Former Hotel and Residence Including Interiors | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Former Hotel and Residence Including Interiors

Item details

Name of item: Former Hotel and Residence Including Interiors
Other name/s: Brady's Hotel , Star Hotel
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Residential buildings (private)
Category: Terrace
Primary address: 89 Bourke Street, Woolloomooloo, NSW 2011
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
89 Bourke StreetWoolloomoolooSydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

No 89 Bourke Street is a good example of a former Victorian corner hotel and residence, with its distinctive cantilevered balcony which wraps the corner and a large urn on the parpaet above the splay corner, that makes a fine contribution to the streetscape. The building has historic significance as it dates from the key period of development of Woolloomooloo providing evidence of the subdivision of the Riley Estate for residential and commercial development.
Date significance updated: 02 Sep 10
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.


Physical description: A two storey Victorian corner hotel and residence with cantilevered balcony flanking the corner with cast iron balustrade and flat columns. The façade is of rendered brick. There is a simple parapet to the Bourke Street elevation with a return to Harmer Street which is embellished by a cornice and a large urn above the splayed corner. The main entry to the former hotel is on the splay corner which is flanked on both sides by large shop windows. Further along Harmer Street is a two storey rear wing, with side gabled pitched roof, followed by a single storey section with a skillion roof.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Fair - in need of repainting and general maintenance
Date condition updated:02 Sep 10
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: Residential
Former use: Hotel


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.

In the 1840s the name 'Woolloomooloo' was applied fairly indiscriminately to parts of East Sydney and Darlinghurst, as well as to the valley and the heights beyond. Part of the Woolloomooloo valley was originally granted to the Commissary General John Palmer in 1793 by Governor Grose. To the east, smaller parcels of land were granted to politically powerful men in the colony to build homes.

Palmer built Woolloomooloo House on his 100 acres in about 1801, and developed a reputation for entertaining. During the Rum Rebellion in 1808, Palmer aligned himself with Governor Bligh and consequently suffered commercial loss returning to England for a period to clear his name. While abroad, Palmer leased his land to Alexander Riley. Upon his return, in order to meet his debts, Palmer sold his Woolloomooloo Estate to Ann Riley, Edward Riley’s wife, in 1822. When Edward suicided in 1825, the Estate was tied up with two conflicting wills. The first division of the estate occurred in 1835. The seven beneficiaries of Riley’s Estate subdivided their properties from the 1840s. The first subdivision in the Woolloomooloo Basin occurred in 1842.

Development intensified with the gold rushes of the 1850 - 1860s. The area was significantly settled by the 1850’s with a mixture of shops and residences, interspersed with fenced paddocks.

Land north of Griffiths Street and thereabouts was reclaimed and subdivided by the Crown and offered for sale in 1865.

By 1882, Woolloomooloo was one of the most popular and distinct divisions within the city. The streets were highly packed with modest worker’s cottages interspersed with a few earlier mansions. Social decline of the area was evident by the 1890s and continued through the first half of the twentieth century.

In 1968, a decision to prepare a comprehensive planning scheme for the whole of Sydney was made. An ‘intensive, integrated, multi-level development’ was proposed for Woolloomooloo. The road system was to be totally reorganised by removing lesser roads and amalgamating sites for large scale development. The port was to be redeveloped and residential buildings were to be restricted to the edge of the domain and on Victoria Street. The Woolloomooloo Redevelopment Central Plan was adopted in 1969.

Dissent in the local community grew and in 1972 the Woolloomooloo Resident Action Group was formed. This group suggested the acquisition of land in Woolloomooloo for medium density housing development as an alternative to the high density commercial development that was being approved. The resident group approached the Builders Labourers Federation to ban demolition. These protests were effective and in May 1974, the Minister announced that the Housing Commission would build medium density housing in Woolloomooloo.

In 1975, the Housing Commission began resuming property. Less than 7 acres were resumed, some terrace housing was restored and new dwellings were erected. By 1979, 68 dwellings were complete, with construction continuing through to the 1990s. The battle to save the finger wharf also continued into the 1990s, with the redevelopment of the wharf completed in 2000.

The following history of the site is basesd on the history taken from Heritage Impact Statement for 85-87 Bourke Street and 13-15 Griffith Street by John Oultram ( 2010):

The site at 89 Bourke Street is part of a parcel of land ( 27 perches) acquired from the Riley family in 1846 by builder John Gordon Griffiths in 1846. Callaghan sold the property to John Gordon Griffiths in 1848. Over these two years, the purchase price increased from 190 pounds to 370 pounds. It therefore seems likely that Callaghan erected the dwelling that is shown on the Woolcott and Clarke's Map of 1854.

Griffiths was born in England and came to Sydney in 1842 to manage the Royal Victoria Theatre. From 1854 he managed the new Prince of Wales Theatre. He retired from the theatrical world to run Henry Gilbert's noted Pier Hotel at Manly. He died in in Manly in 1857. Griffith Street is named after him. Following Griffiths death, auctioneers Purkiss and Lambert sold the property in May 1857. The sale notice described the property as a of brick cottage set back from Bay Street ( now Harmer Street) .

The property was subsequently purchased by publican Joseph Brady in December 1857 for 1550 pounds. Brady's title include both the Riley Estate Land and an area that Griffiths had reclaimed from Woolloomooloo Bay. The council rate valuation (Fitzroy Ward) for 1858 lists a one storey brick house with a shingled roof containing eight rooms valued at 60 pounds in the occupation of Phillip Milligan. The 1863 assessment noted the house was in the occupation of Thomas Humphries and that is was set back from the street. On the corner of 89A Bourke Street and Harmer Street, Brady built a hotel, known initially as Brady's Hotel and then later the Star Hotel.

Brady died in 1862 but it was not unitl 1867 that his heavily indebted estate was settled allowing the sale of his property.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-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. (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Hotel-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The building has historic significance as it dates from the key period of development of Woolloomooloo providing evidence of the subdivision of the Riley Estate for residential and commercial development.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Associated with publican Joseph Brady.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
A good example of a former Victorian corner hotel and residence that makes a fine contribution to the streetscape.
SHR Criteria g)
Representative exmaple of a former Victorian hotel and residence
Integrity/Intactness: Externally high
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 building should be retained and conserved. A Heritage Assessment and Heritage Impact Statement, or a Conservation Management Plan, should be prepared for the building prior to any major works being undertaken. There shall be no vertical additions to the building and no alterations to the façade of the building other than to reinstate original features. The principal room layout and planning configuration as well as significant internal original features including ceilings, cornices, joinery, flooring and fireplaces should be retained and conserved. Any additions and alterations should be confined to the rear in areas of less significance, should not be visibly prominent and shall be in accordance with the relevant planning controls. The building should be repainted externally in a colour scheme appropriate to the period and style of the building.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I211814 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
WrittenJohn Oultram Heritage and Design2010Heritage Impact Statement - 85-87 Bourke Street and 13-15 Griffith Street, WoolloomoolooF

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: 2420493

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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