"City Tattersalls Club" (202-204 Pitt Street) Including Interior | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


"City Tattersalls Club" (202-204 Pitt Street) Including Interior

Item details

Name of item: "City Tattersalls Club" (202-204 Pitt Street) Including Interior
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Recreation and Entertainment
Category: Sports Club
Location: Lat: -33.8726757805416 Long: 151.207447612134
Primary address: 196-204 Pitt Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
196-204 Pitt StreetSydneySydney  Primary Address
202-204 Pitt StreetSydneySydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

The Tattersalls Club is one of the few surviving city clubs in its late 19th century premises (105 years of continuous occupation). The quality of the building reflects the importance of this type of social institution, and particularly the prestige of the racing industry in Sydney. It is associated with the distinguished architectural practice of Sheerin & Hennessy, and several alterations were the work of other notable firms. During its later years the building has also been associated with popular entertainment. The City Tattersalls Club exhibits a confident adaptation of Classical elements to envelop a steel framed building expressing the lightness of structure in stonemasonry and timber. The Free Classical architectural approach marks a transition from the Victorian to the Federation period. It contributes significantly to the townscape character of this block of Pitt Street. The building demonstrates excellence in its external stonemasonry and joinery as well as its internal plaster ceilings, leadlight panels and stair details.
Date significance updated: 30 Nov 05
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: Sheerin & Hennessy
Builder/Maker: A. Tudehope
Construction years: 1891-1891
Physical description: The City Tattersalls Club is a fine example of Late Victorian Free Classical architecture. Located in a diverse streetscape, this three storey sandstone building exhibits immaculate external and internal detailing. The sandstone facade is strongly moulded with details from the classical idiom. Internally the Corinthian Room exhibits fine plaster detailing to the ceiling with gilling to the Corinthian capitals and the former billiard room has an unusual curved ceiling incorporating leadlight details. Designed by the prominent Sydney architectural firm of Sheerin & Hennessy, it is a fine expression of the "gentlemen's club". The building comprises three symmetrical vertical bays separated by pilasters. Stylistic influences are generally derived from the classical idiom. The end bays are dominated by large arched windows with sculptured archstones. Above these are pairs of arched windows with elaborate head details. The middle bay is the reverse with a large arched opening at the upper level and combination of four smaller arched windows with two medium round arched windows below. The middle bay is crowned by a classical pediment with a statue of a horse, indicative of the racing club above. Internally the Corinthian Room has an elaborate moulded ceiling with deep decorative cornices to encased beams over Corinthian columns. The snooker room retains a curved plaster ceiling with leadlight infills.
Category:Individual building.
Style:Late Victorian Free Classical.
Storeys:3 (mezzanine at the first level).
Facade:Sandstone, timber framed windows, stained glass, cement render, glass shopfront. Side/Rear Walls:Masonry. Internal Walls:Timber panelled studwalls, glazing over, plasterbd, plastered masonry.
Roof Cladding:Corrugated sheet metal, lift shaft protruding.
Internal Structure:Steel frame. Elaborate cylindrical Corinthian columns (first floor).
Floor:Timber, carpet, granite, parquetry, reinf. conc. slab (fire stairs). Roof:Timber frame to various pitched roofs.
Ceilings: Curved plaster panel & leadlight, elaborate "egg crate" plaster ceiling & cornice, batterned fibro..
Stairs:Timber handrail, metal balusters, carpet, (1980's internal stair)/ Reinf. conc. stairs, steel handrail, brick & plasterbd. shaft (fire stairs).
Fire Stairs:3 including via the adjoining club.
Sprinkler System:Yes.
Lifts:1 decommissioned.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Intrusive Elements:Window mounted air conditioning units.
Date condition updated:10 Jan 06
Modifications and dates: 1891 (Club established in 1850s). AirConditioned:Yes FireStairs:3 including via the adjoining club
Further information: High Significance:Overall building form and scale, parapet skyline profile, horse sculpture; stone external envelope and detailing, timber window joinery. Internal plaster ceilings and leadlight panels, first floor Corinthian columns, timber and wrought iron stair. Spatial characteristics of intact interior rooms in particular the Corinthian Room and the former Billiard Room. Medium Significance:Structural steel frame, timber floor and roof structure, timber panelled studwalls. Low Significance:Street awning, ground floor shopfronts and restaurant/bar alterations, mezzanine level alterations.

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: Club
Former use: Club


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. There is no written record of the name of the language spoken and currently there are debates as whether the coastal peoples spoke a separate language "Eora" or whether this was actually a dialect of the Dharug language. Remnant bushland in places like Blackwattle Bay retain elements of traditional plant, bird and animal life, including fish and rock oysters.

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 have been attracted to suburbs such as Pyrmont, Balmain, Rozelle, Glebe and Redfern since the 1930s. Changes in government legislation in the 1960s provided freedom of movement enabling more Aboriginal people to choose to live in Sydney.

(Information sourced from Anita Heiss, "Aboriginal People and Place", Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/barani )

The Tattersalls Club which controlled and regulated racing in New South Wales, was established in the 1850s. After out-growing its original quarters, tenders were called in 1889 for a new building to be constructed on a site purchased for the purpose in Pitt Street. The successful architects were Sheerin & Hennessy. The builder was Mr A. Tudehope of Paddington. Work was completed in 1891 to much acclaim, particularly the level of craftsmanship. Fillan and Machintosh were responsible for the statuary and other stonework on the facade. The building contained a basement, shops and offices on the ground floor, and club rooms on the first floor. The second floor contained service rooms, staff quarters and other amenities.

The building has undergone numerous modifications throughout its history. A new billiard room on the second floor was designed by the well known architectural firm Robertson and Marks in 1915. From the 1920s it has been subject to almost constant alteration, for example, the construction of a mezzanine in the 1930s and 1940s, which by the 1950s had become a well known Sydney night spot. It was extended in the 1960s. The entertainment area was upgraded during the 1980s and the ground floor modified to create a shopping circle. A programme of restoration and extension was initiated in late 1980s.

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 Tattersalls Club is a rare surviving example of a city club in continuous occupation of its premises for 105 years. It reflects the importance this social institution and the prestige racing industry in Central Sydney. It is associated with the high quality work of the prominent practice of Sheerin & Hennessy, and several other firms and craftsmen.
Has historic significance at a State level.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Tattersalls building's exterior exhibits excellent craftsmanship in stonemasonry. The interiors demonstrate fine craftsmanship in original plaster ceilings, elaborate cast iron columns & timber detailing. Cultural:The Tattersalls Club is an exceptional example of the free adaptation of Classical architectural devices to envelop a steel framed building at a period of transition from the late Victorian to early Federation periods. It contributes to the townscape character of Pitt Street south of Market Street. It is particularly noteworthy for its craftsmanship.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The ongoing use of Tattersalls as a Club has particular associations for the racing industry. During the 1950s the building contained a well-known night-club.The Tattersalls Club is an exceptional example of the free adaptation of Classical architectural devices to envelop a steel framed building at a period of transition from the late Victorian to early Federation periods. It contributes to the townscape character of Pitt Street south of Market Street. It is particularly noteworthy for its craftsmanship.
SHR Criteria f)
The Tattersalls Club is rare for its continuity of use for 105 years and for the excellence of its architecture and craftsmanship.
SHR Criteria g)
The Tattersalls Club is representative of the extensive body of work of architects Sheerin & Hennessy.
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 City Tattersalls Club is of such high significance that it requires a conservation plan to guide future use, management & all maintenance programmes. Future development should preserve the overall building form and scale. External: The external envelope including the external stonemasonry, window joinery, and horse sculpture at parapet should be preserved. All window mounted air conditioning units should be removed and the window frames restored. The ground floor frontage should be restored or reconstructed as appropriate following research to determine the original detail. Research the original colour scheme and repaint timber in accordance with the conservation plan. Internal: The internal steel frame, interior spaces (in particular the Corinthian Room and the former Billiard Room), decorative plaster ceilings, leadlight panels, timber wall panelling and timber and wrought iron stair balusters should also be preserved in accordance with the conservation plan. The continual usage of the club requires the adaptive re-use of some less significant areas which should be carried out in accordance with the conservation plan provided such work does not adversely affect the above mentioned fabric.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I192914 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written 1986City Tattersalls Club Annual Report 1986
Written 1893Australasian Builder & Contractor's News: 18/02/1893,
Written 1891Building & Engineering Journal: 19/12/1891
Written 1889Sydney Morning Herald: 29/08/1889 & 02/09/1891
Written  Sydney City Council: BA's & DA's
WrittenAndersen, Joseph1984Tattersall's Club, Sydney, 1858-1983
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenArchitectural Projects Pty Ltd.2003196-204 Pitt Street, Sydney : conservation management plan
WrittenCity Tattersalls Club (Sydney, N.S.W.)1995City Tattersalls Club : a century of achievement
WrittenCity Tattersalls Club (Sydney, N.S.W.)1971City Tattersalls 75 years : a history

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: 2424042

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