Shops, Victorian pair
Statement of SignificanceThe site of 75 - 75 ½ George Street has historical significance as part of the site of the colony's first hospital and, subsequently, as part of land held by prominent colonial figures William Balmain, principal surgeon, Frederick Garling, Crown Solicitor and Crown Prosecutor, and Frederick Wright Unwin, solicitor and merchant. Unwin subdivided the site in the early 1840s and erected the substantial sandstone stores that still sit to the immediate south of 75 ½ George Street c. 1845. It appears that the sandstone fireplaces to the basement of 75 ½ George Street date from the time of the stores' construction, and structures dating from this period are rare in Sydney.Also of historic significance are the remnants of Samson's Cottage, at the rear of the combined site of 75 -75 ½ George Street. Samson bought Lot 7 of Unwin's subdivision in 1843, and the stone house was built soon afterwards. 75 - 75 ½ George Street are substantially intact in their detail and planning and are excellent representative examples of the small retail and residential developments erected during the boom years of the 1880s. Although the ground floor shops have been altered, the buildings retain much of their original planning and fabric and are still able to demonstrate the key characteristics of their building type - a small commercial development with shops at ground floor level and residential accommodation above. From their construction in 1883 up until the present time, the ground floors of 75 and 75 ½ George Street have been occupied by retail shops and small service businesses. The retail use of the site commenced with the construction of the previous single-storey building in the same location in 1853, so the site has supported the same, or very similar, uses for almost 160 years.The use of the upper floors of the buildings for residential accommodation, and later for boarding houses, is also of historic significance. Boarding houses became more common in The Rocks after demolition of sub-standard housing by the Rocks Resumption Board in the early Twentieth Century reduced the number of available residential properties in the area. In addition to its association with William Balmain, Frederick Garling and Frederick Wright Unwin, the site's associational significance stems from its connection to Abraham Hoffnung, a member of the prominent merchant family, who bought the extant building in 1889 and held it until it was resumed in 1900. The site also has associational and historic significance for its connection with the early Sydney Chinese community. 75 - 75 ½ George Street, with its scale, materials, finishes and the eclectic Victorian ornamentation of its George Street façade, 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 buildings' aesthetic significance also results from their George Street façade, which, with its eclectic ornament influenced by the Victorian Free Classical, Victorian Free Gothic and Eastlake architectural styles is rare, and probably unique, in Sydney. Also rare are the intact timber-framed shopfronts with their Gothic inspired detailing.The site of 75 - 75 ½ George Street has research significance because of its potential to reveal information about building configurations, services and features that date from the time before the construction of the extant buildings, including whether the basement predates the existing building. In addition, the building fabric has the potential to reveal evidence of past decorative finishes, services, floor plan configurations and information contained within concealed spaces.
Chinese Laundry, Antiques, The Rocks Gallery
Construction Years: 1883 - 0
Physical Description: No 75-75.5 George Street is a pair of late Victorian shops having ornate well scaled stuccoed facades with projecting cornice and parapet above. A small pediment with the date 1883 rises above the parapet between the two facades. Pilasters decorated with columns, Corinthian capitals and cornices rise to the full height of the façade separating them from the two adjacent buildings and dividing the two shops. (Croker 1976) Style: Victorian; Storeys: 3 plus Basement; Roof Cladding: Iron; Floor Frame: TimberArchaeology Notes: Building on George Street, 1883. Vestige of earlier building on Kendall Lane, brick side walls at first floor level. Wall remains (c1840) incorporated into new building in 1992.; Built By: 1840's
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Historic Notes and Themes
Historical notes: In 1788 when the First Fleet arrived the subject site was made part of the hospital gardens. William Bradley's plan from his journal `A Voyage to New South Wales', December 1786 - May 1792' shows no buildings on the site, however he does depict two wells in close proximity. Around 1800, land that was not required for future extensions to the hospital was made available by the Government.The site became part of the land grant to William Balmain (1762-1803) made in 1795. After entering the Navy in 1780 as a surgeon's mate, he was commissioned as the assistant surgeon to New South Wales and arrived on the First Fleet ship the Alexander. In October 1791 he was sent to Norfolk Island as the senior surgeon and magistrate. After John White, the principal surgeon to the colony, returned to England in 1794, Balmain took his place and was officially appointed principal surgeon in August 1796. The surgeon's residence was beside the land grant he was given in The Rocks, and it is assumed he lived in the house as it came with the position.Prior to leaving the colony in August 1801, Balmain held 1480 acres including land in The Rocks, the Balmain peninsula, which was named after him, and at the Field of Mars. He left his affairs in the colony with D'Arcy Wentworth, intending to return to New South Wales, but late in 1802 he sought permission to retire on a pension. He died on 17 November 1803 leaving most of his property to Margaret Dawson, (or Henderson) his de facto convict wife and their three children. It is not known what happened with the land during the first decade of the 1800s. Balmain was dead by the time the Meehan plan was produced in 1807, however the plan states that Number 3 is "Wm Balmain, now belongs to Government" It appears that Balmain never constructed anything on this land grant and it was still empty in 1807. By 1809 William Gaudry built a house on or very near the subject site, he took the lease in Jun 1809 during the period of the NSW Corp's administration after the Rum Rebellion deposed Bligh as Governor. All grants and leases arranged during this administration were declared void in January 1810 when Macquarie became Governor. This resulted in an administrative challenge sorting out which leases and grants were legitimate and deserved. Gaudry's particulars of the lease are noted in the Colonial Secretary's Index as having constructed a house next to Robert Campbell's on the 7 June 1810. Only five days later on 12 June 1810, the Colonial Secretary's index notes a dispute about the lease.William Gaudry arrived in the colony in 1807 and worked for his patron, Colonel Paterson, in Van Diemen's Land. After the Rum Rebellion of January 1808, Paterson returned to Sydney accompanied by Gaudry, who was given a government post which he held when Macquarie took over. Gaudry leased the subject site in c1809-1810 and built a house on it. The previous CMP for the site included the reference for this lease as "Demise from the Crown to William Gaudry 1810, LTO PA 7471". An excavation at the present location of the Observer Hotel uncovered building material that dates to c1810, but it is unknown if this represents the house that Gaudry built or another structure. However the archaeological report says that Paterson leased the land to Gaudry in November 1809 and the lease was ratified the day Macquarie took over (1 January 1810).Just after building his house in George St, Gaudry married Diana Kable, the daughter of the successful emancipist merchant, Henry Kable. William and Diana moved into the house in George St, living very close to her parents. In December 1809 Kable gave Gaudry the power of attorney to act on his behalf in business matters. Gaudry had coastal shipping interests and was an auctioneer amongst other mercantile interests.In 1812 William and Diana Gaudry built a house at Windsor which they moved into soon after completion and where the last of their four children were born. William died on 31 January 1816 after a short illness at the age of 33, his family lost most of the land he had acquired as he died intestate and many of his grants reverted to the crown, but it is unknown if this included his town lease in The Rocks.After Gaudry's death in 1816 until 1835 it is difficult to ascertain exactly what occurred with the ownership or lease of the site and whether any structures were constructed during this time. Further research in archaeological excavations carried out very close to and on the site, and further detailed investigation into the historical record could shed further light on this period. Land tenure became very confusing as a result of the Rum Rebellion and the massive amounts of land grants and leases handed during the two years between the deposing of Bligh and the Governorship of Macquarie. It took many years to sort out this administrative nightmare.According to previous CMPs, John Plummer brought Lot 2 in 1820, but it is unknown at this stage who from. The previous CMP has a reference that states: "Indenture from Gaudry to John Plummer 1810." The 1810 date on this reference may not be accurate. John Plummer may not have even been in the colony, the name may refer to a business in the UK. By 1824 John Plummer and his partner William Wilson were bankrupt and the lease was again transferred via James Johnson and eventually ended up in the possession of Frederick Garling, Crown Solicitor. The subject site formed part of the large garden next to his residence, which was built where the Observer Hotel now stands. No indication of what happened to the Gaudry house has been found, it may have been demolished prior to the construction of Fredrick Garling's residence, or form part of that residence. The archaeological excavation and artefact analysis carried out on the Observer Hotel in 1992 does not conclusively rule out either possibility. Frederick Garling (1775-1848), solicitor, practised in London, as an attorney in the Court of King's Bench and a solicitor in the Court of Chancery until 1814. In February 1814, he and another London solicitor, William Moore, were recommended by Jeffery Bent, to go to Sydney to conduct cases before the Court of Criminal Jurisdiction and the newly-established Supreme Court and Governor's Court. On 20 October 1814 Garling embarked with his wife Elizabeth and five children in the Francis and Eliza. This ship was captured and plundered by an American privateer off the island of Madeira and as a result the Garling family did not reach Sydney until 8 August 1815.When Ellis Bent died on 10 November 1815 the office of deputy judge advocate fell vacant. Macquarie appointed Garling a magistrate of the colony and acting deputy judge advocate. While holding the position Garling allowed emancipist solicitors to practise in the Governor's Court and the Criminal Court. Three criminal courts were held during his term and the severity of the sentences passed by two of these courts was made a subject of inquiry by Commissioner John Thomas Bigge. Garling acted as deputy judge advocate 'with zeal, impartiality and integrity' according to Macquarie, until 5 October 1816 when John Wylde arrived and took up the duties of that office. Garling then reverted to the position of crown solicitor, in addition to which he enjoyed a large private practice.Garling ceased practising as a solicitor after his appointment as crown prosecutor for the Courts of Quarter Sessions. He was generous and public-spirited, and served on several committees, including those of the Female and Male Orphan Institutions, the Native Institution, the Bible Society, the Sydney Dispensary and the Benevolent Society. He was interested in agriculture and horticulture, was granted 1200 acres (486 ha) by Macquarie in 1819, was a foundation member of the Australian Racing Club, and a shareholder in the Bank of New South Wales.In February 1822 Plummer and Garling were involved in a dispute which was heard in the Supreme Court. As Plummer had the grant it could be assumed that this was a dispute over ownership, Plummer's subsequent bankruptcy in 1824 may have been a result of this case. It appears from the notice that all of Garling's land grants, house and household goods were to be sold. In March 1822 the Provost Marshall threatened to sell the Garling house under a writ of Fieri Facias. Further research into this incident is required to ascertain the particulars of this incident, it is mentioned in the Colonial Secretary's correspondence and Garling's residence is advertised in the Sydney Gazette. Considering Garling's occupation and that he was appointed with an initial salary of £300 in 1816, it seems unlikely that he would have been in debt as a writ of Fieri Facias suggests.In October 1822 a note in the Colonial Secretary's Correspondence says: "Re legal steps to be taken in consequence of the Provost Marshall having advertised for sale, grants in which the clauses providing against the alienation of the estates within a limited number of years, were still in force. It is unknown what happened with these cases or how they came about, Garling's grants were not the only ones affected. The date, 1822 could be significant as the first Bigge Report was published then, although the content of the report had been known in the colony previous to its publication. The Bigge Report was very critical of Macquarie's administration, and when Brisbane took over as Governor in December 1821 he immediately began to carry out some of the reforms recommended by Bigge. One of these was the system of land grants. Regardless of the outcomes of these incidents, the Garling family are resident in George St from the 1820s in the large house on the site of the Observer Hotel, the garden for this residence covers the subject site. Frederick Garling Jnr the marine artist lived in this house with the family as a young man. In January 1830 Garling Senior was appointed crown prosecutor for the Courts of Quarter Sessions, and he acted in the double capacity of clerk of the peace and crown prosecutor at Quarter Sessions until September 1837. In October he was succeeded by George Holden as crown prosecutor. He remained clerk of the peace until January 1839 when he retired.On 9 June 1828 Garling's first wife Elizabeth, died at the age of 52. They had five children, Frederick, Nicholas, Sophia, Elizabeth and Jane. Garling himself died on 2 May 1848, aged 73, and was buried two days later in the Devonshire Street cemetery.Frederick Garling jnr (1806-1873), customs official and marine artist, was born on 23 February 1806 in London, the son of Frederick Garling. He arrived in Australia with his parents in the Francis and Eliza in 1815. In 1827 he was appointed a landing waiter in the Customs Office in Sydney at £250 a year and in 1847 was promoted acting landing surveyor. He was entirely self-taught as an artist and specialized, naturally enough, in marine subjects. His output was prodigious: it is said that he painted a large proportion of the ships which entered Port Jackson during his lifetime. Most of his work, which was generally unsigned, was in water-colour and characterized by a feeling for atmosphere absent from the work of earlier Australian topographical artists. He died in Sydney on 16 November 1873. In 1829 at St Philip's, Sydney, he married Elizabeth, eldest daughter of Lieutenant Ward of the 1st Regiment, and niece of General Hawkshaw of the East India Co.'s service. They had seven sons and four daughters. The eldest son, Frederick Augustus (1833-1910), was an explorer and pioneer in north Queensland.In the 1830s a concerted effort was made to formalise all land tenure, which had become extraordinarily confused by this time. The grant was not formalised until 1838 by which time it had been transferred in trust to William Carr and George John Rodgers. Research has turned up nothing on George John Rodgers at the time of writing. William Carr was appointed as a 'Commissioner for the Examining and Reporting upon Claims to Grants of Land with the Colony' in 1836. He was an attorney of the Kings Bench in Westminster and a solicitor to the High court Chancery prior to coming to Sydney. In June 1836, Carr advertised his intention to apply to be admitted as an attorney, solicitor and Proctor of the Supreme Court of NSW. Little else is known about him, although he may be the same William Carr who named Waverton after an English Village connected with his family.Carr and Rodgers then transferred the grant to Frederick Wright Unwin, who had the land immediately to the south of the subject site. Unwin subdivided the properties into a series of lots and about 1845 erected the substantial sandstone stores to the south of the subject site that survive today. A rear lane was created (now Kendall Lane). Garling's house is believed to have been demolished in 1844, shortly before the Waterman's Arms was constructed. Samsons CottageIn June 1843 Lot 7 of Unwin's subdivision was transferred from Fredrick Unwin, his wife Anne King and Charles William Roemer to William Samson. Samson was a stevedore and he took out a mortgage with Roemer probably to construct the house on the lot. When Roemer returned to England in 1844, the mortgage was taken over by James Holt and William Carr.Samson constructed a two story house brick and shingle house with three rooms at the rear of the block to Kendall Lane in 1844. The two stone fireplaces that survive in the basement of 75 1/2 George St were built by Unwin when he constructed his stone stores, c1844-46, and the chimneys cross the boundary line. Samson may have intended to build a commercial property at the George St frontage of the Lot.He and Martha Peterson were married in 1841, when she was 20 years old. They advertised a house for rent in Millers Point in 1843 in conjunction with Martha's brother-in-law, Matthias Hooper. Hooper operated the Kings Head Tavern, first on the corner of Argyle and Harrington Streets, and then he purchased the Lot next door to the Samson's from Unwin and constructed the hotel in 1843.The Samson's had two children, William who died in infancy and Mary Isabella, born in 1845. In 1847 William Samson died at age 29 and Martha and Mary became joint owners of the property. After the single story shop was built fronting George St in 1853, Samson's cottage became the residence for the shop. The address of the site is 79 George St until 1883 and in the Sands Directory both the shop and Samson Cottage are listed as the one address. In 1884, the single story shop fronting George St had been demolished. A twin pair of three story brick shops with residences above them was constructed by Alexander Cormack. The street numbers then changed again to 75 George and 75 ½ George St. Between 1884 and 1901, Samsons Cottage became 1 Kendall Lane. Samsons Cottage was resumed by the Government after the outbreak of the plague in 1901. It was used as a Chinese Boarding House for several years in the early 20th century, and then the cottage was partly demolished in c1929 or 1930 and now the western wall survives in the Rocks Discovery Museum. Single Story Shop at 79 George StreetA single story shop at the front of the block was constructed by 1853, it's frontage was set slightly back from the alignment of Unwins Stores. It was built of wood and brick with a shingle roof. From 1861 until 1880 the shop was occupied mainly by grocers and fruiterers who only stayed a year or two. In 1880 Henry Rice operated a butchery there for around three years, followed by another short term business, a cooper. In April 1882 Martha Samson sold the shop and cottage to Alexander William Cormack and the shop was demolished later that year. Martha also died in 1882, by then she was a relatively wealthy woman and set up a trust for the care of her daughter Mary as well as leaving bequests to many other family members. Mary was disabled and needed care all her life and this is reflected in Martha's will, she also set up legacies to the Deaf, Dumb and Blind Institution at Newtown, the Hospital for Sick Children at Glebe, and the home for Aborigines in the Colony. A sum of £100 was left to the Trinity Church at Miller Point for the completion of the steeple, which still has not been done.Cormack immediately constructed another premises on the site, two shops with residences above, a typical pattern of development in the early boom years of the 1880s. Cormack is listed in the Sands as being in residence in 1884 with his occupation stated as 'cooper'. It is unlikely he ran his business from the property, as he is only in residence for that year and his cooperage was in Hay St, Haymarket. The building was most probably constructed as an investment. The shops stood between two hotels, the Steam Packet Hotel, later renamed the Pacific Hotel, and the P&O Hotel. In 1889 the pair of shops was sold to Abraham Hoffnung. Abraham was a very colourful character, he had served the King of Hawaii and as charge d'affairs at the court of St James. He worked in London, America, Canada and the South Pacific before coming to Australia. Abraham obtained the mortgage for the shops from Sidney Hoffnung, his nephew. Sidney's father, Sigmond Hoffnung, established a business, Hoffnung & Co in Sydney in 1852 supplying a wide range of local and imported goods, everything from locally produced saddles and horse tack to imported jams and even billiard tables. In addition to importing goods Sigmond Hoffnung also developed trade relations with Sydney's Chinese Merchants including Way Kee. Hoffnung & Co did not run their business from the shops, indicating that they were probably purchased as an investment. In Sept 1889 the rate records list the shops as "3 story shop with 9 rooms, brick walls and iron roof". The Hoffnung business owned the properties until they were resumed by the State Government after the plague outbreak.The Sydney Harbour Trust, established in November 1900, as a result of the plague outbreak, became the landlord for the commercial and residential buildings in the resumed area. This area covered all of The Rocks and Miller Point and extended down along Darling Harbour. In 1936 this function was transferred to the Maritime Services Board (MSB). 75 George StreetIn 1885 when the address is split, 75 George St, the shop, became a hairdressers, which was run by several different proprietors until 1890. After a few years occupied by hatters, outfitters and tailors the site is not listed between 1896 and 1898. It is then used as refreshment rooms for a year before Mrs Margaret Manson operated a confectioner in the shop in 1900.In 1901 Mrs Manson also opened a boarding house in 75 George St, which she operated until c1910. It is not know if the boarding house included Samsons cottage. She shared the building with a bootmaker from 1904, then Arthur Rashleigh took over the bootmakers in 1905. He remained in residence until 1922 when Frank Harvey took over the business. Mrs Jane Frisby is listed in residence from 1910 until 1926, there is no occupation noted, so she may have been living above the shop.During the depression the premises were not continuously tenanted and the tenants that did resided there only stayed a short period. From 1937 until 1938 the Maritime Services Board permitted the building to be used for jumble sales to raise money for a range of charities including the Deaf and Dumb Institute. Sometime between 1952 and 1960 the timber awning over the footpath was removed. After another range of short term tenancies the shop became a Chinese Laundry run by Soo Tim, from 1944 until 1947 when the 'goodwill and fittings' were sold to Henry James. James continued to run the Chinese Laundry business until 1974 and lived above the shop. The next occupant was George Auchinachie, an antique dealer who operated under the name 'Chinese Laundry Antiques', this business was still operating into the 1990s. In 1998 works were carried out to the building and a Currency Exchange was the next occupant, just in time for Sydney's Olympic Games in 2000. After that there was a very short lived convenience store in c2010 and the shop in 2013 is occupied by 'ChocolArts' makers of handcrafted chocolates.75 ½ George StJoseph Landers, a bootmaker is listed in the Sands Directory as being in residence from 1885 until c1890. Landers had been working as a bootmaker in various addresses around Sydney from at least 1867. His business expanded and he began operating out of two addresses, 65 King St and 232 Castlereagh St by January 1877. This expansion was not successful and he was bankrupt by August 1877, owing over £93 with assets of only £12. His insolvency was caused by "pressure from creditors, and illness" according to the insolvency notices in the newspapers. At some point after his bankruptcy he opened another bootmakers at the southern end of George St. 1884 was not a good year for Landers, he became insolvent with liabilities of over £295 and assets of £41. This time he was forced to sell off the tools of his trade. His financial problems continued and followed him to George St, he is again insolvent in 1889 and his wife, Annie, died that year as well. This bankruptcy dogs him for several years and is finally discharged in 1891, the last year he is listed in George St in the Sands Directory. The building remained a bootmakers under several people until 1900 when Mrs J Traineau opened a tobacconist, remaining there until c1903. In 1906 the long association with the Chinese community began when Quan Lee opened refreshment rooms, although he was only there for a few years before the building was used as a dressmaker by Mrs Fanny Bruce. She left in 1914 and by 1916 Hong On Jang began running a shipping provedore from the building. He was probably also running a boarding house for the Chinese community and remains there until about 1925. From 1925 until c1929 or 1930 Frank Plant, then Mrs D Vallis ran a fish shop from the No 75 ½ George St. The MSB became the landlords in 1936 and records for the building use during the 1930s have not been located. During the Second World War, from 1942 the Department of Social Services used the building as an emergency store. It was still being used for that function in 1961, but there are no records for the intervening period.The Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority was formed in 1970 and they became the landlords of the entire Rocks area. 75 ½ George St became "The Rocks Gallery", and it has been used by art, collectables and antique galleries since, the last tenancy was an outlet for Percy Marks jewellery, a business that claims to be Australia's oldest family-owned jewellers who remained there until 2012. As at 2013 the shop is occupied by another craftsman and leather worker 'Louis Cardini, All Australian Leather Handbags and Accessories'.Samsons cottage remains are now a feature of The Rocks Discovery Museum, the walls have been painted white on the interior of the museum to show the public where the building once stood.
Historical significance: The site at 75 and 75.5 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. 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 75 and 75.5 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.Soon after the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, the site of 75 - 75 ½ George Street was located within the gardens of the colony's first hospital. Early plans do not indicate any structures on the site of 75-75 ½ George Street. Around 1800, land that was not required for future extensions to the hospital was made available by the government, and the site was part of a grant made to William Balmain, who became principal surgeon to the colony in 1796. The surgeon's house was adjacent to the land granted to Balmain in The Rocks and it is assumed that Balmain lived in the house as it was provided with the position.By 1809, William Gaudry had acquired the lease and he built a house on or near the subject site. Gaudry had arrived in the colony in 1807 and worked for his patron, Colonel Peterson in Van Diemen's Land. He returned to Sydney with Paterson in 1808 and took a government post. It is not clear if any further structures were erected on the site between 1816, when Gaudry died, and 1835. Around 1824, Frederick Garling, who became Crown Solicitor and later Crown Prosecutor, acquired the lease. Garling and his family lived in a substantial two-storey house on the site of the Observer Hotel in the 1820s. The grant was formalised by 1838, by which time it has been transferred in trust to William Carr and George John Rodgers. Carr and Rodgers transferred the grant to Frederick Wright Unwin, who subdivided it into a series of lots and erected the substantial sandstone stores to the south of the site of 75-75 ½ George Street c.1845. Garling's house is believed to have been demolished c.1844. In 1845, Lot 7 of Unwin's subdivision was transferred to William Samson, a stevedore, who took out a mortgage to build a house on the lot. Samson constructed a two-storey brick and shingle house with three rooms at the rear of the block to Kendall Lane in 1844. The two stone fireplaces that survive in the basement of 75 ½ George St were built by Unwin when he constructed his stone stores, c.1844-46, and the chimneys cross the boundary line. Samson may have intended to build a commercial property at the George St frontage of the Lot. William Samson died in 1847 and his wife, Martha, and daughter, Mary, became joint owners of the property.A single storey shop at the front of the block was constructed by 1853, its frontage set slightly back from the alignment of Unwin's Stores. From 1861 until 1880 the shop was occupied by various grocers and fruiterers, followed by a butcher and a cooper. Samson's cottage became the residence attached to the shop, and in Sands Directory both the shop and Samson's Cottage are listed as the one address, No. 79 George Street. The Samsons' cottage was resumed after the outbreak of the plague in 1901. After being used as a Chinese boarding house for several years in the early 20th century, the cottage was partly demolished in c.1929 or 1930. Parts of the western wall survive in the Rocks Discovery Museum today. In 1882, the single storey shop fronting George St had been demolished and it was replaced by the extant pair of three storey brick shops, with residences above, built by Alexander Cormack and completed in 1883. The development was typical of the early boom years of the 1880s. The street numbers for the new buildings became 75 George and 75 ½ George St.In 1889 the pair of shops was sold to Abraham Hoffnung, a member of the Hoffnung family that had established its business, Hoffnung & Co., in Sydney in 1852. The company supplied a wide range of local and imported goods. In addition to importing goods, Sigmond Hoffnung also developed trade relations with Sydney's Chinese Merchants. In 1885, the ground floor shop at 75 George St became a hairdressers that was run by several different proprietors until 1890. It was subsequently occupied by hatters, outfitters and tailors for the next few years. From 1898, the shop was used as refreshment rooms and then as a confectionery shop in 1900. A boarding house, that may have incorporated Samson's Cottage, was opened at 75 George Street in 1901 and it ran on the site until c.1910. The boarding house shared the building with a bootmaker from 1904. The upper levels of the building appear to have been used as a residence from 1910 to 1926. During the depression in the 1930s, the premises was not continuously tenanted. The shop was a Chinese laundry from 1944 until 1947 when the 'goodwill and fittings' were sold to Henry James, who continued the business until 1974, living above the shop. Joseph Landers, a bootmaker, is listed in Sands Directory as being in residence in 75 ½ George Street from 1885 until c.1890. The building remained a bootmakers' premises, under several different operators, until 1900 when a tobacconist opened, remaining on the site until c.1903. In 1906 the building's long association with the Chinese community began when Quan Lee opened up refreshment rooms. These operated for only a few years, being replaced by a dressmaker. By 1914, the dressmaker had left and by 1916 Hong On Jang was running a shipping provedore, and probably boarding house for the Chinese community, from the building. Archaeological excavations at the Samson's cottage site found extensive evidence for the Chinese occupation of Samson's cottage, so it is likely that Hong on Jang's boarding house also occupied the cottage. Hong on Jang occupied the site until about 1925. From 1925 until c.1929 or 1930 a fish shop operated from No. 75 ½ George St. The MSB became the landlords in 1936 and records for the building use during the 1930s have not been located. During the Second World War, from 1942, the Department of Social Services used the building as an emergency store. It was still being used for that function in 1961, but there are no records for the intervening period. The item meets this criterion at a STATE level.The historical significance of 75-75 ½ George Street is demonstrated by:·The association of the site with the first hospital and the early colonial development of Sydney,·The basement of 75 ½ George Street its two sandstone fireplaces (c.1844) and their contemporary sandstone chimneys. The chimneys are shared by 75 ½ George Street and the northernmost building of Unwin's Stores, directly to the south,·The remnants of Samson's Cottage, built c.1844, at the rear of the site,·The surviving early 1880s subdivision of the lot, which demonstrates the increasing density of development in The Rocks in the 1880s,·The building type, with shops at ground floor level and residential accommodation/workrooms above,·The integrity of the original planning and fabric of the extant buildings, including their intact original exteriors and shopfronts, their relatively intact ground floor plans and their highly intact first and second floor plans,·The evidence of the former external WCs at the rear of the building,·The use of the buildings as boarding houses during the early Twentieth Century,·The range of small businesses that occupied the buildings up to the 1950s, including hairdressers, bootmakers, hatters, outfitters, tailors, refreshment rooms and provedores, and the continuation of the retail use of the site that commenced with the construction of the single-storey shop in 1853,·The continuing use of the buildings for specialty shops, sometimes with workrooms above, today.
Historical association: The site of 75 - 75 ½ George Street formed part of the land granted to William Balmain (1762-1803), surgeon and landholder. Balmain was an assistant surgeon on the First Fleet and served in Sydney between 1788-1791, after which he was sent to Norfolk Island. Upon his return to Sydney in 1795, Balmain was granted the land that included the subject site, although it appears that he did not develop the site. In 1796, he was appointed principal surgeon to the colony. The site also has an association with Fredrick Garling Snr (1775-1848), a solicitor who became Crown Solicitor and, later, Crown Prosecutor. The site formed part of the garden of the residence Garling occupied in Sydney in the 1820s. The exact dates between which Garling's residence sat on the site are not known but are likely to have been between c.1815-1838. The site also has association with Fredrick Garling Jnr (1806-1873), customs official and marine artist. Fredrick Wright Unwin (1798-1852), landowner and solicitor, is also associated with the site. Unwin subdivided the former Garling property and constructed the substantial stone Unwin's Stores just to the south of the site. The site is also associated with Abraham Hoffnung, (1834-1912) businessman and diplomat to England, Hawaii and Portugal. Abraham Hoffnung's family established its business 'Hoffnung & Co.', which sold local and imported goods in 1852. By 1880, the business employed 99 people and operated 9 stores in the vicinity of Pitt Street, as well as a large saddlery and harness making company. Hoffnung purchased 75-75 ½ George Street, apparently as an investment, in 1889, holding them until they were resumed in 1900. Both buildings also have associations with the early Sydney Chinese community and with Chinese merchants. For a few years from 1906, 75 ½ George Street operated as refreshment rooms operated by Quan Lee and it was later associated with Hong On Jang, a Chinese merchant and shipping provedore. Between 1904-1911, Hong On Jang regularly boarded his countrymen within his household in Harrington Street, and between 1916-24 he accommodated them at 75 ½ George Street. Hong On Jang was also involved with the S.S. Courtney incident, when several stowaways were found to be holding letters, addressed to Hong on Jang, asking for assistance in sending them to their family members already resident in Australia. At 75 George Street, a Chinese laundry operated between 1944 and 1947.The item meets this criterion at a STATE level .The associational significance of 75 and 75 ½ George Street is demonstrated by:·The association of the site with prominent Colonial figures William Balmain, William Gaudry, Frederick Garling and Frederick Wright Unwin,·The association of the site with the Hoffnung family,·The association of the site with the early Sydney Chinese community.
Aesthetic significance: 75 - 75 ½ George Street, with its scale, materials, finishes and the eclectic Victorian ornamentation of its George Street façade, 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 ornamentation of the building continues to the parapet giving the building a decorative skyline. The architectural details of the George Street façade and shopfronts show the influences of the Victorian Free Classical and Victorian Free Gothic architectural styles but also appear to have been influenced by the Eastlake Style. This demonstrates the influence of international architectural trends on commercial architecture in Sydney, the likely result of the arrival of a group of English trained architects during the 1880s. Evidence of the Eastlake Style also survives in the detail of the building's original mantelpieces. The item meets this criterion at a STATE level.The aesthetic significance of 75 - 75 ½ George Street is demonstrated by:·The important contribution of the buildings to the streetscape of George Street, The Rocks,·The eclectic Victorian George Street façade of the building, with its ornament influenced by the Victorian Free Classical, Victorian Free Gothic and Eastlake architectural styles.
Social significance: The current CMP states "75 - 75 ½ George Street does not have significance under this criterion."However since adopting this CMP the criteria has been revised to the previous assessment:Samsons Cottage wall remains: 75.5 George Street is of high social significance due to the artefacts recovered from its rear yard. Archaeological evidence of Chinese inhabitancy is rarely found in Sydney and Chinese ceramics that are seldom found outside of China were recovered. It is speculated by Lydon that the ceramics recovered (i.e. 'sand-pot') that within the Hong On Jang household the traditional custom of sharing meals was practised in order to create a social bond.75.5 George Street is also socially significance because of its previous function as a boarding house. Hong On Jang provided accommodation to labourers who worked within the vicinity of The Rocks and also to Chinese sojourners passing through Sydney.
Research significance: The fabric of the buildings at 75 and 75 ½ George Street has a high level of integrity. It therefore has the potential to reveal evidence of past decorative finishes, services, floor plan configurations and information contained within concealed spaces that have not been opened up during previous works. On the northern side of the projecting section of the stone north wall of Unwin's Stores (this wall projects beyond the western wall of the front portion of No. 75 ½ George Street) there is a vertical groove that runs from the top to the bottom of the wall. The groove could have been constructed to house a rainwater downpipe or the jambs of windows of a building to be built at a later date. Alternatively, it could be evidence of an earlier building on the site. The last-mentioned possibility could be checked by excavating the ground in line with the groove to determine if a wall had ever been built in this location. This investigation was not made during the 1996 conservation works but could be carried out if the opportunity arose. Spanning diagonally from the south wall of 75 ½ George Street to the stone garden wall projecting from the north-west corner of Unwin's Stores is an unpainted hardwood beam, the original use of which is unknown. A similar beam exists on the northern side of the building. Further research may determine the original purposes of these beams. The historical development of the site indicates European occupation from 1788, when this site was within the grounds of the first hospital. Bradley's March 1788 plan shows wells within or very close to the site. Documentary records including drawings, pictures and plans and do not show substantial buildings in the area of No 75 and 75 ½ George St until 1809 when the Gaudry house was built. Building locations have been recorded on both sides of the site, most notably Frederick Garling's residence and garden. Archaeological excavations have been carried out on the site, at Samson's cottage behind the site and also nearby at next door at the Observer Hotel. These investigations revealed an extensive archaeological resource. The Observer Hotel excavation revealed only part of the Garling Residence, indicating that more could survive in unexcavated areas, such as on the subject site. The archaeological resource may answer questions about the use of the land prior to the construction of the single storey shop c.1853, and may also confirm whether that shop had a basement. An inspection of the basement of 75 ½ George St indicates there is demolition rubble in the sand deposit of the floor, and this could relate to any of the earlier building phases. The basement fireplaces display shell mortar, which was commonly associated with construction prior to the 1850s. This suggests that they were constructed prior to the current (1883) building. The previous CMP claimed that the fireplaces were built at the same time as Unwins Stores, 1844. Since 1991, archaeological excavations and testing elsewhere in The Rocks have shown that there is a greater potential for significant remains than has been predicted from the historical records. The archaeological resource of the subject site is likely to be extensive enough to answer questions about early land use not detailed in the historical record.The item meets this criterion at a STATE level.The research potential of 75-75 ½ George Street is demonstrated by:·The high level of integrity of much of the fabric of the buildings,·The projecting section of the north wall of Unwin's Stores and the vertical groove that runs from the top to the bottom of this projecting section of wallThe archaeological potential of 75 and 75 ½ George St is demonstrated by:·The potential of the site to reveal information about building configurations, services and features that date from the time before the construction of the extant buildings, including whether the basement pre-dates the existing building.
Rare assessment: 75 and 75 ½ George Street shows the influence of three architectural styles: Victorian Free Classical, Victorian Free Gothic and the Eastlake Style. While there are several examples of the Victorian Free Classical and Victorian Free Gothic architectural styles in Sydney, this particular, eclectic combination of styles is rare in Sydney. The use of the Eastlake Style in Sydney is also rare, and it was used mainly in interior design. The buildings retain their original timber-framed shopfronts. There are very few examples of intact shopfronts of the 1880s remaining in Sydney, although there are some reconstructions. In addition, the Gothic influenced detailing of the shopfronts, of which No. 75 is the most intact, is very rare and no other examples of the carved capitals and trefoil motif have been located during the preparation of this CMP or the earlier CMPs for the site. Also rare are the basements to the buildings, particularly that of 75 ½ George Street with its c. 1845 sandstone fireplaces.The item meets this criterion at a STATE level.The rarity of 75 - 75 ½ George Street is demonstrated by:·The eclectic design of the George Street façade, which demonstrates the influences of the Victorian Free Classical, Gothic Revival and Eastlake styles of architecture,·The influence of the Eastlake Style on the design of the George Street façade,·The intact timber-framed shopfronts to the buildings,·The Gothic Revival influenced detailing of the shopfronts,·The basement of 75 ½ George Street with its c.1845 sandstone fireplaces.
Representative assessment: 75 - 75 ½ George Street is an example of a small retail and residential development erected during the boom years of the 1880s. Although the ground floor shops have been altered, the buildings retain much of their original planning and fabric and are still able to demonstrate the key characteristics of their building type.The item meets this criterion at a STATE level.The representativeness of 75 - 75 ½ George Street is demonstrated by:·The intact planning and fabric of the pair of buildings, which are good representative examples of their building type: 1880s period retail shops with residences above
Intact assessment: High degree of integrity. Archaeology partly disturbed.
Physical condition: Good - extensive amount of fabric of exceptional/considerable significance.Archaeology Assessment Condition: Partly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Basements to building on George Street. Otherwise surviving vestiges of former buildings. Deposits probably survive between buildings. Investigation: Full excavation of cottage
|Australian Theme||NSW Theme||Local Theme|
|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.|
|Developing local, regional and national economies||Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services.|
|Peopling the continent||Activities associated with common cultural traditions and peoples of shared descent, and with exchanges between such traditions and peoples.|
|Peopling the continent||Activities and processes associated with the resettling of people from one place to another (international, interstate, intrastate) and the impacts of such movements.|
|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 services, especially on a communal basis.|
|Developing cultural institutions and ways of life||Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions.|
|Heritage Listing||Listing Title||Listing Number||Gazette Date||Gazette Number||Gazette Page|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0331||Victorian Shops||21/03/1978||14262|
|National Trust of Australia Register||7714||05/04/1976|
|Register of the National Estate||1/12/036/0331||George Street / Kendall Lane Precinct||21/03/1978||2133|
|National Trust of Australia Register||9214||04/05/1976|
|Heritage Act - State Heritage Register||01597||10/05/2002||2868||85|
|Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register||Place Management NSW|
|Within a National Trust conservation area||10499|