Brooklyn Hotel | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

About us

Brooklyn Hotel

Item details

Name of item: Brooklyn Hotel
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Hotel
Location: Lat: -33.8630133752 Long: 151.2073567350
Primary address: 229 George Street, The Rocks, 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
PART LOT1 DP771884

Boundary:

Eora
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
229 George StreetThe RocksSydneySt PhilipCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Sydney Harbour Foreshore AuthorityState Government 

Statement of significance:

The Brooklyn Hotel and site are of State heritage significance for their historical and scientific cultural values. The site and building are also of State heritage significance for their contribution to The Rocks area which is of State Heritage significance in its own right. The inclusion on the registers of the National Trust and National Estate demonstrate the esteem the building is held in by the wider community. The Brooklyn Hotel is of social significance to it's regular clientele, mostly the office workers and tourists to the area, as a place to meet and relax. Its location, character, and continuity of service make it a recognisable feature in the area.

Part of a homogeneous and well detailed Edwardian streetscape without equal in Sydney. The work of NSW government architect W L Vernon, assisted by William Moyes, who trained under Charles Rennie Macintosh in Glasgow. As such, this building has a direct link with one of the pioneers of Modern design.

As a group, the buildings (Federation Hall, Royal Naval House, Johnson's Building, 231 George Street & Brooklyn Hotel) have considerable significance. All facades contribute to the overall richness of the group, with Royal Naval House the focal point and the Johnson's Building leading nicely around the corner to a 'coda' of two small but heavily textured facades which seem to be a logical end to the whole. The trees, which are deciduous, give an added quality to the richness of the facades and have considerable significance. The facades as a group have important landmark qualities with their location on the north-west corner of a major intersection, providing an entry point to The Rocks.

Brooklyn Hotel: The building is significant for its facade and shopfront , which are typical of the period, with bay windows and a deep recessed verandah, the whole surmounted by a gable end with interesting stone trims. The top verandah is interesting in a picturesque manner flanked by two Ionic columns. The whole facade has high quality stone detailing. The awning forms an important part of this composition and the shopfront below, which is probably contemporary with the building, is unique. The interiors of the ground and first floor bars are significant and well designed for their purpose.
(SCRA 1982: 103-106)

The Brooklyn Hotel site was once part of the original Parade Ground of the Colony and the site's changing use reflects the urban, economic and social development of the area from the very early days of the colony to the present. The redevelopment of the site in the late 20th century is a demonstration of the compromises that were made to accommodate new development.
Date significance updated: 30 Mar 11
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: Walter Liberty Vernon
Construction years: 1912-1912
Physical description: This Edwardian building in Federation Free Style has a four storey brick and sandstone facade featuring a central sandstone projecting bay on the first and second floors, with an open balcony above with small ionic columns and dentilled . There are narrow multi-pane windows on each side of the bay and small pediments above those on the second floor. At the top there is a large simple brick pediment and dentilated eaves. The awning, part of the original design, is claimed to be one of the first of its type in Australia, being suspended over the footpath on iron rods.
Style: Federation/Art Nouveau; Storeys: 4; Facade: Brick and sandstone.

Due to the extensive reconstruction of the building in 1989, only the faade remains of the original fabric.
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
The conservation work undertaken in the mid 1980s has left the building in reasonable condition.
Date condition updated:06 Apr 04
Modifications and dates: In the late 1980s, major work was undertaken to the group of buildings to enable their reuse. The street facades, including awnings and shopfronts, were conserved. The interiors of the buildings were extensively modified.
Further information: Archaeology: Destroyed. There was major excavation carried out during the reconstruction of the building in 1989 to build an underground car park.
Current use: Pub / Hotel
Former use: Aboriginal land, Military parade ground, 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).

The Brooklyn Hotel site was once part of the original Military Parade Ground of the Colony. The land was claimed by Robert Howe on the basis of a land grant promised to his father George Howe by Governor Macquarie. George Howe was a convict who arrived in Sydney in 1800 and became government printer. In 1802 printed the first book in Australia, 'New South Wales General Standing Orders, comprising Government and General Orders issued between 1791 and 1802'. In 1803 he began the publication of the first newspaper, the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser on the site (SCRA Annual Reports 1980-1989)

In 1845, the 'Printing Office' was owned by Flowers, Alding & Co. and the tenant was Stratham & Foster. By 1848 the original grant fronting George Street comprised 'Mr. Dawson's House', a passage and the first of a series of terraced shops and houses. The subdivision and the houses built upon it remained essentially unchanged until 1884. The passage and the house and shop to the north represent, approximately, the site of the present hotel. In the period 1882-84 these terraces were demolished and a new four storey Italianate building was erected. The first bay of this new building was a hotel, named sequentially: 1884-1888 - The Sydney and Melbourne Hotel; 1889-1897- The Sydney Palace Hotel; 1898-1982- The Brooklyn Hotel). In 1911 an application was lodged by T Bennett with the City Council to demolish the Brooklyn Hotel, and in 1912 the current Brooklyn Hotel was erected at the same time as the Johnson's Building. (SCRA 1982: 7-8).

Walter Liberty Vernon (1846-1914) was both architect and soldier. Born in England, he ran successful practices in Hastings and London and had estimable connections in artistic and architectural circles. In 1883 he had a recurrence of bronchitic asthma and was advised to leave the damp of England. He and his wife sailed to New South Wales. Before leaving, he gained a commission to build new premesis for Merrrs David Jones and Co., in Sydney's George Street. In 1890 he was appointed Government Architect - the first to hold that title - in the newly reorganised branch of the Public Works Department. He saw his role as building 'monuments to art'. His major buildings, such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales (1904-6) are large in scale, finely wrought in sandstone, and maintaining the classical tradition. Among others are the Mitchell Wing of the State Library, Fisher Library at the University of Sydney and Central Railway Station. He also added to a number of buildings designed by his predecessors, including Customs House, the GPO and Chief Secretary's Building - with changes which did not meet with the approval of his immediate precedessor, James Barnet who, nine years after his resignation, denounced Vernon's additions in an essay and documentation of his own works. In England, Vernon had delighted his clients with buildings in the fashionable Queen Anne style. In NSW, a number of British trained architects whow were proponents of hte Arts and Crafts style joined his office and under their influence, Vernon changed his approach to suburban projects. Buildings such as the Darlinghurst First Station (Federation Free style, 1910) took on the sacale and character of their surroundings. Under Vernon's leadership, an impressive array of buildings was produced which were distinguished by interesting brickwork and careful climatic considerations, by shady verandahs, sheltered courtyards and provision for cross-flow ventilation. Examples are courthouses in Parkes (1904), Wellington (1912) and Bourke, Lands Offices in Dubbo (1897) and Orange (1904) and the Post Office in Wellington (1904)(Le Sueur, 2016, 7).

From 1980 negotiations proceeded with the private sector on proposals for mixed development and recycling on the land bounded by George, Grosvenor, Harrington and Essex Streets, known as Sites D5, D6 and D11. The agreement for the Grosvenor Place project was signed in June, 1983 involving the renovation of Royal Naval House and four adjacent buildings, including the Brooklyn Hotel. (SCRA Annual Reports 1980-1989)

Work on Grosvenor Place commenced in 1984 and was completed in 1988. In 1987, work commenced on the$12.5m reconstruction and renovation of Royal Naval House and Federation Hall in Grosvenor Street to enable the buildings to house the Sydney Futures Exchange. The reconstruction and renovation of the three remaining historic buildings on the site, including the Brooklyn Hotel, was carried out in 1989 for use as bars and restaurant. (SCRA Annual Reports 1980-1989)

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. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
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 Developing Commercial Enterprise-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Printing-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Commerce-Activities relating to buying, selling and exchanging goods and services Innkeeping-
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 (none)-
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
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 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 Changing land uses - from rural to suburban-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working complex machinery and technologies-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in factories-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working for the defence services-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in an Inn, Public House, Hotel etc.-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation A Military Town: The Welfare of the Military-
7. Governing-Governing Defence-Activities associated with defending places from hostile takeover and occupation Military Parade Ground-
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. Colonial 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. 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-
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 Arts and Crafts-
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-
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-
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. Artists, bohemians and intellectuals squat or gathering point-
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. Interior design styles and periods - Edwardian-
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. Interior design styles and periods - Art Nouveau-
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. Applying architectural design to utlilitarian structures-
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 style-
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 style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1900-1950-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Domestic life-Activities associated with creating, maintaining, living in and working around houses and institutions. Ways of life 1950-2000-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation (none)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to the pub-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Tourism-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going drinking in bars or clubs-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing local clubs and meeting places-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Walter Liberty Vernon, Government Architect 1890-1911, private architect-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The Brooklyn Hotel and site are of State heritage significance for their historical and scientific cultural values. The site and building are also of State heritage significance for their contribution to The Rocks area which is of State Heritage significance in its own right (see item no. 4500458).

The Brooklyn Hotel site was once part of the original Parade Ground of the Colony and the site's changing use reflects the urban, economic and social development of the area from the very early days of the colony to the present. The redevelopment of the site in the late 20th century is a demonstration of the compromises that were made to accommodate new development.
SHR Criteria b)
[Associative significance]
Part of a homogeneous and well detailed Edwardian streetscape without equal in Sydney. The work of NSW government architect W L Vernon, assisted by William Moyes, who trained under Charles Rennie Macintosh in Glasgow. As such, this building has a direct link with one of the pioneers of Modern design.
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
As a group, the buildings (Federation Hall, Royal Naval House, Johnson's Building, 231 George Street & Brooklyn Hotel) have considerable significance. All facades contribute to the overall richness of the group, with Royal Naval House the focal point and the Johnson's Building leading nicely around the corner to a 'coda' of two small but heavily textured facades which seem to be a logical end to the whole. The trees, which are deciduous, give an added quality to the richness of the facades and have considerable significance. The facades as a group have important landmark qualities with their location on the north-west corner of a major intersection, providing an entry point to The Rocks.

Brooklyn Hotel: The building is significant for its facade and shopfront , which are typical of the period, with bay windows and a deep recessed verandah, the whole surmounted by a gable end with interesting stone trims. The top verandah is interesting in a picturesque manner flanked by two Ionic columns. The whole facade has high quality stone detailing. The awning forms an important part of this composition and the shopfront below, which is probably contemporary with the building, is unique. The interiors of the ground and first floor bars are significant and well designed for their purpose.
(SCRA 1982: 103-106)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The Brooklyn Hotel is of social significance to it's regular clientele, mostly the office workers and tourists to the area, as a place to meet and relax. Its location, character, and continuity of service make it a recognisable feature in the area.
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
The redevelopment of the site and the reconstruction of the building in 1989 has left the façade as the only original fabric. There were extensive excavation below the building. Therefore the archaeological resource has been destroyed and the site has low potential for research.
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The Brooklyn Hotel is representative of a type of building traditionally associated with a meeting place and abode for working men within the traditional mixed residential, commercial, industrial and maritime uses of The Rocks area. Development on the site is representative of the historical phases from 1788 to the present day.
Integrity/Intactness: The Brooklyn Hotel building was extensively reconstructed in 1989, with only the façade of the building remaining of the original fabric.
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:

The 1982 Conservation Plan for the group of five buildings was prepared prior to the major work undertaken to the buildings in the late 1980s. An updated conservation plan should be prepared prior to any work being proposed for the buildings, addressing each building individually and the group as a whole. This should follow the requirements of the NSW Heritage Office's Heritage Manual.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
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 0153310 May 02 852865

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
SCA Register 1979-19981998B068Sydney Cove Authority (SCA)  Yes

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Brooklyn Hotel View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Brooklyn Hotel View detail
WrittenLe Sueur, Angela2016Government Architects - part 2
WrittenSydney Cove Redevelopment Authority1983Conservation Plan. Sites D5, D6 & D11
WrittenWellings Smith & Byrnes1987EIS for the 'Demolition of Johnson's Corner Buildings and Provision of Commemorative Plaza, 229-235 George Street, Sydney

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

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 Office
Database number: 5053148


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.