John Storey Memorial Dispensary/Clinic 36 – Chippendale, NSW

Dwarfed by the apartment towers around Regent Street is this strange little corner building that looks almost medieval.

Closer inspection reveals that it was once the John Storey Memorial Dispensary, opened in 1926. Storey was a former NSW Premier who died in October 1921 after a lifelong battle with nephritis. No sooner was he in the ground than rumblings began about how best to honour his memory:

SMH, 31 Oct 1921

The paper alludes to the dispensary’s clientele as the city’s ‘sick poor’; what a diplomatic way of putting it. Today, the building is home to Clinic 36, and you’d be forgiven for thinking it might be a trendy bar. Nope, it’s a methadone clinic. Even after the deal was done to erect the Dispensary, the city officials weren’t satisfied that Storey’s name had been honoured enough:

The Daily News (Perth), 4 Apr 1922

I’m not exaggerating when I say that this letter goes on for a page and a half longer. They just didn’t care! Anyway, the point of the article is that a playground should be made to keep kids off the streets and out of crime’s way – a good cause, but as far as I can see the playground never materialised. But that’s okay, because even though it’s not quite as innocent as it was to begin with, Storey’s dispensary still looks after those children who’ve encountered the ‘evils of the street’.

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