Palais Royale (Government Farm Archaeological Site) | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Palais Royale (Government Farm Archaeological Site)

Item details

Name of item: Palais Royale (Government Farm Archaeological Site)
Other name/s: Palais Royale Dance Hall, City Markets
Type of item: Archaeological-Terrestrial
Group/Collection: Farming and Grazing
Category: Other - Farming & Grazing
Primary address: 684 Hunter Street, Newcastle West, NSW 2302
Local govt. area: Newcastle


NEWW.005 Field survey number 0344
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
684 Hunter StreetNewcastle WestNewcastle  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Without doubt the building has historic and social significance and is a place well known to many people in Newcastle. It also has considerable aesthetic significance given its prominence along Hunter Street and its location within the conservation area. Should the structural system and original fabric of the building have been more intact listing as a "State" item may have been warranted based on its history, however the high level of intervention means the building does not warrant a higher ranking.
Date significance updated: 04 Dec 12
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.


Construction years: 1888-1889


Historical notes: This site is located at the historic heart of development in the west end, the earliest identified use in the general area being the "Commandants Farm" of c.1816. The Cottage Creek cemetery immediately to the west was dedicated in 1841, and it backs onto the location of the Honeysuckle railway station, the original terminus of the initial Great Northern Railway Line c.1855. The actual Palais Royale building was originally constructed as the "Elite Skating Rink", opened in 1888, though in quick succession it became the "West End Arcade and Markets" in 1891, then the "Empire Music Hall" in 1894, a skate rink again in 1907, and finally the "Empire Palais Royale" dance hall in 1929. It is most well remembered in recent times as a night club, commonly referred to as simply the "Palais". The building was almost completely demolished in 2007, and a multi-storey apartment building has been approved for the site. However even in 2007, the overall form of the original 1888 building remained fundamentally intact. The original internal timber columns supporting the raised central roof were replaced by cantilevered steel beams located closer to the sides, and the few remaining timber ones are disguised behind modern cladding. The layout of the building as it stood until 2007 and all of the significant fabric dates primarily from the 1929 refurbishment, including the ornate masonry facade and awning to Hunter Street, and much of the internal fitout including detailed joinery items (e.g. display cases), tiling (e.g. staircases), wrought iron work (e.g. handrails to mezzanine) and the ornate plaster ceilings (e.g. central section or main hall and mezzanine).

The 1988 CBD Urban Design and Heritage Study identified the building as a category 3 item, that is "Preservation desirable". It is understood that no other more detailed heritage investigations of the building have been undertaken.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation leisure-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities (none)-


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanNewcastle Local Environmental Plan 2012A815 Jun 12 64 
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Newcastle City Wide Heritage Study1996NEWW.005Suters Architects Snell  Yes

References, internet links & images


Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2170696
File number: 696

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