Former Markets Stores Including Part Interior | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Former Markets Stores Including Part Interior

Item details

Name of item: Former Markets Stores Including Part Interior
Other name/s: Markets; Aarons Hotel (Current)
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Hotel
Location: Lat: -33.8822818142475 Long: 151.202262047289
Primary address: 35-39 Ultimo Road, Haymarket, NSW 2000
Local govt. area: Sydney
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
35-39 Ultimo RoadHaymarketSydney  Primary Address
9 Ultimo RoadHaymarketSydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

The building is significant as a very fine freestanding former market building, now adapted for commercial and retail use. It is significant for the quality of the building, design and detailing, and its streetscape value, particularly in relation to the other market buildings. It is a rare surviving intact market building providing physical evidence of the major market activity that took place in the area in the early part of the century and of the community that associated with the markets. The building is a significant individual building designed by City Architect George McRae and is part of a very significant streetscape extending from George Street to the Darling Harbour railway bridge.
Date significance updated: 17 Feb 09
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: George McRae
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Construction years: 1910-1910
Physical description: 35-39 Ultimo Road is a very fine example of a Federation Free Style building in an important streetscape, It was purpose built as a market and combined utilitarian needs with well detailed architectural expression. The building plan is utilitarian and the detailing is restrained using polychrome brickwork and rendered detail to openings. Stone pediments and detail give a strong rhythm to the facade that is enhanced by the regular curved head openings at street level. These were formerly the market entrances and are now infilled with shopfronts. Simple and elegant awnings extend around three sides of the building. The rear, facing the lane, is also well detailed with former loading bays on the upper levels infilled with asbestos cement sheeting. The building has been recently converted to hotel use on the upper levels and retail on the ground floor and basement levels. (The roof top is compartmented with cell walls rising from the masonry walls at lower levels. The three enclosure structures to the timber stairs are intact and featured with FC slate cladding and timer awning. Chimneys and flag post fixtngs remain. At the bay 9 and 10 ( third and second from the southwest) stand a Federation style flat with tappered front timber slate clading wall and joinery. The third level flat differs from the original design, but turned to built in 1910 as shown in the historic photos. Category:Individual Building. Style:Federation Free Style. Storeys:3 + Basement. Facade:Face brick & sandstone, steel framed awning. Side/Rear Walls:Face brick and sandstone, asbestos cement sheeting. Internal Walls:Face brick (painted), plasterbd. & stud. Roof Cladding:Corrugated steel sheeting, copper sheeting, Waterproof membrane. Internal Structure:Loadbearing walls & timber beams. Floor:Timber joists & boards, Reinf. conc. slab (basement). Roof:Timber framing. Ceilings:Susp. Plasterbd.. Stairs:Main entry stair - concrete, 2 concrete fire stairs, original timber stair -second floor to roof, concrete stairs to each basement tenancy, fire stair from basement fire corridor to street level.. Fire Stairs:Reinforced Concrete from each level. Sprinkler System:Yes. Lifts:DEVE hydraulic lift.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The recent (1990) hotel fitout has retained most of the internal structure of the building and has provided fire rated construction to hotel rooms. It has interconnected the previous tenancies and provided new fire stairs and fire systems throughout the building. Intrusive Elements:Aluminium shopfronts in former cart openings. The sandstone parapets are weathered at varied degrees and immidate intervention is necessary. Some concrete lintels and their rendering are also suffering from carcking and appalling. Some rainwater heads are missing. Some of existing signs may detract from the building.
Date condition updated:02 Feb 09
Modifications and dates: c.1910 an application was lodged with council in 2008 seeking an roof top addition, reconfiguration of internal rooms of the building. With the north-east timber stairs and its enclosure structure retained, other timber stairs and enclosures are to be demolished. The metal awning along Ultimo and Thomas St is to be cut-short to avoid hazards to large vihicles. The elevation along Thomas lane is to be altered with removal of later enclosure of the balconies. Glazing to these balconies are to be installed while the original tube metal balustrades are interpreted. Conservation works, such as removal of AC units on windows and repair to parapet stones are also proposed.
Further information: High Significance:Original external building fabric including façade elements, awning and roof scape. Medium Significance:Internal surviving original structural elements, timber staircase to roof. Low Significance:Post 1990 fitout. Streetscape:The Travellers Rest Hotel is part of a listed Heritage Streetscape.

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, Hotel
Former use: Market


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 site demonstrates the area's relationship to Sydney's market and railway system. From about 1890 to 1900 the site was occupied by a coachbuilder, then a wheelwright and finally a farrier. Problems with access to and use of the existing Belmore markets and the newly constructed Queen Victoria Markets encouraged interest in alternate market sites from the beginning of the new century. It was probably to take advantage of the area's potential that Samual Hordern purchased the Ultimo Road site in 1902. It was one of several throughout Sydney being acquired by the Hordern family at around this time.

Ultimo Road was part of the Ultimo Estate granted to Surgeon John Harris in the first decades after Sydney's settlement. Following his death in 1838 difficulties with executing his will prevented the land from being subdivided until the 1860's. Ultimo's settlement, which had been fairly slow and sparse, increased from that time. Several possible sites for a new market were canvassed by the public, the Council and merchants. Eventually the Haymarket site's location at the point between Redfern Station (the rail terminus) and Darling Harbour encouraged the Council to place the new markets there. The Ultimo Road property was resumed by Sydney Council in 1909 as part of its development of the markets and remained in its control until acquired by the University of Technology in the 1980's following the closure of the market. In the early 1990's the building was leased and fitted out as a tourist hotel with retail activities on the ground floor.

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 building has strong historical links to the market function of Haymarket and the role of the City Council in developing the area. It is an important building by architect George McRae. The building reflects the importance of the markets to city life as seen in the quality of the design and construction. Has historic significance at a State level.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
Has aesthetic significance at a State level. Cultural: 35-39 Ultimo Road is a purpose-designed and well detailed market building occupying a complete city block. It demonstrates good use of stone and brick detail and design motifs such as the corner turret and rhythmic pediment elements and has a strong and confident facade treatment using repeated elements to give the building a strength and unity of design. The building is part of a very significant streetscape which has high aesthetic value and is enhanced by the fine art noveau styled awning.
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The building is a strong physical link with the market activity of the area and the community that lived and worked around it. The building is the easiest of the surrounding markets buildings to interpret and understand as a market building as the adjacent buildings only survive in façade form. The building is an important link with the development of the Haymarket area and the role of the City Council in developing the market facilities. Has social significance at a State level. 35-39 Ultimo Road is a purpose-designed and well detailed market building occupying a complete city block. It demonstrates good use of stone and brick detail and design motifs such as the corner turret and rhythmic pediment elements and has a strong and confident facade treatment using repeated elements to give the building a strength and unity of design. The building is part of a very significant streetscape which has high aesthetic value and is enhanced by the fine art noveau styled awning.
SHR Criteria f)
It is one of the only two surviving market buildings in the Haymarket area (other structures survive as facades only) and although it has changed in function, the pattern of use of the building can be easily seen in the building fabric.
SHR Criteria g)
It is representative of the many market buildings that have been constructed in the city, most of which have been lost or only retained as facades. With 181 Hay Street it is the best and most intact surviving market building in the Haymarket area. The building fabric clearly demonstrates the original market use despite recent changes.
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 overall form and scale of the building should be conserved. A conservation plan should be prepared to guide the future use and maintenance of the building. Exterior: The original external fabric and finishes should be retained. The facades of the building should be retained. Long term maintenance should be carried out to preserve the facades in good condition. The intrusive shopfronts to former cart openings in Ultimo Road should be replaced with a more complementary design. Access to the buidling should subject to disablity access requiremetns be maintained in its existing configuration so as to minimise any additional impact on the significant fabric of the building; Interior: The original structural system should be retained. Further adaptation of the interiors and basement areas for continued use may be acceptable provided original fabric and structural elements including columns and dividing walls are conserved. Extant significant fabric should not be adversely affected. All external and internal surfces originally intended to be unpainted should remain unpainted. Any addition to the height of the building should: --have sufficient setback to allow appreciation of the significant facades and envelpe including the projecting parapets, tower and dome;--respond to the design of the building and its Haymrket context;--respect and enhance the buildigns relationship with the adjacent former markets buildings;--protect the views of the former Market No 3 clock tower;--re-active the interanl function and amnity of the building;--and conserve the existing structural system of the building. 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 Local Environmental Plan 2012I86714 Dec 12   
Heritage study     

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Written  Title Deeds
Written  National Trust files
WrittenAnita Heiss Aboriginal People and Place, Barani: Indigenous History of Sydney City
WrittenCaldis Cook Group1999Alterations to existing ground floor with proposed basement tavern at 8, 9, 7B, 8 B, 9B, 10B & 11B, 37 Ultimo Road, Haymarket : statement of heritage impact
WrittenTanner Architects2008Aarons Hotel Conservation Management Plan

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: 2424281

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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