Former "Mark Foys Parking Station" Incl. Facades, Int. Structure and Building… | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Former "Mark Foys Parking Station" Incl. Facades, Int. Structure and Building…

Item details

Name of item: Former "Mark Foys Parking Station" Incl. Facades, Int. Structure and Building…
Other name/s: Hyde Park Towers, Hercules Motors
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Land
Category: Car Park
Location: Lat: -33.8792613026869 Long: 151.208379999232
Primary address: 148-148A Elizabeth Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
148-148A Elizabeth StreetSydneySydney  Primary Address

Statement of significance:

The building has close associations with one of Sydney's most prominent retail firms, Mark Foys. As well, its conversion for car parking during the 1930s not only was a landmark, being one of the first buildings used for this purpose, but also reflects the increasing influence of the motor car on the way in which the city operated.

The building is representative of the Federation period Free Classical style, retaining masonry and tile facade elements and its overall form. It contributes significantly to the townscape character of this part of Elizabeth Street having a strong visual relationship with the Mark Foys building opposite.
Date significance updated: 30 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: Unknown
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Construction years: 1913-1913
Physical description: The former Hercules Motors Parking Station building is located opposite to the former "Mark Foys" Department Store in Elizabeth Street and is a restrained example of Federation Free Classical architecture. It is symmetrical in composition with clear vertical and horizontal articulation using a variety of materials including face brickwork, sandstone and glazed terracotta wall tiles. It is divided into three vertical bays, the central section being narrower and rising above the adjoining parapet in a simple gable with a sandstone carving about the "Mark Foys" insignia. The mid section of the bay is defined by simple attached columns clad in red ceramic tiles, and flanked by vertical piers clad in blue ceramic tiles. Brass cladding has been added to the central section during refurbishment. The external bays are characterised by horizontal panels clad in two tones of blue ceramic tiles and columns clad in red ceramic tiles. Recent alterations have occurred to the street awning and the original shopfronts have been replaced. It continues to contribute to the late nineteenth/early twentieth-century Elizabeth Street precinct.
Category:Individual Building. Style:Federation Free Classical. Storeys:4. Facade:Timber/glass shopfronts, ceramic tiles, painted columns, brass(?) panelling, sandstone, face brick. Side/Rear Walls:Face brickwork. Internal Walls:Original building gutted, face brickwork to side wall, concrete block (rear of listed item). Roof Cladding:Corrugated metal sheet. Internal Structure:Timber frame. Floor:Reinf. conc. (ground level), timber herringbone frame with floor boards (fair condition). Roof:Timber scissor trusses. Ceilings:Timber boards (upper level),original pressed metal being replaced with replica at time of inspection. Stairs:Original stair removed, reinf. conc. stair, steel handrail (fire stair). Fire Stairs:1. Sprinkler System:Yes. Lifts:1, new reinf. conc. shaft. AirConditioned:Yes
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
In general, the street facade of the former Hercules Motors Parking Station remains intact while the interiors have been cleared and additional area provided to the rear. A restrained Federation Free Classical building it contributes to the Elizabeth Street precinct in form and scale. Intrusive Elements:Awning under construction, shopfronts.
Date condition updated:30 Jan 06
Modifications and dates: 1913
Further information: High Significance:Building form and parapet line, surviving original brickwork facade and stone trim, Mark Foys crest in gable. Medium Significance:Masonry and tile clad elements. Low Significance:Window infills. Comments:Was a heritage item in 1989, listing revoked under Central Sydney H-LEP 1998; now listed under Sydney LEP 2005 Schedule 8: Central Sydney Heritage Items, Part 2: Building elements, as "street facades, retained original timber, internal structure and trusses".

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: Mark Foy's carpark


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 )

The construction of the building at 142-148 Elizabeth Street was made possible by the widening of Elizabeth Street and demolition of existing properties in 1909. Mark Foys owned the vacant land now occupied by Hyde Park Towers. Despite the "MF 1913" on the building the Council Rate Assessment Book records the site vacant until 1918-1920. It was described as occupied by a building of four storeys, brick with an iron roof and used as a "shop etc". This function is likely to have been carried out on the ground and first floors, with warehousing on the upper two levels. The building was converted to a parking station in 1934. This work included flooring in "well holes", and the construction of a ramp from ground to first floor. A Ross and Rowe designed motor ramp was introduced in 1935. The following year alterations were made to the windows at ground floor. Mark Foys continued to own this property certainly until the 1940s although for a period during WW II, it was used by the Royal Australian Air Force. The first major changes to the building after its conversion to a car parking station, occurred in 1949 when H. Ross was commissioned to carry out alterations and repairs to the value of 6,100 pounds. The association of the building with Hercules Motors appears to have commenced in the late 1950s at which time a ramp was constructed from first to second floor, and beams introduced at second floor level (1957). In 1959 and again in 1963 an application was made to use the premises for the purpose of selling cars, parking and servicing. Significant alterations were made to the building to accommodate this use in 1964. These changes included alterations at ground, first and third floors, including offices, a spray booth, and the installation of a 1000 gallon petrol tank and pump. During the later 1960s and early 1970s several different shops including a florist and locksmiths occupied the building. Alterations were made to the shopfront in 1977.

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 former Hercules Motors Parking Station is part of the original Mark Foys retail group. It was one of the first parking stations in the city, being converted to a parking station in 1934, and is an important indicator of changes wrought in the city through the impact of the motor car.

Has historic significance locally.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Has aesthetic significance locally. The building is of architectural interest for its Federation period facade including the use of terracotta tiles and Mark Foys crest. Its architectural integrity is marred by replacement of windows and loss of original shopfronts. It contributes significantly to the streetscape having an important relationship with the Mark Foys building opposite.
SHR Criteria f)
The former Hercules Motor Parking Station is a rare surviving example of one of the first parking stations in the city (dating as a parking station from 1934.)
SHR Criteria g)
The former Hercules Motor Parking Station is a representative example of Federation period Free Classical style commercial architecture.
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: Future development of the former Hercules Motors Parking Station should preserve the existing external form and scale of the building. Exterior: All surviving original masonry and tile facing materials, in particular the Mark Foys crest should be preserved. Interior: The extent of previous and current internal alterations allows scope for adaptive re-use, provided the overall building form and remaining significant external fabric is not adversely affected by such work. The surviving original timber frame structure, roof trusses and floor structures should also be preserved. 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.


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Local Environmental PlanSydney LEP 2012I174414 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Sydney City Council: BA's & DA's
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenPerumal Murphy Pty. Ltd1991Hercules Motors Building 142-148 Elizabeth Street, Sydney

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: 2424098

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