"David Jones Department Store" Including Interior | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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"David Jones Department Store" Including Interior

Item details

Name of item: "David Jones Department Store" Including Interior
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Retail and Wholesale
Category: Department Store
Location: Lat: -33.8718518710258 Long: 151.208723610653
Primary address: 84-110 Castlereagh Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
84-110 Castlereagh StreetSydneySydney  Primary Address
113-133 Elizabeth StreetSydneySydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

The David Jones building is part of an ongoing tradition of centralised commercial, financial and professional dealings in the CBD. The store maintains the continuous operation by the pre-eminent Australian retailing firm. The choice of site on Elizabeth Street underlines the prestige nature of the business. It is an outstanding and elegant example of Inter-war Stripped Classical style, well preserved and maintained. It is a landmark townscape building on important city corners which contributes to the Hyde Park setting. It is associated with the prominent Inter-war architect Henry Budden.
Date significance updated: 03 Jan 06
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: Budden & Mackellar
Builder/Maker: Stuart Bros.
Construction years: 1923-1923
Physical description: David Jones department store is an elegant nine storey sandstone clad building bounded by Elizabeth, Market and Castlereagh Streets. The original copper clad street level awning, including urns, remains with refurbished glazed shopfronts below. The original building was designed by Budden & Mackeller in the Stripped Classical style with a concrete encased steel structural frame that dominates the building's interior. It was designed in the classical idiom with plain wall surfaces chamfered at the corners. The building is divided into three sections with shopfronts to the lower sections, clearly articulated windows to the middle section and an emphasised cornice to the top section. Windows to the top section differ from the lower section with a combination of nine pane sash windows and paned arched windows. There are several false sandstone balustrades to the upper level windows. The form, mass and corner articulation make this building an important element in the setting of Hyde Park. The interior finishes have been heavily modified with contemporary wall and floor finishes including marble and plasterboard. The original metal lift cages remain with elaborate timber wall linings, a domed ceiling and glass and timber doors to the passenger lifts at the north of the store. Category:Individual Building.
Style:Inter-War Stripped Classical.
Storeys:9 + lower ground + basement + sub-basement.
Facade:Sandstone cladding, glass and brass shopfronts, timber frame windows.
Side/Rear Walls:Rendered masonry. Internal Walls:Plasterbd. and stud, plastered brick.
Roof Cladding:Waterproof membrane, conc. paving units. Internal Structure:Conc. encased steel frame.
Floor:Reinf. conc. slab, carpet, vinyl, timber, marble, travertine. Roof:Reinf. conc. slab. Ceilings:Exposed floor structure, fibrous plaster, susp. plasterbd..
Stairs:Reinf. conc. stairs, terrazzo treads & skirting, timber handrail, original sliding steel fire door; Reinf. conc. stairs, travertine wall & floor, cast iron balusters, timber handrail (lower level stair).
Fire Stairs:2.
Sprinkler System:Yes.
Lifts:9, 4 x passenger lifts, 2 x staff lifts, 3 x good lifts.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In general, the form and external facades of the David Jones building have not been substantially altered since the 1927 construction. It is typical of much inter-war construction utilising concrete encased steel frame with sandstone cladding. It represents a progressive yet restrained approach to architectural design.. AirConditioned:Yes FireStairs:2 Intrusive Elements:Overhead link to Centrepoint Tower.
Date condition updated:07 Dec 05
Modifications and dates: 1923-1925
Further information: High Significance:Overall building form, external materials and finishes including stone facing, timber window frames, copper clad awning and steel stays, doors. Internal stairs and interior spatial quality. Medium Significance:Shopfronts, structure and surviving original internal fabric ground floor display fittings. Low Significance:Retail displays and fittings. Was a heritage item in 1989 and remains an item to the present.

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: Retail
Former use: Retail


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.

The David Jones store on Elizabeth Street (which generally serviced female clients) was one of the major city stores built by the renowned retailing firm. The building was designed by Budden and Mackellar and was constructed by Stuart Bros between 1923-25. The first major alterations occurred in the 1930s with the construction of a ground floor staircase (1936), escalator (1937), and the extension of the lavatories in 1939. In 1946 Mackellar designed the tunnel that linked the Elizabeth Street and 1938 Market Street stores (refer No 4056.) Several alterations were made in the 1950s including changes to the entrance doors and the removal of the old vehicle lift shaft (1956). Between 1956 and 1966 numerous rearrangements of the internal spaces were made to house a beauty salon, art gallery, offices and a dining room. In 1972 Kann Finch and Partners designed alterations for the arcade as well as new trading areas. The last substantial modifications occurred with a major refurbishment of the interiors (ground and lower ground floors in particular) during the 1980s.The store was linked to Centrepoint Tower.

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Elizabeth Street David Jones store is part of the ongoing tradition of centralised commercial, financial and professional dealings of a pre-eminent Australian firm in the CBD. This site maintains a continuos operation for nearly seventy years. It is significant as an example of the work of the well known architectural firm Budden & Mackellar, and builders Stuart Bros. The building was purpose built as a department store and has continued in that use. Its location underlines the perception of this area as a prestigious commercial/financial area of the city. Has historic significance at a State level.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Has aesthetic significance at a State level. Cultural:The Elizabeth Street David Jones store creates an imposing and dignified image through the adoption of the stripped Classical style. The building has fine proportions and employs the use of a steel frame to achieve large window openings with slender stone mullions. It is a landmark building occupying a prominent corner opposite St James Station and Hyde Park.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The David Jones department store has long standing associations for Sydney dwellers and "out of town" shoppers as a prestige department store. Has social significance at a State level.The Elizabeth Street David Jones store creates an imposing and dignified image through the adoption of the stripped Classical style. The building has fine proportions and employs the use of a steel frame to achieve large window openings with slender stone mullions. It is a landmark building occupying a prominent corner opposite St James Station and Hyde Park.
SHR Criteria f)
The Elizabeth Street David Jones is one of the few remaining continuously operating city department stores of the inter-war period. The building is an outstanding and elegant example of Inter-war Stripped Classical style. It is imposing in scale occupying half a city block with frontage on Elizabeth, Castlereagh and Market Streets.
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:

General: The David Jones Department store is of such high historic, social and aesthetic significance as to warrant a conservation plan to guide future management and maintenance. The overall building form should be preserved. Exterior: Any future development should preserve the original material and detail of external envelope including the stone facades, timber window frames, awning, and brass entry doors. The overhead link to Centrepoint Tower should be removed and the facade of the building reinstated. Interior: Any future development should preserve the interior spatial qualities and structure, entry and lower ground floor level stairs, and any original surviving fabric and finishes in accordance with the conservation plan. Continuity of use as a department store is the strongly preferred future management policy. Given the ongoing change required to accommodate trends in retailing, adaptive reuse may be required, and should be acceptable provided the spatial quality and character are maintained, and the external envelope is not affected by the work. Adaptive reuse should be carried out in accordance with the conservation plan. 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 fa├žade 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.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney Local Environmental Plan 2012I169714 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Oral History  John McAdam, Director of Operations David Jones.
Written  Council Records (Das, Bas)
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenClive Lucas Stapleton & Partners2000 David Jones Market Street Sydney store : conservation plan by Clive Lucas, Stapleton & Partners. Truman, Zaniol & Associates, April 2000. David Jones Elizabeth Street Sydney store : conservation plan David Jones Market Street Sydney Sto

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

(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Local Government
Database number: 2423993

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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