Much of Johnston Lane stretches between Collins Street and Booth Street. A small section of the lane lies south of Collins Street beside the Catholic primary school. It was known as Trafalgar Lane until about 1905 and is not to be confused with the lane which still bears that name and runs north of Booth Street.
Contemporary photos (including a photo taken in 1928 from the roof of the newly completed cinema on Johnston Street) and the directories confirm that Johnston Lane was heavily industrialised by the early 20th century. The large Taylor Bros. jam factory and, later, the Raycophone factory which fronted this part of Booth Street, occupied a sizeable portion of the east side of the lane near Booth Street. Some of the larger establishments along Johnston Street such as Lavan’s saddle and harness factory and the North Annandale Hotel seem to have used the land to the rear of their sites along the lane. However, a large variety of smaller concerns occupied premises along its length. The signs of their former presence is evident in many of the buildings still lining the lane.
However, in common with Annandale’s other lanes, in many instances it is not possible to link particular businesses to specific sites given the limitations of the directories. From the 1920’s they included collar makers, aluminium workers, a hat block manufacturer, a dye works, motor garage, wood turner, coat hanger makers, electrical engineers, a wholesale grocer, paper merchants and several printers, hinge makers and other metal workers and the “Sydney Shell Grit Co”.
Listed below are only those premises which it is possible to attach to one of these trades and so several buildings with an industrial past are omitted.
In the 1940’s this was home of VL Caesar, coathanger maker. He had earlier had his works across the road at No. 83.
This former chapel housed Robert J Godfrey Pty Ltd, hat block manufacturers from about 1925. It be seen in the background of a contemporary photograph of the North Annandale Hotel.
In the 1940’s it was the home of Kosmon* Era Press and Moderne Art Printing Co** in 1950’s.
*The word is associated with spiritualism.
**A business of this name is still in operation in Silverwater.
Alfred Jarrett’s sheet metal workshop occupied this building from 1935 and into the 1950’s.
This building at the southern end of the lane may have been occupied in the 1930’s by WAC Jones, motor garage and repairs.
Hughes and Mayer's dye works or The Kent Manufacturing Works probably operated from this site in the late 1920’s and early 1930’s, though the present building may post-date this era. By about 1932 Koosky Frozen Sweets, fruit juice makers, were probably here. However, as at 1935 Len W Richards, wholesale grocer, was in occupation.
In the 1930’s and 1940’s Roy S Rogers, paper merchants operated at this site which is the rear of the sweet factory premises at No. 65 Johnston Street described below.
This building was probably the premises of Matthew George Smith, collar maker from about 1919 until the mid 1930’s. In the early 1940’s Henry Bros., glass merchants traded at the site.
From 1935 VL Caesar, coat hanger maker, operated at this site before crossing the lane to No. 100 in 1940.
This apartment building incorporates an earlier industrial structure. It was the home of JM Robinson, printers. It may have been used as a store in conjunction with Mr Lappan’s saddle and harness factory at 101 Johnston Street (described below) prior to that time.