Shops and Residences - stone
Statement of SignificanceThe overall site of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group has historical significance as part of the site of the colony's first hospital and as the location of a development built c.1830 by Samuel Terry, the successful emancipist merchant and landowner. The three individual sites comprising the Group have supported the same, or very similar, uses not just since the construction of the extant buildings but since the construction of Terry's development which preceded them. The sites therefore demonstrate a continuity of use extending over more than 180 years.The associational significance of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group stems primarily from its strong connection with Samuel Terry, whose astute business dealings led to him becoming known as the 'Botany Bay Rothschild'. The Group is also associated with Tooth & Co, a significant brewing company that operated from 1835 until 1983. The aesthetic significance of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group stems from the architectural characters of the three individual buildings that comprise it. 139-141 George Street retains its highly intact Classical Revival style sandstone fa?ade. With their three different construction dates and different architectural styles, the buildings of the Group together make an important aesthetic contribution to the streetscape of George Street, The Rocks, the most intact nineteenth and early twentieth century streetscape in the Sydney CBD. The site of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group has research significance because of its potential to reveal information about building configurations, services and features that date from the time prior to the construction of the extant buildings on the site. The fabric of the individual buildings has the potential to reveal evidence of past decorative finishes, floor plan configurations and information contained within concealed spaces or under existing finishes. The George Street elevation of 139 -141 George Street demonstrates the design characteristics of an 1880s Classical Revival style commercial building fa?ade. The Classical Revival style sandstone fa?ade of 139-141 George Street is now one of only a few remaining in Sydney, although this type of fa?ade was once much more common. The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group as a whole, with its particular combination of buildings of different architectural styles and construction dates, makes an important contribution to the streetscape of the George Street commercial precinct of The Rocks. This intact 19th and early 20th century streetscape is unique in the state.
Retail and Wholesale
Construction Years: 1881 - 1882
Physical Description: The building is a large three storey building of dressed sandstone in the neo Classic manner built c. 1890. The upper floor windows have fine detailing in the carved stone surrounds, and the whole building is topped by a high parapet with a large central pediment. The shopfronts have been much altered. (National Trust 1977) Style: Front facade 'Neo-classical'; Storeys: Three; Facade: Brick walls; Internal Walls: Brick; Roof Cladding: Iron; Floor Frame: Timber No. 139-141 George Street is a double storey sandstone masonry built commercial premises constructed c.1882. The premises are currently leased as retain outlets (ground floor - Rockhounds and the Sheepskin Shop) and as hotel accommodation (first and second floors) which is part of The Russell Hotel operation. The rear of the premises is a modern building which adjoins a laneway now known as Nurses Walk (Clive Lucas Stapleton; 1999)
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: To the Cadigal people of Sydney, the western shoreline of Sydney Cove (known to them as Warrane) was called Tallawolladah. The Cadigal lands ranged from Darling Harbour in the west to the Heads in the east, and also included Manly. No evidence of indigenous occupation is evident in the immediate vicinity of 137-143a George Street.With the arrival of the First Fleet, an area roughly bounded by George, Argyle, Harrington and Globe streets was set aside for the establishment of the colony's hospital. The hospital opened in February 1788 under the care of surgeon John White and it operated until 1816 when it was relocated to Macquarie Street. With the outbreak of smallpox among the indigenous peoples in 1789-90 many came or were brought to the hospital. The boy Nanbaree was brought with his dying grandfather here, after which the orphaned child was cared for by the surgeon John White and lived nearby on the site of what is now the Orient Hotel.In 1790 a portable hospital building, shipped out from England with the Second Fleet, was erected. It took approximately one week to construct and was completed by 7 July. Over time, the hospital became a substantial edifice comprising ward blocks, stores, dispensary and, to the north, the residences of the principal and assistant surgeons.In 1797, High (George) Street was realigned. The realignment required the portable hospital to be dismantled and re-erected on a stone foundation slightly west of its original location. A store and dispensary were then erected to the north and west of the hospital buildings. In 1816 the new Sydney Hospital opened in Macquarie Street and the old hospital closed.Harper's plan of 1823 clearly shows the portable hospital, and a building of similar proportions existed on the site until 1880. Two photographs taken in this period (in 1871 and 1879) show the roof of this building and indicate it is not inconsistent with the early paintings of the hospital. Today's 139-143a George Street sit directly south of the former location for the hospital building, and its southern end extended over the site of 137 George Street. The site of 137-143a George Street was formalised in the survey of the township carried out in the early 1830s, the site was classified as Lot 7 of City Section 84, comprising an area of 1 rod 15 perches. In January 1841 the allotment was officially granted to the trustees, executrix and executors of the estate of the emancipist Samuel Terry, these being Rosetta Terry (widow), John Terry Hughes (nephew and son-in-law), Tom White Melville Winder of Windermere (family friend and long standing business acquaintance) and James Norton (solicitor).Terry's interest in the site seems to date from at least c1823 when an area of '26 rods' situated on the 'west side of George St' was leased to Terry for the term of 21 years. Terry arrived in Sydney in 1801 on a seven year sentence convicted of theft. He was eventually described as the 'Botany Bay Rothschild' and at his death in 1838 left a personal estate of ?250 000, an annual rental income from his Sydney properties of ?10 000 and 'land and property which defies assessment'. Terry's business interests included brewing and he was occasionally a publican.While holding the lease, Terry undertook the construction of a terrace of three buildings on the George Street half of Lot 7 - the site of today's 137 - 143a George Street. The building was evidently completed in the 1820s for it is plotted on Hoddle, Larmer and Mitchell's 'Map of Town of Sydney' of 1831. The footprint of this building, in a terrace of three with a breakfront, is clearly defined in Robert Russell's later survey of 1834, while the few available images of the building suggest a substantial structure of three storeys capped by a prominent pediment.The terraces were constructed for general retail outlets, as they are today. From the mid-1840s tenants of the premises are listed in street directories and council rate assessments. The first of these is for the years 1842-1845 when Isaac Moore, dealer, traded from premises with a street address of no. 663 Lower George Street. Isaac Moore, incidentally, was also the licensed publican of the adjoining Patent Slip Hotel around this time. In 1845, the Sydney Municipal Council listed the property as a three storey stone house and shop with a back kitchen. The complex had nine rooms, was 30 feet wide and 21 feet long. The council rate assessment of September 1846 noted 'no. 663 George Street' as a three storey house and shop of nine rooms, stone built with a shingle roof 'with back kitchens'. Subsequent valuations tended to repeat this description with some variations from year to year in matters dealing with construction materials, etc. Between 1849 and the mid-1850s the tenants were the Downes family (John and Eliza) who operated a clothing store (described as a 'slop warehouse' and 'general outfitter'). Toward the end of the 1850s, in 1857 the building was leased by Andrew Bogle who operated a boarding house. Bogle was succeeded by Mrs Ballantyne in 1858 who with John Ballantyne for the period 1859 to 1861 leased the premises as a drapery store.The property was held by Samuel Terry's widow and principal trustee, Rosetta, until her death in 1858. For a short period after this her real property was controlled by Mrs Rebecca Fox until June 1860 when the estate was partitioned. The beneficiary of this part of the estate was William Whaley Billyard, the crown solicitor of New South Wales. Shortly after, Billyard sold the property to William Reilly for £1,762. (Reilly also acquired title to the neighbouring Russell Hotel site at the same time). Co-incidental with the commencement of Reilly's ownership, street directory entries from 1863 for the premises ceased, but as the building was extant this may suggest it was either left vacant (as stated in a Council rate assessment return for 1863) or, conceivably, became part of the operation of the hotel on the Russell Hotel site, the Patent Slip, for a period. By 1866 the building had been demolished and from 1867 the street directories and rate assessments list the address as 'vacant land'.In June 1877 the property was transferred back into the ownership of William Whaley Billyard. The old building was replaced by a new shop, office and residence, the current building, which was erected in 1881-1882 for Hardie and Gorman. The first council assessment of the extant structure was made in December 1882. Each of the premises (No. 139 and No. 141) was described as a shop of stone construction with a corrugated iron sheeted roof. The buildings were triple storey, each containing seven rooms. Subsequent valuations repeated this description with some variations from year to year in matters dealing with number of floors, rooms and uses.In July 1881 the property was transferred into the ownership of Leo Ferdinand Sachs. At the same time Sachs entered into the first of a number of mortgages made in the early 1880s, the last of which was discharged in 1886. These mortgages may have been used by Sachs to erect the extant building, which was under construction in 1882 and completed by the end of that year. The new premises provided a pair of shops fronting George Street with the street addresses of no.139 and 141. The first tenant was William Howes, a tailor and clothier, occupant of both no.139 and 141 in 1885. Ownership was then transferred in June 1885 to auctioneers Edmund Compton Batt and John Mitchell Purves. Batt and Purves' interest in the property was short lived and after securing two tenants in August 1886 Thomas Cripps, confectioner, for no. 141 and Thomas Selig, pawnbroker, for no. 139 (although actually tenanted by Joseph Selig, tailor and clothier) sold the property to the Earl of Carnarvon, whose financial interests in Australia were managed by the financier and politician Sir William Patrick Manning (1845-1915). Selig continued to lease no. 139 until 1887, while Cripps' lease of no. 141 ceased during 1889. In February 1888 Thomas Stephen Small purchased the property and retained ownership until the government resumption of 1900. During these twelve years of Small's freehold ownership, no. 139 George Street was principally used as a restaurant and neighbouring no.141 had mixed uses as a chemist, butcher and confectionary. The use of the upper floors at this time would seem to have been for accommodation associated with the restaurant operations. A photograph of the neighbouring The Fortune of War Hotel of around 1906 includes a glimpse of the shopfront and awning of no. 139 George Street with advertising for rooms.The plague outbreak in January 1900 prompted the government to resume the entire Rocks and Millers Point area. To administer the resumed area a number of government authorities were established, The Rocks was administered by the Sydney Harbour Trust and its successor the Maritime Services Board until 1970. Initially under Government ownership the respective premises continued to function in a similar manner as to when the properties were held in freehold title. No. 139 for example continued as a restaurant although operated by a succession of different proprietors (with a short interim between 1909 and 1910 when it was leased by Isaac Levy, clothier). No. 141 continued to be leased from 1900 until 1913 by F.G. Erler, chemist. Following Erler in 1914 was F.A. Benson who initially traded as a chemist until 1923 and between 1924 and 1928 as an accountant. From 1929 up to the 1950s the premises were leased by John George Peek, chemist. During the 1930s Peek also entered into a lease of the adjoining premises at no. 139, trading as an optometrist.In November 1987, the proprietors of The Russell Hotel (Russell Hotel Pty. Ltd.) acquired the lease of the two upper floors of no. 139-141 George Street as part of a scheme to amalgamate the trading operations of the Fortune of War (no. 137 George Street) and the Russell Hotel (no. 143 George Street). The ground floor shops however of no. 139-141 George Street continued to operate under separate lease arrangements. In 1985, for example, no. 139 was leased by Rentoul Pty. Ltd. trading as the Sheepskin Shop, and no. 141 was leased by Dinallo's Fruit Shop.Commencing in the late 1970s and continuing through the 1980s the then Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority undertook a programme of restoration and reconstruction of the premises at no. 139-141 George Street. These alterations also included the construction of the premises at the rear of 139-141 George Street, known as 30-32 Nurses Walk. Contemporary with the SCRA alterations, further alterations and additions were undertaken over the 1980s. This work was prepared for the proprietors of The Russell Hotel by Ron Vickery architect, and included in 1984 a new development at 30-32 Nurses Walk, which was completed in the mid 1980s and provided the additional rooms and connections with the neighbouring premises under the joint The Russell Hotel lease.
Historical significance: The site at 139 - 141 George Street is important in the history of NSW as having associations with the early development of Sydney since 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.The site is associated with George Street, which is the first road created in the settlement and thus the oldest road in NSW. Globe Street is one of the earliest cross streets to George Street. The history of George Street with its uses and changes since 1788, illustrate and inform the aspirations and way of life of Europeans in Australia.The Rocks precinct, which includes the subject site, was the earliest commercial centre of the colony, and the continuous retail uses of 139 - 141 George Street and its predecessors since the first decades of the foundation of the colony reflect the domestic trade and provision of goods in the colony. Residential use, often above the shops, also reflected the mixed use nature of the time.The site of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group formed part of a larger site that was occupied by the colony's first hospital, which operated from c.1790 to 1816. The site of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group was leased by Samuel Terry from c.1823. Terry undertook the construction of a stone terrace of three buildings on the site c.1830. His development included the original Fortune of War Hotel, which was only demolished c.1920 for the construction of the extant hotel building. Terry's development also included another licensed premises, the Patent Slip Tavern, which sat on the site of the original portion of the extant Russell Hotel building. The centre building of Terry's development, 139-141 George Street, was built as a shop with accommodation above. It was demolished by 1866 and was replaced by a new shop, office and residence erected in 1881-1882 by Hardie and Gorman. The site of 139-141 George Street also demonstrates continuity of use, having provided shops at ground floor level and accommodation on the upper levels during the same period. The item meets this criterion at a STATE level. The historical significance of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group is demonstrated by: ? The association of the site with the first hospital and the early colonial development of Sydney, ? The subsequent continuous uses of 143 - 143a George Street, the site of The Russell Hotel, as a public house/hotel/caf? and now wine bar, 139 - 141 George Street as retail/commercial premises with upper floor accommodation and 137 George Street, the site of the Fortune of War Hotel, as a public house/hotel
Historical association: The site of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group is associated with prominent colonial figure Samuel Terry, whose astute business dealings led to him becoming known as the 'Botany Bay Rothschild'. Terry leased, and later owned, the entire site of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War group and erected a group of three buildings upon it. The item meets this criterion at a STATE level. The associational significance of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group 137 -143a George Street is demonstrated by: ? The association of the site with Samuel Terry,
Aesthetic significance: The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group, with its three different architectural styles, makes an important contribution to the streetscape of George Street, The Rocks, the most intact nineteenth and early twentieth century streetscape in the city. The decorative, Classical Revival style, sandstone fa?ade of 139 - 141 George Street, was built during the economic boom of the 1880s and is one of only a few remaining in Sydney. The item meets this criterion at a STATE level. The aesthetic significance of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group 137 -143a George Street is demonstrated by: ? The important contribution of the group to the streetscape of George Street, The Rocks, ? The decorative, Classical Revival style, sandstone fa?ade of 139 - 141 George Street,
Social significance: The item meets this criterion at a state level owing to its inclusion on key heritage registers maintained by government and community groups which recognise the heritage values of the item individually and as part of the historic Rocks precinct.
Research significance: The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group, with its three different architectural styles, makes an important contribution to the streetscape of George Street, The Rocks, the most intact nineteenth and early twentieth century streetscape in the city. The decorative, Classical Revival style, sandstone fa?ade of 139 - 141 George Street, was built during the economic boom of the 1880s and is one of only a few remaining in Sydney. The item meets this criterion at a STATE level. The aesthetic significance of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group 137 -143a George Street is demonstrated by: ? The important contribution of the group to the streetscape of George Street, The Rocks, ? The decorative, Classical Revival style, sandstone fa?ade of 139 - 141 George Street,
Rare assessment: The decorative sandstone, Classical Revival fa?ade of 139 -141 George Street, is one of only a few remaining in Sydney, although this type of fa?ade was once much more common. The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group as a whole, with its particular combination of buildings of different architectural styles and construction dates, makes an important contribution to the streetscape of the George Street commercial precinct of The Rocks. This intact 19th and early 20th century streetscape is unique in the state. The item meets this criterion at a STATE level. The rarity of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group 137 -143a George Street is demonstrated by: ? The decorative sandstone Classical Revival fa?ade of 139 -141 George Street, ? The location of this group of buildings within the heritage streetscape of George Street, The Rocks.
Representative assessment: The sandstone George Street elevation of 139 -141 George Street demonstrates the design characteristics of an 1880s Classical Revival style commercial building fa?ade. This meets the criterion at a STATE level. The representativeness of The Russell Hotel/Fortune of War Group 137 -143a George Street is demonstrated by: ? The sandstone facade of 139 -141 George Street, a 1880s Classical Revival style fa?ade,
Intact assessment: Archaeology partly disturbed.
Physical condition: Archaeology Assessment Condition: Mostly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Cellars under No. 139. Recent renovation. Floors terraced into hill slope. The work involved the assessment of underfloor deposits at this site during renovations. No evidence was found of structures pre-dating 1881, although it should be stressed that not all archaeological deposits were removed from the site. Investigation: Watching Brief.
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|Developing local, regional and national economies||Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services.|
|Building settlements, towns and cities||Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation ? does not include architectural styles ? use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0386||21/10/1980|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01595||10/05/2002|
|National Trust of Australia Register||9718|
|National Trust of Australia Register||7716||27/02/1978|
|Management Plan||Nick Jackson||2007||139-141 George Street Conservation Managment Plan|