The Cleland Stores are four storeys high and four bays wide, of load bearing brickwork with heavy timber post and beam construction internally. It has a simple pitched iron roof with a gable parapet incorporating a large circular opening on the main façade. The top windows have broad semi-circular heads. Entry to the bond is through a pair of massive ledged and braced doors in the central, recessed double entry bay. (Croker 1976)
Storeys: Four; Facade: Brick; Side Rear Walls: Brick; Roof Cladding: Iron
1971-72: Conservation and adaptation work included new openings created in north wall, the demolition of the existing timber stair and the opening up of the floor to enable the establishment of an antique market and other businesses of an art and craft theme. (SCRA Annual Reports 1973-74).
1978-80: All ground and first floors demolished as necessary for new timber floor. New entrance cut from Cleland to Argyle East Wing.
(See Orwell and Peter Phillips Conservation Plan 1990: 3-6 for further details)
1993: the SCA obtained vacant possession of the Argyle Centre, to enable a major refurbishment and fitout of the Stores by architects Alan Jack & Cottier. The existing fitout was removed to create open floor space to all levels. The Centre was reopened in November 1995. Additional air conditioning was provided to the buildings in 1996-7. (SCRA Annual Reports 1995-1996/7)
1996 Limited archaeological excavation in subfloor, however the majority of the subfloor remains undisturbed and a potential archaeological resource.
2007 The Cleland Bond Store was refurbished and the works won an excellance award at the 2007 NSW Master Builders Awards
The building is in fair condition; there are some moisture problems on the external walls. (P Wyborn 1999)
Archaeology Assessment Condition: Partly disturbed. Assessment Basis: Works in the Cleland Store in 1993 uncovered a box drain cut into the bedrock, probably contemporary with Unwin's adjoining warehouse building works in 1839. Investigation: Historical research and assessment of archaeology.
See also: Argyle Stores
The land where the later Cleland Bond and Argyle Stores would stand became part of the garden for the first hospital, set up in 1788. In 1800 the land where the future Cleland Bond store would stand was leased to William Balmain, assistant surgeon to New South Wales from the First Fleet. After Balmain's death in 1803 the lease was granted to William Gaudry in January 1810. Gaudry arrived as a free settler in 1807 and became Henry Kable's son-in-law and partner in some of Kable's business enterprises.
In 1838, site was listed as Lot 2, Section 85 and granted to William Carr and George Rogers solicitors, as trustees for James Shepherd, Richard Wood, Nathaniel Dermot, James Webber and Edmund Pontifex, assignees of estate of John Plummer and William Wilson, formerly merchants of Fenchurch Street, London. William Carr was one of the first members of the Sydney District Council when it formed in 1843.
In 1874 Patrick Freehill erected stables on the site. On November 1877 stables were demolished and a 12 foot wide roadway was dedicated for a Public Thoroughfare along the southern boundary of the allotment, and the remaining portion of the allotment was considered for Public Auction. The land remained unoccupied until 1891 when Allen & Co. owned the land and in 1897, D Wheeler made use of the vacant land. In December 1900 the Observatory Hill Resumption Act was gazetted and the store passed into Government ownership. During or shortly after 1905 Dingle & Co. Ltd Bonded and Free Store became the tenant. In 1912 Dingle & Co. applied for a lease of the vacant land to the north of the stores. In 1914 a new warehouse of four floors, brick walls and iron roof was built there for them. This store which was erected over the previously dedicated thoroughfare extended from the Argyle Bond to the terrace house at 31 Playfair Street. This subsequently became known as the Cleland Bond. In 1933 Dingle and Co. went into liquidation. Thomas McMahon took over the lease and remained as an exclusive lessee until the function of the building began to change in the 1960s.
(Orwell & Peter Phillips 1990: Appendix A : W Thorp - Historical Development Argyle and Cleland Bond Stores, Argyle Street, The Rocks)
During Clelands’ ownership, few renovations or improvements were made to the building, with the exception of some limewashing, the installation of electric lights and power points in 1935 and a stacking machine in 1951, and apparently constant repairs and renovations to the electric goods lifts. In November 1946, the Argyle Stores and the Cleland Bond Store jointly suffered ‘the biggest bond store robbery for years’. A variety of goods were stolen from Argyle Stores, while Cleland Bond Store was robbed of 400 torch globes.
Clelands retained the lease on the building until 1965, when it was transferred to Brambles Bonded and Free Stores, a company with which Cleland had merged. In 1969 Brambles requested approval to sub-let the two top floors to John Anderson and Associates, and Jarvis Coates Furniture. In 1970 their tenancy expired and the building was vacated.
The establishment of the Sydney Cove Redevelopment Authority (SCRA) in 1968 ushered in a new period of planning and development in The Rocks. Initially, the SCRA intended to redevelop the area with high-rise residential and office buildings, and to retain only a handful of historic buildings. However, by the early 1970s, a growing public awareness of the cultural value of historic places and a series of highly visible protests against the Government’s proposed scheme forced a shift in the SCRA’s approach, towards adaptive reuse, rather than demolition and replacement, of old buildings. This, in combination with the SCRA’s imperative to turn The Rocks into a tourist destination, saw a number of old warehouses converted to accommodate specialty shops and restaurants. In 1971 the SCRA invited proposals from interested parties for the conservation and conversion of the Cleland Bond Store and the adjoining row of terrace houses, subsequently named the Argyle Terrace (now the Playfair Street Terraces), for use as commercial premises. The successful proposal came from architects Fisher, Jackson and Hudson, and was to be one of the first conservation jobs undertaken by the SCRA. Builders Peter Kilmore and Co were engaged for the work, which began in December 1971 and was completed in February 1973. Work included removing existing partitions and replacing sanitary fittings; removing a hoist from the northeast corner of the building and infilling the resultant hole; constructing new stairs from the ground to the third floor, as well as new external stairs; removing existing roller shutters from the Playfair Street entrance and replacing them with heavy Oregon doors; and installing new gutters, downpipes and roofing. Additional work was undertaken between 1975 and 1980, including the construction of ramps between the north wing of the Argyle Stores and the Cleland Bond Store, and the installation of a new timber floor and skirtings to the ground and first floors of the building. A concrete entry ramp from Playfair Street was built and a new entrance was cut from the Cleland Bond Store to the east wing of the Argyle Stores.
In the 1990s the building was renovated for use as a department store. Existing shop partitions were removed and masonry walls and the timber structure of the building were exposed to display something of the building’s original construction. New stairs and a lift were installed, and the ground floor level was given a new floor once again. (Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners Pty Ltd. 2008)
The Cleland Bond Store was again refurbished in 2006-7 as part of the upgrading works to the Argyle Stores. These works were awarded "Excellence in Construction of Adaptive Re-Use of a Historic Building up to $5 Million" at the 2007 NSW Master Builders Awards.
Archaeology notes: Lease to William Balmain (See also: AR033-037; AR045; AR145; AR149) by 1800. Lease to William Gaudry (See also: AR033-037), January 1810. Granted as Lot 2, Section 85 to William Carr and G.J. Rogers (See also: AR033-037; AR126), solicitors, as trustees for James Shepherd, Richard Wood, Nathaniel Dermot, James Webber and Edmund Pontifex, assignees of estate of John Plummer and William Wilson, formerly merchants of Fenchurch Street, London. Cleland Store built in 1913-14.