Tag Archives: Newtown

C’s Flash Back Second Hand Clothing/City Convenience – Newtown, NSW

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What’s this? A second hand clothing store in Newtown that’s no longer in operation?! How could this be?!

I’m sure C didn’t see the convenience in this situation. Nor did the council when it was forced to take a bite out of the awning to get that pole in. It’s not a good look, but neither were most of the fashions C had up for sale. Let’s please leave flares in the past.

Please.

C actually fills in the historic blanks him/her/itself on the C’s Flash Back website: “C’s flashback began as a humble stall at Glebe Markets selling antique collectables 20 years ago.”

Here’s where the timeline gets a little muddy: “Within 2 years they had expanded to a brick and mortar store in Newtown and later in Surry Hills.”

So this sign has been here for 18 years? There’s no mention of when the Newtown location closed; in fact, the website speaks as if it’s still operating: “With quality low-cost exotic clothing in the heart of Newtown, the King Street store provides many of the costume pieces for fancy-dress uni-parties throughout the year.”

You don’t say.

It’s also noted that C’s love of dressing people in outdated styles continues to have outlets at Surry Hills, Paddington and Glebe Markets.

Thank goodness Glebe still has a place to buy second hand clothing.

Dew Drop Inn/State of Grace Cafe/Glitterbox – Newtown, NSW

SMH, 19 February 1947

SMH, 19 February 1947

JOHN: What do you think, darling?

ETHEL: I think I’d like to know a bit about the history of the place before we commit to anything. It looks quite old…

REAL ESTATE AGENT: That’s because it is, Mrs. Kelly. As you can see, it’s currently a lending library and a dry cleaner, but our records go back to 1895. At that time, this was the residence of a Mr. S. Spittle, furniture salesman. Spittle was a man known for his generosity, and he was likely here at home in bed on the night back in June of that year when he graciously allowed Mr. and Mrs. McKinelly use of Enterprise Hall, above his furniture warehouse, for a party. 

Look, here’s the clipping from what must have been a very slow news day:

Evening News, 5 July 1895

A night to remember. Evening News, 5 July 1895

REAL ESTATE AGENT: Just three years later, Mr. Spittle had moved to another part of Newtown, making way for a Mr. J. Preston and his family. Under Preston, this shop became a newsagent…

Freeman's Journal, 6 August 1898

Freeman’s Journal, 6 August 1898

REAL ESTATE AGENT: …which likely sold the very paper that, in 1901, contained the details of his granddaughter Rose Anna’s funeral train, which was headed straight for the Necropolis. Very sad. It’s believed she died in this house. 

SMH, 13 February 1901

SMH, 13 February 1901

The records become a little hazy for a time after that.

By the 1920s, though, they’d gone from selling newsprint to, well, printing in their own style. If you wanted to have your photo taken in your best power outfit and then have your imperfections aerographed out, Dallimore’s was the place to go:

The World's News, 3 July 1926

The World’s News, 3 July 1926

REAL ESTATE AGENT: Somehow, I don’t think rough-and-tumble Newtown was quite accepting of such an arty venture. Maybe one day…

Sure enough, the Kellys bought the shop, and only two years after that, Mrs. Kelly bought the farm…

The Argus, 10 December 1949

The Argus, 10 December 1949

…after which time John Kelly, formerly a milk bar proprietor, retired to Rockdale, and that’s where we lose the trail. It’s not until the mid 1980s that the chain of tenancy gets hot again, and what hotter place for it to do so than the Dew Drop Inn…

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Hairdressers in Newtown are a dime a dozen, especially with slick, one-word names like Glitterbox. But if we look upwards, we see that this was once a very un-slick, many-worded Asian restaurant: the Dew Drop Inn.

It’s a name that’s usually reserved for seedy joints in 30s gangster movies. In fact the last place I’d ever expect to be associated with that name would be an Asian restaurant, especially – as the sign boasts – a gourmet one.

Unfortunately for this article’s integrity, the Dew Drop Inn seems to have dew dropped off the face of the planet, with nary a mention on the internet. All we can go on are the facts: one: it’s pre-1994 because it’s a seven digit phone number and two: it’s an Asian restaurant in Newtown without either an Asian name or a terrible pun.

And yet, for all this emptiness and lack of information, I’m intrigued. I need to know more. Did yew ever drop inn? Fess up in the comments.

Let’s dig deeper. According to this fascinating snapshot of an article from 1994, our location then became the State of Grace cafe.

Sheena Dunn, just back from New Orleans to open the State of Grace cafe, believes in the funky eclectism of the southern end. “It’s a strong neighbourhood, especially of artists and musicians,” she says. “This part of town really feels like what’s happening.” The cafe, open just one week, serves a silky Thai pumpkin soup, Spanish tortilla and home-made lemonade and coffee to the sound of S. E. Rogie and Miles Davis.

Gee, it’s truly a shame that we’ll never again be able to enjoy the eclectic funk of a Newtown cafe that serves tortillas and plays jazz music. Of note is that the article mentions the State of Grace had only been open a week; the article later provides the cafe’s phone number, which is without a 9. From this, we could assume that the shop’s preceding tenant was…the Dew Drop Inn.

But there’s one thing that’s bothering me. Given the suburb’s penchant for all things vintage and retro, could it be possible that someone just bought that sign and mounted it there as an artistic statement? Are we being tricked? Only in Newtown…

Pizza Haven/Eagle Boys/For Lease – Newtown, NSW

It’s obvious to anyone passing through that Newtown has very…exclusive tastes when it comes to restaurants. It may surprise you to learn that once upon a time, the famously trendy and bohemian suburb was home to its very own McDonald’s, which opened in 1983. Just 15 years later, Ronald and friends were run out of ‘town by the area’s changing demographic, which rebelled against the Golden Arches’ high-fat, low-cleanliness approach by voting with their livers…but that’s another story.

Who's paying the electricity?

Who’s paying the electricity?

But some fast food vendors didn’t learn from Mickey D’s drubbing. Case in point: the hot pink, pizza-tossing also-rans Eagle Boys, who evidently thought that Newtown’s absence of junk food was a void waiting to be filled. If they’d just taken the time to walk about five seconds up the road to discover the ‘vegetarian butcher‘ they might have gotten the hint early. Instead, they stood their ground, took the risk, and last January, paid the price.

Pizza Haven, a safe haven for pizza, 1988. Image courtesy sydneyarchives.info/Robert Parkinson

Pizza Haven, a safe haven for pizza, 1988. Image courtesy sydneyarchives.info/Robert Parkinson

Now, in fairness, this location had a long history dispensing trashy food; it was for years a Pizza Haven, a pizza chain so innocuous that even the bloodthirsty firebombers of Newtown didn’t see it as a threat. It wasn’t until Eagle Boys bought out the chain in 2008 and added that obnoxious day-glo colouring to the otherwise handsome corner building that drastic action was home-delivered.

I'm still not clear what Eagle Boys is meant to mean.

I’m still not clear what Eagle Boys is meant to mean.

Despite a statement from Eagle Boys teasing the outlet’s return, no such move has yet been made. And while the Boys sit in their hot pink nest wondering what went so horribly wrong, it might now dawn on them just why the Colonel and Pizza Hut gave King Street and its residents such a wide berth. Fittingly, all that remains of Eagle Boys’ unwanted, doughy legacy is a kind of hot pink neon halo above the door.

Sid Steele Tobacconist/Little Big Tween – Newtown, NSW

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Careful and considered research tells us that as far back as 1914, Sid Steele (yes, the Sid Steele) was providing King Street’s St Peters end with all the tobacco they desired. Had Sid kept his ego in check, we of the future may never have known of his long-ago dominance of the industry, but the forward-thinking Steele made sure his name would be as resilient as his namesake by emblazoning it across the top of this otherwise generic ’14 model. Future tenants were not so precious…

1991. Image courtesy City of Sydney Archives.

1991. Image courtesy City of Sydney Archives.

For example, Martin chose to leave his mark on his customers rather than the buildi- oh sorry, studio. Note that Martin doesn’t have the air conditioner that later tenants have. What’s with that, Martin?

2007. Image courtesy LanceDriver/Flickr.

2007. Image courtesy LanceDriver/Flickr.

In the new millennium, it’s as naff to include your name in your business name as it is to use the term ‘naff’. The proprietors of CHINESE ANTIQUE FURNITURE may not have had staying power, but they didn’t need it; hoping to capitalise on the zeitgeist of the Chinese Antique Furniture boom of 2007-2010.

2013.

2013.

These days, the folks behind Little Big Tween are striking the tween craze while the iron is hot, admirably attempting provide the childrens clothing market with ‘age appropriate’ designs. If it means seeing one less kid in an ‘I’m with the MILF’ shirt, more power to ’em.

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

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

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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.

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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.