Albion Street runs parallel to, and immediately to the north of, Parramatta Road. Given its proximity to this main thoroughfare and, in its eastern section, to the earliest subdivisions in Annandale*, it developed relatively early, principally as a residential street. Some particularly prominent houses are to be found on the southern side of the street between Johnston and Annandale Streets. Just opposite those houses, on the northern side of Albion Street, one of the suburb’s first buildings – Annandale Cottage – was built in 1815. Portions of it are said to be incorporated in the private hospital now on that site.
Despite its predominately residential character, Albion Street bears the marks of a semi-industrial past and present.
*A plan of the 1870’s subdivision, depicting a portion of Albion Street, can be found in AURA, The Early History of Annandale, Journal 1 at page 26.
No. 1 NW Corner Susan Street
This building may date from the mid 1880’s. Charles P Dwyer, a builder, occupied the site from that time until around the turn of the century. For several years from the late 1880’s it was known as “the Annandale Trades Hall”. However, its use as a trades hall seems to have been brief and its role in Annandale’s political life is unclear.*
It appears to have reverted to a residence soon after 1900.
*For a history of the labour movement in the Inner West see M Solling, The Labor Party in Inner Sydney, LHJ Vol 22 page 3. Annandale Hall above the Colonnade at 101 Johnston Street features more prominently in the suburb’s civic and political history.
The current building probably dates from the 1960’s, though it may incorporate an earlier structure. The site formed part of the footprint of the Australian Contingent Hotel (originally the “Contingent Hotel”) which occupied the north-east corner of Albion and Nelson streets from about 1890, a portion of which still survives: see Nelson Street.
After the hotel moved to the site of the present Annandale Hotel a block to the south in the mid-1930’s, the site seems to have remained vacant into the 1950’s.
The site was used as a wood and coal yard from around 1905 and from about 1920 this stretch of Albion Street was residential. The present building post-dates the 1950’s and presumably replaced one or more dwellings.
This somewhat unusual building, with its hollow ground floor, may have been used by Jackson & Juchan, carriers from around 1915 until the early 1930’s.
While used for residential purposes from the early 20th century, the site has been occupied by the present commercial building since the late 1940’s, and was probably built for the Plastic Doll Parts Co. which occupied the site in the 1950’s. At that time the area must have been a bit of a hub for doll makers as The Kent Doll Manufacturing Co. operated just around the corner at 6a Nelson Street.
No. 58 SE (corner Trafalgar Street)
The first occupant to the site was Henry Sizmur, a greengrocer, who established his business on this prominent site, close to Parramatta Road, in 1894. Thereafter a series of grocers and confectioners operated at the site until the early 1940’s at which time the site seems to have reverted to light industrial use and may have been used by a pattern maker. A number of pattern makers worked in this locality. They produced casting moulds for metal foundries, several of which operated in this part of Annandale.
The present building probably dates from the 1950’s or 60’s.
Much of the structure on this site is modern. However, close inspection suggests that it incorporates parts of an older building. An ice making and cold storage works (which traded under several names, including Annandale Ice and Storage Works) operated in this location from the mid 1920s until about 1940.
In the 1950s, it may have been occupied by a pattern maker.
No. 140 SW Cnr Young Street
Built in about 1893, this prominent building seems to remain much as it was when built, albeit that verandahs and/or awnings have probably been removed.
It, began life as a grocery and remained so until at least the 1950’s. James Grant was the initial proprietor and traded from 1893 until the early 1920’s. After a short stint as a wine saloon in the 1920s, a succession of proprietors operated a grocery or mixed business (as such stores increasingly came to be known after the World War Two).
Use of this site is a little hard to track through Sands due to frequent re-numberings of Albion St and as it does not occupy a corner.
A bakery may have been located here in the 1920s and later the Hardwood Co-op Box factory. It can more confidently be identified as the site of Peters & Co upholsterers which operated from the mid 1930’s until about the end of the second war. The current building may date from then.
As with other sites along Albion Street, tracking the use of this site (now Nos. 192-194) is a little difficult until well into the 20th century.
A number of wheelwright businesses occupied parts of the site, possibly as early as the 1880’s. Thomas Taylor was at the site as a wheel wright as late as 1910.
The current building (apartments) incorporates an earlier industrial facade which may date from the 1950’s when Yarn & Textile Mills Pty Ltd, textile manufacturers, Sydney Waste Industries, waste manufacturers, and Colourcraft Pty Ltd, dye works appear to have operated from portions of the site.
Like 192-194 Albion St, Nos. 200-202 are currently apartments with an older industrial facade. In this case the former industrial use is also evident at the rear along Albion Lane (see accompanying photo).
Sands suggests that a fuel merchant occupied No 200 in around 1915, though the use of both sites was principally residential until the 1940’s.
From 1945 Hyco Products, manufacturing engineers occupied at least part of the site and they were later joined by The William Hunt Level & Co, turners (probably at 200 Albion Lane). The current Albion Street and Albion Lane facades may date from this period, though the latter may well be older.