Newtown Land Use etc. 1862-92

Page 37.

CHAPTER 2

LAND USE: HOUSING, FACILITIES AND INDUSTRY

Though subdivision was random, its intention was quite specific. Land owners clearly foresaw that the fate of the greatest proportion of land was to be built upon by landlords intent on providing residential accommodation for the working class. 1 Exceptions will be considered, but this was the general pattern, dictated by proximity to the city and the housing demand. Allotments were subdivided for this purpose (no sign of the quarter acre block mentality in Newtown) and development proceeded according to that plan. 2 Even the shops built to cater for the needs of the population were shop-residences. In 1878, there were 134 shop residences but only 19 buildings served solely as shops. 3 In 1892 only 20 buildings served solely as shops. 4 Page 38. People required facilities other than shops of course, and a number of local industries set up in the borough. Land use therefore will be considered under three headings: i) hous- ing ii) facilities provided for resident and adjacent populations and iii) industries catering for local needs and the wider community. Freeland states that “a country’s architecture is a near-perfect record of its history…. (its)… buildings are original historical documents. 1 This statement can be well applied to Newtown as an inner-city residential suburb. When subdivision got under way, however, many of the old homes, large and small, were demolished. An 1888 advertisement for the final sale of Camden College typified the go-ahead attitude of the 1880’s: “…. (Camden College)… is a large massive structure and, if pulled down, the materials will realise a handsome sum. The shrubberies and trees are of mature growth, but all must disappear before the business growth of Newtown… “. 2 With the loss of such buildings, a large portion of Newtown’s history, sadly, also died. However, the buildings which replaced them also have a history. They provide a more accurate gauge of the period than would a mansion standing in splendid isolation, for it was terraced housing which typified the period. Page 39. Apart from the demand, which encouraged potential landlords or speculators to build as many houses as possible, terraced housing offered considerable advantages. It allowed full utilization of the narrow frontages and, as the houses were identical inside and out, material specifications could be reproduced without extra charges. page39a FIG. 69. James Sewell’s house, Newtown, Sydney, 1879. Though designed by Blacket the floor plan of “this very ordinary little design” 1 was typical of terraced houses. They were erected on the one site simultaneously and had party walls. Four narrow terraces were often erected on three allotments. E. J. Rubie, owner of 29 houses in Newtown, 2 and manager of Sydney’s oldest building society, st. Josephs Building Society, 3 certainly saw the potential in such a Page 40. saving in land: he purchased three allotments on which he then built Dora Terrace, a row of nine houses!

Three allotments in Don Street purchased by E. J. Rubie. Utilisation of the three allotments i. e. erection of nine very narrow houses fronting Reiby Street.
Plate 5. Dora Terrace, Reiby Street. Plate 6. Detail: one house in Dora Terrace.

Page 41. Seemingly every variety of terrace was built in Newtown during this period. The following photographs, graded from elaborate to very basic, illustrate the variety of styles found in the suburb. page41a Plate 7. A portion of Kettle’s Terrace, Georgina Street. page41b Plate 8. San Jose Terrace, Station Street. Page 42. page42a Plate 9. Cotteral Terrace, Gladstone Street. page42b Plate 10. Terrace in Missenden Road. Cantilevered balconies were a feature when houses were built on the street alignment. Page 43. Plate 11. Terrace in Watkin Street. page43b Plate 12. Snowdon Terrace, Reiby Street. Corner shops sometimes formed part of a terrace. Page 44. page44a Plate 13. The plainest two-storey terraces in Newtown, found on both sides of Little Queen Street. page44b Plate 14. Ferndale Street: three two-storey terraces broken by a pair of terrace-type houses. Page 45. page45a Plate 13. Railway Terrace in Goodsell Street. Plate l6. Brighton Terrace in Gladstone Street. The bullnose verandah awnings and palmette decorations were typical of the period. Page 46. Plate 17. Terrace of eleven single storey houses in Kent Street. Plate 18. Camperdown Terrace, Station Street. Page 47. Plate 19. Very plain terrace, Wilson Street. Plate 20. Union Street: row of three. Probably the most basic houses in Newtown. Page 48. Second to terraces, as far as numbers were concerned, were houses built in pairs, though, because of narrow front- ages, they were seldom semi-detached. This category, too, covered the spectrum from elaborate to basic. Plate 21. Pair of houses set well back off Fitzroy Street. Plate 22. Pair in Margaret Street. Page 49. newpage49a Plate 23. Elaborate single storey pair in Station Street. newpage49b Plate 22. Pair in Eliza Street. Page 50. Plate 25. Five pairs in O’Connell Street adjoined by a terrace. Free standing houses in Newtown were a rarity. Many which did exist were demolished in favour of the more lucrative terraces. However, those which do survive are generally attractive, reflecting perhaps the expansiveness of their owners. Like the pairs, they too were usually, though not always, built in the terrace style, also dictated by narrow frontages. Plate 26. Free standing single storey house in Wilson Street. Page 51. Plate 27. Free standing two storey house in Wells Street. Plate 28. Free standing house in Margaret Street. Narrow frontages dictated such a style. Page 52.

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Plate 29. “The Towers”: Wilson Street. Plate 30. Free standers, Marion Street.

page52c Plate 31. Pair and two free standers, Rawson Street. Absence of a rear lane dictated this style. Page 53. The need to utilize every valuable frontage often resulted in uneven and untidy skylines, with buildings squeezed between pre-existing terraces. page53a Plate 32. Leamington Avenue. page53b Plate 33. Pine Street. Page 54. page54a Plate 34. 43½ Edgeware Road, probably the narrowest house in Newtown. Plate 35. Detail of 43½ Edgeware Road. Page 55. Rows of identical terraces alert the observer to the fact that a number of allotments were built upon by the one developer. Multiple ownership was indeed the overwhelming pattern in this suburb. Table 2 (see following page) records the number of houses owned by individuals in the years 1881, 1885, 1888 and 1892. 1 The top row of figures – 1 to over 50, represents the number of houses. The down columns represent the number of individuals who owned that number of houses in the specified year. Quite clearly the great majority of houses were in the hands of multiple owners. The largest number owned by one individual was fifty-eight, belonging to John Hinchcliffe. It is quite apparent then, that the majority of houses were built to let. Plate 36. May Terrace in Wells Street, six of John Hinchcliffe’s fifty-eight houses. Plate 37. Nottingham Terrace in Simmons Street: fourteen of Bruce Smith’s forty-seven houses. Page 56.

Number of houses.
Number of Individuals Year 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11-15 16-20 21-25 26-30 31-40 41-50 Over 50
1881 198 94 43 36 12 10 5 7 3 1 7 1 1
1885 264 130 47 36 26 26 18 11 6 7 10 7 1 1
1888 366 160 78 52 38 25 13 16 10 4 16 9 1 3 2 1
1892 363 178 97 52 42 26 22 17 5 9 21 9 1 1

Table 2. Page 57. Table 3 records the number of owner occupants and renters traced for the years 1881, 1885, 1888 and 1892. 1

Year 1881 1885 1888 1891
Owner/ Occupants 539 743 962 974
Tenants 1076 1831 2491 2809
Unknown 16 33 49 158
Total 1631 2607 3502 3941

Table 3. This table follows logically from Table 2. Clearly, the great majority of Newtown residents were tenants: 66.62% in 1881; 71.13% in 1885, 72.14% in 1888 and 74.25% in 1891. The fact that such a great majority of residents rented their houses is not surprising, as similar patterns existed in other inner city suburbs. 2 Page 58. Rent in Newtown, like the rest of Sydney, was high. In 1888, a brick house in King Street, with balcony back and front, four rooms, kitchen, city water, gas pipes and fittings let for £72/16/- per annum. 1 In 1890, No. 2 Maude Terrace with nine rooms, a kitchen and scullery in “a most respectable street” (London Street) was let for 30/- per week. 2 Plate 38. Maude Terrace in London Street. Landlords of Newtown houses, however, were by no means all entrepreneurs or speculators living in splendour in the more attractive bay-side suburbs. Quite a large proportion owned a number of adjoining houses and lived in one of them. Table 4 illustrates this tendency. It is concerned solely with property owners who lived in an adjoining house or in the same street. 3 Page 59.

Year 1881 1885 1888 1892
Owned 2 lived in 1 61 94 115 135
Owned 3 lived in 1 26 44 45 44
Owned 4 lived in 1 11 19 23 28
Owned 5 lived in 1 5 7 9 7
Owned 6 lived in 1 3 5 5 7
Owned 7 lived in 1 1 2 1 2
Owned 8 lived in 1 3 1 2
Owned 9 lived in 1 2 3 2 2
Owned 10 lived in 1 1 1 1
Owned 13 lived in 1 1
Owned 15 lived in 1 1
Owned 16 lived in 1 1 1 1 1
Owned 24 lived in 1 1

Table 4. The large number who owned two houses accounts for many of the ‘pairs’ previously noted. Another fact of the multiple ownership noted in Tables 2 & 4 was the tendency amongst multiple owners to sell their houses as a single unit. Table 5 records house sales in Newtown between the years 1881 and 1885, 1885 and 1888, 1888 and 1892. 1 The greater majority in each case sold their houses as a unit to one person rather than as separate houses to a number of individuals. The occupants were destined to remain tenants. Page 60.

Years Between 1881 & 1885 Between 1885 & 1888 Between 1888 & 1891
Sales of single houses 142 138 177
Sales where multiple ownership was split between purchasers 7 18 16
Sales where multiple blocks were sold as units
Blocks of 2 29 45 47
Blocks of 3 4 16 17
Blocks of 4 7 3 10
Blocks of 5 1 3 11
Blocks of 6 4 5
Blocks of 7 1 4
Blocks of 8 3
Blocks of 9 2 2
Blocks of 10 1 1 3
Blocks of 14 1
Blocks of 16 1 1

Table 5. The occupations of such tenants were very diverse and cannot be detailed here. However, Table 6 offers a random sample of the occupations of some of the major renters, and photographs 39 to 42 illustrate the type of housing which tenants of certain occupations dwelt in. 2

1881 1885 1888 1892
Carpenters 26 44 58 68
Painter/decorator 8 15 33 39
Masons 6 14 9 15
Grocers 16 29 37 38
Butchers 6 16 21 26
Clerks 18 19 32 20
Tailors 3 9 17 16

Table 6. Page 61. Plate 39. Ulster Terrace; a terrace of fifteen quite substantial houses in Station Street. They were built by contractor-builder P. F. Hart, who lived in the fifteenth house. Occupations of some of the residents were as follows:

  • 1884; commercial traveller, printer and publisher, bootmaker, music teacher, tidewaiter, painter.
  • 1889; coach-builder, two bakers, grocer, music teacher, journalist.
  • 1891; coach-builder, three bakers, music teacher, grocer, valuator, teacher of dancing, dressmaker, journalist, carpenter.

Plate 40. Church Terrace; in Lennox Street.

  • 1889; grocer, engineer, two butchers, sculptor, professor of music.
  • 1890; butcher, hatter, plasterer, draper.
  • 1891: butcher, carpenter, coach-builder, plasterer, draper.

Page 62. Plate 41. Lilley Terrace; twenty houses in Angel Street.

  • 1889; draper, carpenter, hatter, blacksmith, plumber, comedian, tinsmith, joiner, grocer.
  • 1890: draper, accountant, dealer, plasterer, plumber, baker, engineer, sign-writer.
  • 1891; moulder, accountant, painter blacksmith, two merchants (Japanese), laundress, hatter, bootmaker, sign-writer, joiner, grocer.

Plate 42. Detail of two of the twenty houses in Lilley Terrace. Page 63. This boom in housebuilding was, of course, accompanied by a considerable increase in population. In 1871, Newtown’s population was 4, 328. By 1881 it had increased to 8, 327. In the ten years to 1891, it more than doubled to a total of 17,870. 1 Considerable facilities were required to provide for the needs of this influx. The symbiosis of suburban life can be seen most clearly in this aspect of land use. As Newtown produced very few of her own basic necessities, shops were the very foundation of the suburb. 413 shop- residences are recorded in 1892, and 20 buildings served solely as shops. 2 Of this 413, all but 57 were found on Enmore Road or King street, hailed as “another Oxford street”. The remaining 57 were scattered in more distant parts of the borough and were mostly corner shops. In 305 cases, the type of shop has been traced. 3 Not surprisingly food and clothing were the most common categories. In 1892 there were at least 46 grocer’s shops, 23 butchers, 21 bakers and confectioners and 3 milk vendors, as well as 13 miscellaneous food shops: oyster saloons, poulterers etc. Page 64. There were 24 draperies or haberdasheries, 18 bootmakers or shoe shops, 6 milliners, 5 tailors,and 3 dressmakers. 1 To cater for building and household needs there were 9 ironworkers shops, 6 plumbers, 4 paint shops, 4 furniture dealers, 2 upholsterers, 3 piano tuner/music sellers and 8 other shops in this category. Health was looked after by 6 chemists, 2 dentists and 3 doctors. 3 saddlers, 9 jewellers, 12 tobacconists, 5 stationer/newsagents, 13 hair- dressers, 3 pawnbrokers and 3 undertakers had all set up in the borough by 1892. As well as this comprehensive range of individual shops, there were two arcades and an important market which opened on Saturday nights. 2 Both Marcus Clark and Anthony Hordern opened their first shops in Newtown and nearby Grace Brothers, Broadway opened in 1885. Visiting haw- kers also plied their wares. 3 So, shops were an important aspect of land use especially on the two thoroughfares. They served the local residents but also attracted visitors from nearby suburbs. Newtown was “the business centre of a wide area”, 4 a “great emporium for a large surrounding district”. 5 Most of the shops, though now minus their lacework verandahs (See plates 49 and 50) are still in existence. Many record the names of their owners and date of building atop their parapets. Page 65. Plate 63. Corner shop: Ferndale and Camden Streets. Plate 66. Corner shop: Edgeware Road and Lord streets. Page 66.

Plate 45. Terrace of seven shop-residences in Enmore Road. In 1888, a confectioner, bootmaker, hairdresser chemist and grocer were amongst the tenants. Plate 46. Single shop of Moses Cohen, draper, whose name appears atop the parapet. Also Enmore Road.
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Plate 47. Trio of shops, King Street. Plate 48. Pair of shops in King Street. In 1892 they were rented by a tailor and a hardware dealer.

Page 67. page67a Plate 49a, Corner of King Street and Watkin Street, looking towards the Bridge Plate 49b, Corner of King and Watkin Streets. Wrought iron balconies (Plate 49a) were a feature that has almost entirely disappeared. Some cantilevered balconies remain. Page 68.

newpage68a newpage68b
Plates 50 a) and b). Corner of King and Queen Streets: then and now.
Plate 51. Corner shop, Buckland Lane and Bucknell Street. Boarded-up windows still advertise the groceries earlier sold in this shop.

They followed the same general patterns as the private houses. They covered the spectrum from elaborate to basic, were mostly in terraces or pairs, usually rented and mostly sold as a single unit to one individual purchaser. Page 69. Another very important aspect of land use was that connected with transport. Map 5″. shows the amount of land taken up by roads alone – a large percentage. There were also railway lines, platforms and stations. There were tram lines, sheds, facilities for taking on coke and water. There were bus stables, water troughs and bus stands. This aspect will be more fully explored in Chapter 4, for it drew other government bodies into shared responsibility for local affairs. page69a Plate 52. Newtown ‘bus sheds. page69b Plate 53. Newtown Tram sheds. Trams which serviced a large area, were stationed and serviced in the heart of the suburb. Page 70. Once basic needs – shelter, food, clothing and transport to places of employment – were taken care of, the people, or their mentors, could look further afield to spiritual, educational and recreational requirements, to financial security and physical protection. Government and private bodies were involved in providing these facilities. The spiritual needs of the community were taken care of by no fewer than seven established religions, assisted by various evangelists and the Salvation Army. In 1892, there were thirteen churches, chapels, tabernacles or meeting houses in the borough. Together with the residences of various ministers and the schools which were often attached to the churches, this accounted for considerable use of land. Some Churches were represented quite early, and services held prior to Churches being built. The Church of England, however, opened its first Church in 1844, 1 the Wesleyans in 1849 2 the Congregationalists in 1856, 3 the Presbyterians in 1865, 4 the Roman Catholics in 1869 5 and the Baptists in 1873. 6 Frequently the first Church was replaced by a more elaborate structure, and the older building used as a denominational school, as with the Wesleyans in King Street and the Anglicans in Church Street. The Salvation Army commenced its work in a tent in Brown Street in 1884 7 and various religious services were often held in the Town Hall. 8 Page 71. The Primitive Methodists were represented in Australia Street and May Street, 1 and the Anglicans, Wesleyans and Presbyterians also had two Churches each within the borough. The style of Church architecture ranged from Blacket’s St. Stephens “one of Sydney’s finest Gothic Revival Buildings”, 2 one of his “most romantic conceptions”, 3 to the very austere Presbyterian Church in Gowrie Street. newpage71a Plate 54. St. Stephen’s Church. newpage71b Plate 55. Presbyterian Church in Grie Street. Page 72. Church records well illustrate the use of a suburban facility by the wider community. Of the 519 marriages recorded in St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic register between 1864 and 1892, only in 90 cases were both partners from Newtown. In 134 cases, one partner was a resident. The remaining 295 marriages – that is, more than half, took place between people from outside the borough. 1 The Wesleyan Church records reveal a similar pattern. 2 Though their marriage ceremonies were usually performed in private homes, it may be presumed that many were married by the minister whose church they regularly attended. As the population increased, education became an important concern. The earliest schools were either private or denomin- ational. The Anglican infant and primary school in St. Stephen’s old church had an enrollment of over 200 children. 3 It ceased as a denominational school in 1882, but remained open as a private grammar school. Ecclesiastical lists in The Australian Almanac record Presbyterian and Wesleyan schools in this earlier period. The Congregationalists built a school for their children in 1862, 4 and a day school was attached to their theological college, Camden College. 5 It closed, however in 1876. The Roman Catholics had their own denominational school later divided into separate schools for boys and girls. 6 Page 73. Their survival as the only denominational schools left by 1892 was a reflection of developments in the wider education frame- work. 1 Amongst the private schools, Sampson’s Academy in Bligh Street and Newman’s school in Church Street were of high repute. Plate 56. Sampson’s Academy. A number of schools were conducted in private homes (therefore not an aspect of land use). As late as 1892, Sands Sydney Directory lists two “ladies schools”, St. Stephen’s Grammar School, “Wellesley College”, as well as the two Roman Catholic schools and five public schools. A number of teachers of music, dancing and languages resided in the borough and gave private lessons.2 The large old homes were often used as private schools eg. Reiby House, Camden Villa and Cambridge Hall. By 1890, there was a branch of the Technical College in Newtown. 3 Page 74. A Mutual Improvement Society 1 and numerous educational lectures 2 catered to the people’s desire, typical of the age, for self-improvement. Plate 57. Cambridge Hall, home of Judge Donnithorne was later used as a school. The first public school was opened in 1863. By the end of that year, its enrollment was 201. 3 By 1882, it consisted of three departments – Boys, Girls and Infants, with 285, 300 and 400 pupils respectively – a total of 985. 4 Page 75. By 1887, the total enrollment was 1,497 and the Boys’ department “the largestin the colony”. 1 There were many complaints about overcrowding. That year, the Sydney Morning Herald declared the school “positively unhealthy”. 2 Some hundreds of children were being “taught daily in wooden sheds open to the weather”. 3 Extensions built in 1892, and the new school in Australia Street, built in 1889, partly alleviated the problem. In 1883, Camdenville school, where lessons had literally commenced in a tent, was completed. By 1885, its enrollment was 460. 4 In 1883 also, North Newtown school opened in temporary buildings in Bligh Street. The average attendance by July 1884 was 330. 5 Enmore school was opened in October 1687, and within two months, its enrollment was 411. 6 Land was resumed for each of these schools, and it was an expensive undertaking, eg. £1875 was spent in 1682 for the land needed for Camdenville and more land was purchased in 1891; 7 £2,100 was initially spent on the land for North Newtown, and more spent in 1885. 8 The buildings themselves Page 76. were not cheap: £3,842 for Camdenville, 1 £4,473 for Enmore. 2 Such expenses should not be overlooked by those critical of central government tardiness in providing other facilities for the borough. Significantly, two schools were on the borders of Newtown: Camdenville on Edgeware Road and North Newtown on Bligh Street. The latter was specifically built to cater for children from Darlington 3 as well as Newtown, and children from as far away as Arncliffe and Kogarah attended the Newtown Superior Public School, 4 a further example of land in Newtown being utilized by the populations of suburbs further afield. Not surprisingly, with such development in the borough, communications assumed major importance. Newtown had a small post office in 1862, but, as the borough developed, its accommodation became inadequate. In 1878, a council deputation waited upon the Post Master General requesting a larger post office, as the existing one was too small to “allow for the necessary privacy in telegraph and banking activities”. 5 This request was refused, as was another in 1888, but, by 1891, Newtown had two post offices – a new one on the old site in King Street and another on Enmore Road. 6 Page 77. ‘Letter receivers’ were dotted about the borough, some attached to gaslights. Postage was 1d per ounce within ten miles of the city. 1 Mail came from Sydney thrice daily and was delivered or collected. Telegrams cost 6d to transmit from Newtown 2 and the telegraph office remained open until 8p. m. In 1878, 2,727 telegrams were despatched from Newtown post office. By 1888, the figure had increased to 14,309. 3 The telephone exchange established in 1888 had 22 subscribers by 1892. 4 In 1886, £48, 451 changed hands in the Money Order section – rather an increase on the 1869 total of £831. 5 Evidence of Newtown’s rapid expansion was everywhere to be seen. Protection of person and property is an inevitable requirement in any complex society – and the agencies for this purpose take up land. Newtown Watch-house was built in 1853 at the cost of £800, 6 and, in 1873, the Town’s Police Act was extended to the borough. Newtown earlier formed part of No. 2 division, but in 1880, became a division of its own: No. 5 division, with a total strength of twenty men. 7 Page 78. In 1878, a deputation waited upon the Minister for Justice requesting that a Court of Petty sessions be established in the borough. They sought a Small Debts Court in 1880. 1 In 1882, the very elaborate Court House was built, it was the largest in the metropolitan district, with three spacious courts and offices for clerks, magistrates and witnesses. 2 It served an area far wider than the borough. The records include summonses for offences committed as close as Marrickville and Sydenham, but as far away as Canley Vale, Burwood, Druitt Town and Homebush: 3 again, land in Newtown was utilized to serve more than just a borough function. In 1891, a new fire station was commenced in Australia Street, 4 though a Volunteer Fire Brigade had been operating since 1872. 5 After previous refusals of aid, the council granted a £25 annual endowment to the brigade after 1879. 6 In 1884, the Fire Brigades Board was set up in the city and a contribution was required from the council 7 – the board in turn allocated funds to the brigades. Page 79. In 1889, the equipment of the Volunteer brigade consisted of two manual engines, one reel and one ladder cart. Seventeen members were on the roll and the brigade attended twenty six calls. 1 The Volunteer Brigade was disbanded in 1892. 2 Thumbnail image Plate 58. Newtown Fire Brigade and Fire Station. Financial security was also a concern in the new suburb. Frugality was a quality much prized by those who hoped to put a little by for their old age – and others who besought them to do so. In 1871, a branch of the Government Savings Bank was established in Newtown. By 1886, there were 2,613 accounts in this one bank with assets totalling £35,896. 3 Page 80. Other banks gradually opened: the Bank of Australasia in 1875; Esanda in 1885. By 1892 there were seven banks operating in Newtown, some with two branches and some in quite sub- stantial buildings which still serve that purpose today. No doubt the population would have been induced to invest some of its savings in the building and land companies which mushroomed in the period. When the boom collapsed, the frugal person who had entrusted his savings to some of these ‘banks’ had little left but regret. So, banks too accounted for land use, usually prime real estate in the commercial centre. One aspect of land use was lamentably absent from Newtown in this period: a park. The council was not unaware of this disgrace. A Park Committee was formed within the council in 1880, to report on available sites. In 1882, a decision was taken to resume land between Australia and Church Streets from the cemetery for this purpose. 1 However, the rector of St. Stephen’s “forcibly put forth the claims of the Church against the Municipal Council’s shameful and sacrilegious proposals” 2 and the plan was abandoned. On three occasions between 1887 and 1891 deputations 3 waited on the Colonial Secretary and the Minister for Lands urging resumption of various areas as they came up for subdivision. A petition of 147 ratepayers suggested, in 1891, that Essington Estate be purchased for the purpose. As this villa and grounds had been sold for £8, 600 three years earlier, it was hardly a proposition. 4 Page 81. Though bereft of a park, Newtown did not lack facilities for indoor entertainment. There were two Oddfellows Halls, a Temperance Hall and an Industrial Hall. The Trocadero in King Street and Warwick Hall in Station Street were used for dancing, skating and meetings. 1 St. George’s Hall was built in 1887. Before the Centennial Hall was opened in the city Town Hall, it was the largest hall in the metropolitan district, with a “stage larger than most theatres”. 2 It also contained meeting and club rooms and basement shops. There was also a Varieties Theatre in King Street. The Town Hall served an important social function, as well as containing the Council Chambers. Its two halls were much utilized for lectures with such enticing titles as “an exhibition of dissolving views by occaleyum light”, “the science of phrenology”. 3 Dalley, Darnell, Parkes and Badham were amongst those who lectured there. It was also hired for concerts, entertainments, debates, bazaars, balls, religious services and various club meetings. The town hall also contained the public library, inherited from the School of Arts in 1P66. 4 A £200 government grant was bestowed in 1870. No doubt the council was much Page 82. relieved to hear that it did not have to spend it all on books approved by the Inspector of Public Charities. 1 The annual membership fee was 2/6d and, though there were thirty booksellers established in Sydney by 1860, 2 the council ordered direct from London. Indoor swimming baths in Warwick Hall, and later King Street were utilized by the public, though bathing was not confined to such a respectable venue. In 1886, police attention was drawn to the fact that “grown men are in the habit of bathing in some of the old brickyards in the daytime”. 3 This habit was not curtailed for, in the first ten weeks of 1892, no fewer than twenty-two were charged with thus affronting the modesty of Newtown residents. 4 Plate 59. Swimming Baths in King Street. There were assorted oyster and billiard saloons along King Street, and of course, hotels. Page 83. By 1878 there were already   24 hotels and this number had increased to 29 by 1892. 1 Some were “very large and… (had)… rooms with excellent accommodation”. 2 21 were strategically located on the two main roads. Presumably they were well patronised for drunk- eness was consistently the most frequent police charge. Quite clearly, then, buildings which provided facilities for the welfare of the citizens was an important aspect of land use in Newtown. Industrial land use remains to be considered. Industries in Newtown fell into two main categories: those which were duplicated in almost every suburb, so could be presumed to have had a fairly local function, and those which served the wider community. The first group included the establishments of coach- builders like Whately and Hector Melville, blacksmiths like Gearside and Lincoln, ironmongers like Castle and Rashleigh. In many cases, this type of industrial land use consisted of shops which happened to produce goods at the back of their premises, as did tailors, hatters, confectioners, bakers or jewellers, though on a less obvious scale. Some were larger, however, and leaned towards the second category eg. Angus’ Coach factory in Sloan Street which in the early twentieth century built some of the large double decker buses which served Sydney. 3 Page 84. Amongst the more important factories functioning between these two categories were an iron works in King Street, two steel foundries (Newman Street and Australia Street), a zinc foundry (King Street), a tin works (Angel Street), a chromatic paint works (Enmore Road) and a steam bakery. There were several timber yards, carpenters shops, mason’s yards etc. which manufactured, as well as sold, goods. Plate 60. Castle’s iron and brass foundry in King Street. Other industries, however were definitely geared toward production for the wider community. Goodsell’s brick-yards, on about ten acres in the South-West corner of the borough earlier produced sandstock bricks, but in 1871, produced the first steam bricks in New South Wales. The first batch for commercial use went to build Fanner’s Store in the city. 1 Mr. George Peacock, whose rather unfortunate experiments in transporting berry fruit from Tasmania resulted in a number of poisoning fatalities 2 had one of his Sydney jam factories in Alice Street. Hink’s Brewery in Enmore Road produced a light ale and Hilliard had his cordial factory in Eliza Street. Hardman’s biscuit factory in Sarah Street was a large concern and tobacco and perfume factories were in operation in Trafalgar Terrace. Page 85. All in all, a not too noxious collection, though there were frequent complaints about noise, smoke, sparks etc. from the factories. 1 Newtown was spared the inglorious fate of nearby suburbs such as Alexandria and Waterloo, though only partly. Odours from their boiling down works wafted across to assail the nostrils of Newtown residents who complained bitterly to the offending councils. 2 When these odours com- bined with those from Newtown’s open drains, seeping cesspits and rotting garbage, they rendered Newtown a rather less than salubrious suburb. Newtown then, was a very well established community by 1892. Her 480 acres were utilized primarily by private individuals who built houses to let. The increasing population required services which were provided by businessmen, workers and various organisations. In the process, Newtown experienced considerable land use which resulted from her being an inner city suburb on one of the main arteries to the city. The complications arising from this rapid develop- ment will emerge in the following chapter, which examines the attempts of the council and other government bodies to provide a different type of service. Their function was to dart amongst the private developers and try to maintain the public property entrusted to their care, and to provide for the well-being of the inhabitants. It was not an easy task.

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