Paddington Junior Technical School Group Incl Buildings & Interiors & Grounds | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


Paddington Junior Technical School Group Incl Buildings & Interiors & Grounds

Item details

Name of item: Paddington Junior Technical School Group Incl Buildings & Interiors & Grounds
Other name/s: Paddington Public School
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Education
Category: School - State (public)
Primary address: 421 Oxford Street, Paddington, NSW 2021
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
421 Oxford StreetPaddingtonSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

Paddington Public School has historical significance as one of the Model Schools of the Board of National Education, the first government school system in New South Wales. The school has been associated with the local community since the 1850s. The main school building has aesthetic significance as a fine example of the Victorian Gothic style to the design of GA Mansfield, with Federation Free Style wings designed by WE Kemp..
Date significance updated: 20 Apr 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.


Designer/Maker: G A Mansfield ( 1869 building), W E Kemp (1893 wings)
Construction years: 1856-
Physical description: Block A is a Victorian Italianate style brick two storey building with sandstone foundations and details with a slate gable roof. The window in pairs are timber sash four pane with added fanlights with stone lintels and sills. The front gable has decorative terracotta applied in a semi circle above the upper floor windows and in a rectangular shape containing "Public School 1856" above the first floor. There are posted verandahs to the rear of the building . The interior is painted brickwork with timber joinery throughout. There is a single storey Victorian Carpenter Gothic style building - chapel, to the rear of the building. It has a decorative barge board with a gothic window below detailed with bricks. The side elevation has three timber six pane sash windows with brick arch lintels and sandstone sills.

There are two c 1893 Federation Free Classical style two storey wings wings with polychrome brickwork, slate gabled roofs with a brick chimneys and six pane widnow sashes.

Block C is a three storey inter-war face brick building built originally for the Junior Technical School. It contains the school hall.

Blocks D & E were small modern brick buildings with elevated small windows and metal clad skillion roofs that were demolished in 2010. They were replaced with a pair of home bases constructed on the sie of former Block D and a new single storey toilet blocl/store building on the site of Block E.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In good condition with a high degree of original fabric externally.
Date condition updated:19 Apr 12
Modifications and dates: The buildings have had a history of being upgraded and modernised. For a more detailed list refer to the Department of Education & Training Heritage Inventory Sheet.
Further information: Heritage Inventory sheets are often not comprehensive, and should be regarded as a general guide only. Inventory sheets are based on information available, and often do not include the social history of sites and buildings. Inventory sheets are constantly updated by the City as further information becomes available. An inventory sheet with little information may simply indicate that there has been no building work done to the item recently: it does not mean that items are not significant. Further research is always recommended as part of preparation of development proposals for heritage items, and is necessary in preparation of Heritage Impact Assessments and Conservation Management Plans, so that the significance of heritage items can be fully assessed prior to submitting development applications.
Current use: School
Former use: School


Historical notes: The "Eora people" was the name given to the coastal Aborigines around Sydney. Central Sydney is therefore often referred to as "Eora Country". Within the City of Sydney local government area, the traditional owners are the Cadigal and Wangal bands of the Eora.

With the invasion of the Sydney region, the Cadigal and Wangal people were decimated but there are descendants still living in Sydney today. All cities include many immigrants in their population. Aboriginal people from across the state

In 1811, Governor Macquarie dedicated 490 acres to the south of South Head Road for public use. This included all land south of Oxford Street from South Dowling Street to Centennial Park and Moore Park. The area was swampy and unattractive for residential settlement. South Head Road (now Oxford Street) was built in 1803 to access a Pilot and Signal Station at South Head. The first toll bar in Paddington was at the intersection of Darlinghurst and Oxford Streets. By 1841 it was relocated near Victoria Barracks (corner Oxford and Glenmore Road).

The area to the east of South Dowling Street was part of 70 acres granted to John Palmer in 1794 which became known as ‘George Farm’. Palmer sold his Surry Hills holdings in 1814. The block was subsequently subdivided into 15 large allotments. Early development occurred north of Taylor Street by 1850. At this time Rushcutters Creek ran through the Conservation Area and the rest of the block was divided into 5 large blocks. The southern portion was owned by Hannam. The block (some 8 acres) bound by Taylor, Flinders, Hannam Streets on South Dowling Street was purchased by James Chisholm and remained intact till the 1830s. By 1844, Taylor had purchased a portion along Oxford Street and some development existed fronting Oxford Street.

The growth of Paddington gained momentum in 1838 when it was decided to build the new military barracks at Paddington Hill. The site chosen was located on part of the Sydney Common adjoining the road to South head. At this time the land was described as being remote from the town centre with a terrain unsuitable for agriculture and covered with stunted trees, sand, and scattered outcrops of stone. Its advantages as a location for a Military Barracks included its proximity to good drinking water at Busby's Bore, the bounteous quantity sandstone available plus the high ground which was very suitable for defence purposes. The barracks fronted the South head Road and for its first 30 years were surrounded only by the crown lands of the Sydney Common.

Once the Victoria Barracks were erected and the soldiers in residence, stores and cottages grew up in the vicinity to cater for the militia and their needs. Minor industries also began including a wool-washing business, lime pits the first water mill for grinding wheat and the first commercial salt water boiling station.

The subdivision of areas of the Sydney Common commenced in the 1850s. The areas were divided into Blocks of roughly 15-50 lots and gradually released for sale over the next 25 years. Lots generally had frontages of 20 ft or wider for allotments along Moore Park Road and the southern part of Flinders Street with smaller lots in internal streets, typically 11-15 feet, such as in Selwyn and Iris Streets.

Within the Conservation Area there were large blocks set aside for community use including the site for public school on Albion Street, a grant for the Church of England School at the corner of Albion and Dowling Street, Church grant at the corner of Napier and Oxford Streets and a grant for Wesleyan parsonage at Napier and Dowling Streets. The large areas devoted to public purposes reflects the intention of the 1811 dedication of the Sydney Common for public use.

By 1851 Paddington had a population of 1,389 inhabitants, making it the third largest village in Sydney after Glebe and Balmain. The first state school was opened in 1856 and called the Paddington School. In 1860 the municipality of Paddington was proclaimed and 6 years later the first Paddington Town Hall was built. The boundary of Paddington ran down Dowling Street. By 1870 there were 52 shops in Paddington, 37 of them being located on Old South Head Road. The shops picked up trade from those travelling from the city to Bellevue Hill and Bondi. Greens Road was built in 1881. Albion Street Public School began in 1883 with the present structure being built in 1892.

The Depression in 1890s brought building activity in Paddington to a halt. By 1895 the depression was receding , but from that time on buildings were less ambitious and smaller in size. The area of land left in Paddington on which to speculate was not large and the market was more cautious due to the economic climate.

New transport, in the introduction of trams and buses, made the concept of living in a healthy detached house on a half acre block in the suburbs entirely possible. There was no longer a need to live near one's work now that people could commute on public transport to and from work. The change in landlord ownership began as the middle class owners and tenants slowly moved out of the suburb. There was consequently less of an interest in well maintained properties. By 1930 Paddington was a slum. Tenants could not pay rent, and the landlords could not afford to maintain the buildings. Streets fell into disrepair. Many terraces became rooming houses, and balconies were boarded up to accommodate more people per house.

During the 1960s there was pressure from developers on the local authorities to demolish much of the suburb for high-rise development. As a result the Paddington Society was formed in 1964. The aims of the Society were to conserve the suburb as important to Australia's heritage, to increase and improve it's amenities, and to research and publish its history. Paddington was listed as the first ever conservation area by the National Trust (NSW) in 1979.

History of School

Paddington Public School is one of the State's oldest continuously operating schools. The Board of National Education was appointed in 1848 to establish a public education system in New South Wales and to create the necessary public schools. In 1856 it opened a model school in Paddington in an imported prefabricated iron building. An advertisement in the Sydney Morning Herald announced the opening of the school on 5/5/1856. Designed to be example of how such schools should be run, the model schools in Sydney included William Street, Cleveland Street , Paddington and the main teacher training school in Fort Street.

In 1869 the first permanent buillng was erected to the design of the Board'sarchitect, G.A. Mansfield and in 1871 separate girls and boys departments were established. Enrolments increased rapidly during the 1870s and 1880s with the booming suburb of Paddington and by 1882 with over 1200 pupils, older children were encouraged to attend other newer schools at Woollahra and Glenmore Road. From March 1881 to 1912 Paddington was a Superior Public School offering post primary classes. A successful Evening School was also established in 1882, succeeded by the Artisan Continuation School in 1911, to cater for those already in the workforce who lacked elementary education The school continued to need additional accommodation which was built in the 1880s and 1890s.

A fall in enrolment at the turn of the century was brief and the early 1920s the school had over 1500 pupils. Paddington became a home science school from January 1913 to December 1946 and a Junior Technical School from January 1913 to December 1963 for which new premise were built on the site at the corner Gordon and Elizabeth Streets .

The northern end of the infants school was demolished in 1948 to accommodate the widening of Oxford Street.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
6. Educating-Educating Education-Activities associated with teaching and learning by children and adults, formally and informally. Public education-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Paddington Public School has historical significance as one of the Model Schools of the Board of National Education, the first government school system in New South Wales. The site has been providing continuous educational facilities since 1856.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
The school is associated with Peter Board - First Assistant at the school 1882 - 1883, architect GA Mansfield and is associated with the Paddington local community.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The main school building has aesthetic significance as a fine example of the Victorian Gothic style, with Federation Free Style wings.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The school has been associated with the local community since the 1850s.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
There is research potential in relation to the use of iron fabricated buildings in the 1850s.
SHR Criteria f)
The school is rare as an early example of a Model School in NSW.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative example of a Victoiran school found in the inner suburbs of Sydney.
Integrity/Intactness: High externally
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Recommended management:

The heritage buildings on the site should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for any major works being undertaken on the site. There shall be no vertical additions to the heritage buildings and no alterations to their façades other than to reinstate original features. Significant internal spcaes and fabric is to be retained.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I109214 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
South Sydney Heritage Study1993 Tropman & Tropman Architects  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenDepartment of Education and Training2001Paddington Public School - Heritage Inventory Sheet

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: 2420047

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