Perched at the intersection of Chalmers and Cleveland Streets are a variety of notable buildings: the old Australia Post headquarters; the colonial era Cleveland Street Public School; that ancient backpackers hostel. The odd one out is this building, which has sat unused and for lease until very recently, when part of it was turned into a greengrocer. The other part still sits dormant, waiting for another chance at life.
Around the side we can see that it was for sale long ago. So old is the sale that the sold stickers have become partially transparent. The sign to the right has been painted over along with the rest of the building, and still myriad signs and lettering can be seen underneath the coat, some of which seems to suggest the place had a restaurant…but that’s not the lettering we’re interested in.
At some point in the past, this place was Bookers [sic] Night Spot, the only pub or club I could find attributed to this address. Half price drinks were on sale between 10pm-11:30pm. It featured two floors, and pool tables. Not the most dynamic attributes a night spot could have, but aside from the weak offerings it’s unclear when or why the club closed. The competition from the pubs down near Central Station or up at Crown Street might have played a part, and that the area is much more gentrified than ever. It’s easy to imagine this may have been yet another corner pub once, serving thirsty shift workers from Australia Post, or a tram stop on what was once a busy corner for the light rail.
ATHENIAN UPDATE: As reader Luke says, this location was once the Athena Greek nightclub/Restaurant. The only remnant of this today is the ironwork affixed over the east window:
This building served the community of Rhodes from 1922, when the suburb was only mildly polluted, to 1993, when it glowed in the dark. Continuing in its tradition of making smart choices for the Rhodes area, the NSW Government sold the school to the Canada Bay Council, which has used it as a community centre ever since. Amusingly and unsurprisingly, most of the school amenities are still in place, including the loudspeaker under the roof.
It’s strange to see a school without the Building Education Revolution scheme’s signature flimsy, tacked on buildings. The problem the Rhodes community now faces is where their three-headed children will go to school. All the local schools have filled up rapidly since the area became residential, forcing parents to send their children further away from Rhodes for their education. Given what we know, is that really such a bad thing?