Pyrmont Fire Station | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Pyrmont Fire Station

Item details

Name of item: Pyrmont Fire Station
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Utilities - Fire Control
Category: Fire Station
Primary address: 145-147 Pyrmont Street, Pyrmont, NSW 2009
Local govt. area: Sydney
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
     
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
145-147 Pyrmont StreetPyrmontSydney  Primary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
NSW Fire BrigadesState Government 

Statement of significance:

A good example of an early twentieth century functional public building, still used for its original purpose and which, because of its site, forms a dominant element on the Pyrmont ridgeline (Sheedy 1975).
Pyrmont Fire Station, built in 1906, is a rare, relatively intact, example of the larger form of fire station built in the metropolitan area during the first two decades of the operation of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, with only Darlinghurst and Headquarters (Castlereagh Street) Fire Stations being comparable, though the latter has been redeveloped. Its design and layout reflects the state of the art fire station at the turn of the century, as distinguished by a high level o on site residential accommodation for paid firefighters and their families, a high level of hand equipment based on horse drawn technology, permanent stables and a location which is amongst the highest in its vicinity. The development of a paid, organised fire fighting service was a significant stage in the growth of Sydney, giving security to business and property located in the city and allowing the growth of the central business district to continue without increasing the risk of a general conflagration. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade organised the protection of the city around the extremities of the central business district. Pyrmont Fire Station is a very good example of Federation Free style architecture, as seen in the landmark tower, parapet gables, contrasting use of brick and stone, variegated voussoirs and multipaned upper sash windows. The building is significant for having been designed by notable NSW Government Architect WL Vernon. Owing to its distinctive design and prominent location not only on an intersection but on the Pyrmont ridge, the station is a significant visual element in the Landscape (RNE 1978).
Date significance updated: 17 Oct 00
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.

Description

Designer/Maker: WL Vernon
Physical description: Federation Free style: an imposing three storey dark red brick and sandstone corner building with a tiled hipped and gabled roof and a corner tower element, topped by a romantically styled copper cupola with overhanging exposed timber eaves on sandstone columns. This cupola is balanced by gables on the extreme ends of both street elevations. The building shows a restrained use of dressed sandstone in sills, keystones, quoins, eaves line and detailing on the tower, with rusticated sandstone dominating the segmental arches of the engine bays, the semi-circular arch over the former entry, the lintels and the deep plinth that extends around the building. The upper level railing shows florid, art nouveau motifs. The massive construction and fine detailing is typical of the surrounding warehouse typology (McMonnies 1988).
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
There is evidence on the fa├žade of pollution deterioration (McMonnies 1988).
The building has been sealed and is semi-derelict internally. Exterior condition appears sound (RNE 1996).
Date condition updated:17 Oct 00
Modifications and dates: Alterations and additions c1983
Current use: Fire Station
Former use: Fire Station and residence

History

Historical notes: Built in 1906 by Government Architect, WL Vernon. Pyrmont was one of the twenty three stations closed in 1945 during cut back. It was used as a Board workshop during this closure (McMonnies 1988).
Pyrmont was isolated from early Sydney and initial development in the area was generally related to waterfront industries such as shipyards. The establishment of the Australian Steam Navigation Company shipyard on Darling Island, plus several other industrial enterprises including Charles Saunder's quarry, brought a residential population of workers, though anyone of means tended to travel to the area from somewhere more desirable. The opening of the Pyrmont Bridge across Darling Harbour in the 1850s facilitated development in both industry and population. Several large businesses became established in Pyrmont 1904 - and the extension of wharfage around the waterfront from Darling Harbour cemented the industrial character of the peninsula and it remained this way until after the end of World War 2. With only a few notable exceptions, residential development remained largely working-class, and in fact progressively reduced in size as the new industries demolished housing to accommodate larger premises. After World War 2, though most of the characterising industries either ceased operating or moved to other locations. Since the 1970s, redevelopment of the area has moved slowly, with numerous schemes and proposals. Many of the industrial buildings have been demolished or converted to other uses (RNE 1999).

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Pyrmont Fire Station, built in 1906, is a rare, relatively intact, example of the larger form of fire station built in the metropolitan area during the first two decades of the operation of the Metropolitan Fire Brigade, with only Darlinghurst and Headquarters (Castlereagh Street) Fire Stations being comparable, though the latter has been redeveloped. Its design and layout reflects the state of the art fire station at the turn of the century, as distinguished by a high level o on site residential accommodation for paid firefighters and their families, a high level of hand equipment based on horse drawn technology, permanent stables and a location which is amongst the highest in its vicinity. The development of a paid, organised fire fighting service was a significant stage in the growth of Sydney, giving security to business and property located in the city and allowing the growth of the central business district to continue without increasing the risk of a general conflagration. The Metropolitan Fire Brigade organised the protection of the city around the extremities of the central business district. (RNE 1978).
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
A good example of an early twentieth century functional public building, still used for its original purpose and which, because of its site, forms a dominant element on the Pyrmont ridgeline (Sheedy 1975).
Pyrmont Fire Station is a very good example of Federation Free style architecture, as seen in the landmark tower, parapeted gables, contrasting use of brick and stone, variegated voussoirs and multipaned upper sash windows. Owing to its distinctive design and prominent location not only on an intersection but on the Pyrmont ridge, the station is a significant visual element in the Landscape (RNE 1978).
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The building is held in high regard for its links with the local community especially the families of volunteers/retained firemen.
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.

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register     

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Heritage Survey of Sydney Region Fire Stations1988 Jennifer McMonnies  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
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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: State Government
Database number: 4690049


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