Sydney Trades Hall | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Sydney Trades Hall

Item details

Name of item: Sydney Trades Hall
Other name/s: Trades Hall Building
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Community Facilities
Category: Trade Union Office
Location: Lat: -33.8773427989 Long: 151.2041200300
Primary address: 4-10 Goulburn Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Parish: St Andrew
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT1 DP1090155
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
4-10 Goulburn StreetSydneySydneySt AndrewCumberlandPrimary Address
18-20 Dixon StreetSydneySydneySt AndrewCumberlandAlternate Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Unions NSWCommunity Group 

Statement of significance:

The Sydney Trades Hall is important as one of the first and continuing headquarters of much of the New South Wales Trade Union Movement. It is a fitting reminder of an important part of Australia's history which was to be followed by many western countries based on Australian experience. The birth of the Labour Party may be traced to Trades Hall leaders. The building's design is by one of Australia's first native born architects, John Smedley. Its composed facades and tower contribute to the Haymarket area by retaining a nineteenth century character and provide a dominant landmark. The Trades Hall was held in high esteem by the working community and this was reinforced by Mr Jacob Gerrard's address at the official opening day. The subsequent rapid growth of the trade Union Movement earlier this century saw the original building enlarged considerably to accomodate its needs. Original records of meetings and other historical events in the life of the Trade Union Movement have been collected and are kept in the original library and banner room. (Daybreak Architects)
Date significance updated: 10 Dec 08
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: John Smedley, later additions Spain, Cosh and Minnett
Construction years: 1888-1916
Physical description: A large load-bearing brick and sandstone building of four storeys and basement. An octagonal tower of five storeys at the corner of Goulburn and Dixon Streets is capped by a pitched copper roof surmounted by a sheathed square copper cupola. Although enlarged considerably at three main periods, c1900, 1912 and 1916 the additions closely follow the original Victorian neo classical design consisting of sandstone to the ground floor, window trims grouped three to a bay, string courses, cornice and balustered parapet with face brickwork to the remainder. The original building is part of the four bays to Goulburn Street while the seven bays to Dixon Street are additions. (Sheedy 1977)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Physical condition is good. Archaeological potential is low.
Date condition updated:30 Sep 97
Modifications and dates: 1888 - foundation stone laid
1895 - opened
c.1900 - addition
1912 - addition
1916 - addition
Current use: Office and administration
Former use: Aboriginal land, town lots, offices, meeting venue and library

History

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

Trades Hall:
The Trades Hall was conceived on 14th December 1882 when representatives of thirteen untions met at 'The Swan with Two Necks' Hotel in George Street, Sydney. This was the original meeting place for the Union Movement. It was there that the organisation that led to the building of the Sydney Trades Hall was formed.

The Sydney Trades Hall is linked with the history of the Union Movement in New South Wales, one of the first formalised union movements in the world. Similarly, the birth of the Labour Party can be traced to Trades Hall leaders sending their own representatives to Parliament following the collapse of the Maritime and Shearers Strike early this century.

The first portion of the building was designed in 1887, by Architect John Smedley, one of Australia's first native born architects. Smedley won a design competition for the building, which was intended for meetings held by working men and as a place where lectures could be given and instruction in literature obtained. It also included a library and the banner room.

The foundation stone was laid on 28th January 1888. The first portion of the building was completed by 1895. It was officially opened on 26th January 1895 by the Minister for Education and the Chairman of the Land Trustees, Mr Jacob Gerrard. In his address he commented, 'The Trades of the colony will now have a home of their own'.

The subsequent major additions completed in 1900, 1912 and 1916 followed closely the Victorian Italianate Style of the original building. The architects for these additions were Spain, Cosh and Minnett. (Daybreak Architects)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Communication-Activities relating to the creation and conveyance of information Communicating by the printed word-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing local landmarks-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Places of strikes and industrial actions-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Victorian era offices-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Administering and alienating Crown lands-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th century suburban developments-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour (none)-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Being a part of a trades guild-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Celebrating union-initiated reforms-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Workers organising workers-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Sydney Trades Hall is important as one of the first and continuing headquarters of much of the New South Wales Trade Union Movement. It is a fitting reminder of an important part of Australia's history which was to be followed by many western countries based on Australian experience. The birth of the Labour Party may be traced to Trades Hall leaders. The building's design is by one of Austrlai's first native born architects, John Smedley. (Daybreak Architects)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The Sydney Trades Hall composed facades and tower contribute to the Haymarket area by retaining a nineteenth century character. In particular it provides a dominant landmark with its well crafted and extensive facades which have an almost 'civic like' presence. (Daybreak Architects)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
It was held in high esteem by the working community and this was reinforced by Mr Jacob Gerrard address at the official opening day. The subsequent rapid growth of the trade Union Movement earlier this century saw the original building enlarged considerably to accomodate its needs. The provision of centralised office accommodation and meeting rooms for unions, theTrades Hall has become inseperably linked with the history of the trade Union Movement in NSW and as such is held in high regard by much of the State's workforce. (Daybreak Architects)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Original records of meetings and other historical events in the life of the Trade Union Movement have been collected and are kept in the original library and banner room. (Daybreak Architects)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The Sydney Trades Hall is rare for the role it has played in providing a centralised place of operation for the Trade Union Movement. (Daybreak Architects)
Integrity/Intactness: The building externally has had little alteration. (Daybreak Architects)
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.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementTrades Hall Sydney, by Otto Cserhalmi for Multiplex, dated December 2003 CMP endorsed 18 June 2004 - expires 18 June 2009 Jun 18 2004
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions ORDER UNDER SECTION 57(2) OF THE HERITAGE ACT 1977

Standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977.

I, Donald Harwin, the Special Minister of State pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales do by this Order, effective 1 December 2020:

1. revoke the order made on 11 July 2008 and published on pages 91177 to 9182 of Government Gazette Number 110 of 5 September 2008 and varied by notice published in the Government Gazette on 5 March 2015; and

2. grant the exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 that are described in the attached Schedule.

Donald Harwin
Special Minister of State
Signed this 9th Day of November 2020.

To view the standard exemptions for engaging in or carrying out activities / works otherwise prohibited by section 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977 click on the link below.
Nov 13 2020

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0032202 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0032216 Nov 84 1615624
Local Environmental PlanCSH Local Environmental Plan 4 07 Apr 00   
National Trust of Australia register   21 Feb 77   
Register of the National Estate  21 Oct 80   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenClaire O'Rourke2003Trades hall taking out trash in revamp (SMH 18/10/03)
WrittenD Sheedy1977National Trust Classification Card - Trades Hall
WrittenDaybreak Architects Pty Ltd Report to the Heritage Council of NSW - Sydney Trades Hall
TourismHeritage NSW2013Sydney Trades Hall View detail

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: Heritage NSW
Database number: 5045314
File number: S90/04157/001 & HC 32648


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