||Police Station (former)||21/10/1978||2138|
|National Trust of Australia Register||7716||27/02/1978|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0380||George Street Business Precinct||21/10/1980||2182|
|National Trust of Australia Register||7622|
|Royal Australian Institute of Architects register||21/03/1978|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01571||Police Station (former)||10/05/2002||2868||85|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Within a National Trust conservation area||10499|