International House | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

About us

International House

Item details

Name of item: International House
Other name/s: Pomeroy House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Commercial Office/Building
Location: Lat: -33.8678444314 Long: 151.2061603120
Primary address: 14-16 York Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Parish: St Philip
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
 1 CP/SP58903
 10 SP58903
LOT11 SP58903
 11 SP58903
 12 SP58903
 2 SP58903
 3 SP58903
 4 SP58903
 5 SP58903
 6 SP58903
 7 SP58903
 8 SP58903
 9 SP58903
LOT11-12 SP63566
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
14-16 York StreetSydneySydneySt PhilipCumberlandPrimary Address
9 Barrack StreetSydneySydney  Alternate Address

Statement of significance:

International House is historically significant for its contribution to the renewal and continuation of the well-established 19th century warehouse precinct of York Street in the early 20th century. It is associated with the prominent architectural firm of Robertson & Marks. The building is and outstanding and highly intact example of an original commercial exterior. It has further significance as an important element in the streetscape of Barrack and York Streets and the overall diversity and character of the city. (Rode 1997:63-64)
Date significance updated: 20 Oct 97
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: Robertson & Marks
Builder/Maker: Howie, Brown & Moffat, Master Builders.
Construction years: 1913-1913
Physical description: International House has two frontages, the major being on Barrack Street. The building comrises 1 ground level, 8 upper levels (including a level in the 'mansard roof') and a basement, and covers the complete area of the site.

The building displays charactersitics of the Federation Free Classical style. Consistent with the style, architects Robertson and Marks used motifs from different countries and periods. For example the combination of the characteristics of the italian palazzo facade with a mansard roof from the seventeenth-century France.

The street facades are broken into three parts - a strong two storey base of sandstone and banded brickwork, the comparatively simple repetitive office floors and the projecting cornice. The sandstone is rock-faced at the base and rendered above the first floor level. Both facades are terminated at one end by a higher pedimented tower which extends the tripartite arched window of the end bay. The other end bay is incorporated into the chamfered corner of the building. The middle bays - two to York Street and six to Barrack Street are arched with sandstone voussoir and sills. There is a circular opening on the corner which is characteristic to the style.

There are three entrances, one pedimented one storey on the corner and two double height semicircular entries, one of which incorporates a pedimented doorway on the York Street side. The two storey base of the building repeats the semicircular arches.

The internal alterations gradually compromised the appearance of the ground floor facade and this The sandstone arch of the basement entrance in the second bay was lost during the extensive renovation of the building in 1980, when all the ground floor and first floor openings have been altered. The new infill glazing modified the orginal character of the two storey base of the building. (Rode 1997:24-31)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally the exterior of the building is in good condition. (Rode 1997:33)
Date condition updated:14 Oct 97
Modifications and dates: 1913 - constructed
1979-81 - lst floor arched windows replaced and shopfront windows on the ground floor.
1946 - 8th level windows possibly replaced. Mansard roof possibly replaced by present roof form.
Current use: Commercial, warehousing, offices, showrooms
Former use: Aboriginal land, town lot

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

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

Subject Site:
The land containing the site was originally granted to T.D. Rowe by Crown Grant dated the 4th July 1837. The site was adjacent to the military barracks which occupied fifteen acres of valuable land in this part of the town.

The barracks were enclosed within a fortress-like wal which began just north of present Margaret Street and extended to Barrack Street, taking up the whole area between George and Clarence Streets. The barracks constrained the development of the area for general commmercial purposes. Investors had to wait until 1847, when the new Paddington barracks were completed. The old barracks were demolished between 1850 and 1853 and the valuable land was subdivided and sold at between forty and eighty pounds a square foot.

By this time the site of International House was owned by Peter William Plomer. The contemporary rate books describe the property as a two or three storey stone and slate building 'stores' or 'warehouse'.

From the 1870s the site was occupied by a four storey warehouse. In 1875 Jeremiah Brice Rundle took possession of the site. Rundle was a squatter, merchant and businessman. He was born in England and arrived in Australia in about 1835. After prosperous years which he spent as merchant and commission agent by 1867 he held over 750,000 acres in Queensland and NSW. In 1881 he was appointed to the Legislative Council of NSW and was also a director and chairman of the Australian Joint Stock Bank. Between 1870 and his death in 1893 he was a director and chairman of the Australian Joint Stock Bank. Between 1870 and his death in 1893 he was a director of various other companies, such as the Sydney Meat Preserving Company, United Fire and Marine Insurance Company. According to contemporary records Rundle was one of the leading merchants and businessmen who made their contribution to the rapid progress of this part of the city.

Rundle died in 1893 at his residence 'Pomeroy', Potts Point. His estate was later managed by the Permanent Trustee Company. The warehouse erected on his estate was a business proposition of the trustee and was named Pomeroy House in honour of Rundle.

On 27th November 1913 an application was lodged by the office of architects Robertons & Marks to erect a building on the south-east corner of York and Barrack Street. The builders of Pomeroy House were Howie & Moffat, Master Builders. It was designed in Federation Free Classical style. This style category included a considerable variety of architectural expressions drawing on a large repertoire of motifs from different countries and periods. It was a style well suited to express the confidence that accompanied the dynamic growth of the city in this period.

When Pomeroy House was first listed in the Sands Directories in 1916 the tenants included warehousemen on the second and third floor. By 1917 most of the floors were occupied: a millinery manufacturer on the first floor, warehousement on the second and thrid floor, Department of Home Affairs, Accounts Branch and Commonwealth Electoral Office on the fourth and seventh floor and an export company on the eigth floor. The Assessment Book in 1918 describes Pomeroy House as a warehouse of 10 rooms, which means that the floors were not yet partitioned at this stage. From 1922 even the basement was rented out and was occupied by a wine and spirit merchant company.

Because of the good location, its closeness to the business centre, office space was much in demand in this area in the next decades. By the 1930s the building accommodated forty different offices. Some of them such as Bond Industries Ltd occupied a whole floor, but other floors were partitioned and shared between 8-10 different agents. According to the records by 1921 the building had 23 rooms.

In 1931 an external steel fire escape was added in the lightwell area. In 1942 the National Cash Register Pty Ltd purchased the property. The National Cash Register used only two levels, the other floors were leased as showroom, office or warehouse spaces. According to a building survey done by the Counci, 60 to 100 people worked in the building. A hand drawn skect, attached to this building survey shows that in 1939 the entrance and stairs to the basement were already in their present place. It is known that in 1946 alterations and renovations were carried out on the building, but details of the works are not indicated in the records. In the 1960s the gorund floor, 1st floor and 7th floor were subject to further alterations. By this time the building was generally referred to as 'International House.'

In 1959 a mechanical ventilation system was installed and in 1968 computer rooms were built-up.

From 1975 the building was largely empty. After the National Cash Register moved out, the property was passed in at auction in September 1975 and sold to its present owner in 1978.

From 1979 to 1981 extensive renovations and alterations were implemented to the entire building. the refurbishment essentially involved the modernization of all floors, the installation of an air conditioning system and false ceiling, the replacement of the two existing lifts and the formation of a kiosk in the former loading dock. The basement was accommodated to its present use as a restaurant. The ground floor and first floor were adapted to the requirements of banking operation to provide new tenancy for the State Bank. This alteration included the removal of existing windows and masonry on these levels and their replacement with new aluminium and glass shopfront. In 1988 the lift lobby was refurbished on both sides of the building and the lift shaft replaced on the eastern side. In 1990 the canvas canopy was replaced with a steel framed awning (Rode 1997:9-20)

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 Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services commerce-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Warehousing and storage for commercial enterprises-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Developing discrete retail and commercial areas-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Developing real estate-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Storing goods-
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 Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of urban amenity-
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. Adapted heritage building or structure-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Federation Free Classical-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Adaptation of overseas design for local use-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Robertson and Marks, architect firm-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The siting and quality of the building reflects the economic importance of the York Street warehouse precinct, which was established in the 19th century and continued in the early 20th century. The building is an important work of the noted architectural partnership of Robertson & Marks. (Rode 1997:63)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The building is an outstanding and substanitally intact example of an original commercial exterior. The building's facades of dark brick with standstone trims are distinctive and have outstanding architectural value. It makes a dominant contribution to the streetscape on a prominent corner site. (Rode 1997:63)
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The International house has comparative significance because it is an oustanding and well preserved example of a highly intact commercial exterior which contribute strongly to the townscape of Barrack and York Street. (Rode 1997:63)
Integrity/Intactness: Generally the exterior of the building is in good condition. (Rode 1997:33)
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 - Site Specific Exemptions Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):

Changes in the use of the building.
May 24 1985
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 0057902 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0057913 May 88 872729
Local Environmental PlanCSH Local Environmental Plan 4 07 Apr 00   
National Trust of Australia register      

References, internet links & images

None

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

rez rez rez rez rez rez
rez rez rez rez
(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage NSW
Database number: 5045543
File number: S90/03179 & HC 87/1896


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.

All information and pictures on this page are the copyright of the Heritage Division or respective copyright owners.