Reynell Building (former)
Statement of SignificanceThe former Walter Reynell & Sons building has historical significance, being representative of the last phase of warehouse and light industrial development in the Sydney CBD. The height of the it and adjacent buildings suggests how this part of The Rocks might have continued to develop, but for the Great Depression. The group of warehouse buildings are also associated with formerly well known names in Australian commerce (brand names which became Reynella, Drug Houses of Australia and Johnson & Johnson) and with the administration of the area by the Sydney Harbour Trust. The buildings are representative of private development within a state owned area of Sydney. The building has aesthetic significance as an intact and well detailed example of an early 20th century warehouse which makes a positive contribution to the streetscape. This and adjacent buildings have scientific significance owing to the presence of early 19th century archaeological remains. This is one of the last large development sites in The Rocks that may provide an opportunity to examine archaeological evidence for early phases of settlement and occupation in Sydney. The site contains archaeological remains of medium to high archaeological research potential including Aboriginal occupation, early European occupation, consolidation and occupation up until the 1920?s. The archaeological remains of European settlement of The Rocks are unique in Australia. The analysis and interpretation of the archaeological remains may provide an opportunity to answer substantive research questions relative to urbanization, material culture of convict and working class lives, the role of gender, households in The Rocks, ethnicity and childhood. Evidence associated with convict occupation and early nineteenth century development of the site would have high research potential and would likely to be of State significance.
Printery and warehouse, Offices and warehousing
Construction Years: 1913 - 1913
Physical Description: The Federation Warehouse style building consists of two floors. The upper floor has direct access from Cumberland Street into office areas and a loading dock. The floor and loading dock are timber, although there have been a number of modifications to both. Originally described on drawings as a 'cart dock', the original steps in this area have been modified by widening, and steel plates covering former openings that may have previously been occupied by a hoist. The lower level has a concrete floor while the floor of the upper level is timber. The exterior of the strong room (basement level) appears in good condition, with its original security door. The drawings obtained from the City Council indicate that the building was constructed almost entirely as designed, and has survived largely in this form. Physical evidence of wedge shaped pieces between main beams supporting the roof suggests that the building could have been designed to allow for future vertical extension. No documentary evidence was found to support this suggestion. Style: The Federation Warehouse; Storeys: Two; Floor Frame: Concrete & timber
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: A plan of Sydney Published in 1802 indicates that occupation of the land to the north of St Philips Church had occurred at this time. Although quite detailed this plan is probably not based on survey and is not accurate, therefore it is difficult to determine precisely how the buildings indicated relate to the current urban environment. Views of the region between 1788 and 1823 provide further evidence for the early development of this part of The Rocks. During the late 18th and early 19th Century, development within The Rocks occurred haphazardly, resulting from the undulating terrain as well as a shortage of surveyors to lay out grants. A survey of The Rocks 1803-1807 indicates that the southern end of the block bounded by Grosvenor, Gloucester, Essex and Cumberland Streets had been sub-divided, although the allotments had probably been acquired through occupation rather than grants. The names of persons, possibly the occupants are listed within the allotments; these are, Kavanagh, McAvoy, Sarah Ikin, James Phelan and William Kelly. The first record of a land transaction within the Study Area is a lease made out to William Kelly on 22 August 1809 for 24½ rods of land at the southern end of The Rocks in the Town of Sydney at a rate of 5/- p.a. for 14 years. William Kelly was a baker who came to Sydney as a free man in 1807. His grant corresponds to the southern two thirds of the Reynell building. Given that Kelly is indicated on the 1803-07 survey of the subject site it is likely that he occupied the site prior to the issue of a formal lease in 1809. By 1823 the site had been divided into two allotments. The former Kelly allotment in the south retained its original configuration and was occupied by two structures each having cottage-size dimensions. The property immediately to the north of Kelly?s contained an L-shaped cottage and a smaller building and occupied the remaining Cumberland Street and Gloucester Street frontage. In 1837 the study area consisted of two portions, forming part of Section 64 of the Town of Sydney. The southern portion was Kelly?s original grant and the northern corresponded to part of the allotment that contained an L shaped building indicated on Harpers 1823 town plan. From north to south ownership of the portions was as follows: ??Portion 10 the Trustees of Frances and Catherine Harper (25 ½ perches, TG61.65); ??Portion 11 James Glover (and John Cooper) (24 ½ perches, TG61.49). A James Glover was listed in the 1828 census. He was born in the colony and was only 5 years old in 1828, which means that he would have only been 14 in 1837; it is possible that he inherited the property. John Cooper was also listed in the 1828 census at which time he was 46 yrs old. He was transported to Australia as a convict on the Coromandel in 1802, and was made free after serving a 7 year sentence. At the time of the census in 1828 he was listed as residing at Cumberland Street, Sydney, and may have been a long term tenant at the property. The location of buildings within these portions in 1837 is not known however Rates Assessment Books for Sydney indicate that in 1845 James Glover owned a stone house with a shingle roof on Gloucester Street. Thomas Glover, probably a relative of James is listed as the owner of a stone house and stable on Cumberland Street. Edward Bells 1858 plan of Section 63 of the city indicates that the early houses had been demolished and that subsequent development resulted in a higher housing density. Many of the houses were serviced by storm water and sewerage lines that ran from the centre of the block eastward, across Gloucester Street. The layout of the service lines suggests that the storm water and sewer may have been linked, indicating that the storm water was possibly being utilised to intermittently flush the sewer system. Although basic by modern standards, the storm water and sewer system indicated on the 1858 plan of the site covered large parts of The Rocks and was state of the art in comparison to other places in the British empire at the same time, including London. Installation of this networked service system is probably a reflection of growing public concern regarding cleanliness and sanitation. Based on the 1858 plan, Kelly.s original grant appears to have remained undivided, although it did contain three buildings, one on Gloucester Street (157), a second on Cumberland Street (206), and the third was located between them with its northern wall forming the boundary with the allotment to the north. 1858 Rates Assessment Books list Thomas Glover as the owner of a stone house at 157 Gloucester Street, and the other at 206 Cumberland Street is described as a stone Public House. The third building indicated on the plan is not described in the assessment books but given its location within the centre of the allotment it may have been the stone stable described in 1845. As the descriptions of buildings at the site are consistent between 1845 and 1858 it follows that the early, c1823 buildings were demolished prior to 1845. Rates Assessment Books lists Stephen Doyle as the occupant of the Cumberland Street property however Sands Directories list him as residing at the Hand of Friendship at 200 Cumberland Street. The Gloucester Street property was occupied by Thomas Bourke. To the north, portion 10 had been divided into seven allotments four of which were within the study area. The two allotments along Cumberland Street contained a small semi-detached brick dwelling with a shingle roof, forming two residences at 202-204 Cumberland Street. Two allotments at 153-155 Gloucester Street also contained a semi-detached brick building with a shingle roof forming two residences. In 1858 Walter D. Arietta (sic) owned all four of these buildings. Occupants of the houses at this time were Mary Donnall (202 Cumberland Street) Daniel O.Connell (153 Gloucester) and William McKellan (155 Gloucester). Sands Directory listings for the properties within the study area in 1858 were reviewed; however they did not include any information regarding the occupants of 153-155 Gloucester Street and 202 Cumberland Street. In the thirty five years between 1823 and 1858 the subject site changed from two large allotments with one or two buildings each, to five small allotments with the majority of land taken up by buildings. By 1858, ownership of the land within the subject site has been consolidated by two individuals, Thomas Glover and Walter D.Arietta, neither of whom lived at the site at this time. Ownership and occupation of the subject site throughout the second half of the Nineteenth Century is characterised by absentee landlords and a transitory tenant population. These changes reflect the development of Sydney at a wider level, from a small fledgling colonial township to the centre of a large established town. This development was driven by continued migration of convicts and increasing numbers of free settlers. In the early 1800?s British and American whaling fleets became increasingly active around the coast of Australia and Sydney became an important port for the victualling of British and American whaling vessels. By the 1830.s and 40.s a colonial shore whaling industry had developed in Southern Australia and New Zealand and was experiencing a boom in production. Many of the whaling stations within Australia and New Zealand were established by Sydney based Entrepreneurs and Merchants, further increasing trade and commerce in the city. A series of .Gold Rushes beginning in the 1850.s was a further catalyst to the development of Sydney through large influxes of migrants including, American and Chinese immigrants and increases in trade and commerce. Between 1851 and 1860 Australia.s population trebled, increasing from 437 000 to 1 400 000. While less marked the agricultural and pastoral industries were gradually becoming more established during the Nineteenth Century and eventually became the backbone of the Australian economy. Sydney was a major port for the export of products produced from these industries within NSW. Changes in Nineteenth Century population density within The Rocks have also been linked to changes in the nature of local industry from a cottage based, domestic system, where housing and work places occupied the same localities to one of increasing industrialisation, characterised by centralisation of work places. As cottage, craft based industries decreased the land occupied by the related infrastructure was redeveloped for housing. As a result the density of housing in The Rocks increased markedly during the Nineteenth Century. Comparison of the 1858 and 1865 plan indicates that housing density within the subject site continued to increase. Thomas Glovers land appears to have been divided into at least two allotments and the remaining area of open ground was built on. A semi detached brick building with a slate roof had been constructed at 159-161 Gloucester Street and a brick house and wooden workshop had been constructed along the Cumberland Street frontage at 208-210 Cumberland Street respectively. Due to the increasing complexity of ownership and occupancy within the subject site, a table detailing owners and occupants in 1861 is included overleaf. Analysis of Rates Assessment Books and plans for the site indicate that the brick and stone house and Cooperage at 208-210 Cumberland Street and the brick houses at 159-161 Gloucester Street were constructed between 1858 and 1861. Sands Directory and Rates Assessment information for this period indicate that at least some domestic craft based industry was being carried out at the site. Alfred Ward a long term resident at 208-210 Cumberland Street was operating a cooperage from this property. Two residents of the site at this time were boatmen in H.M. Customs, a reminder of the maritime history and culture associated with The Rocks, and Sydney Harbour. Apart from minor changes to allotment/fence boundaries the configuration and density of buildings within the study area appears to have remained largely unchanged throughout the second half of the Nineteenth Century. Ownership of the allotments within the study area also changed very little in the second half of the Twentieth Century. In 1871 Alfred Ward was still owner occupier of his house and Cooperage on Cumberland Street and Thomas Glover retained ownership of his houses at 157-161 Gloucester Street and 206 Cumberland Street. Walter D.Arietta retained ownership of the houses at 153-155 Gloucester Street and regained the two brick houses at 202-204 Cumberland Street. Between 1871 and 1882 this pattern of ownership appears to have changed very little. Thomas Glover had increased his property by acquiring Alfred Wards brick house and wooden cooperage. The wooden building on site at this time was listed as a house suggesting that the cooperage may either have been demolished and replaced or had been converted for use as a house. On the 19th January 1900 Arthur Payne, a van driver, from Ferry Lane Millers Point was struck down by bubonic plague. In total 103 persons died from the Plague within Sydney. Of these only 5 were occupants of The Rocks proper however middle and upper class associations of The Rocks area with immorality, uncleanliness, and disease had become entrenched and these apparent hygiene issues formed the basis for large scale Government resumption of housing in The Rocks in 1900-1901. Recent historical research and archaeological evidence suggests that this view of The Rocks was perhaps unjustified, and that there were other factors such as a desire to encourage further commercial development within the area as well as clearing land for the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Demolition of 19th Century housing within The Rocks allowed allotments to be amalgamated and new subdivisions to be made. The land was spilt into larger blocks and building frontages were realigned to mach those of new street alignments. The study area was consolidated into a single portion and the Reynell Building was constructed in 1913. The footprint of this new building entirely occupied the available land. Drawings for a new two storey building to be constructed on this site were lodged with Sydney Council in 1912. The new building was to replace a lodging-house in Cumberland Street, run by James Lalor and a dwelling occupied by Thomas Keene. A plan held by the SCA and dated 1905 shows the site with the note 'proposed lease to W.E. Smith', while a 1908 map shows the same area as occupied by Walter Reynell & Sons Ltd. The proposed brick and timber store was designed by the architectural office of A.L. McCredie & Anderson for W.E. Smith Ltd. in August 1912. The building was built to house a printery and warehouse in 1913, and appears to have survived relatively intact since that date. It is almost identical to that proposed by the architects, although the entrance door to the office area in Cumberland Street appears to have been changed from a single leaf to two leaves. Sands Directory for Sydney lists W. E. Smith Ltd, litho printing branch, at the address in 1914. Walter Reynell & Sons Ltd., wine spirit merchants moved into the building in 1924, remaining until the 1950s. In 2008 the building had an archaeological excavation carried out prior to its extensive redevelopment commencing 2009 for residential apartments
Historical significance: The former Walter Reynell & Sons building has historical significance, being representative of the last phase of warehouse and light industrial development in the Sydney CBD. The height of the it and adjacent buildings suggests how this part of The Rocks might have continued to develop, but for the Great Depression.
Historical association: The group of warehouse buildings are also associated with formerly well known names in Australian commerce (brand names which became Reynella, Drug Houses of Australia and Johnson & Johnson) and with the administration of the area by the Sydney Harbour Trust , and are representative of private development within a state owned area of Sydney.
Aesthetic significance: The building has aesthetic significance as an intact and well detailed example of an early 20th century warehouse which makes a positive contribution to the streetscape.
Research significance: This and adjacent buildings have scientific significance owing to the presence of early 19th century archaeological remains.
Intact assessment: Archaeology partly disturbed, excavation 2008
Physical condition: Archaeology Assessment Condition: Partly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Archaeological Excavation 2008
|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|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Written||Hassell Planning Consultants||1991||Gloucester Street Environmental Impact Statement|
|Written||Higginbotham, Kass & Walker||1991||The Rocks and Millers Point Archaeological Management Plan|
|Written||Orwell & Peter Phillips Architects and Dr Damaris Bairstow,||1996||Conservation Plan for Former Commercial Buildings, 171-193 Gloucester Street/190-210 Cumberland Street, The Rocks|
|Written||Meriton Apartments Pty Ltd||1997||171-193 Gloucester St, 190-210 Cumberland St, Environmental Impact Study|