Challis House | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Challis House

Item details

Name of item: Challis House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Commercial Office/Building
Location: Lat: -33.8673031236 Long: 151.2078360030
Primary address: 4-10 Martin Place, Sydney, NSW 2000
Parish: St James
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT4 DP2885
PART LOT5 DP2885
PART LOT6 DP2885
PART LOT7 DP2885
PART LOT8 DP2885

Boundary:

Challis House is located on the north side of Martin Place adjacent to the Cenotaph.
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
4-10 Martin PlaceSydneySydneySt JamesCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Challis House Pty LtdPrivate09 Feb 05

Statement of significance:

The following Statement of Significance is from the CMP prepared by Sue Rosen and David Sheedy:

1. The facades of Challis House are good examples of restrained 1930s architectural Art Deco design. The elevation to Martin Place in particular has exceptional significance by virtue of the contribution it makes to this important "civic" precinct in terms of its sensitive scale, sympathetic sandstone, granite and bronze materials and complementary fenestration to the other nearby 19th Century and early 20th Century buildings.
2. The 1937 rebuilding of Challis House signifies a major reconstruction period of many buildings in the Martin Place precinct.
3. The skilful incorporation of a major part of the original 1907 Challis House facades into the present building is probably unique in New South Wales; technologically it was a significant achievement for its day.
4. The height of the masonry facade reflects the 1938 prevailing building height limit of 45 metres (150ft); Challis House was then aligned with the adjacent CML Building, the nearby Bank of New South Wales, and the Commercial Banking Company in George Street.
5. Since 1907 the name Challis House has referred to a building on this site that has been synonymous with Overseas, Australian and New South Wales travel activities.
6. The building and its name has an important association with John Henry Challis and Sydney University; Challis House commemorates the bequest of that body.
7. In its previous and present form the building has served as a backdrop for many important celebrations and has often been accordingly decorated. Since the establishment of the Cenotaph in 1928 has provided a suitable setting for the national ceremonies conducted immediately in front.
Date significance updated: 07 Feb 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.

Description

Physical description: Challis House is a 12/13 storey reinforced concrete framed structure with 1930s Art Deco style sandstone facades above a polished red granite base to Martin Place and Angel Place with, a bronze coloured mansard roof behind a parapet, and a loft tower to the eastern end. There are symmetrical, slightly recessed bays for floors 1-9 with large shopfront windows with bronze panels below to the ground floor. Windows to the upper floors are bronze coloured anodized aluminium framed.

History

Historical notes: The following history is derived from the CMP prepared by Sue Rosen and David Sheedy:

Challis House is located on land resumed by the Government in 1889 from WH Paling and the estates of Thomas Perkins and Thomas Holt as part of the scheme to establish an important public street to the north of the GPO, from Pitt to George Streets between Hunter and King Streets.
Holt's land, to the east of the Tank Stream, had originally been granted to John Connell, a free settler in 1837. Connell had leased the land prior to the grant. Perkins' and Palings' land was located to the west of the Tank Stream. In 1807 the major portion of this area was under lease to William Jameson with the remainder vacant. By 1834 this area was owned by James Chisholm and Hugh MacDonald. By the 1870s the land was owned by Thomas Perkins.
The original building was constructed by Sydney University in 1906-7 under the supervision of Messers. Robertson and Marks with WL Vernon (Government Architect), using funds from the Challis Bequest.
John Henry Challis (1806-1880), an English born merchant and philanthropist left a bequest of 276,000 pounds to the University of Sydney.
Upon construction, the building immediately assumed the function of a commercial city building that was closely linked with tourism due to the occupants of the lower floors being the Railways Ticketing Office and Government Tourist Bureau.
In 1912, an additional room was constructed for the caretaker. The place was virtually reconstructed in 1936, with Hennessey and Hennessey appointed as architects, resulting a completely different facade, repaired in 1963 and refurbished in 1973, when the place underwent major redevelopment under the supervision of Edmund-Dykes, Coward and Chaplin. The building was internally gutted except for the elevators and fire stairs. Air conditioning was installed and a shopping arcade established in the former railway ticket offices fronting the plaza with a restaurant below the arcade.
CHALLIS HOUSE
The following is from the SoHI prepared by Cracknell & Lonergan Architects, 2005:
Challis House is a 12/13 storey reinforced concrete framed structure with 1930s Art Deco style sandstone facades above a polished red granite base to Martin Place and Angel Place with, a bronze coloured mansard roof behind a parapet, and a loft tower to the eastern end. There are symmetrical, slightly recessed bays for floors 1-9 with large shopfront windows with bronze panels below to the ground floor. Windows to the upper floors are bronze coloured anodized aluminium framed. The building is predominantly used for office space above ground floor level with retail travel offices and shops on the ground floor and a cocktail bar/nightclub in the basement. The building has the appearance of a 1990s interior refurbishment with some areas exhibiting even more recent fit outs.
The original Challis House had a lower ground floor (below pavement level) in the eastern half of the building with a sub-basement below. The west side of the building had only a basement area (untenanted) below pavement level. When the building was reconstructed in 1936 it was increased in height, the structural framework was completely removed and replaced and the appearance of the building was totally altered.
The present building exterior and structure essentially dates from 1937 although there are some elements that date from 1907. The 1974 internal refurbishment has removed all visible traces of the 1937 reconstruction.
Since 1937, the most obvious external change to the building has been the addition of the mansard roof, although removal of the awning to the central entrance at ground level (to Martin Place), removal of original doors and window spandrels and the addition of new entrance steps.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act See File For Schedule


Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
(1) The maintenance of any building or item on the site, meaning the continuous protective care of existing materials;
(2) Change of use
Nov 10 1989
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act See File for various exemptions


Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
* alterations to the interior of the building, except in so far as such work would affect the external appearance of the building;
* the maintenance of any building or item on the site where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing fabric;
* minor repairs where repair means the repair of materials and includes replacement of minor components such as individual bricks where these have been damaged beyond reasonable repair or are missing. Replacements should be of the same material, colour, texture, form and design as the original they replace;
* change of use; and
* strata subdivision.
Sep 10 1993
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, 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:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

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

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0066602 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0066610 Sep 93 1095755
Local Environmental PlanCSH LEP 4 07 Apr 00   
Register of the National Estate  28 Sep 82   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenSue Rosen & David Sheedy.1990Challis House, Martin Place, Sydney : Conservation 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: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045403
File number: S90/03174 & HC 89/0603


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