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  • Title
    [Weatherboard buildings, Market Street, at the corner of Clarence Street, Sydney]
  • Call number
  • Level of description
  • Date

    [Dec 1875]
  • Type of material
  • Reference code
  • Issue Copy
  • Physical Description
    Photographs - 2 albumen photoprints - 12.6 x 19.2 cm.
  • General note

    Identified and dated from: [Photographs of] Buildings condemned and pulled down, [Sydney, ca. 1875-1901] / C.H. Woolcott, Town Clerk, 1882 p.66 (PXA 514 Mitchell Library)
    "Personal inspection by no.1 sub-committee. Ninth day, 2 December, 1875 ... at the corner of Clarence Street, are six weatherboard buildings in the very last stage of decay (Lynch, agent.) Any one who may be curious to know how long Colonial timber will last, until, by the combined action of the elements, white ants, and other sources of destruction, it becomes triturated into powder, can satisfy their curiosity by ascertaining the date on which these houses were constructed. The corner house is occupied and used as a butcher's shop ; it is a filthy stinking place, without any proper drainage, and in a most dilapidated condition, though rented at 21s a week. The next house, occupied by a wire-worker, is just as bad ; it obtains a rental of 10s a week, and the two adjoining houses occupied by a manufacturer of Colonial ovens - one being used as a workshop and the other as a residence - rents at 21s. The same description will suffice for these ; there is just enough solid timber about them to keep them up, but nothing to spare. The house adjoining the Colonial oven repository, however, deserves a more detailed description, since it represents the ne plus ultra stage of dilapidation.
    It contains two small rooms on the ground floor, with a ladder in the back room leading to a bedroom under the roof. Originally a weatherboard building it is now very difficult to say what it is, or what material in its composition predominates, so much patchwork has been necessary from time to time to keep it together. Here and there a board has been completely eaten out apparently by white ants, and the vacant space has either been covered over with tin, paper, or anything else which was handy. The upstairs room has had a great deal of paper bestowed upon it during its days of respectability, but the paper has obstinately refused to adhere to the walls, though the process has evidently been repeated a great many times. The successive layers, which embrace a variety of patterns, now hang down from the walls in festoons, a sort of tapestry a quarter of an inch thick, and form a receptacle for dust, cobwebs, and other impurities. An old mattress lay on the floor of the room, and the tenant had adopted a very simple method of keeping the bed-clothes from contact with it during the day, by hanging them upon a batten placed against the wall at an angle of 45 degrees, just sufficiently high to keep them out of the dust. This house has also another peculiarity : it contains no furniture of any kind. Indeed there is no room for it, the entire available floor space being crowded with stock-in-trade of the proprietor, who is a dealer in old clothes. Piles upon piles of garments of all sorts are stowed away below and aloft, which, like the house, appeared considerably the worse for wear. These may possibly be renewed to a certain extent by some artificial process, but no renovation is possible for the house itself. It is almost needless to recommend that no further efforts to prevent this house from falling down should be permitted. It occupies a valuable site, and should be replaced by a building of a more substantial character. Next door to it is a fruit shop - the same style of tenement, which we did not care to inspect as closely."
    Quote from: Sydney City and Suburban Sewage and Health Board : Eleventh progress report / NSW Legislative Assembly. Sydney : Thomas Richards, Government Printer, 1876. pp.25-6 (Q628.0991/S Mitchell Library)
    Digital order no:Album ID : 853023
    This item has been catalogued and digitised under a project funded and supported by the State Library of New South Wales Foundation, 2001.
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