Past/Lives Flashback #6: Regent Street Station – Chippendale, NSW

Original article: Mortuary Station/Regent Street Station – Chippendale, NSW


When you’re a 144-year-old building custom built for a purpose long redundant, excitement comes in fits and starts. A renovation here, a graffiti attack there. Occasionally you’ll have a tour group come through, but with today’s concerns, even that’s a rare treat.

And so goes the continued existence of Regent Street’s Mortuary train station.


Continually hogging the city’s rail refurbishment efforts (c’mon, Central needs some attention! It’s a dive), ‘Ol’ Morty’ sits where it’s always sat, a stranger to change and a fully functioning time warp. If you want to go and see it, it’s a safe bet to put it at the bottom of your ‘To Do’ list – this place will likely outlive you.

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So with that in mind, let’s take a look at the curious mural that stands beside the station facing east. I mentioned this last time, and it continues to baffle me.

Florence Mary Taylor arrived in Sydney in 1884. Her father worked for the sewerage division of the Department of Public Works, and she would assist him in his work. When he died in 1899, Florence studied architecture and became a draftsman, going on to co-found the Town Planning Association of NSW in 1913 and joining the Institute of Architects in 1920. As the mural itself says, she was Australia’s first female architect.

When her husband George Taylor died in 1928, Florence continued to edit and publish three of their eleven engineering journals. She died at Potts Point in 1969, leaving behind a legacy of achievements (including becoming the first Australian woman to fly in 1909) that did much to further the public acceptance of women in industry.

Which is all fine – but I’m still not sure what she has to do with the Mortuary Station, which was completed ten years before her birth. As I’ve mentioned, the Regent Street station and its receiving end were designed by colonial architect James Barnet.

Still, using the ever eye-catching station to highlight Taylor and her achievements isn’t a bad thing at all, even if her ideas are more ingrained in Sydney’s layout than seems obvious. Throughout her career, Taylor was an advocate of, among other things, a harbour tunnel crossing, a distributor freeway in the Eastern Suburbs, and somewhat less popularly, the demolition of Hyde Park Barracks. Maybe that’s why there’s no mural of her there.

One response

  1. The dead where transported to rookwood cemetery from there…. its been re animated in one Australian film….
    History HAS A SORTA GLUE SOME TIMES ..its funny how one place can be associated with another and especially on the same subject..
    Next door to the mortuary..there is an old church white in colour last time I saw it next to the petrol station opposite the hell fire club..
    Any way in the early 29,s there was a preacher named LEADBEATER who was in that church..He turned to the world of mystiscim..and was convinced the second coming was near..he formed a cult which grew very fast…and even had a end of the world date and the second coming would happen at a certain time on a ceratin beach in Sydney…so the day and time came..thousads of cult members and non cult members gathered at this famous witness LEADBEATERS pridictions.. the day came and the time was right ..but even after 2 hours even the die hard cult members would lose all intrest in the cult and leadbeater was all washed up..there was no second coming or end of the world..THE BEACH IN QUESTION WAS :CHINA MANS BEACH..aka..balmoral beach….THE WHITE ROTUNDA THATS THERE WAS PART OF THE SECONF COMMING OF LEADBEATER ..WHICH STILL STANDS THERE TODAY…
    reason why I know it I use and have a collection of past history which the daily mirror use to publish..every past life in Sydney.. their are many historical places like this arounfdSydney with intresting rich historical facts..

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