Statement of SignificanceAccountants House and site are of State heritage significance for their historical and scientific cultural values. The site and building are also of State heritage significance for their contribution to The Rocks area which is of State Heritage significance in its own right (see item no. 4500458).The Former G.E. Crane & Sons Warehouse at No. 117-119 Harrington Street, The Rocks and site are of State heritage significance for their historical and scientific cultural values. The site and building are also of State heritage significance for their contribution to The Rocks area which is of State Heritage significance in its own right. The building and site demonstrate the attempt by the State Government to regularise, and plan in an orderly manner, the layout of streets and buildings following the early twentieth resumption, resubdivision and urban renewal of The Rocks and Millers Point. The building demonstrates the typical late nineteenth and early twentieth century warehouse building which relied on horse and cart horizontal transport and mechanically assisted vertical transport within the building. With modifications in 1950 and 1962 and more extensive internal modifications in 2006 the exterior still retains the character and most of the fabric of the original 1913 building. The modifications reflect the changing use of buildings in The Rocks with its conversion from warehousing to offices in 1950, its division into smaller lettable units in 1962 and its upgrading of facilities and services in 2006 although the rooftop addition of a penthouse has detracted from its aesthetic significance. The Former G.E. Crane & Sons Warehouse has aesthetic significance as a modest example of an Edwardian Free Style warehouse building erected in 1913. The external form and detail of the building is characterised by the arrangement of paired windows set within recessed bays in the central body of the facades and a non-recessed setting for the windows on the lower two floors; creating a solid base to the building. Much of the original (1913) timber structure of the interior and some of the 1950 conversion of the building to office use, including the main stair and painted, cement rendered walls, remains intact. The timber beams and columns of the building's structure are representative of nineteenth and early twentieth century warehouses and are of technological significance because they illustrate typical turn of the century construction.
Warehouse (original) Commercial Building (offices)
Construction Years: 1840 - 1914
Physical Description: The building is adjoined to the west by the Housing Board building, 120 Gloucester Street, and neighboured by the Bushells building to the immediate south. The building is a typical example of the Federation Warehouse style. Located on a street corner, the site rises from east to west. The building comprises a ground floor, four upper levels, and a flat trafficable roof. External walls are of load-bearing face brick, laid English bond, framed internally with timber posts and beams with timber floor framing. The Harrington Street facade is symmetrical and is divided into three bays. The original timber frame, double-hung windows are painted and, above the first floor, are set within the recessed wall portions of the two side bays. The window heads are arched. This detailing and window arrangement is also evident on the Essex Street elevation. The exterior of the building is in good condition and retains much of the original integrity and fabric. The interior of the building is also in good condition and retains of a significant portion of original fabric and integrity. (Howard 1994:9)Style: Federation Warehouse; Storeys: 5; Facade: Load bearing brick, laid English bond.; Side Rear Walls: Load bearing brick, laid English bond.; Floor Frame: Rendered timber/carpet or sheet material.; Ceilings: Patented tile system or battened sheet lining.; Lifts: Art Deco style lift car.
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: Meehan's Survey of 1807 shows a track had been established that followed the southern boundary of the gaol leading up the hill, this would become Essex St. Sydney's first gaol was located on the northern corner of Essex Street and George Street. The intersection of Essex and Gloucester Streets (just behind the subject site) was reputedly known by the locals as Gallows Hill, as a view into the gaol complex could be gained. It appears that there were some structures on the subject site on the corner of Harrington and Essex Sts.Robert Russell's survey of Section No. 63 prepared during the 1830s shows a number of claimants for the northern end of the block between Essex Street, Gloucester Street, Church Hill (Charlotte Place, later Grosvenor Street) and Harrington Street. The claimants included:Edward HuntMarianne Dickens (or Mary Ann Dicken)Anne WhitakerGeorge and Edmund ChapmanJohn Kingdon Cleave.The outlines of the buildings are shown on Russell's survey and include the building on the corner of Essex and Harrington Street later used as Hogan's stables. The 1858 Metropolitan Sewerage & Drainage Board (MWSDB) also shows Hogan's Stables. It is possible that the stables were the building shown on the 1830s survey however no buildings are shown on the 1847 plan of Cleave's grant. The 1882 rate books describe the building as being a brick stable with an iron roof. Hogan may also have lived on the premises, as later rate books note a residence, possibly a converted shed. The 1888 Metropolitan Detail series plan shows the layout of the stables and the yard, the entrance to which was from Harrington Street. Additional detail is recorded on Percy Dove's 1880s plans which indicates that the stables were a single storey building with a passageway to the rear (north) that led to Frog Hollow (just behind the site). Sheds lined the southern and the western side of the yard. Following the outbreak of bubonic plague in December 1900 an extensive 'cleansing' of the perceived 'slum' areas was undertaken and the entire area from Millers Point, where the outbreak occurred, as far south as Charlotte Place (Grosvenor Street) was resumed by the state, under the Public Works Act. The immediate waterfront and part of Millers Point was resumed and vested in the Sydney Harbour Trust. The remainder of the resumed lands became known as the Observatory Hill Resumed Lands. The Resumption plans record that the stables on the corner of Essex Street were the property of Edmund Compton Batt, Andrew Edmund Jacques and John Mitchell Purves (1847-1915). Purves was the founder of Batt, Rodd and Purves Auctioneers and Estate Agents of 88 Pitt Street. He was Mayor of North Sydney and represented Clarence in the Legislative Assembly from 1880-1887. The irregular allotments at the intersection with Essex Street were regularised and 20 new lots created, each with a street frontage. A survey was undertaken in April 1905 and the first auction sale of the Observatory Hill lands occurred on the 4th of December 1905. The property with stables was tenanted until the end of the decade when it was purchased by G.E. Crane and Sons. No photographic record of the demolition of the stables has been located. Documents for a warehouse building were submitted to Council and approved in July 1913, minor modifications to the building were submitted to Council by architects Spain and Cosh later that year. The building which was erected comprises a load-bearing brick walled structure framed internally with timber posts and beams and with timber floor framing. It consisted of five floors and a flat roof. In 1934 the fabric was modified by the addition of a lift and motor house.In February 1950 the architectural firm of Crane and Scott submitted their drawings, executed for G.E. Crane and Sons Ltd, to convert the warehouse to an office building. This necessitated the construction of a new lift, fire isolated stair, lobby spaces and toilet facilities. Externally a new entry and terracotta tiling were incorporated into the Harrington Street facade. The lift installed in 1934, on the northern side of the building, appears to have been removed. An application to install an awning over the Harrington Street entrance was made in March 1952 by the firm of A.W. Edwards. The building was purchased by the Australian Society of Accountants at about this time, and some parts of the building were subsequently tenanted, minor modifications resulted from this.Apart from modifications to internal partitions, subsequent alterations took place in 1962 when the Australian Society of Accountants installed new partitioning on several levels and installed a system of mechanical ventilation. A new entry and surround were also added, providing access from Essex Street to the first floor. As a result of the establishment of the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority in January 1970, early offers were made to purchase the building, then notification of resumption was given by the Authority in November of that year. After a short period of dispute, the Australian Society of Accountants vacated the premises, in October 1971. The building remained tenanted and minor repair work was carried out - new bitumen coated asbestos roofing, guttering and some downpipes were renewed in 1978. In the 1980s a proposal was put forward to demolish both 117-119 Harrington St and 120 Gloucester St as well as Bushells Building and create a park, contingent to high rise development on adjacent sites, but this never went ahead.In December 2003 the NSW Heritage Council approved a development application for the upgrading of the building and its combination with the adjoining building at 120 Gloucester St. The proposal was prepared by the architect, John Graham & Associates. These plans were used as a basis to attract expressions of interest for the conservation and adaptive re-use of the building to be funded by the future developer/occupant of the building in return for a long lease to the building. In June 2004 title to the building was transferred from the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority to the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority. In 2005 a revised development application was lodged by HEG Holdings Pty Ltd which was prepared by architects, Noosphere Ideas Pty Ltd. Whilst combining the buildings at 120 Gloucester and 117-119 Harrington Streets, the revised proposal deleted the already approved new top floor to 117-119 Harrington Street and substituted a two storey, lightweight penthouse of unambiguously modern design. The 1950 lift shaft and stairs were retained in their original location within 117-119 Harrington Street. In addition the roof top laundry and chimneys were also lost along with the roof structure. The parapet along the east side of the building adjoining 117-119 Harrington Street was demolished so that the terrace area of the penthouse at 117-119 Harrington Street could be extended over part of the roof area of 120 Gloucester Street. This work was carried out in 2006.In 2005 a 99 year lease was signed with HEG Holdings Pty Ltd who developed the building project and in 2006 the lease was transferred to the current lessee, Downey Day Walden. 117-119 Harrington Street is now known as Dawnay Day House and is the Australian headquarters of the Dawnay Day Group. In addition to containing the offices of Dawnay Day Walden, the combined building of 117-119 Harrington Street and 120 Gloucester Street contains the offices of various tenants which are accessedfrom the four entrances to the combined buildings. The four entrances are located at 117-119 Harrington Street, 7 Essex Street, 5 Essex Street and 120 Gloucester Street.
Historical significance: The building and site demonstrate the attempt by the State Government to regularise, and plan in an orderly manner, the layout of streets and buildings in The Rocks following the early twentieth resumption, resubdivision and building renewal of The Rocks. The building demonstrates the typical late nineteenth and early twentieth century warehouse building which relied on horse and cart horizontal transport and mechanically assisted vertical transport within the building.With minor modifications in 1950, 1962 and 2006 the exterior retains the character and most of the fabric of the original 1913 building. The modifications reflect the changing use of buildings in The Rocks with its conversion from warehousing to offices in 1950, its division into smaller lettable units in 1962 and its upgrading of facilities and services in 2006.
Historical association: The building is the only surviving element of the substantial complex erected by the prominent late nineteenth and early to mid-twentieth century manufacturing and distribution company, G.E. Crane and Sons in Essex Street.
Aesthetic significance: The building has aesthetic significance as a modest example of a pre-World War I Edwardian warehouse building. The scale, form, use of materials and detailing of the building makes a positive contribution to the intact 19th and early 20th century streetscapes of the Gloucester, Harrington, and Essex Street precinct. The design of the building, which contained a similar use per floor, contrasts with the more expressive façade of the adjacent model factory. The building was designed by the prominent Sydney architectural firm of Spain and Cosh and demonstrates the firm's use of the Free Style as well as Alfred Spain's interest in the newly emerging discipline of Town Planning. The surviving section of park reflects the NSW Government Architect's concern that the resumed area be replanned as a pleasant and healthy environment. The architectural style employed by Spain and Cosh follows the architectural character set by the NSW Government Architect for resumed area, that in turn followed urban renewal schemes by the London County Council. A high standard of design was maintained throughout the resumed area.
Research significance: The building and site demonstrate the attempt by the State Government to regularise, and plan in an orderly manner, the layout of streets and buildings in The Rocks following the early twentieth-century resumption and resubdivision. This building is one of few warehouse buildings to survive that was specifically designed for the regular allotments created within the southern section of the resumed area. The location of the original cart doors reflected that access was from Harrington Street not Essex Street, which had been landscaped as a park. The building represents the evolving social and demographic changes in the area by the change of use from warehousing to office use. The design of the building also reflects the recent local government act, which required buildings to not only be of a set standard of construction but also contain certain facilities.
Rare assessment: The building is not a rare example in the New South Wales context of a late nineteenth or early twentieth century warehouse.
Representative assessment: The building is representative of the typical form of construction of nineteenth century warehouse and wool store buildings with its masonry exterior walls and hardwood timber floor structure. Its restrained façade details contrast with the earlier warehouses designed by Spain and Cosh in York Street. Such restrained detailing is uncommon before World War I. The design of the building also reflects the recent local government act, which required buildings to not only be of a set standard of construction but also contain certain facilities.
Intact assessment: The façade is substantially intact with regard to expressing the original 1913 form of thebuilding.
Physical condition: Archaeological Assessment Condition: Partly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Floors terraced into hill slope. Although the buildings show basements, photographs from c1919 show a retaining wall of some 4.5metres up to Gloucester St, earlier structures being level with Harrington St, therefore they may possibly be well preserved remains.
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Developing local, regional and national economies||Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Royal Australian Institute of Architects register|
|National Trust of Australia Register||6566||Accountants House||22/11/1994|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01521||Accountants House||10/05/2002||2867||85|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0609||Accountants House||21/10/1980||100265|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Within a National Trust conservation area||10499|