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Police Station (former)

Item details

Name of item: Police Station (former)
Other name/s: Police Station
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Law Enforcement
Category: Police station
Location: Lat: -33.8724011182 Long: 151.2054749710
Primary address: 281 Clarence 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
LOT3 DP123554
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
281 Clarence StreetSydneySydneySt AndrewCumberlandPrimary Address

Statement of significance:

281 Clarence Street is of architectural significance as a good and rare example of a modest Victorian Potice Station in central Sydney It was designed by prominent Government Architect J. Barnet who was responsible for the design of many civic buildings, including the GPO and the Castlereagh Street Fire Station. The building has historic, aesthetic and social value for its well designed façade including the 1928 additions, and has historic significance as the most intact former metropolitan Police Station building even though it has been altered and used for offices. The building has social value documenting law and order In the nineteenth century.
Date significance updated: 12 Aug 13
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: James Johnstone Barnet, NSW Government Architect
Builder/Maker: Unknown
Construction years: 1890-1928
Physical description: 281 Clarence Street is a small 4-storey office building (G - 3) which was originally a police station. The faade carries the date 1891. It has three floors of similar size, the third floor being set back by the width of a terrace from the east faade. There is an atrium down through the centre of the building for its full height.

It has frontage to Clarence Street on the east, and a small part of the west and south perimeter walls are exposed in a lightwell at the southwest corner, but the for the rest of the perimeter there are adjacent buildings which are higher than the subject building. There are no windows from this building overlooking the lightwell.

The construction is of brickwork, rendered and painted, with timber floors at most levels as far as could be determined. The ceilings of much of the ground floor, in rooms which used to be the police cells, are barrel vaulted brickwork.

The roof above the 3rd floor, on either side of the atrium, is of metal deck galvanised steel KlipLok sheeting, which drains to box gutters on each side of the atrium roof. Several items of plant are located on both halves of the roof. The roof of the atrium is 45 pitched glazing, with glass louvres in a clerestory arrangement along each side of it. There is opaque flat glazing near the base of the atrium, at the level of the second floor.

There is a fire stair near the north-east corner of the building. One wall of this is exposed at the 3rd floor because of the terrace setback.

The third floor terrace has a terracotta tiled surface. It is bounded by a heavy rendered brick parapet on the east, the walls of the third floor on the west, and neighbouring buildings to north and south.

Glazing in the building is of various types, as far as we could determine. The atriium roof is mostly of monolithic fully toughened glass. The fire stair at the 3 floor terrace has two wired glass windows. The full-height glazing looking into the atrium on the 3 floor is laminated ordinary annealed, and all the remainder appears to be monolithic ordinary annealed, ranging from small individual panes in multi-panelled sash windows, to full height glazing to the 3 floor for much of the terrace area.

Window framing is a combination of timber (all east-face windows from ground to 2 floor level), aluminium (atrium roof and the 3 floor office glazing facing onto the terrace, and steel (fire stair windows at 3rd floor level. Casement windows open into the north and south sides of the atrium at 1 and floors, while the east and west ends of the atrium at these floors are open, protected by a balustrade.

The 1st and 2 floor windows are double hung timber sashes, the 2nd floor being a 3-part window rather than the more common 2-part. There are three small Juliet balconies at 3 floor, steel structures bearing on a projecting cornice and fixed back to the masonry at the window sides. These are accessible by climbing out through the windows, however they are scarcely big enough for one person to stand on, and are for decorative and maintenance purposes only.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Brief description of the physical condition (excellent, good, fair, poor) or archaeological potential (high, medium or low). Note that evaluation of the integrity and/or authenticity of the item is carried out as part of the assessment process on page 4.
Date condition updated:19 Dec 05
Modifications and dates: 1891 construction completed, then addition of 3rd storey, 1982/83 4th storey added. 2000 an extensive refurbishment.
1992 Additional accommodation erected at the rear; 1923 Electric light installed ; c1928: second floor level added; c1985: refurbishment including removal of much of the ground floor fit out included cells.
Further information: Any further information relevant to the significance of the item.
This can also be in the form of an attachment.
Current use: Offices for "Not for Profit" Community based Employment Services Company
Former use: Former Police Station & IMG Management Group used the building for offices

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 ).

Subject area and site:
Sydney's wharf area, from Woolloomooloo around to Millers Point and Pyrmont was an important work and residential centre for men and women whose occupations were linked to the docks. During the 1890's the Depression and the crucial industrial Strikes made the area a focus for confrontations between workers and employers, The strong and visible presence of police was an Important government strategy in cleating with striking workers and their families.

The Police Station at 281 Clarence Street was constructed In 1891 at a major point In the industrial battle between labour and employers. Situated near the Darling Harbour docks it was a potent reminder of the potential threat posed by the government to strikers and discontented workers.

A two storey building was designed by the government architect, James Barnet*.

* James Johnstone Barnet (1827-1904) was made acting Colonial Architect in 1862 and appointed Colonial Architect from 1865-90. He was born in Scotland and studied in London under Charles Richardson, RIBA and William Dyce, Professor of Fine Arts at King's College, London. He was strongly influenced by Charles Robert Cockerell, leading classical theorist at the time and by the fine arts, particularly works of painters Claude Lorrain and JRM Turner. He arrived in Sydney in 1854 and worked as a self-employed builder. He served as Edmund Blacket's clerk of works on the foundations of the Randwick (Destitute Childrens') Asylum. Blacket then appointed Barnet as clerk-of-works on the Great Hall at Sydney University. By 1859 he was appointed second clerk of works at the Colonial Architect's Office and in 1861 was Acting Colonial Architect. Thus began a long career. He dominated public architecture in NSW, as the longest-serving Colonial Architect in Australian history. Until he resigned in 1890 his office undertook some 12,000 works, Barnet himself designing almost 1000. They included those edifices so vital to promoting communication, the law and safe sea arrivals in colonial Australia. Altogether there were 169 post and telegraph offices, 130 courthouses, 155 police buildings, 110 lockups and 20 lighthouses, including the present Macquarie Lighthouse on South Head, which replaced the earlier one designed by Francis Greenway. Barnet's vision for Sydney is most clearly seen in the Customs House at Circular Quay, the General Post Office in Martin Place and the Lands Department and Colonial Secretary's Office in Bridge Street. There he applied the classicism he had absorbed in London, with a theatricality which came from his knowledge of art (Le Sueur, 2016, 6).

A third floor was added In 1928, The building remained in use as a police station until 1967 when it was closed and the property was sold. It has been used as commercial space since that time.

Alterations
1922: Additional accommodation erected at the rear 1923: Electric light installed; ci 1928: Second floor level added; c 1985: RefurbIshment including removal of much of the ground floor fitout including cells.
PRELIMINARY CONSERVATION POLICY
General: The building should be conserved in its present extemal fon'n with facade and roof forms and surviving internal detail from the earlier police use should be retained.
External: Facade detailing and architectural elements are to be maintained in good condition including restoration of original colour scheme. Intrusive elements on the facade such as aluminium windows should be replaced with timber framed units of sympathetic detailing.
Internal: Original and sympathetic addition works are to be maintained. Any new works are to be carried out In context and in accordance with a conservation plan.
DOCUMENTARY REFERENCES
Title Deeds
ORAL SOURCES
ASSESSMENT DATE 12/08/96
ASSESSMENT AUTHORS Paul Davies, Wayne Mcphee, Deborah Edward
CITY OF SYDNEY HERITAGE INVENTORY Page3of4

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. Modification of terrain-
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 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-
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 Changing land uses - from suburban to urban-
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 Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Townships-
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 Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
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 Early Sydney Street-
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 Subdivision of urban estates-
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-
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 Macquarie's town layout-
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 Infrastructure-
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 Suburban Consolidation-
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 Beautifying towns and villages-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in offices-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in the public service-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. State government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - conserving cultural and natural heritage-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - building and operating public infrastructure-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - public land administration-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes The rule of law-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Policing and enforcing the law-
7. Governing-Governing Law and order-Activities associated with maintaining, promoting and implementing criminal and civil law and legal processes Police Station-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with James Barnet, Colonial (Government) Architect 1862-90-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
281 Clarence Street is of architectural significance as a good arid rare example of a modest Victonan Police Station in central Sydney It was designed by prominent Government Architect J. Barnet who was responsible for the design of many civic buildings, including the GPO and the
Castlereagh Street Fire Station
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The strong Victorian symmetrical design and typical Barnet detailing contribute to the streetscape and provide a contrast to the larger commercial buildings which surround it from various periods
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The former Police Station demonstrates the Importance of social order in nineteenth century Sydney that survived well into The second half of This century
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
An item has potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of NSW’s cultural or natural history.
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:

Recommendations

Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act Record converted from HIS events


Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
*change of use;
* maintenance of any item (building, works, relics or places) on the site, where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing fabric.
*Minor repairs where minor 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 materials, colour, texture, form and design as the original it replaces.
*alterations to the interior of a building which are of a minor nature and will not adversely affect the significance of the building as an item of the environmental heritage.
Apr 6 1990
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 0029302 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0029323 Mar 84 441665
Local Environmental PlanCSH Local Environmental Plan 4 07 Apr 00   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenLe Sueur, Angela2016Government Architects - part 2

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: 5045504
File number: S90/05416 & HC 32788


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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