Saturday, 19 August 2006
Change in Surry Hills
Yesterday I mentioned that Surry Hills is a rapidly changing part of Sydney. It is going through the transition from a factory and warehouse district on the city fringe, home to the textile and garment industry, to one housing white collar workers and apartment dwellers (as well as some great cafes!).
The building on the left was Silknit House, which started as a textile factory, became artists' studios and squats and is now, after extensive restoration, the headquaters of the NSW Teachers Federation. It also houses other businesses, including an art bookshop and two cafes on the ground floor, and the Office of Film and Literature Classification occupies two floors. The building on the right is a newly built luxury apartment block, above the head office of the Teachers Federation Health Fund.
In the 1830s - 40s the site was a brickfield, and in the 1870s it became residential (terraced) housing. These came to be occupied by many Chinese immigrants in the early 1900s, and were demolished in the 1920s for commercial development, including some in 1922 for a Turkish bath house. In 1994, Silknit House was assessed by the government for use as a remand prison, but the site was deemed to be too expensive.