Cleland Bond Store (part of Argyle Stores)
Statement of SignificanceThe Cleland Bond Store is of historical, social, archaeological and aesthetic significance as part of The Rocks and to NSW generally.Built in 1914 to extend the warehouse capacity of the adjacent Argyle Stores, Cleland Bond Store is historically and socially significant for its association with one of the earliest extant bond store complexes in NSW and thus with the early mercantile history of Sydneyand NSW. In conjunction with the other buildings in the Argyle Stores complex, it has research significance as a material record of warehouse design and construction from the early 19th-early 20th centuries. The place has aesthetic significance as a representativeexample of an Edwardian commercial building in Sydney, and for its contribution to the streetscape quality of The Rocks, one of the premier heritage precincts in NSW.
Shops / Department Store
Warehouse / Bond Store
Retail and Wholesale
Construction Years: 1913 - 1914
Physical Description: The Cleland Stores are four storeys high and four bays wide, of load bearing brickwork with heavy timber post and beam construction internally. It has a simple pitched iron roof with a gable parapet incorporating a large circular opening on the main façade. The top windows have broad semi-circular heads. Entry to the bond is through a pair of massive ledged and braced doors in the central, recessed double entry bay. (Croker 1976)Storeys: Four; Facade: Brick; Side Rear Walls: Brick; Roof Cladding: Iron
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: The land on which the Cleland Bond Store now stands was originally part of the grounds ofSydney's first convict hospital, established after the arrival of the First Fleet at what is now the northern end of George Street and subsequently extended southwards to the intersection of Argyle Street. The hospital complex included a residence for the Surgeon- General, as well as extensive herb and vegetable gardens that covered the slope west of the hospital.In 1800 the land was leased to William Balmain, who had arrived in Sydney with the FirstFleet in 1788 as an assistant surgeon to New South Wales.7 Balmain died in 1803, and inJanuary 1810 Governor Macquarie granted William Gaudry a lease over the land for a period of 21 years. Gaudry, a free settler who had arrived in the colony in 1807, married adaughter of ex-convict businessman Henry Kable in 1809 and later became a partner in some of Kable's business enterprises. By 1837, Frederick Garling, a solicitor and clerk of the peace for the County of Cumberland, was claimant to the future site of Cleland BondStore, then known as Lot 2 Section 85.In 1838 the land was granted as freehold to William Carr and George John Rogers, as trustees for James Shepherd, Richard Wood, Nathaniel Dermot, James Webber and Edmund Pontifex, assignees of the estate of John Plummer and William Wilson, merchants and bankrupts. Carr, previously a commissioner of the Land Board, had entered into partnership with Rogers, a former commissioner of the NSW Supreme Court, and solicitor Francis Stephen, at the beginning of 1837, forming the legal firm Carr & Rogers. Carr would later become one of the first members of the Sydney District Council when it formed in 1843. In 1839 Carr and Rogers sold the property to Frederick Wright Unwin, who in the same year bought back the land and buildings of the adjacent Custom House complex (which he had built nearly a decade earlier) from the estate of Samuel Terry. Shortly afterwards, construction commenced on what were to become Unwin's Bonded Stores (later Argyle Stores), built 1840-1841. The site of the Cleland Bond Store, however, remained undeveloped. In 1848 Unwin mortgaged the property to the Bank of Australasia, and in 1852 he died. The site of the future Cleland Bond Store was likely used as a yard by the occupants of Argyle Stores in the years that followed.In 1873 a deposited plan was prepared, showing allotments for sale. The site of Cleland Bond Store was labelled as Government land. The following year, a George Street baker, Patrick Freehill, erected stables with wooden stalls and iron roofs on the land. In November 1877 the stables were demolished and a 12-foot wide roadway was dedicated for a public thoroughfare along the southern boundary of the allotment, and the remaining portion was considered for Public Auction. By this time, the Playfair Street Terraces (presently at 17-31 Playfair Street) had been built to the north of the site, defining the northern boundary of the future Cleland Bond Store building. The site of the Cleland Bond Store remained unoccupied until 1891 when it was bought by Phillip R Allen & Co (a.k.a Allen & Co), a firm of merchants and importers established in the Northern Territory since 1873. In 1897 ownership was transferred to D Wheeler for a brief period before the Observatory Hill Resumption Act was gazetted in December 1900 and the land passed into Government ownership.In 1912 William Dingle of Dingle & Co Bonded and Free Stores, then lessee of Argyle Stores, applied for a lease of the vacant land to the north of the stores, and in 1913-14 built Cleland Bond Store to provide additional warehouse space. Cleland Bond Store was considered part of Argyle Stores in directories and rate assessments until 1933 when, after enduring the worst of the Depression, Dingle & Co went into liquidation and sold its leases to the Argyle Stores and Cleland Bond Store separately. Thomas McMahon took over the Argyle Stores lease, while in December that year, the lease for the Cleland Bond Store building was taken up by Clelands Bonded and Free Stores, the company after which the building was later named. Clelands Bonded and Free Stores, likely a descendant of the South Australian company of wine merchants established by George Fullerton Cleland in 1883, appear to have run a successful business in Sydney in the years that followed. By 1939, Clelands also leased premises in Sussex Street and Gipps Street, Pyrmont, and a decade later leased an additional five warehouse premises in Sydney. During Clelands' ownership, few renovations or improvements were made to the building, with the exception of some limewashing, the installation of electric lights and power points in 1935 and a stacking machine in 1951, and apparently constant repairs and renovations to the electric goods lifts. In November 1946, the Argyle Stores and the Cleland Bond Store jointly suffered 'the biggest bond store robbery for years'. A variety of goods were stolen from Argyle Stores, while Cleland Bond Store was robbed of 400 torch globes.Clelands retained the lease on the building until 1965, when it was transferred to Brambles Bonded and Free Stores, a company with which Cleland had merged. In 1969 Brambles requested approval to sub-let the two top floors to John Anderson and Associates, and Jarvis Coates Furniture. In 1970 their tenancy expired and the building was vacated. The establishment of the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority (SCRA) in 1968 ushered in a new period of planning and development in The Rocks. Initially, the SCRA intended to redevelop the area with high-rise residential and office buildings, and to retain only a handful of historic buildings. However, by the early 1970s, a growing public awareness of the cultural value of historic places and a series of highly visible protests against the Government's proposed scheme forced a shift in the SCRA's approach, towards adaptive reuse, rather than demolition and replacement, of old buildings. This, in combination with the SCRA's imperative to turn The Rocks into a tourist destination, saw a number of old warehouses converted to accommodate specialty shops and restaurants.In 1971 the SCRA invited proposals from interested parties for the conservation and conversion of the Cleland Bond Store and the adjoining row of terrace houses, subsequently named the Argyle Terrace (now the Playfair Street Terraces), for use as commercial premises. The successful proposal came from architects Fisher, Jackson and Hudson, and was to be one of the first conservation jobs undertaken by the SCRA.Builders Peter Kilmore & Co. were engaged for the work, which began in December 1971 and was completed in February 1973. Work included removing existing partitions and replacing sanitary fittings; removing a hoist from the northeast corner of the building and infilling the resultant hole; constructing new stairs from the ground to the third floor, as well as new external stairs; removing existing roller shutters from the Playfair Street entrance and replacing them with heavy Oregon doors; and installing new gutters, downpipes and roofing.Additional work was undertaken between 1975 and 1980, including the construction of ramps between the north wing of the Argyle Stores and the Cleland Bond Store, and the installation of a new timber floor and skirtings to the ground and first floors of the building. A concrete entry ramp from Playfair Street was built and a new entrance was cut from the Cleland Bond Store to the east wing of the Argyle Stores.In the 1990s the building was renovated for use as a department store. Existing shop partitions were removed and masonry walls and the timber structure of the building were exposed to display something of the building's original construction. New stairs and a lift were installed, and the ground floor level was given a new floor once again. In 2006 and 2007 the Cleland Bond Store was again refurbished as part of the Argyle Stores upgrades.
Historical significance: The Cleland Bond Store has historical significance as the last component built as part of the Argyle Stores, a complex that includes substantial remains of one of Sydney's earliest surviving commercial buildings (built c1826) and the earliest surviving Customs Housebuilding (occupied as such from 1830-50). The Argyle Stores group, including the Cleland Bond Store, constitutes important material evidence of changing warehouse design and construction in Sydney from the early 19th to the early 20th century.The Cleland Bond Store, in conjunction with the Argyle Stores, is a physical reminder of the commercial maritime history of The Rocks, which was the centre of maritime activity and trade in Sydney from the earliest days of European settlement. As one of the laterbond store buildings built in The Rocks and occupied for the purpose of bonded storage for some 60 years, the Cleland Bond Store represents the continuing importance of maritime commerce in The Rocks area throughout the 20th century.The building is also historically significant as one of the first historic buildings in NSW to be conserved and adapted for commercial retail and office use by the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority, newly constituted in the early 1970s. As such, Cleland BondStore is a material record of early conservation practice and philosophy in New South Wales.Cleland Bond Store meets this criterion on a State and local level.
Historical association: The Cleland Bond Store has historical associations with Dingle & Co. and Clelands Bonded and Free Stores. The latter is a company of some significance in Australian commercial history (after which the subject building was named). However, as Clelands Bonded and Free Stores leased numerous other warehouse premises in Sydney during their occupancy of the Cleland Bond Store, this association is not considered to be strong or special.
Aesthetic significance: The Cleland Bond Store is a substantial and well-built example of an Edwardian warehouse. As part of the historic Argyle Precinct, and as one of the primary ?background? buildings in the precinct, the intact external shell of the Cleland Bond Store makes an important contribution to the streetscape quality of the Rocks. The Cleland Bond Store meets this criterion on a State and local level. (Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners Pty Ltd, 2008)
Social significance: The Cleland Bond Store, as part of the Argyle Stores group, has social significance for its place in the history of the Argyle Stores, an important warehousing complex in The Rocks, and for its contribution to The Rocks area, one of Australia's premier heritage precincts. This is demonstrated by its inclusion on several lists of buildings of heritage significance formulated by community groups such as the National Trust of Australia (NSW) and the Royal Australian Institute of Architects, and representative bodies such as the Heritage Council of NSW. As part of The Rocks area, the place is likely to be held in some esteem by individuals and groups who are interested in Sydney's history and heritage.The Cleland Bond Store, as part of The Rocks precinct, meets this criterion on a State and local level.(Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners Pty Ltd, 2008)
Research significance: The Argyle Centre historic precinct makes an important contribution to the quality of the streetscape of the Rocks. The building fabric constitutes the major potential source of additional information about the history of the complex, because of the paucity of documentary evidence. These buildings are believed to be among the first historic buildings in NSW to be recycled for new uses in a way designed to respect the earlier historical significance of the site, and therefore represent and important landmark in the history of conservation. The buildings provide clear evidence of early conservation practice and philosophy.Archaeology: Partly disturbed. Limited excavation carried out on in 1996. Subfloor excavation was necessary for the installation of power, water, sewerage and drainage services and also for the construction of a lift well. During this excavation the remains of a box drain (c1839) were encountered. The majority of the subfloor area remains undisturbed and a potential archaeological resource.
Rare assessment: The Cleland Bond Store, as a component of the Argyle Stores, is rare in its ability to contribute to an understanding of changing warehouse design and construction from the early 19th to early 20th century. Warehouse complexes of this longevity are rare in Sydney.The Cleland Bond Store meets this criterion on a local level. (Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners Pty Ltd, 2008)
Representative assessment: The Cleland Bond Store is a representative example of an early 20th century warehouse.The Cleland Bond Store meets this criterion on a local level. (Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners Pty Ltd, 2008)
Intact assessment: Archaeology partly disturbed, however a large part of the subfloor deposit remains as an archaeological resource.
Physical condition: The building is in fair condition; there are some moisture problems on the external walls. (P Wyborn 1999)Archaeology Assessment Condition: Partly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Works in the Cleland Store in 1993 uncovered a box drain cut into the bedrock, probably contemporary with Unwin's adjoining warehouse building works in 1839. Investigation: Historical research and assessment of archaeology.
|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|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0315||Cleland Bond Store||21/10/1980||14257|
|National Trust of Australia Register||7043||Argyle Group||04/05/1976|
|Royal Australian Institute of Architects register||4703240|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01538||Cleland Bond Store||10/05/2002||2868||85|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Within a National Trust conservation area||10499|
|Institution of Engineers (NSW) Historic Engineering Marker|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0315||Argyle Precinct||21/10/1980||2116|