Nelson Street is one of several north-south arteries that run the length of the suburb. It is the most easterly.
The southern portion up to Booth Street was surveyed as part of Annandale’s first subdivisions: the failed sub-division attempted by the Johnston family in the 1850’s and the more successful scheme undertaken by The Sydney Freehold Land, Building & Investment Co. in the 1870’s. It is thus the site of some of the suburb’s earliest urbanisation.
However, as with the balance of the suburb, sub-division did not coincide with actual development. The street only really began to take shape in the late 1880’s and many sites remained vacant well after that date. While planned as a residential street, the westward movement of industry from the present CBD in the late 19th century affected the character of this and adjacent streets.
No. 5 NE (corner McCarthy Lane)
The earliest reliable reference to this building in the directories is in 1905 when Mrs Elizabeth McNeil, a grocer, was in occupation. However Mrs Wilson, a draper and grocer occupied a site near this corner in the mid 1890’s and so the building may date from this period.
The site housed a grocery until the mid 1920’s when, as seems to have happened in Annandale with remarkable frequency, it became a confectioner’s shop. It remained so until about 1940 when it became a mixed business.
From the mid 1930’s Rudolph Kehrle (various spellings appear in the directories), pattern maker, occupied premises “off” or “at rear of” No. 5. This may be a reference to what is now No. 7 McCarthy Lane dealt with above.
No. 13 NE Cnr Albion Street
The Contingent Hotel (later called “The Australian Contingent Hotel”) was established on this site in about 1890. The current building dates from that time. The first proprietor recorded in the directories was Mrs SE Davey.
Although sometimes referred to as the predecessor to the Annandale Hotel now at the corner of Parramatta Road and Nelson Streets (and recently closed), the Australian Contingent Hotel was located a block to the north at the corner of Nelson and Albion Sts.
Drawings of the hotel in 1916, prepared to support an application for building alterations, are available here and here.
The pub left the site in the late 1930’s* and by 1940 it was occupied by SW Peterson & Co. Pty Ltd, merchants.
*Strangely, while listed in Sands at this site for several years in the early 1890’s and again from 1908 until 1932/33, there are no listings for the pub from 1895 to 1907. This seems to be an error as it appears in the Rates Books in these years.
This lot was first occupied in 1889 by Thomas Gigg a tile layer. However, it is possible that Gigg simply occupied a house on the site and did not trade here. The same may apply to William Akehurst, stevedore, who occupied the site from 1890 until around 1900, though his daughter (or possibly sister) Harriet worked as a dressmaker, probably from her home here.
After remaining vacant for several years, the lot was occupied from 1910 by John Palmer Brown, a butcher. While it has been heavily modified since, the current building may date from around this time. A succession of butchers worked at the site until the early 1930’s. Possibly as a consequence of the Great Depression, it again became vacant for some years before FW Lester, roofing manufacturers and plumbers began to operate here. They remained at the site into the 1950’s.
This site was probably first occupied in 1887 by Thomas Mangan, a blacksmith. He conducted business here until the early 1920’s. He also ran a brickyard on the site for at part of this period.
In about 1930 EA Perry “white paint manufacturers” established their factory here. The current building either dates from this time or any existing structure would have been heavily modified to accommodate this change of use. EA Perry remained on the site until the 1950’s and appear to have broadened their range as they came to be described as “paint manufacturers and merchants”.
The directories indicate that building (which comprises 2 occupancies) was built in about 1887 and that until the 1930’s No. 25 housed a business and that No. 27 was residential.
William (later Charles) Simmons, confectioner, occupied No. 25 from 1887 until about 1910. By 1910 George E James had taken over the business. The business briefly converted into a grocery in the 1920’s but had again become a confectionery by 1930. However, by 1932 Mrs Lucy Johnson was making ladies underwear at No. 25. Her business was short-lived and it seems that by about 1935 No. 25 had become a residence.
As noted, No. 27 has always comprised a residence. It had a series of tenants up to the 1950’s with Mrs Margaret King being the longest. She lived here from about 1915 until the 1930’s.
This very large site stretching along both Nelson Street and Susan street to the rear once housed the factory of The Walcot Pty Ltd, makers of medicated and other confectionery. The apartment complex now on the site (facing both No. 45 Nelson Street and Nos. 10-24 Susan Street) echoes, but does appears not to incorporate, the old industrial buildings.
While part of the 1870’s subdivision, this large site (comprising many lots in the subdivision) remained more or less vacant until about 1923 when The Walcot Pty Ltd established their factory.
Information about the confectionery business and a photograph of the old factory buildings can be found in Lawrence & Warne, Pictorial History Balmain to Glebe, at page 94.
They produced a range of confectionery such as Life Savers (presumably under licence from the US owner of the brand) and quasi-medicinal products such as cough lozenges including “Larynoids Chest and Throat Pastilles” said to contain the mysterious substance “anesthesin” which gave “quick-acting relief” from a predictably broad range of ailments. An advertisement for the product can be found here.
The firm remained at the site into the 1950’s. By 1950 they shared the site with Pet-Cap Lock Co, electrical engineers.
This handsome building, with its decorative brickwork, was probably built in the late 1880’s. It housed a grocery under several proprietors – the earliest probably being Emma Bower.
Rueben Bassett (who for a time lived up the road at No. 27) ran the business between 1889 and 1894 and expanded into fuel supply.
The grocery ran here until about 1925. In that year SH Collins, a boot maker, took up residence. However, by 1930 Mrs M Faye was again running a grocery. As was common, the grocery became a mixed business in the 1940’s. The boot and shoe trade returned to the site by 1950 when Mr E Mottle established a shoe repair shop here.
Due to frequent re-numberings of Nelson Street and the patchy development of sites in this locality, the history of this site is difficult to trace. Certainly the current shopfront is relatively modern.
A butcher (Henry McGuiness) and a wholesale confectioner (A Wells) had premises on or very close to this site from the mid 1890’s. A grocery also operated in the vicinity in the 1920’s and 30’s. However, after that point and into the 1950’s this portion of Nelson Street seems to have been residential.
Nos. 77 and 79a
As with No. 75 next door, this string of shops and offices is housed in a relatively modern building dating from the 1950’s or 60’s. There is no evidence of any industrial or commercial use before that time.
This two storey building was probably completed in about 1891. Up to 1910 it was occupied by Paul J Thomas, who described himself as an “oil and colorman”*. Perhaps he had a sense of humour. This is an antiquated term descriptive of dealers in victuals: that is, he was a grocer. “Grocer” was the description his successor, Mrs Emma Fox, applied to herself.
It remained a grocery until about 1935 when Percy Morris commenced a boot and shoe repair business. He remained here until the 1940’s.
*Probably a dealer in the victualling trade: see https://rmhh.co.uk/occup/n-o.html. Not to be confused with an “oil colour man”, an occupation associated with the manufacture and colouring of paints: see https://www.familyresearcher.co.uk/glossary/Dictionary-of-Old-Occupations-jobs-beginning-O.html.
This former shop was built in about 1920. The site seems to have been vacant until this time. Its first occupant was Mrs T Taylor, though Sands does not list her occupation. A confectionery business was here by 1925 under the proprietorship of Mrs Jessie Berge.
By the mid 1930’s it had become a grocery. It operated as a grocery or mixed business into the 1950’s under H Presland. An advertisement for one of the shop’s wares still appears on the facade as can be seen in the photo below.
The building now at this site is modern. However, it has been designed to acknowledge an industrial predecessor.
This site was probably vacant until about 1919 which may or may not be attributed to the fact that as at 1905 an explosives manufacturer was operating next door at No. 113!
Campbell & Hack, motor engineers established their workshop here in 1919. From that time the site was the home for a succession of engineers such as H Ingram, W Newland and Ellis Ives & Co. Brass finishers and founders, H Franklin, also occupied the rear of this intensively industrialised small site in the 1940’s.
Edward Cook, carpenter and joiner, was at this site in the mid 1890’s. However the present building probably dates from around 1897. John J Smith ran one of the suburb’s innumerable confectioneries here from that year.
Thomas W Dillon took over the sweets shop in 1899. As will be seen below, he had run a confectionery shop at No. 2 Wells Street on the corner of Collins Street in the 1880’s. His association with confectionery was a long one. He ran the store until the late 1940’s when Harold P Dillon (a son?) took it over.
By 1950 V Anderson was running a ladies hairdresser here.
No. 155 SE Cnr Booth Street
The house, which can be seen behind the shopfront, was built in around 1900. Giuseppe Benedetto, one of the partners in the furniture factory at No. 43 Booth Street, lived here in the 1920’s.
The shop front seems to have been added in about 1930 when Mrs L Lacer operated a confectionery and restaurant. As has been noted, the former business was ubiquitous in Annandale. The latter was relatively rare at that time. The restaurant did not last and by 1932 Mrs Violet Messenger was running a smallgoods shop here. It became a mixed business in around 1940 and by 1950 it was a fishmonger's.
William Glover was running a grocery here in 1904. However, the grocery probably pre-dates this and may have been established in the mid 1890’s and the building may date from that time.
A succession of grocers occupied the building until 1935 when T Presland expanded it into a mixed business in keeping with the times. The mixed business ran at least until the 1950’s.
The old tea sign on the north wall of the building stands testament to the many proprietors who ran this store.
See 205 Nelson Lane above
This site also has a frontage on Nelson Lane and has been discussed earlier.
The site was probably vacant until quite late in the development of the street. Sands lists nothing on the site up to 1932/33. Wise first refers to the site in 1950 when Crystal Star Products, cabinet makers supplies, was at the site. As has been noted above, several business occupied the Nelson Lane frontage at the rear of the site from the mid 1930’s.
This building probably dates from about 1888. It is one of the oldest buildings in the north end of Nelson Street.
Joseph Bennett, a tailor, occupied the site from about 1888 until 1891. By 1892, he had converted the business into a grocery store and he remained here until the early 1920’s. The grocery was run by several later proprietors until the early 1930’s. It seems to have ceased to operate at about the time a mixed business was established several doors down the road at No. 315.
The building was originally built as a house in the late 1890’s. From about 1935 Mrs MP Hough ran a mixed business here. The current facade and a small shop were probably added at that time. The store was run until the late 1940’s.
These two lots, which now host a modern apartment building with street level commercial space, appear to have been vacant until about 1910 when houses were constructed on them. The site did not revert to commercial use until 1938 when West & Co Ltd, bakers began to operate at No. 2. The bakery was soon joined at No. 2 by Goodfood Products, dog food manufacturers.
The dog food business must have prospered as by 1945 the bakery had disappeared and Goodfoods was operating at No. 2 in tandem with Goodnix Dog Biscuit Co. The latter remained at the site into the 1950’s.
This site was first occupied by EJ Smith & Co’s furniture stores. The stores were established in 1914 but EJ Smith left within several years. The Australian Sheep Dip Co. Ltd was here by 1919. It is not clear whether they manufactured at the site.
OH Elliott (probably furniture makers with a factory at The Crescent) had a bulk store here from 1924 which soon expanded to take in Nos. 8 and 10. It is difficult to conceive what the bulk store consisted of as it remained on the site for only a few years. It may simply have been an open air timber yard.
By 1926 the site had become associated with the motor trade and it remained so into the 1950’s. A Panel beater had a shop here by 1926. From 1926 into the 1950’s a succession of motor engineers and garage proprietors operated here.
Like its neighbours, this site between Parramatta Road and Albion Street was not developed until the 1920’s. As has been noted above, OH Elliott’s bulk store took in this site for several years from 1924. Within two years Craven-Burleigh John (Aust.) Ltd, manufacturing chemists, were operating their factory here. The building which can now be seen probably dates from this time.
Craven Burleigh were the makers of, amongst other things, “True Hair Grower”, which, in their advertising, was said to be a “remarkable preparation”. They did not survive the Great Depression – perhaps putting food on the table had become more important that putting hair on the head - and by the early 1930’s they had gone into liquidation and soon left the site.
By 1940 Stanley Spring Co Pty Ltd, wire mattress makers, had taken over the factory. However, by 1945 they had moved on and Leo Buring, wholesale wine and spirit merchants, were trading here. The Kent Doll Manufacturing Co. occupied the site in the 1950’s.
Nos. 6-14 SW Cnr Albion Street
As noted above, part of the site was briefly used from about 1924 as OH Elliott’s bulk store. In 1928 C Elliott, engineers and press and die manufacturers, established their factory here. They remained on the site until the late 1940’s. The building pictured was probably built soon after they came to the site.
By 1950 the factory had been taken over by Nicholson & Wallbank*, iron founders. The firm of Nicholson & Wallbank was founded in 1932 in Auburn. It was later called William Wallbank & Sons Engineers. It purchased C Elliott in 1937 and renamed it the Annandale Engineering Co Ltd which was later relocated to Auburn. The company went into liquidation in about 2016**.
No. 22 NW Cnr Albion Street
This small factory building adjoins a similar building on Albion Street. A house was probably built on the site in the late 19th or early 20th century. However the land was used as a wood and coal yard from around 1900 until the early 1930’s, originally by Michael Moloney, later by A&L Harber and then WB Blacker.
The present factory building may date from around 1950 when P Price & Co. set up a welding factory. They had previously been just down the road at No. 34.
In the mid 1890’s 2 separate paint makers operated in this vicinity, though it is not possible to be confident that one occupied this specific site.
By 1908 Williams & Eves soap manufacturers were using the site and they may have constructed the present building which is pictured. However, by 1910 The Confectioners’ Co-operative Society Ltd, described as “manufacturing (or distributing) confectioners” occupied the building. It is not clear if the company used the site to actually to make or distribute confectionery or whether, as its name suggests, it was a form a mutual society formed to advance the interests of Annandale’s many manufacturing confectioners or their employees. It remained at the site until about 1914.
The use of the site then becomes obscure until the mid 1920’s when P Price & Co. engineers (described as as making bolts and nuts) began to use the rear of the site. The did so until the late 1940’s when they moved up the road to No. 22, no doubt so as to be able to expand their operations.
From 1935 P Price & Co. shared the site with Charles Clark, foodstuff manufacturers and later with the Sydney Gate and Fence Co and AT Lewis who made printer roller casters. A lot of activity for such a small site to handle.
By 1950 Sydney Gate and Fence Co had control of the whole site.
At first site this building simply looks like one of the many late Victorian terraces which are typical of the suburb. However the large display window indicates that it once served a commercial purpose.
It may have been built as early as 1889 to house AW Sprod, a baker. It can be said with more confidence that it was constructed by 1898 when it was occupied by John Sippel, also a baker. In about 1905, George Skellen took over the bakery and was succeeded by Alan Harvey in around 1910. It probably ceased to operate as a bakery in the early 1920’s and seems to have been used solely for residential purposes since that time.
This large site close to Booth Street is now occupied by a townhouse development. It is listed here as it has a long and interesting industrial heritage.
James Robertson, a humble tinsmith arrived at a portion of the site in 1889. By the 1890’s other parts of the site were occupied by Miss A and Mr Robert Woodley, a house agents and storekeepers. However, over subsequent years James Robertson established and expanded his steam cannister works and he later added an enamelling works. Perhaps he made cans for the nearby jam and other factories.
By 1910, James was a Justice of the Peace. By this time he was living with his wife Elizabeth at 37 Myrtle Street, Stanmore which he had bought in 1909*. While James died in 1929, the cannister works remained in operation into the 1950’s.
* See Heritage NSW website.