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T h e T r a n s f o r m at i o n o f S y d n e y 1 9 4 5 1 9 7 0

edited by

Built Environment

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A UNSW Press book

Published by
NewSouth Publishing
University of New South Wales Press Ltd
University of New South Wales
Sydney NSW 2052
Paul Hogben and Judith OCallaghan 2014
First published 2014
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
This book is copyright. While copyright of the work as a whole is
vested in Paul Hogben and Judith OCallaghan, copyright of individual
chapters is retained by the chapter authors. Apart from any fair
dealing for the purpose of private study, research, criticism or review,
as permitted under the Copyright Act, no part of this book may be
reproduced by any process without written permission. Inquiries
should be addressed to the publisher.
National Library of Australia
Cataloguing-in-Publication entry
Title: Leisure space: the transformation of Sydney, 19451970/
edited by Paul Hogben & JudithOCallaghan.
ISBN: 9781742233826 (paperback)
9781742246802 (ePDF)
Subjects: Architecture, Modern 20th century.
Hotels Landscape architecture New South Wales Sydney.
Interior decoration New South Wales Sydney.
Leisure New South Wales Sydney.
Sydney (NSW) History.
Other Authors/Contributors: Hogben, Paul, editor.
OCallaghan, Judith, 1954 editor.
Dewey Number: 728.5099441
Design Di Quick
Cover image Interior view of the Summit Restaurant, 1968.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1968. Courtesy Penelope Seidler.
Printer Everbest, China
All reasonable efforts were taken to obtain permission to use copyright
material reproduced in this book, but in some cases copyright could not
be traced. The editors welcome information in this regard.
This book is printed on paper using fibre supplied from plantation or
sustainably managed forests.

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This publication was supported by the City of

Sydneys History Publication Sponsorship Program.

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Introduction Paul Hogben Judith OCallaghan 9

1 Leisure in Sydney during the long boom Judith OCallaghan Paul Hogben 14
2 The changing face of travel: The modern tourist office Russell Rodrigo 30
3 Double modernity: The first international hotels Paul Hogben 50
4 Motels: The ultra modern experience Judith OCallaghan 70
5 Sky-high ambitions: Sydneys restaurants Sing DArcy 92
6 Architecture, coffee and cocktails Michael Bogle 108
7 Big, bright, beautiful: The new shopping centres Shirley Daborn 128
8 The rise and fall of the Sydney drive-in Robert Freestone 144
9 Golf: A changing landscape Catherine Evans Tracie Harvison 162
10 The leagues club: A working-class palace Harry Margalit 178
11 Ethnic clubs: The dream of tomorrow Dijana Alic 192
12 Informal modern: Holiday houses Maryam Gusheh Catherine Lassen 208



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Dijana Alic is a senior lecturer in Architecture at UNSW
Australia. Her research focusses on the relationship between
modernity and national expression in architecture. She has
published in significant international journals such as the Journal
of the Society of Architectural Historians (JSAH) , Open House
International and Fabrications.
Michael Bogle is a design historian with interests in the
dissemination of modernism in Australia, especially the career
of Arthur Baldwinson and his generation of early modernist
architects and designers. His most recent book is Design in Flight,
focussing on Marc Newsons work for the Qantas A380 Airbus
(Watermark Press, 2008).
Shirley Daborn is a cultural researcher. She currently works
at Penrith Regional Gallery and is a lecturer in Museum Studies
at the University of Sydney. Her research practice draws on
interdisciplinary approaches that span cultural studies, the history
of modern architecture and visual arts. Gaining a PhD from UNSW
Australia in 2010, she has published articles on shopping centres
as everyday sites of modernity and is currently researching post
World War II community architecture in western Sydney.
Sing dArcy is a lecturer in Interior Architecture at UNSW
Australia. His research relating to contemporary interior practice
focusses on Australian workplace and hospitality design,
with regular contributions to industry journals. His research
publications also encompass the relationships between music
and architectural space, as well as ephemeral interiors.
Catherine Evans is a senior lecturer in Landscape
Architecture at UNSW Australia. Her research interests
include the planning and provision of metropolitan greenspace,

contemporary approaches to the design and management of large

urban parks, and heritage landscapes.

Robert Freestone is professor of Planning and Associate

Dean (Research) in the Faculty of Built Environment at UNSW
Australia. His research interests include planning history, urban
heritage and metropolitan development. He has authored and
edited several books, including The Planning Imagination (coedited with Mark Tewdwr-Jones and Nicholas Phelps, Routledge,
2014), Urban Nation (CSIRO Press, 2010), Cities, Citizens and
Environmental Reform (Sydney University Press, 2009), Florence
Taylors Hats (with Bronwyn Hanna, Federation Press, 2007) and
Designing Australias Cities (UNSW Press, 2007).
Maryam Gusheh is a lecturer in Architecture at UNSW
Australia. Her research focusses on 20th-century architectural
history, with a particular interest in cross-cultural design
practices. Maryam was the co-curator for a major exhibition on
the work of Glenn Murcutt held at Gallery Ma, Tokyo, in 2008,
and co-author of the associated monographs. Her doctoral
dissertation studied the parliamentary complex in Dhaka,
Bangladesh (196383), designed by the American architect Louis
Kahn. Her essays pertaining to this work and other collaborative
projects have been widely published.
Tracie Harvison is a landscape architect and planner.
She is also a PhD candidate at UNSW Australia. Her industry
practice encompasses both the private and public sectors, and
she has acted as the head consultant on a number of landscape
conservation and management projects in Queensland and New
South Wales. Her research focusses on the salutogenic or healthpromoting qualities of the built environment, supporting positive
ageing and community engagement.

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Paul Hogben is a senior lecturer in Architecture at UNSW

Australia. His research examines aspects of Australian
architectural history, especially the role played by the media in
the promotion and legitimisation of architectural ideas, practices
and built outcomes. He has contributed to Shifting Views:
Selected Essays on the Architectural History of Australia and New
Zealand (University of Queensland Press, 2008), Skyplane (UNSW
Press, 2009) and Semi-Detached: Writing, Representation and
Criticism in Architecture (Uro Media, 2012). With Xing Ruan, he
co-edited Topophilia and Topophobia: Reflections on TwentiethCentury Human Habitat (Routledge, 2007).
Catherine Lassen is an architect and lecturer in Architecture
at UNSW Australia. Her research and teaching interests span
modern Australian architectural history and contemporary
representation and practice. She has co-authored a book on
Hugh Buhrich (Garry Anderson Gallery, 1991) and co-curated a
major exhibition on the work of Glenn Murcutt held at Gallery
Ma, Tokyo, in 2008, co-authoring the associated monographs.
Her design work has been awarded, published and exhibited in
Australia and internationally.

Judith OCallaghan is a senior lecturer in Interior

Architecture at UNSW Australia. Her particular area of research
is Australian architecture, interiors and design post-1945. Her
books include The Australian Dream: Design of the Fifties
(Powerhouse Publishing, 1993) as editor and contributing author,
and as co-author Absolutely Mardi Gras: Costume and Design of
the Sydney Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras (Powerhouse Publishing
and Doubleday, 1997) and Robert Baines: Metal (Object:
Australian Centre for Craft and Design, 2010). Judiths most
recent book, with Charles Pickett, Designer Suburbs: Architects
and Affordable Homes in Australia (NewSouth Publishing, 2012),
won a National Trust (NSW) Heritage Award in 2013.
Russell Rodrigo is a senior lecturer in Interior Architecture
at UNSW Australia. His research focusses on the significance
of the modernist inheritance in architectural design through the
investigation and contextualisation of significant post-1950s
interior spaces in Sydney, with a particular emphasis on the
history and theory of branded environments.

C ontributors

Harry Margalit is associate professor in Architecture at

UNSW Australia. He has researched and published on 20th-

century architecture, with an emphasis on Sydney, as well

as on contemporary urban development. He has extensive
practice experience, and is the author (with Philip Goad) of the
architectural monograph Durbach Block Architects (Pesaro, 1999).

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Paul Hogben Judith OCallaghan

Sometime in early 1969 Sydney photographer Max Dupain ventured

up to the rooftop of the new Travelodge motel near Sydneys
Wynyard Park to inspect the scene and contemplate the best
position from which to capture the splendour of the buildings
terrace roofscape. Looking across the pool his gaze would have
been drawn to the skyline beyond and the looming brilliance of the
Australia Square tower in the near distance, one of his favoured
architectural subjects; the photographer perhaps struck by this
scene of modernist synchronicity. The stepped terrace and frames
of the Travelodge rooftop offered a perfect viewing platform from
which to look across to the tower and admire its imposing profile.
The bathers in Dupains photograph (overleaf), however, do not
seem concerned with looking out to the city but rather gratified by
the casual enjoyment of testing the water and relaxing poolside,
nonchalant about the spectacle that lay beyond. The pair engage in
a happy exchange, their bodies basking in the suns warmth near the
coolness of the pool. Beneath the water, written in bold letters, is
the name of the motel chain that, within little more than a decade,
had built up an impressive stock of accommodation in and around
Sydney. The new Wynyard Travelodge, designed by H Stossel
& Associates, was the largest to date at 27 levels, 15 of which
contained the latest in motel room accommodation.1 A restaurant,
located on the floor below the motels rooftop, offered patrons
another elevated view of the city.
Dupains photograph captures a scene of exclusive leisure
within a modern space of openness and abstraction, of elevation
and elemental enjoyment. Locating a pool on the rooftop of a
tall building was a technical feat new to Sydney, and indeed
Australia, in the late 1960s. Swimming pools became a major
scenic feature of luxury resort hotels in the 1920s, the Biltmore
at Coral Gables in Florida boasting the largest. When it opened in
1953, the Beverly Hilton in Los Angeles had an elevated pool at
its first floor level onto which guests could gaze from their rooms

and the hotels restaurants. At the Wynyard Travelodge, the pool

was shot skyward and, unlike the landscapes of greater Miami
or Los Angeles, the emphasis was on being in and of the city,
distinguished by the spectacle of elevation.
While this leisure environment is elevated, modern and
bright, it is also branded. Undulating under the sparkling water,
the Travelodge name stakes a presence in the space and on the
experience of the pleasures on offer. It is not overbearing but is on
show, a reminder that this leisure environment is provided by the
commercial entity.
Dupains image wonderfully evokes the central theme of this
book: the spaces of leisure and pleasure that appeared in Sydney
during the decades of the long boom and which were products
of commercial and private enterprise. Collectively, the chapters
serve to illuminate the role played by these spaces in the dramatic
transformation of Sydney during the period 1945 to 1970. Over
these years the city abandoned its old building height limit and
embraced the skyscraper. It witnessed the construction of shiny
curtain-wall buildings and new transport infrastructure, and saw
the bold plan for its new opera house take shape. But it was not
just these elements that proclaimed the citys post-war thirst for
modernity and signalled its transformation into a bustling high-rise
and internationally oriented city. As the austerity years subsided,
private enterprise looked to leisure as a major area of development
for the city, and over the course of two decades fostered a thriving
leisure environment. By the late 1960s, Sydney was alive with
hip and fashionable venues. It boasted three large international
standard hotels, a collection of urban motels and boutique
townhouses, classy cocktail bars and nightclubs, and a host of
fine dining restaurants, all within about a miles radius of the city
centre. These were not the older, principally internalised places
of pre-war times, but new spaces that embodied modern design
languages. They were part of the new Sydney, manifestations

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Rooftop terrace and swimming pool of

the Wynyard Travelodge, Sydney.
Photo by Max Dupain. Constructional
Review, June 1969, p. 29.


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to Community in that it sheds light on previously undocumented

buildings, interiors and landscapes of the post-war era, yet in
another arena of modernity and community formation that of the
private and commercial provision of leisure and its spatial forms.
By highlighting the role played by this sector in the creation of
modern leisure-related spaces in Sydney, this book reveals further
layers to the history of modernism in this city.5
Contributors to the book are academics and fellow researchers
connected to the Faculty of Built Environment at UNSW Australia
who have focussed on a selection of leisure-related typologies.
Each contributor brought their own disciplinary interests to the
study of these types, from urban planning issues to the notion
of spatial branding. As with Community, focus on type was
considered an appropriate and illuminating method of inquiry.6
Although the reader will discover common threads between the
chapters and a hybridity to several of the spaces under study, the
organisation of the research and the book around types reflects
the mode through which many of these buildings and urban spaces
were themselves conceived. The discourse at the time was largely
centred on functional type, whether in the form of a traditional
example such as the hotel, or a new one, such as the shopping
centre. As this book serves to demonstrate, even a traditional type
like a hotel or golf course was transformed during the post-war
period. Some chapters also look at the ways in which one type
evolved from another, such as the coffee lounge emerging from the
design precedent of the milk bar, or how one sub-type was used
to advance the cause of modern design within a broader typology,
such as the modern holiday house as a reference for domestic
architecture generally.
There are two books that have been particularly valuable for
this study, namely Jim Davidson and Peter Spearritts Holiday
Business: Tourism in Australia since 1870 and Richard Whites On
Holidays: A History of Getting Away in Australia.7 These books

I ntroduction

of the pleasure-seeking made possible through the powerful

combination of greater amounts of free time and disposable
income. They celebrated the visibility of wealth and prosperity and
of youth seeking the means to express itself.
The study of Sydneys past leisure environments is rich historical
territory, from its early theatres and clubs to the lavish hotels and
coffee palaces of the 1880s; from its Victorian urban parks to its art
deco cinemas, and, of course, Luna Park on the citys harbour. Studies
of these places chart important transformations in the provision and
consumption of leisure and entertainment.2 While private interests
were active in the early colony, the heady economic times of the
1880s heralded a new era in the commercial provision of leisure.
Enterprising capitalists looked upon leisure as something that could
be commodified, bought and sold, at greater scales than it had been
before. This was most evident in the amusement parks that were
constructed at Bondi and Coogee in 1887. The Royal Aquarium and
Pleasure Grounds at Bondi became one of Sydneys most popular
attractions, initially drawing thousands of visitors a week during the
summer months.3 Apart from a large aquarium containing sharks,
stingrays and other sea life, the park also had a concert hall, skating
rinks, merry-go-rounds, shooting galleries, water boats and, most
spectacularly of all, a switchback railway fun ride above the sands of
Tamarama Beach.
The study of Sydneys post-war leisure environments has been
dominated by a fixation on the Opera House and the many facets
of its design, construction and realisation. A recent publication,
Community: Building Modern Australia, sheds light on lesser-known
buildings of the era, some of which were built for leisure.4 It
focusses on the municipal buildings that appeared in suburban and
regional Australia kindergartens, public libraries, civic centres
and swimming pools, among others in which modern design was
seen as the means to promote a healthy community life at the
level of everyday experience. Leisure Space has a similar intent


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provide important accounts of the principal means through which

most people experience leisure that of the holiday, the act and
enjoyment of getting away from the workplace and the routines of
daily life. For White, charting the history of the holiday in Australia
turned out to be a rather complex exercise:
It involves the economic history of a major industry. Political
history appears, not only in legislative reform, but in the holidays
of Sir Henry Parkes, Alfred Deakin and John Howard. In the
development of tourist resorts and sex tourism in Asia, there is
a history of imperialism and of diplomacy. It is a social history
of how leisure helps define class relations, and an intellectual
history of moral seriousness and the legitimacy of pleasure.
There is labour history in the story of working hours and holiday
entitlements. It is the cultural history of desire, and supremely
a study of the body, laid out on the sand. It also partakes of that
illustrious tradition of transport history in accounting for the very

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means of getting away.8

As with Whites study, this book demonstrates that the design and
production of Sydneys post-war leisure environments are related
to broader histories of society, politics, labour and technology.
Some of these relationships are acknowledged in its opening
chapter and are treated in detail later. In terms of political history,
for instance, development politics feature in Chapter 8 on drive-in
cinemas, whereas government immigration policies form part of
the study of Sydneys post-war ethnic clubs presented in Chapter
11. Whites realisation that the holiday can be considered in
terms of the cultural history of desire also has resonances here,
especially in the way leisure is often tied to acts of consumption.
The organisation of Leisure Space has a geographical nature.
City-based leisure-related spaces are treated first, due to the city
being the traditional locus of cosmopolitan culture. The mix of
capital and cosmopolitan culture bred a thirst for modernity and
modern leisure spaces. In the case of Sydney, the city, including

Kings Cross, offered the most stylish and sophisticated forms of

accommodation and entertainment in the 1950s and 1960s. City
venues, especially cafes and coffee lounges, were the places
to go for a first-hand experience of modernist cool. They were
later joined by the large international hotels and also motels that
offered a more commercialised experience of modernism and
modern design. Thus, the first half of this book is devoted to these
spaces. Its second half considers a selection of Sydneys post-war
suburban leisure-related spaces, their popularity derived in part
from the prospect of experiencing a sense of city cosmopolitanism
in the suburban environment, but also from the attractions of
convenience, space and community that the suburbs allowed and
which suburbanites desired. The suburban shopping centre, for
example, aimed to re-create the colour and flair of the city within
a controlled, clean and spacious setting. The large leagues club
buildings of suburban Sydney played an active role in the formation
of community identity, as did the ethnic clubs built in Sydneys
western suburbs in the 1950s and 1960s. The final chapter of the
book considers leisure at the fringe namely, the holiday houses
designed for coastal and bushland locations at the periphery of, or
outside, the suburban landscape. In a twist, however, in its study
of the holiday house, it turns to consider the question of modern
domestic architecture as a suburban proposition.
It was not possible to represent every type of commercial or
privately resourced leisure space of the post-war era. Readers
will note some very obvious omissions such as ten-pin bowling
alleys, sailing clubs and RSL clubs. Any book of this kind involves a
process of selection. In this instance, the emphasis was on seeking
a representative sample of major types that presented a balance
between the city and the suburbs, and, in some cases, a link
between the two. Most importantly, however, the selected types
had to collectively convey an understanding of some of the key
social, economic and political forces that served to shape Sydneys


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and entertainment-based projects on the western edge of the

city centre, in partnership with private industry. Underlying these
developments is the idea of primary catalysts, such as hotels
and casinos, as a means of improving Sydneys international
profile and drawing visitors to the city. This idea is not new, the
campaign mounted in the 1950s for the construction of first-class
hotels in Sydney as a way of attracting tourists being an obvious
example.10 By focussing on the decades of the 1950s and 1960s
this book provides, for the first time, a cross-section of the leisure
environments of this important period in the history of Sydney, and
in doing so allows us to see present-day concerns in a broader
context of cultural change, transformation and repetition.

I ntroduction

identity and its enduring reputation as a modern, pleasure-oriented

Although the book is focussed on the decades following the end
of World War II, it recognises that leisure spaces continue to play a
significant role in the way Sydney is defined and constructed.
The health of the tourism, entertainment and hospitality industries
is critical to the economic health of the city. After a lull in the
years following the Sydney 2000 Summer Olympics, visitor
numbers have risen again. In the year ending in March 2013,
about 30 million people visited Sydney for overnight and day
trips, spending $13.3 billion.9 In an effort to improve on these
numbers, the NSW Government has committed to large leisure


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Judith OCallaghan Paul Hogben

in Sydney
during the
long boom

Darlinghurst Road, Kings Cross, 1961.

The Cross was a traditional night-time
and tourist haunt, but during the 1950s
and 1960s the range and number of
leisure-related facilities on offer, from
hotels and motels to bars, cafes and
restaurants, expanded exponentially.
Photographer unknown. National
Archives of Australia: A1200, L38208.

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In 1960, architect, writer and social

commentator Robin Boyd published
his controversial interrogation of
Australias urban and suburban
environment, The Australian Ugliness.
Within his acute and at times scathing
descriptions, he managed to capture
some of the glamour and excitement of
Sydney, the oldest and biggest city:
It has the tallest buildings, the brightest lights, the best and
closest beaches with the burliest lifesavers, the fiercest colours
on the fastest taxis with the toughest drivers, the brightest
benches in the patchiest parks, the busiest traffic. Sydney has
the only facilities for night-life worth mentioning, the highest
standards in popular entertainment, the smartest and the

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tawdriest elements of the Australian pattern.1

Traditionally Australias gateway city, Sydney was the first port of

call for most travellers from overseas and a favoured destination
for regional and interstate visitors. During the 1950s and 1960s,
however, Sydneys reputation for lively entertainment, hospitality
and attractive distractions was dramatically enhanced. The citys
heart, its fringes and its suburbs were transformed under the
impact of the long boom.

P o st- wa r
p ro s p e r it y

Similar to the United States and

other industrialised nations around
the world, Australia experienced high
levels of economic growth in the post-war period. This trend in
fact began when the Depression lifted in 1940, and continued until
1970. As Australian economist Rodney Maddock observed:
The period of the long boom was clearly one of the outstanding
epochs in the history of the country. Not only were the people
richer as a result, but there were a lot more people. Seven million
Australians had become twelve and a half. The economy thus had
operated to provide 80 percent more people double the standard
of living that had been enjoyed thirty years earlier.2

Maddock also notes that unlike the normal pattern of the global
boom, Australia did not experience rapid growth in the public
sector so that the extension of the boom after the war period is
explained best by the development of private industry, although
such public policies as high immigration targets were important.3
In an environment of wage growth, close to full employment,
high levels of household formation and accelerated population
growth, the demand for goods and services dramatically increased.
According to Greg Whitwells study of the growth of consumerism
in Australia in the post-war period:
Gone were the days when the income of a relatively large
percentage of households covered little more than the
basic necessities of life: food, clothing and accommodation.
There emerged instead a new situation in which a clear and
expanding majority of households enjoyed a disposable income
(increasingly) above that needed to provide for the essentials
of everyday existence. It was at the discretion of households to
decide when and how they would use the surplus income.4

It was not, of course, a period of universal affluence. Poverty

persisted within some segments of society5 and the long


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L eisure in S y dne y during the long boom

Manly Beach, 1965. While Sydneys

beaches remained a favoured
destination for the expenditure of
increased leisure time, by 1965 the
city had many more diversions to offer
locals and tourists alike.
Photographer unknown. Australian
News and Information Bureau. National
Archives of Australia: A1200, L50644.


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boom was not without its recessions.6 Overall, however, living

standards for a large percentage of the population greatly
improved and, by 1970, per capita consumption was double that
of 1940.7
In The Sociology of Leisure, John R Kelly and Geoffrey Godbey
describe the ways in which post-war prosperity in North America
expanded not only the possibilities for leisure but also its meaning:
the majority of the population had a greatly expanded array of
leisure opportunities within their grasp. Leisure was becoming
more legitimate if earned by work. Leisure, for many, was no longer
a short period of catharsis after work but gradually became the
quest for pleasure and, eventually, meaning.8
Richard Whites study On Holidays: A History of Getting Away
in Australia identifies a similar shift in attitude and opportunity
in the post-war period. According to White, the heyday of the
holiday in this country was from 1945 to 1975. Before World War
II the middle classes had had a monopoly on the holiday, as they
used conspicuous leisure to define their identity and assert their
privilege.9 The decades following the end of the war, however,
saw the holiday become a mass phenomenon.10
In Australia, the opportunity to partake in leisure activity was
greatly facilitated by major changes to industrial law. Beginning
in the 1940s, for example, successive Labor governments in New
South Wales led the way in legislating for paid annual leave, a
40-hour week and long service leave. As White succinctly notes,
The working classes gained access to what had been denied them
before the war: not simply more money and more job security but
more time.11
The democratisation of leisure inevitably led to increased
resources, both public and private, being directed towards the
development of leisure-related facilities. Concerned with issues
of community health, welfare and accessibility, publicly funded
facilities rarely deviated from the traditional offerings of parks,

sporting ovals, bowling greens, swimming pools, tennis courts,

childrens playgrounds, beach pavilions and occasionally golf
courses. Private, or at least corporate, investment was more
alert to current trends and opportunities and more agile in its
response. Its interests were largely directed towards three primary
areas: hospitality (including accommodation), entertainment
and retail. While many of the associated building types already
existed notably hotels, restaurants and shops they became
more complex, diverse and sophisticated in terms of the range of
services and facilities offered.
There was also an expansion of non-commercial but private
ventures related to leisure, the dramatic growth in leagues clubs
around Sydney being a prime example. Various ethnic clubs
were also established in the city and suburbs, reflecting the
unprecedented level and diversity of immigration to Australia
in the decades following the war. New typologies directly
imported from North America also appeared, such as motels,
drive-in cinemas and shopping centres. All were dependent on
the mobility that attended the rapid growth of car ownership
in Australia after the war, but drive-ins and shopping centres
were also a direct outcome of the great post-war drift to the
suburbs. As geographer Clive Forster has observed, Economic
growth, population increase, and a massive rise in automobile
ownership interacted, together with government housing and
planning policies, to fuel a seemingly unstoppable chain reaction
of metropolitan expansion and suburbanisation.12
The type, range and proliferation of leisure- and pleasurerelated facilities in Australia, and particularly in Sydney during the
long boom, were stimulated by a new emphasis on tourism and its
development as an industry. In 1964, the Australian National Travel
Association (ANTA) commissioned two New York consultancies to
undertake a study of the countrys tourism industry. Published in
1966, the study revealed that the volume of international visitors

L eisure in S y dne y during the long boom

Sydneys urban and suburban landscape

was transformed by the dramatic rise in
car ownership in the 1950s and 1960s.
Multi-level car parks, such as this
one on Kent Street in the city, along
with drive-in cinemas and suburban
shopping centres were examples of
the new car-centred typologies of the
Photo by David Mist, 1969. Collection:
Powerhouse Museum. David Mist.


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to Australia had increased by 147 per cent over the period 1958
to 1964.13 It also reported that Sydney with its veritable galaxy
of things to do and see was a major destination area, the main
port of arrival of overseas visitors by air and sea, and a principal
business and financial centre of Australia It has been estimated
that 90% of all overseas visitors stay in Sydney during part of their
Sydneys jealously guarded status as Australias gateway city
was reinforced with the opening of a new overseas passenger
shipping terminal at Circular Quay in 1960, and a new international
air terminal at Mascot in 1970. Within two years, more than one
million overseas visitors and returning Australians were flying into
Sydney.15 But while natural attractions as well as cultural, sporting
and retail diversions may have provided sufficient interest for the
tourist, by the mid-1960s the supply of accommodation, as well as
the number of high-quality restaurants and bars in the city centre,
were seen to be in need of a substantial boost.16
The metropolitan expansion and suburbanisation of Sydney
during the long boom had a massive impact on the citys heart,
not only in terms of its shape and scale, but also its texture. While
opportunities for employment, entertainment and other diversions
continued to flourish in the centre,17 the resident population
dramatically dwindled, moving to the suburbs, along with many
industries. At the same time, the citys rise as a financial hub was
mirrored in the extensive redevelopment of the central business
district. As described by geographers Phillip ONeill and Pauline
Glass, concrete and steel began to shadow the old sandstones,
the consequence of property investments from mutual funds
societies like AMP, real estate corporations like Lend Lease, US
interlopers like IBM and Caltex and a rapidly growing federal
government legion of employees in departments like immigration,
taxation and social security.18

Following the great drift to the suburbs,

large enclosed shopping centres based
on North American models such as
Roselands, pictured here began to
appear. Replacing the shopping strip
and offering an expanded range of
services and facilities, they became a
hub of suburban life.
Photo by William Brindle, 1965.
National Archives of Australia: A1200,


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L eisure in S y dne y during the long boom


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Overseas passengers passing through

Customs Hall at Kingsford Smith Airport in
1961. As Australias gateway city, Sydneys
airport was the busiest in the country.
Photographer unknown. Australian News
and Information Bureau. National Archives
of Australia: A1200, L37334.


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Significantly, the rapacious level of office block development that

transformed the CBD during the 1960s and early 1970s involved
substantial destruction of existing and historic fabric. This
included the demolition of most of the citys grand pre-war hotels,
including the Hotel Australia, Metropole, Adams and Sydney.19
To counter the shortfall in accommodation for tourists and
business travellers, large luxury hotels were erected in the city

centre in the 1960s and early 1970s, namely the Menzies Hotel,
built by the Project Development Corporation, the Wentworth
Hotel, financed by the national airline Qantas, and, in the
early 1970s, the internationally backed Sydney Hilton. All
met international standards in terms of spatial and functional
requirements, including high-end restaurants and bars and a
sufficient level of glamour to attract a discerning clientele.

L eisure in S y dne y during the long boom

The Sydney Cove Passenger Terminal,

constructed by the Maritime Services
Board at Circular Quay, opened in 1960.
The handsome P&O cruise liner, the SS
Canberra, shown approaching the terminal,
brought not only tourists but also migrants
to Australia during the 1960s.
Australian Photographic Agency. State
Library of New South Wales.


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

This view of the construction of Qantas

House on the corner of Phillip and Hunter
Streets, c. 1957, shows the sharp contrast
between existing building stock in the CBD
and the new office developments of the
late 1950s and 1960s.
Photo by Max Dupain, c. 1957. Courtesy
Max Dupain Exhibition Negative Archive.


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I m pac t o n
the design
p ro f e s s i o n s

This level of private investment

in leisure-related spaces offered
architects and designers substantial
opportunities. Significant and
lucrative commissions were gained by high-profile practices, but
there was also a swathe of lesser-known architects involved in
projects ranging from hotels, motels and shopping centres to
cafes and clubs. Even within the traditional territory of the golf
club, technological advances in course maintenance and golfing
equipment opened up new and greatly expanded possibilities in
terms of course design. But of all the design disciplines, perhaps
the one to benefit most was interior design. Whatever the larger
context, there was certainly an alignment between the growth in
leisure-related spaces during the long boom and interior designs
emergence as a discrete discipline.
Of course, there were individuals other than architects
involved in the design and decoration of interior spaces in Sydney
before 1945. Some like Marion Hall Best and Margaret Lord
practised full-time, while others such as Thea Proctor and Roy
de Maistre designed as an adjunct to their careers as artists.
Whether full-time or part-time, what they practised was generally
referred to as decoration, and commissions for the most part
(though not exclusively) were for interior schemes of a residential
rather than commercial nature. Leisure-related spaces such as
hotel, cafe and restaurant interiors tended to be the provenance
of either architects or shopfitters.
Even as late as the 1940s, recognition of the value of interior
design in these commercial contexts was frequently tied to the
most basic reasoning. As one industry journal advised Australian
caterers in 1946: Many fail to appreciate that profits can be
made proportional to appearance, and that the guests appetite
can be stimulated by the use of colour.21 Gradually, however,
the importance of specialist input became accepted and the

L eisure in S y dne y during the long boom

Ironically, however, more spacious rooms and suites meant

fewer guests per square metre, resulting in no net gain in the
number of rooms central Sydney could offer.20
The largest concentration of hotels and motels could instead
be found in Kings CrossPotts Point, a precinct conveniently
close to the city centre and a traditional tourist haunt. A
significant number of these buildings were highly ambitious
schemes, beginning with Stanley Kormans ill-fated Chevron
Hilton, designed by Donald Crone & Associates and launched
in 1960. More successful was the 18-storey, circular-shaped
Gazebo Motor Hotel, which opened in 1969. Managed by the
internationally affiliated Master Hosts, the motor hotel was
designed by Design and Construction Consultants Pty Ltd, part
of the Fischer Group that built it. Representing a new hybrid
typology that became common in Sydney and other urban
centres, the Gazebo combined all the convenience of a motel,
such as on-site parking and fully self-contained suites, with the
sophistication and facilities afforded by a luxury hotel, such as a
high-end restaurant, bar and indoor swimming pool.
Designed in a range of modernist or modernist-inspired
idioms, the Gazebo Motor Hotel, restaurants such as Oliver
Shauls revolving Summit atop Australia Square, and suburban
icons such as Roselands Shopping Centre and the St George
Leagues Club constitute some of Sydneys most significant postwar structures and environments. They provide a small sample
of the varied leisure and pleasure-related spaces that came to
populate the urban and suburban landscapes of the boom years.
Importantly, they also serve to indicate the diverse nature of
private investment in leisure and pleasure-related spaces over
this period, their impetus and financial backing being variously
derived from community groups, corporations and high profile


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

Hotel and Cafe News and its successor,

Hotel, Motel and Restaurant, kept the
hospitality industry abreast of all the
latest developments, locally and abroad.
Cover, Hotel, Motel and Restaurant,
November 1962. Mitchell Library, State
Library of New South Wales.

advertisements and advice of those specifically identified as

interior designers, together with colour consultants and
lighting specialists, came to feature in industry journals by the
end of the decade. During the 1950s and 1960s, as the range
of projects and their associated capital investment increased,
more designers came to feature in their coverage from Hilda
Abbotts involvement in the renovations of the old Wentworth
Hotel in the early 1950s to Audrey Borkenhagens work on
the interior scheme of its glamorous replacement, the new
Wentworth, in the mid-1960s. Even designers employed by
shopfitters, such as George Watkins of Frank G OBrien Ltd,
began to claim attention.22
Borkenhagen had formally trained at the University of
California, Berkeley, and in the 1940s a similar opportunity was
made available to aspiring interior designers in Sydney.23 It was
then that interior design became a specialised subject area
within the Design & Crafts Diploma program offered at East
Sydney Technical College, under the direction of artist, designer
and educator Phyllis Shillito.24 A number of ex-servicemen and
women undertook these courses, including Donald Johnston and
Edmund Dykes. Both were to enjoy highly successful careers
as interior designers in Sydney and, between 1950 and 1951,
together with a group of fellow practitioners including Marion
Hall Best and Margaret Lord, they established the Society of
Interior Designers of Australia (SIDA). Commercial commissions
became an increasing source of income for these designers, the
range and diversity of projects expanding considerably in the
1950s and 1960s with the tremendous growth in leisure-related
spaces. Donald Johnstons appointment in 1962 as Interior and
Commercial Designer to the large chain Motels of Australia
provides a sense of not only how substantial those opportunities
could be, but also the level of recognition now afforded his


The boom in Sydneys leisure environments

in the post-war decades was not without its
complement of media sources and advocates. The potential
for leisure to become a greater part of peoples lives, and the
economic benefits to this, were clearly recognised by sections of
the press. Images and stories of fun in the sun and the novelties
of drinking and socialising at outdoor cafes, beer gardens and the
new cocktail bars around town fed a growing sense of a modern
Australian lifestyle. Two of the most vigorous publications in
the areas of leisure, hospitality and tourism were Walkabout
magazine and Hotel and Cafe News.
Founded in Melbourne in 1934 as a monthly travel
magazine, Walkabout aimed to increase public awareness of
the geographical variety of Australia and its island neighbours.
Published by ANTA, initially it had a strong focus on Indigenous
peoples and their cultures, featuring articles describing
expeditions to remote and exotic locations. In 1946 it became
the journal of the Australian Geographical Society, its use as a
medium for the promotion of tourism by Australias state tourist
bureaus becoming particularly pronounced. Apart from the
material produced by these bureaus, the magazine also contained
advertising by hotel organisations, cruise ship companies,
airlines and, later, hire-car companies. By the late 1950s,
Walkabout was displaying a greater interest in the urban centres
of Australia and the physical changes that were occurring as
curtain-wall buildings created striking contrasts with the older
fabric of its cities. The cosmopolitan attractions of the city and
the city as a leisure destination came to the fore, with Sydney
and Melbourne billed as the main centres.25 Other urbanised
places of leisure enjoyment featured as well, such as the holiday
mecca of the Gold Coast.26 In November 1961 Walkabout started
calling itself Australias Way of Life Magazine and promoted the
glamour and style of urban leisure, illustrated vividly in an article


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on the intermittent pleasure of shopping which described the

authors expedition through the retail world of Australian cities.27
Where Walkabout was generally aimed at upper-middle-class
and professional readers, Hotel and Cafe News was directed
at management and business interests within the Australian
hospitality industry. Founded in Sydney in 1929, it became the
official organ of the NSW Caterers and Restaurant Keepers
Association. By 1945 the monthly was published by Progress
Publications, an arm of the Horwitz-controlled Associated General
Publications. At this time one of its main themes was post-war
tourism in Australia and the modernisation of the Australian
hospitality industry to meet the demands of American travellers
and tourists. A 1946 editorial letter to the NSW Minister for Tourist
Activities and Immigration ran:

l e i s u r e s pa c e

the American visitor is a very desirable person to have as a guest,

and is prepared to pay a very good price for whatever he requires,
BUT he insists on Service something in very short supply in
Australia at present. He also demands first class accommodation
with every modern convenience. He demands choice food and
plenty of it. He will require to be served with a drink at any time of
the day or night our six oclock closing and the mad last minute
beer swill appear to him irksome, childish and rather uncivilised.28

This set the overriding agenda for the journal into the 1950s: the
reform of the local hospitality industry in line with developments
in the United States. It published articles on trends in American
hotel design and followed the moves of the Hilton, Statler and
InterContinental hotel corporations as they built new hotels in
the United States and elsewhere.29 Its political agitation included
support for changes to liquor laws in New South Wales which
led to the introduction of the 10 pm closing time for drinking
establishments in 1955.30
Along with political issues, the journal recognised the
importance of design in the reform of the local hospitality

industry and devoted attention to the design and decoration

of leisure-related facilities. It advocated for the adoption of
spatial innovations such as open-air cafes and beer gardens and
published the latest thinking on the design and furnishing of
guestrooms for various hotel types.31 This theoretical focus was
complemented by feature articles on the new cafes, restaurants,
bars and suburban hotels that were appearing in greater
numbers across Australia in the 1950s.
In May 1953 Hotel and Cafe News published an article
entitled Money on the Roadside, its first piece on the Americanstyle motel.32 This began its coverage of the growing popularity
of this new type of leisure facility. There was also strong interest
in Sydneys blossoming restaurant scene, extending to the
more exotic offerings, including Bamboo, Sydneys top Chinese
restaurant, and the Sukiyaki Room, which opened in Kings Cross
in 1958, with its Japanese lanterns, rustic bridge, sliding doors,
low-lying tables and floor cushions for seating.33 Like Walkabout,
Hotel and Cafe News granted generous space to the international
hotels that appeared in the 1960s. Reflecting these interests, the
journal took on a new name in March 1961 Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant and continued under that name until 1971, when
it was taken over by Peter Isaacson Pty Ltd of Melbourne and
became Hospitality Management. That journal is still published
today, under the title Hospitality.
To promote and enhance their corporate image, hotel and
motel corporations published their own magazines. Sydneys old
Wentworth Hotel began publishing The Wentworth Magazine in
1925, its first issue containing articles on art, architecture, the
stage and screen. Its reputation as the society magazine for
Sydney was due not only to its literary and artistic content but
also to the amount of social photographs and gossip it contained
about the hotels well-heeled guests, as well as its regular focus
on film stars. The magazine was revived as The Wentworth


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accommodation facilities for the enjoyment of foreign visitors,

but also to meet the growing demands of the local market.
Design played a major part in this, not only in terms of the
comfort and amenity of guestrooms, but also in the layout and
furnishing of the various function and entertainment spaces that
new accommodation facilities were required to offer. It was,
however, in the smaller venues cafes, restaurants and bars
that a greater freedom of expression in design was possible.
There, the latest trends in furnishings, materials, colours and
detailing had a distinct role to play, not only in providing a
background to new social norms but also a commercial edge
in an increasingly competitive environment. Leisure in Sydney
during its long boom is a story of the effervescent mix of
capital, desire and design.

L eisure in S y dne y during the long boom

after the new Wentworth Hotel on Phillip Street in Sydney had

opened. In the same tradition, the Chevron Group of Hotels,
Motels of Australia and Astor Hotel Motels also published their
own magazines in the 1960s, associating their corporate identity
with fashion, celebrity and the good life.
It is clear that to understand the growth of leisure in Sydney
during the long boom it is necessary to examine the various
spaces created by private enterprise as it fuelled and capitalised
on the publics desire for enjoyable leisure experiences. The
creation of new and novel spaces for social and community
enjoyment required considerable amounts of capital, especially
in relation to the construction of large hotels, motels, shopping
centres and clubs. The promotion of Sydney internationally
was a major incentive for private enterprise to build luxurious


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Russell Rodrigo

face of
The modern

Decorative mural screen designed by

Douglas Annand for the Liner House
Shipping Chamber in 1959. This was
one of a number of designs Annand
completed for travel-related interiors,
including a distinctive 16-metre
abstract comet mural designed in
1960 for the Arrivals Hall at Sydneys
Kingsford Smith Airport.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1959. Courtesy
Max Dupain & Associates.

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In 1963, the remodelling of the

NSW Government Tourist Bureau
in Martin Place, Sydney, generated
some controversy at least among
the staff. Originally austere, formal
and functional, the space was
transformed: the new design featured
sculptural counters of Tasmanian
blackwood with linking panels of oneinch-thick armour plate glass and a
dramatic, curvy ceiling. However, the
new counter design meant that the
staffs legs and feet were visible to all
and according to the designer, Gordon
l e i s u r e s pa c e

Andrews, initially they were furious. 1

This dramatically remodelled space was just one example of the
way modernist design served to transform the tourist office in
Sydney at the time. What fuelled these changes to the public face
of tourism in the 1950s and 1960s?

Between 1945 and the mid-1960s, the travel and tourism

industry in New South Wales expanded exponentially. While this
growth was focussed on domestic travel and dominated by the
motor car, there was also an increasing focus on international
leisure travel to and from Australia, part of a global trend that
would see international travel expand, from 1950 on, at an
annual rate of around 10 per cent a rate unequalled to this day.2
Once regarded as a romantic and exclusive pastime, by the late
1950s medium- and long-distance travel was becoming more
accessible as a result of rising prosperity, increased leisure time,
technological advances in ship and aeronautical design and the
development of global tourist infrastructure.
In the 1950s and 1960s the idea of travel as a distinctly modern
form of leisure was reflected in the design of the modern tourist
office in Australias most important tourist destination, Sydney.
In Australia, organised tourism
began when Thomas Cook, the
noted 19th-century excursionist
pioneer, established an office
in Melbourne in 1887 and then later in Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane
and Hobart. Cook operated as the sole agent for all the colonial
government railway systems as well as a number of private
railway and tramway companies and major shipping lines.3 By the
turn of the century, colonial governments had begun to recognise
the importance of travel and tourism to their local economies.
In 1893, the Tasmanian Government established the Tasmanian
Tourist Association in partnership with Cook, creating promotional
material and establishing accommodation in new locations to
stimulate both domestic and international tourism and further
private investment.4 Then, in 1901, New Zealand established the
worlds first ministry of tourism, the Department of Tourist and
Health Resorts. Its initial function was to provide travel advice,

O rga n i s e d
tou r i s m i n N e w
S out h Wa l e s


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disseminate information relative to the tourist attractions and

facilities for travel, prepare literature and advertisements for
that purpose, prepare itineraries for individuals or groups, control
Hotel Kosciusko, Caves Accommodation Houses, and various cave
systems, place literature on all outgoing vessels, and arrange for
the display of exhibits from the State at exhibitions overseas.6

Throughout its early history, the Bureau was effectively a travel

agent for its own services as well as a major agent for a range of
travel operators such as NSW Railways and private enterprises,
with customers buying their rail tickets as well as tickets for
sightseeing and packaged tours through the Bureau. The earliest
tourist resorts in New South Wales were located in mountain
regions where the purity of the air was seen as a healthy and

desirable relief from the stresses of urban life. The development

of private guest houses in the Blue Mountains, such as the 1888
Great Western Hotel (now the Carrington Hotel), catered for this
growing need. Prior to the 1950s, Australians had limited leisure
time and tourist destinations such as mountains, parks and
beaches that were within 100 kilometres or one hour by train or
tram were most popular. The NSW Government Tourist Bureau
promoted and sold tours to these destinations.
Following the example of Tasmania and New South Wales,
other states established government-operated tourist bureaus
and by the 1920s, all state governments had created agencies
to promote travel and tourism and encourage migration. These
state tourist bureaus were closely linked with one or more
government departments such as the railways and so established
themselves as the primary agency for domestic tourist transport
and accommodation. The interwar period saw business in all
state tourist bureaus increase steadily.7 During this time the NSW
Government Tourist Bureau emerged as the most commercially
successful of all the state bureaus and by the late 1930s with
the opening of the Harbour Bridge, the rising popularity of surf
bathing and the 1938 Sesquicentenary celebrations and British
Empire Games focussed in the New South Wales capital Sydney
had become Australias tourist hub.8
The mid-1960s mark a high point in the success and influence
of the state government tourist bureaus in terms of volume
of business, industry influence and tourism promotion. While
international visitors to Australia had been steadily increasing,
over 95 per cent of accommodation bookings were of domestic
origin.9 The state bureaus were still focussed on booking travel
and accommodation for local travellers. While they continued to
book rail-related services, there was an increasing focus on other
forms of transport such as buses, car hire and air travel, and on
motel as well as hotel accommodation.

the changing face of travel : the modern tourist office

but this later extended to the booking and operation of tourist

accommodation. While the business of advertising and marketing
was still in its infancy, these early government bodies were
developing techniques to persuade and entice people to use their
leisure time to travel.
Prompted by the initiatives in Tasmania and New Zealand, and
concerned about a potential decline in population growth, the
NSW Government established its curiously named Intelligence
Department in 1905 as the central agency for the gathering and
dissemination of information about New South Wales, and the
publicising of its tourist potential. Centrally located in offices
in Challis House in Sydneys Martin Place, with large display
windows to the street and a railway booking office located on
the lower ground floor, the Intelligence Department was charged
with multifarious duties, all designed to make the attractions and
possibilities of the State better known at home and abroad, to
promote settlement on the land and to encourage immigration.5
A subset of the Intelligence Department, located on the ground
floor, was the Tourist Bureau, the function of which was to


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

The leisure
b oo m

Over the period 1945 to 1960,

increasing affluence, job security and
legislated paid leave made travel and
holidays possible for the majority of Australian workers. By the
mid-1960s, the dominance of work had gradually been eroded and
Australia had become one of the worlds leading nations in the
provision of leisure time to its workers.10 In the 1950s and 1960s
there was also a significant shift in the structure of the Australian
economy and the Australian family. Post-war prosperity and
the consumer revolution of the 1950s was underpinned by the
emphasis placed by successive Commonwealth governments on
full employment and low inflation. During this period most people
married younger, resulting in a marked increase in births and the
so-called baby boom of the 1950s and 1960s.
For many Australians, the post-1945 holiday was more
family-oriented, longer than it had been for previous generations
and marked by low-cost, modest accommodation, with travel
costs kept to a minimum. Above all, holidays of this time were
dominated by the motor car.11 Up to the 1930s, cars were an
expensive luxury as most were imported from the United Kingdom
or the United States. Even with the establishment of motor plants
in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide, cars remained the domain of
the well-to-do. By the mid-1950s, however, one in two cars sold
in Australia was Australian-made, with one out of two families
owning a car. Mass car ownership meant holidays became
accessible to all. In 1946, for example, the ratio of car ownership
was one car to 14 people and by 1960 it had reduced dramatically
to one car per 3.5 people.12 The car-based holidays of the 1950s
and 1960s led to the fledgling Australian tourism industry moving
towards a more private and self-contained holiday experience:
the motel over the hotel, the holiday flat over the guesthouse and
the car over the train.13
The post-war boom in tourist activity cemented the role of the

NSW Tourist Bureau as a major partner of the private tourism

industry in New South Wales. From its early beginnings, the
Bureau had pioneered the opening up of new areas for tourism
in New South Wales through the ownership and operation of
grand hotels such as the 1896 Caves House at Jenolan Caves
and the 1909 Hotel Kosciusko, located at what is now Sponars
Chalet, near Smiggin Holes. Hotel Kosciusko in particular helped
popularise the newly emerging pastime of recreational skiing in
New South Wales. In the post-war period, the Bureau continued
to maintain this entrepreneurial role, in addition to functioning
as a major agent for private travel operators.
Initiatives at a national level also had a major impact on the
developing tourism industry in New South Wales. The most
significant of these was the establishment of the Australian
National Travel Association (ANTA) in 1929. Announcing the
formation of ANTA, the then Prime Minister, Stanley Bruce,
noted that the organisation would be the means of introducing
new capital, stimulating trade and settlement, and would
advertise Australia overseas by inducing people to see the
Commonwealth for themselves.14 While partly funded by the
Australian Government, ANTA was governed by a board that
represented the interests of all the major players involved
in national travel promotion, including Australian railways,
shipping, hotel and other tourist-related businesses such as
retail. ANTA would later become a key member of another
organisation critical to the development of the Australian
tourism industry, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA).
Founded in 1952, PATA supported the development of travel
industries in the Pacific area, including carrying out advertising,
promotional and publicity measures calculated to focus the
attention of the travelling public upon the Pacific as one of the
worlds outstanding vacation areas.15 Despite the establishment
of ANTA, interstate rivalries meant that all state governments


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maintained their individual tourist bureaus, which were primarily

concerned with meeting the demand for tourist accommodation,
maintaining transport links and promoting distinctive state
While overseas tourist travel gradually became more
affordable post-1945, it still remained primarily a pursuit of the
affluent. In 1945, for example, the cheapest Sydney-to-London
return airfare was equivalent to 130 weeks average wages.
By 1965, this had fallen to 21 weeks still a substantial outlay
for the average Australian worker.16 Travel overseas for most
people was by ship, with private shipping companies offering
passenger booking facilities directly to customers. Of these,
it was the British shipping lines, the P&O and Orient, and the
North American Matson Line that continued to dominate. In 1905
to travel by ship from Sydney to London took 32 days. In 1961,
despite technological advances, it still took 28 days to make
the same journey.17 Most travel to and from Sydney was still by
intending migrants, or Australians visiting the United Kingdom.
(In 1950, for example, 31.5 per cent of Australians travelling
overseas went to Britain, primarily a reflection of Australias
monocultural population mix at this time.)18 Other destinations

such as New Zealand and the United States would not emerge as
popular choices until the late 1960s and 1970s.19
In terms of air travel, during the 1950s and most of the 1960s
people travelling long distances within Australia were more likely
to travel by train than by air. Air travel was still the domain of
business professionals and the affluent, with passengers dressing
formally for the privilege. By the late 1960s, however, flying had
become the cheaper option with the advent of the Boeing 707 and
747 jet airliners. These allowed not only quicker flying times but
greater passenger capacity, thereby lowering airfares.
In the 1950s and 1960s, tourism as an industry was still in
its infancy throughout the world.20 In Australia over this period,
although there were a handful of agencies set up specifically to
handle travel, there was no independent travel agency system. The
notion of the tourist itself was also a relatively modern concept.
It was only in 1953 that the concept of international visitor was
established by the United Nations Statistical Committee, and not
until 1963 that the United Nations Conference on International
Travel and Tourism in Rome recommended acceptance of the terms
visitor, tourist and excursionist proposed by the International
Union of Official Travel Organisations.21

the changing face of travel : the modern tourist office

See new places, exciting places by

Orient Line cruises, designed by John
Bainbridge, c. 1955. During the 1950s,
Australian illustrator John Bainbridge
designed a number of striking posters for
the Orient Steam Navigation Company.
By the end of the decade, the company
had launched the SS Oriana, one of the
largest and fastest passenger ships on
the EnglandAustralia route.
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra.
Purchased 1980. Estate of John


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

t h e p ro m i s e
o f t r av e l

Tourism is an industry that is

structured by intangibles there
are no material goods involved.
Rather, it operates within the
realm of experiences, events, desires and emotions. From
the 1930s the branding of the experience of travel as both a
modern and desirable pursuit began to manifest itself in ANTAs
promotional material. The association commissioned leading
graphic artists to promote Australia, and by the early 1930s had
produced posters for every Australian state, with an emphasis
on key tourist attractions. While ANTA commissioned Britains
best-known commercial poster artist Tom Purvis in 1938 to
design a striking modernist image for the promotion of the
Sesquicentenary celebrations, most images for ANTA at that
time were by leading local graphic artists Percy Trompf, James
Northfield and Douglas Annand, and later by Gert Sellheim and
Eileen Mayo. Using modernist graphic techniques including
limited colour palettes, flat colour blocking and bold composition,
these posters depicted Indigenous Australians, exotic wildlife,
landscapes and cityscapes. For New South Wales, promotion
focussed on Sydney and its attractions, including the Harbour
Bridge, with less attention given to other locations such as beach
and alpine destinations. Private travel operators, particularly
shipping companies, also employed leading local artists such as
William Dobell, Douglas Annand and John Bainbridge to design
their posters. Here, image-making was focussed on the modern
infrastructure of travel, with abstract depictions of ships, planes
and travel routes.
Another of ANTAs most significant initiatives was the creation
of the monthly magazine Walkabout in November 1934. Originally
titled Walkabout: Australia and the South Seas, its aim, as noted
in its monthly by-line, was to enable Australians and the people
of other lands to learn more of the vast Australian continent

and the colourful islands below the equator in the Pacific.22 The
idea of travel as a privileged and sophisticated cultural pursuit is
communicated clearly in the magazines March 1935 editorial:
Travel is the most successful of outdoor sports. It conditions the
body, informs the mind, inspires the heart, and imparts a grace to
our social intercourse. It is a university of experience. It teaches
that the bigger drama of life is played in the open out where
ships speak as they pass in the night where the glory of the
mountain, plain and desert awe us with a mystery that is forever
new to the responsive traveller.23

Walkabout was targeted at those for whom interstate and

international travel was affordable, such as businesses and
professional households. Feature articles were rich in visual
imagery and covered a broad range of tourist and travel
destinations including cities and towns, the outback, and holiday
resorts in the tropics and the snow. Contributors to Walkabout
included prominent Australian writers and journalists such as
Robin Boyd, Frank Clune and Patsy Adam-Smith. The magazine
also managed to attract a wide range of advertising from the state
government tourist bureaus, shipping lines, individual tourist sites,
hotels and, later, airlines.

Sy d n e y s m o d e r n
tou r i st o f f i c e s

While the NSW Government

Tourist Bureau remained
the major agent for travel
operators, including international companies, during the early
post-war period, its offices had been designed from a purely
functional perspective. Large counters were a major focus of the
interior. Window displays were located on the street frontage
and large tour advertisements greeted visitors on entry from the
street. Originally located on the lower ground floor, the booking
office was later moved to the ground floor entry area, combining


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the design of these environments, as they often occupied small

building footprints. Visual and spatial connectedness between
inside and outside, as well as within the interior, were therefore
key design aims and these modernist architectural values related
easily to the promise and experience of travel. Two outstanding
examples, where a sense of openness was key, were the Sydney
offices of the Matson Line on Elizabeth Street and Pan American
Airways, located directly opposite in the same building. Both were
designed by the talented Sydney architect and designer Douglas
Snelling in 1956.
The Matson Line offices accommodated passenger bookings
and support services, utilising brightly painted screens and planter
boxes containing exotic plants as spatial dividers rather than
partition walls and doors. The sense of openness in the interior
was conveyed primarily through the design of two contrasting
ceiling planes. Reception was located to the right of the main entry
and treated as a distinct area defined by an expansive, wave-like
ceiling constructed of half-round battens. In contrast, the main
office ceiling appeared as a continuous illuminated gridded plane,
an early utilisation of plexiglass panels imported from the United
States.28 The selection of finishes and furniture, such as the use of
thin-legged furniture and brightly coloured fabric, further reinforced
the light and airy character of the interior.
Snellings design for the Pan American Airways offices
accommodated similar functions to the Matson Line offices,
including interview desks, storage for travel records and ticketing
and a public reception area with seating. The overall design brief
required the space to provide an atmosphere of travel and to
appear uncrowded and as visually large as possible.29 A diagonal
rather than orthogonal internal organisation was used to maximise
the impression of space. The perimeter wall arrangement of desks
allowed for a continuous line of sight from the street to the rear of
the offices. An open plan with no internal subdivision or partition

the changing face of travel : the modern tourist office

both display and ticketing functions. In contrast to the branding

of travel in ANTAs promotional material from the 1930s, which
was overtly modernist, the design of the NSW Government Tourist
Bureau would remain essentially the same from the 1920s until its
remodelling in 1963.
The complete overhaul of the Bureau in the early 1960s
reflected a growing interest in using modernist design to brand and
represent the tourist experience in private sector tourist offices,
both in Australia and overseas. In an international context, the
interiors for regional and national airline carriers in particular
show how modernist design was now being used to communicate
brand messages of refinement and exclusivity. An outstanding
early example is the widely published 1948 interior scheme by
designer Louis Shulman for the Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM), the
worlds oldest operating airline.24 Comprising a fully glazed doublestorey entry and mezzanine level, the space was striking for its
distinctive undulating white ceiling with concealed lighting and
luxurious marble floors and red leather-clad columns. The location
of the office on New Yorks Fifth Avenue, one of the most exclusive
corporate addresses in the United States, is also significant.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, Fifth Avenue was host to a
wide range of airline headquarters branded through the use of
sophisticated modernist design aesthetics. Examples such as the
1959 offices for Capital Airlines by Joseph P Baker,25 the 1960
offices for Air India by George Bielich26 and the 1962 offices for
Pakistan Airlines27 show how modernist graphics, lighting, furniture
and other interior elements were utilised to associate notions of
luxury and sophistication with travel for even the lesser-known
local and international carriers.
As with these international examples, the key elements that
characterised the design of Sydney tourist offices of the 1950s and
1960s were an emphasis on openness, light and material invention.
Achieving a sense of spaciousness was particularly important in


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Top left A backlit glass wall behind

the reception counter of the Matson
Line offices incorporated a map that
illustrated the various routes of the
line, including exotic South Pacific
destinations such as Honolulu, Fiji
and Tahiti.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1956. State
Library of New South Wales. Estate
of Douglas B Snelling.

Below left A view of the Pan American

World Airways booking offices,
designed by Douglas Snelling in
1956. Snelling is acknowledged as
Australias most significant interpreter
of Californian modern design.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1956. State
Library of New South Wales. Estate
of Douglas B Snelling.

four columns and a clear span of 39 feet 3 inches (approximately

12 metres). This allowed a continuous glass frontage to the
showroom, visually open to the street. Customers entered the
offices by walking over a bridge spanning a small pool of water.
Suspended over the pool was a model of a BOAC airplane,
symbolically communicating the idea of flight and departures and
arrival over Australian waters.30 A reception area providing lounge
seating and counter stools acted as a stage to the street, with
the private offices, including passenger interview desks, located
behind the main reception wall. A continuous gridded illuminated
ceiling stretched across the reception area and the main building
lobby, leading the eye from the entry towards the rear offices. The
simple design created a dramatic composition of floating planes
and transparency consistent with Osers domestic and other
commercial work.
A sense of openness in the design of tourist offices also
reflected the changing spatial relationship between customers
and staff. Originally formal and demarcated, a blurring of the
boundaries between public and private now occurred. The Matson
Line offices, for example, utilised an open-plan arrangement, with
desks for individual consultations. The relatively informal character
of the space was further underlined by the selection of finishes and
furniture, which reinforced the convivial character of the interior.
Other designs of the 1950s and 1960s such as the entry space
of the BOAC offices, furnished with lounge and counter seating
illustrate greater informality in customer contact.
One of the most interesting reconfigurations of the staff
customer relationship was achieved in the remodelled Martin
Place offices of the NSW Government Tourist Bureau, designed by
Gordon Andrews in association with architects Edwards Madigan
Torzillo, and completed in 1963. The dominant element within the
interior were the resin-clad, steel-framed counters. With their
countertops of Tasmanian blackwood and linking panels of armour

the changing face of travel : the modern tourist office

walls further accentuated this. As for the Matson Line offices,

the ceiling was treated as the most important design element,
with its exposed beam structure drawing the eye deep into the
In some cases, this principle of openness extended beyond the
plan and composition of interior spaces to the street presence of
the offices. In the design for the Pan American Airways offices, for
example, the public area ceiling was lowered over the reception
space to provide a bulkhead for backlit window signage. With the
footpath outside the building being 4 feet 6 inches (1.4 metres)
lower than the internal floor level, the entire open-plan office space
effectively served as a shop window.
A more striking example of this new openness to the street
was the Australian headquarters of the British Overseas Airways
Corporation (BOAC). Designed by architects HP Oser, Fombertaux &
Associates and completed in 1963, the project involved extensive
refurbishment and modification of the 1915 Ushers Metropolitan
Hotel on Castlereagh Street, providing for a BOAC showroom and
shopfront on the ground floor, as well as new lifts, fire stairs and
extensive alterations and modernisation to upper floors to create
new office space.
The original ground floor facade of the building was supported
by an arrangement of six brick columns. In order to better connect
the interior to the street and convey a sense of openness, the
redesign incorporated new steel beams, resulting in the removal of


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In 1960, BOAC launched economy

fares on its Far East and Australian
routes. By the time its new Australian
headquarters were opened in 1963,
it was operating six jet services a
week between Australia and England,
serving Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane
and Darwin.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1963. Courtesy
Max Dupain & Associates.

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Right Dominated by a theatrically lit

undulating ceiling, the 1963 remodelling
of the NSW Government Tourist Bureau
offices created a contained internal
environment with limited visual and
physical connection to the immediate
context of Martin Place, which at the
time was a busy vehicular street.
Photo by David Moore, 1963. Collection:
Powerhouse Museum. Estate of David

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Part of the Qantas Booking Hall was

taken up by aeronautical displays and
models. These, along with an array of
national flags, added to the international
branding of the space and served to
animate the large, double-height space
facing directly onto the street.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1956. Courtesy
Max Dupain & Associates.


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When are the modesty panels being fitted? asked one longserving staff member. Another, who refused to work under the
new conditions, had to be transferred to the mezzanine level
where she could be seen from the ground floor. She demanded,
and received, a screen to hide her from view.31

The most significant aspect of the counter design was the way in
which it created a different form of interaction between staff and
clients. The relationship became less formal and more akin to a
boutique retail experience, where the focus was on the customer
experience rather than the transaction. Individual interactions
were also intended to be shorter in duration, due to an absence
of seating.
Another major device used in the design of tourist offices of
this period was the manipulation of both natural and artificial
light to create spatial and theatrical effects. The use of daylight,
for example, was a key architectural device in Snellings design
for the Pan American Airways offices. At the rear of the office
area, existing fire-resistant windows were removed, the sills
were cut down to two feet (0.6 metres) above the floor and
sliding glass windows were installed. This light well became an
extension of the main internal space, with a new internal garden
enclosed by a redwood wall creating a visual termination and
focal point. The garden was naturally lit during the day, providing
additional lighting to the interior and, more importantly, drawing
the eye to the rear of the composition.
The use of natural light was also a key device in the design
of the Qantas Booking Hall by architects Rudder, Littlemore
& Rudder, completed in 1957. The double-height space of the
Booking Hall functioned as both a public reception area and a

ticketing office and could be accessed from all main entrances

on Hunter and Phillip Streets. Spaciousness and light were the
dominant features, with the curved, glazed facade suggestive of
movement and flight, and providing direct visual connection to the
In the Matson Line offices, Snellings design utilised artificial
rather than natural lighting. The main wall behind the reception
desk, 22 feet long by 12 feet high (6.7 by 3.7 metres), was
finished in luminescent paint activated by black light. This
unusual, almost theatrical feature was described by Building:
Lighting: Engineering as the first use of luminescent paint in
Australia and a key architectural design element.32 Importantly,
it acknowledged the marketing potential of the night-time
Spatial drama created by artificial lighting was also a key
design feature of the NSW Government Tourist Bureau offices.
In order to accommodate an increasing volume of clients, the
existing interior of Challis House was completely removed. A
large public area and office space was installed on the ground
floor, with additional offices located on a mezzanine level. The
defining spatial element of the interior was the dramatic ceiling.
Detailed from fibrous plaster cowls fixed to a suspended timber
grid, the ceiling appeared as a diaphanous cloud floating across
the main reception space. Within each cowl was housed one
incandescent lamp, providing a soft, diffused light to the public
area and giving a more theatrical effect in the working area.
According to Andrews, the design for the ceiling began with a
scribble, suggesting an indefinite form like a bright cloud over
the Bureau hall which would floodlit [sic] the space that was
entertaining as well as functional.33
An even more dramatic use of artificial lighting can be seen
in the Alitalia Airlines booking offices located near Qantas
House in the AGC building on the corner of Phillip and Hunter

the changing face of travel : the modern tourist office

plate glass, the counters resembled elegant sculptures within the

space. As mentioned earlier, staff were not happy with the new


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The interior of the Alitalia Airlines

booking offices was not only a striking
commercial space, it also provided a
dramatic setting for social and charity
events hosted by the international carrier.
Photo by Curly Fraser, 1966. Australian
Photographic Agency. State Library of
New South Wales.


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Along with Douglas Annands

richly coloured mural wall in the
Booking Hall, the P&O Building also
incorporated internal and external
sculptural works by Tom Bass, one of
Australias leading modern artists.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1964. Courtesy
Max & Dupain Associates.


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The interiors for both the NSW and

New Zealand Government Tourist
Bureaus were designed as total
environments, reflective of Gordon
Andrewss practice, which spanned
the disciplines of industrial, graphic,
jewellery, exhibition and interior design
as well as photography.
Photo by Gordon Andrews. Collection:
Powerhouse Museum. Estate of
Gordon Andrews.

Streets. Designed by Bunning & Madden, and completed in

1964, the Alitalia offices were designed with all public areas
directly visible to the street through full-width glazing on the
front facade. Lounge seating and a display area were located
at the entry and interview counters and offices located at the
rear. The most dramatic feature of the space was the ceiling,
which comprised 24 parallel lines of lighting elements, canted
upwards at each end. Extending beyond the public area to the
partitioned-off private office areas behind, the fully lit ceiling
conveyed the sense of an endless sky. The theatrical use of
lighting was continued in the design of desks and counters
which incorporated lighting beneath that made them appear to
float within the space.
Materials were used in sophisticated and inventive
ways, particularly to convey the desired sense of luxury and
sophistication. In the Matson Line offices, for example, exotic
materials and elements were a particular feature of the interior.
These included the undulating timber-battened ceiling in the
reception area, white vinyl floor tiles with blue-grey flecks
imported from Sweden, Japanese plants and luminescent paints
from Germany.34
In Snellings Pan American Airways offices, the overall
material palette was dominated by the use of white marble
floors in the public areas and grey vinyl tiles in the offices,
accented with the use of redwood joinery and a limited colour
scheme of two tones of grey with yellow and white, giving the
space a calm, understated character. This, combined with the
use of exposed redwood beams and internal planting around
the reception desk and in the rear lightwell, served to convey a
sense of a tranquil oasis and an escape from the mundane.
The prominent use and clever combination of a range
of materials was also clearly evident in the design for the
Liner House Shipping Chamber on Bridge Street. Designed

by Bunning & Madden and completed in 1959, Liner House

functioned as the headquarters of the Wilh Wilhemson Agency
Pty Ltd, Norways largest shipping organisation and the agency
for the American Pioneer Line, the United States Lines Company,
the AustraliaWest Pacific Line and the Scandinavian Airlines
System.35 The ground floor, defined by chequerboard-patterned
terrazzo, functioned as the main shipping chamber and public
reception area. Thai teak was utilised throughout the chamber
in the form of panelling and in-built joinery, giving the space a
sense of refinement and sophistication. The double-height space
was overlooked by a mezzanine floor accommodating offices
for passenger interviews. A spiral staircase of steel frame
construction with terrazzo treads and open risers cantilevered
off a central steel column and formed a dramatic spatial
element. Along with the spiral staircase, the most prominent
feature of the Shipping Chamber was a suspended metal screen
designed by Douglas Annand that acted as a semi-transparent
wall visible from the street and all public parts of the ground
and mezzanine floors. Measuring 32 feet by 11 feet (9.8 by 3.4
metres), it formed an enclosing wall to the mezzanine Passenger
Department. Made from 160 different shapes in brass, copper,
aluminium and stainless steel and composed of various concave
and convex, solid and perforated and beaten and patterned
units, the screen provided the space with a sombre richness,
theatrically lit at night.36
The P&O Passenger Booking Hall, located on Hunter Street,
designed by Fowell, Mansfield & Maclurcan and completed in
1964, also demonstrated a particularly sophisticated choice of
materials and finishes. Located on the ground floor, the Hall was a
double-height space that comprised a central arrival zone, public
seating and reception area to one side and a seated counter
area to the other. Paved in white marble, the central zone was
dominated by a large, richly coloured mural by Annand opposite


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the entrance. On either side of the central space were carpeted

areas in blue and purple that harmonised with hues in the mural.
Combined with the blue and purple seating, the colour palette
created a strong contrast with the white marble flooring and
black marble columns. Walls were covered in a gold and cream
wallpaper as a neutral background to the mural and upholstery
colours. Joinery in mountain ash was stained to a soft, mellow
grey as part of the background colour palette.
In some instances it was not just the choice of materials but
the density and layering of their application that distinguished
the interior schemes. The dominant use of graphics in Andrewss
remodelling of the NSW Government Tourist Bureau is a striking
example of decorative detail adding to the emotive and sensory
qualities of the tourist office interior. Immediately opposite the
main entrance was a two-storey photographic mural composed
of images of materials and textures evocative of landscapes and
travel. The mural also housed cabinetry for travel brochures and
other material. In determining the choice of images, Andrews
refers to his experience with Achille Foa at Olivetti in London:
Achille explained to me that Olivettis policy was to give some
entertainment to window shoppers. Dont try to push the product
make the viewer feel comfortable whether they are buying or
not.37 The selected black and white images therefore avoided
the conventional pictures of holiday-makers and instead used a
variety of abstract images to trigger the imagination.38 As a foil
to the dramatic floating ceiling, the graphics added a layer of
detail that further enhanced the emotive promise of travel.
An interest in detail and craft is also seen in the Martin
Place offices of the New Zealand Government Tourist Bureau.
Designed by Andrews in association with Edwards Madigan
Torzillo in 1966, the offices provided for public reception and
ticketing areas and office accommodation.39 On entry, a broad
sculptured copper balustrade extended from the street stairs

to the entrance lobby and connected visually with the long

countertop. The counter, designed at seating height, was
covered with cut-out pineboard shapes overlaid with beaten
and crumpled copper foil. Large cast bronze discs with stylised
Maori faces were added to the front modesty panels of the
desks, and black bean, the dominant joinery material, was
used as edging for the countertop and handrail, emphasising
the continuity between inside and outside. While the floor, in
polished white concrete, was treated as a neutral background,
walls in the double-height space were painted black-green and
articulated with black and white photographic panels depicting
Maori carvings, bubbling mud and volcanoes. The rear wall
was a dramatic contrast in the interior, with a glazed finish of
orange-red and burnt gold. This accent wall highlighted the focal
point of the space: a large topographic map of New Zealand in
brilliant colours and gold leaf. The map also acted as a partial
screen to the office areas behind and was constructed of layers
of pineboard overlaid with fibreglass and resin and finished with
red high-gloss enamel and selectively rubbed-back matt black
to accentuate the modelling of the forms. As with the NSW
Government Tourist Bureau, the dominant and unifying element
of the space was the ceiling plane a brilliantly lit continuous
ceiling of floodlit white sculptured forms.
The 1950s and 1960s mark the high point of tourist office
design in Sydney. From the 1970s, developments in the sector
such as the growth of suburban travel agencies, access to cheap
and mass air travel, the emergence of electronic booking systems,
and the ascendency of national motoring organisations that
offered accommodation services diminished the role of both the
NSW Government Tourist Bureau and the private flagship tourist
offices. International travel was no longer widely regarded as
sophisticated and luxurious. By the early 1970s, even the stories
in Walkabout were more commercially driven than journalistic,


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notions of sophistication and luxury. Detail, colour, pattern, the

use of exotic materials and dramatic lighting effects extended
modernist values into the sensory. Sydneys tourist offices of
the 1950s and 1960s exemplify an era when travel was seen as
distinctly modern and desirable, and as offering the potential for a
new and compelling experience of modern life.

the changing face of travel : the modern tourist office

and in July 1974 the magazine ceased operation altogether.

The most distinctive tourist office designs of this period
emphasise openness, light and material invention. While modernist
architectural values such as openness and light relate easily to
ideas of travel, these spaces also conveyed a renewed interest
in materiality, ornamentation and craft physical translations of


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Paul Hogben

The first

Barry Gibb of the pop group the

Bee Gees playing guitar, with Molly
Meldrum, right, and others in the
comfort of the Chevrons Louis XIV
suite, c. 1971. Throughout the 1960s
and early 1970s, many international
celebrities performed and stayed at
the hotel, including Eartha Kitt, Mickey
Rooney, Al Martino, Ethel Merman and
the Rolling Stones.
Photo by Rennie Ellis. Rennie Ellis
Photographic Archive.

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Bearing the hallmarks of the

advertising used by Hilton to promote
its international hotels, this 1960
advertisement for the new
ChevronHilton placed a rendering of
the hotel (including its unbuilt tower
block) into an impressionistic scene of
Sydney Harbour.
Australian Womens Weekly,
28 September 1960, p. 30. Courtesy
Bauer Media.

At the same time that Mies van

der Rohes glass pavilion for Edith
Farnsworth was being erected
in a grassy meadow outside the
city of Plano in Illinois, another
building of enormous consequence
for 20th-century architecture was
nearing completion on the island of
Puerto Rico. In the history of hotel
architecture, the Caribe Hilton was
the forerunner to an entire generation
of resort-style luxury hotels that

l e i s u r e s pa c e

appeared in the 1950s. 1

Designed by Puerto Rican architects Toro, Ferrer & Torregrosa in
association with WarnerLeeds of New York, the Caribe Hilton
redefined the shape and appearance of the modern luxury hotel.
Opened in 1949, it stood as an oasis of modernity: the conjoining
of modern technology and aesthetics with the style and glamour
of wealth, celebrity and international travel. Gone were the
heavily layered interiors and high-ceilinged spaces of the grand
hotels of the past. Instead, the Caribe Hilton was a celebration of

strong horizontal planes, glassy transparency and bright colour.2

Guests could enjoy lounging by the hotels sinuous swimming pool,
cocktails served from one of its bars (the pia colada was said to
have been invented there in 1954), formal dining in the airy Saln
del Castillo, casino gambling and a room with its own balcony and
sea view.
Twelve years later, the opening of the first stage of the Chevron
Hilton in Sydney in September 1960 was greeted with much
interest and excitement at the arrival of a new glamor hotel for
the harbour city.3 It was proclaimed to be first in the nation bringing
new standards of hotel comfort and service, offering guests a
new experience in hotel living.4 On the completion of its planned
35-storey tower, the ChevronHilton would have 1000 guestrooms,
making it the largest hotel in the southern hemisphere. Even without
the tower, Sydney was able to boast a modern hotel of international
standard and muscle its way into the race to profit from the growing
tourist, traveller and entertainment market. Melbourne was planning
the construction of its first large hotel since World War II and in the
north, Queensland already had modern hotel facilities on Hayman
Island, opened in 1950, and developments on the Gold Coast had
strengthened its bid to be Australias foremost leisure destination.
Sydney needed to assert its position as Australias premier city and
tourist gateway, and the creation of first-class accommodation was
considered key.
The new ChevronHilton followed years of speculation about
the development of international hotels in Australian cities. Due
to their size and cost, advocates had to sway conservative opinion,
win political support and provide visual ideas of what they might
look like. As the design of these hotels became more ingrained
with economic rationalism, the emphasis was on maximising the
profitability of space. Operational efficiency was the mantra for
hotel developers and planners. This drove them to embrace new
service technology as fast as possible and to base spatial decisions


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D ouble modernit y: T he first international hotels

T h e hot e l o f
to - m o r row

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A 1951 student model of a large

hotel for a site on Macquarie Street.
This model was featured in a public
exhibition of student work curated by
University of Sydney lecturer George
Hotel and Cafe News, November 1951,
p. 23. Mitchell Library, State Library of
New South Wales.

on quantitative measures of capacity planning and use value.

In addition to increasing rationalisation, there was a significant
emphasis on the sensual experiences offered by these hotels, and
part of their aesthetic program was the creation of theme-based
bars, restaurants and luxury suites, one of the aims being to inject
a sense of the local and the indigenous into the experience of the
modern. This combination of rationalism and theme-based decor
and design meant that Sydneys first international hotels came to
embody an intriguing double modernity.

Plans for new large hotels in

Sydney appeared soon after
the end of World War II, with
speculation about the citys potential to become the playground
of the South Pacific. This was the objective of the American
Engineering Corporation, which, it was reported in February
1946, was to finance an international airport, tourist centre,
luxury hotels, homes and war memorial museums in Sydney to
the astronomical amount of 50 million.5 Later that year, the
Rockhampton newspaper, Morning Bulletin, ran a story on plans
to develop luxury hotels in New South Wales that would be
as modern as any in the world.6 They included a ten-storey,
400-bedroom hotel at Fort Macquarie in Sydney with its own
yacht harbour and beach pool.
In 1949 the NSW Government charged its Department of
Immigration and Tourist Activities with the task of preparing
plans for the development of tourist accommodation throughout
the state. This resulted in schemes for an alpine village at
Smiggin Holes, Mount Kosciusko, low-cost accommodation
at surf beaches and fishing resorts, and first-class hotels at
various historic and scenic locations, including a large modern
tourist hotel that would overlook Sydneys harbour.7 Exhibited
in the galleries of the Education Building, the scheme for the
harbour resort consisted of a large hotel at Rose Bay, containing
a ballroom and swimming pool fronting the waters edge.8 With
government building focussed on housing, schools and hospitals,
it was said that the enticing plans and models on show were
little more than pipe dreams for the future. However, they did
open up a pleasurable vista of joys to come, a promise of a
fuller life of leisure for hundreds of thousands of holiday-hungry
Despite government building priorities and material shortages,
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H i lto n l oo k s
to Au st r a l i a

With its purchase of Statler

Hotels in 1954, the Hilton Hotels
Corporation became the largest
hotel operator in the United States. It then owned, leased
or operated 26 hotels, including some of the countrys most
prestigious hotel properties: the WaldorfAstoria and Plaza Hotel
in New York City, the Mayflower in Washington, and Palmer House
and the Stevens (renamed The Conrad Hilton in 1951) in Chicago.
A subsidiary of the company, Hilton Hotels International, had
been established in 1949 to promote Hiltons interests overseas,
beginning with the construction of the Caribe Hilton. In 1955 the
Istanbul Hilton opened its doors and plans were underway at the
time for Hilton hotels in Montreal, Havana, Rome, Athens, West
Berlin and Cairo.
With the increase of traffic between Australia and the west
coast of the United States, the Hilton organisation also looked to
Australia as a viable location for its hotels. This interest began
around 1950 and gathered momentum as the decade progressed.15
In February 1956, John W Houser and his public relations director,
Ray Purpus, visited Sydney and Melbourne to inspect sites for
possible hotel construction, with Sydney considered the logical
place to start.16 Houser was quoted as saying Although Australia
is still a fascinating pioneer country, it has everything that has
made America great, and the time has come when it has got to
become part of any international picture.17 In June 1956, Dean
Carpenter, another Hilton executive, also visited Australia to
consider potential sites.18 There was strong interest in the Queen
Victoria Building on George Street in Sydney, which sat on a site
the size and centrality of which appealed to Hilton executives,
who proposed to the City Council, the owners of the building,
that the Council demolish the existing edifice and finance the
construction of a hotel for Hilton Hotels International.19 Although
there was support for the establishment of a Hilton hotel in

D ouble modernit y: T he first international hotels

in Australia continued. In 1951 a group of fifth-year architecture

students at the University of Sydney produced a scheme for a
550-bedroom hotel located on their dream site, the area occupied
by the Chief Secretarys Building at the corner of Macquarie and
Bridge Streets. This scheme was part of an exhibition of student
work devoted to the architectural problems of Sydney and was
featured in Hotel and Cafe News under the heading The Hotel of
To-morrow.10 The hotel consisted of interconnected blocks with
staggered bays so that the rooms, each with its own balcony,
would be sheltered from the weather and completely secluded
from neighbours. A covered entryway was set within the complex,
its sculptural canopy surrounding a landscaped fountain area.
When asked about the large amount of glass in the facade and
bedrooms, spokesperson for the group, a young Neville Gruzman,
responded that the use of glass as a screen meant that space
could be borrowed, visually, from the outside to give the rooms an
almost infinite apparent size and that there were many ways to
darken a glass wall if privacy was a concern.11
A year later, Melbourne architect Kenneth McDonald
publicised his vision of a modern luxury hotel for Melbourne,
a 14-floor ultra-modern glass and stainless steel hotel with
150 guestrooms and five floors of public rooms, one of which
would house a skyline cabaret.12 With considered attention to
location, elegant and economic architectural design and able
management and operation, McDonald felt that luxury hotels
could be successful ventures in Australia in contrast to those who
were less certain of their financial viability.13 He referred to the
enthusiasm of John W Houser, vice-president of Hilton Hotels
International, who had expressed interest in supporting the
construction of a 300-room hotel in Melbourne based on the same
arrangement with local groups upon which the Caribe Hilton had
been developed and which was also the basis of a new Hilton
hotel in Istanbul.14


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Kenneth McDonalds 1956 design

for the Hotel International displayed
similarities in its gridded facade of
balconies and bright appearance
to the Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico,
constructed seven years earlier.
Architecture and Arts, October 1956,
p. 20.

Sydney, councillors argued that the Council should not get

involved in the hotel business and that projects like this should be
carried out by private enterprise.20
Apart from arousing politicians and entrepreneurs, Hiltons
interest in Australia gave impetus to local discussions about the
design of new hotels and the need to develop facilities and services
that would appeal to a growing traveller and tourist market. The
editor of Hotel and Cafe News spoke about a revolution that
was occurring in the hotel field and devoted pages to articles on
hotel planning in the United States and what American tourists
had come to expect from new hotels within their own country
and elsewhere.21 Private bathrooms within all guestrooms was a
basic requirement, as was air-conditioning within each room, with
individual temperature control. At the first-class end of the spectrum,
full room service during the day and night was expected, as were
private entertainment facilities within each room, namely radio
and television. Rooms needed to be fitted with attractive built-in
furniture and lighting and, in the more luxurious category, open onto
private balconies that offered views of city skylines, harbours and
scenic landscapes. There needed to be a selection of recreational
spaces, lounges, restaurants and licensed bars, generously sized
and comfortably furnished. This included, where possible, outdoor
drinking areas and terraces, landscaped gardens and swimming
pools. On-site car parking was standard.
In the late 1940s and early
1950s the top end of Macleay
Street in Potts Point, adjacent
to Kings Cross, was subject to a number of property deals and
hotel development plans. Rex Investments Ltd remodelled an old
boarding house at 58 Macleay Street, transforming it into the
new 270 000 Hotel Rex, opened in March 1953 and featuring
the novelty of an outdoor sidewalk cafe.22 On the other side of

l e i s u r e s pa c e

T h e Hot e l
I n t e r n at i o n a l

the street and slightly to the north, the Cairo residential hotel
was purchased in 1949 to make way for a new tourist hotel. Plans
for this were delayed until the mid-1950s, when a Hong Kong
syndicate by the name of Ling Brothers acquired the Cairo for the
development of a hotel consisting of two floors for receptions,
lounges and catering facilities and eight floors of guestrooms.
It was anticipated that the new hotel would cost 750 000 and
accommodate between 400 and 500 people.23
A subsequent scheme commissioned by Ling Brothers was
conceived by Kenneth McDonald & Associates and named the
Hotel International, consisting of two glass and concrete blocks
that bore a similar gridded pattern to the Caribe Hilton.24 The
main entrance and foyer was designed as a double-height glassy
volume in which an open spiral staircase suspended on tensioned
stainless steel rods rose to a mezzanine level that led to a large
dining room. From this dining room there was access to an outdoor
breakfast terrace sheltered by a curved concrete parasol. A beer
garden and swimming pool was planned for the third floor level.
The top floor of the main tower was to accommodate a skyline
cabaret, convention rooms and an outdoor garden. Guestrooms,
fitted with interchangeable furnishings for day and night, would
have their own bathroom and balcony. The building would be fully
air-conditioned using a high-velocity system, and all rooms wired
for television. A five-level above-ground car park was to be located
at the rear of the main tower, serviced with a car lift to transport
vehicles to each level. To top off the high-tech amenity of the
hotel, a heliport at the rear of the back tower would receive guests
arriving by helicopter. Its estimated cost was 1.5 million.25
From form to finish, McDonalds scheme was an imitation of
a contemporary Hilton hotel without the name. The power of
Hilton aesthetics over the architectural imagination of McDonald
was also seen in the more modestly scaled scheme that Sydney
architect Frank Leskovec produced for Ling Brothers 15 months


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The light and glassy foyer of the Hotel

International was envisaged to be a
scene of style and glamour. Americanstyle fashion and leisure interests
would be on display.
Architecture and Arts, October 1956,
p. 20.


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When it opened in September

1960, the ChevronHilton beckoned
visitors and guests with a choice of
restaurants, American-inspired bars,
air-conditioned rooms and wide views
over the Sydney skyline.
Photographer unknown. National
Archives of Australia: A1500, K20915.

later. The main block of Leskovecs Hotel International consisted

of a gridded facade of room balconies and long glass-walled
spaces designed to house conventions, musical evenings, lectures
and wedding receptions. This was part of the architects vision
of the hotel as a centre of social, recreational, business and
cultural activities.26 The hotel would have a roof garden with
a restaurantbar open on three sides, sheltered by a concrete
platform that could double as a landing place for helicopters. It
would incorporate the latest in service technology, such as a new
type of lift for the delivery of food and drinks to guestrooms. Each
guestroom would have individually controlled air-conditioning
and special bathroom amenities, and would open up to its own
balcony through foldaway glass doors.27 Construction started
before height limits had been resolved and was continuing when
Ling Brothers pulled out of the project, making way for a new
developer to take over, one who saw the potential of the site for
a much larger hotel complex. This developer was Stanley Korman
the entrepreneur behind the Chevron hotels in Melbourne and
on the Gold Coast, along with various other hotel and real estate
interests who would etch his name in history as the person
to deliver what was considered to be Sydneys first modern
international hotel.
The history of Stanley Korman
and his family-controlled
company, Stanhill Consolidated
Ltd, has been well documented. Korman is famed for his role
in pioneering Surfers Paradise as a resort destination in the late
1950s, and also for his spectacular fall from grace, bankruptcy
and then criminal conviction in 1966. Stanhill Consolidated
purchased the Potts Point site in April 1959 while Korman was
on an extended tour of the United States, where he had entered
into discussions with Hilton Hotels International and attended the

l e i s u r e s pa c e

T h e C h e v ro n
H i lto n

opening of the Pittsburgh Hilton.29 With word that Qantas Airways

was intending to build an international hotel in Sydney, Korman
moved to expedite the planning and construction process of the
new hotel by building on top of the existing foundations and
framework in the creation of an ambitious hotel mega-structure
designed by Donald Crone & Associates, who would later go on to
be the architects of another Sydney high-rise, Sydney Tower.30
Crones hotel scheme consisted of a 15-storey edifice to
accommodate 400 guests, together with a cabaret dining room for
700 people and a function and convention room that would seat
1200. Standing alongside this block was the main tower of the
complex, which, when completed, would rise to 35 storeys, 410
feet (125 metres) above street level, making it the tallest building
in Australia.31 This tower, constructed after the completion of the
smaller block, would add 750 bedrooms to the hotel and boast a
skyline panoramic restaurant seating 400 guests, served by highspeed elevators. Among its other features would be international
dining rooms serving specialist ethnic cuisines, garden terraces, a
swimming pool large enough for underwater ballet entertainment,
beauty salons, gym and massage facilities, and a Turkish bath.
The hotel was also to include a self-contained overseas and
interstate passenger terminal for airline operations. The lower
block displayed similarities to elements of the Pittsburgh
Hilton, whereas the tower bore a resemblance in scale to the
recently completed Southland Life Building in Dallas, which was
connected to a Sheraton Hotel.32
Negotiations to make the new hotel part of the Hilton chain
of international hotels took place between Korman and Conrad
Hilton in Honolulu in April 1960, and a deal was struck for
Hilton to assume management of the hotel on completion of
its construction.33 Optimism for the partnership was enough for
Korman and Hilton to also announce plans for new hotels in
Brisbane, Canberra, Newcastle, Perth and Adelaide.


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After what was an unorthodox process of construction, the

first stage of the Sydney development, consisting of a 14-storey
hotel block, was completed for opening on 16 September 1960.
The public areas of the hotel were laid out on four floors, its main
lobby featuring a suspended staircase of marble slabs held in place
by slender steel rods, claimed to be something new to Sydney.34
Behind the lobby was the hotels family restaurant, named The
Golden Grill in line with its sunny decor. Connected to the restaurant
was a lounge area for which drinks could be ordered from one of the
American-inspired bars located on the ground floor, including the
Hilton Cocktail Bar at the front of the building. For those interested
in a more intimate environment, the Club Bar, next to the Hilton Bar,
was appointed with deep caribou leather armchairs.
On the lower ground level was the Quarterdeck, a public bar
featuring photographic murals depicting scenes of early Sydney
with a nautical theme, including Captain Cooks landing and wool
loading at Circular Quay. The nautical theme was carried into the

light fittings and decorative tiles by local ceramic artist Roberta

Jones. Themed decor also characterised the Oasis Bar, in this
case a mural portraying an Aboriginal figure in a desert scene
by Margaret Elliot and handmade terracotta tiles aboriginal in
character by Gerard Havekes.35 Decoration referencing indigenous
culture was a feature of the interior design of Hiltons international
hotels in the 1950s. For Annabel Jane Wharton, author of Building
the Cold War: Hilton International Hotels and Modern Architecture,
indigenous decorative motifs were tokens that allowed consumers
to distinguish among the Hiltons that they encountered.36 They
were also a way of allowing hotel guests the pleasure of an
effortless experience of the alien.37 Dressing the Chevrons
bars with references to local history and Aboriginal culture also
reflected the promotional themes of the Australian National Travel
Association (ANTA), which exercised a powerful influence over
the packaging of Australia and Australian culture for national and
international audiences during the 1950s and 1960s.


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The Chevrons much loved Silver Spade

restaurant played host to many of
Sydneys most glamorous events and
dinner-dances in the 1960s, including
the 1961 and 1963 Logie Awards.
Photo by Keith Barlow. Australian
Womens Weekly, 12 October 1960,
p. 9. National Library of Australia
(news-page4916591). Courtesy Bauer

Ltd, was forced into receivership in 1962.43 The hotel, however,

continued to function in a modestly profitable way, hosting many of
Sydneys most glamorous events, local, national and international
celebrities, and a variety of conferences and trade fairs.44
The ChevronHilton holds a place in the history of Sydney
as the citys first large post-war international hotel, but it was
not long before competition appeared. From the mid 1950s the
city centre itself was being considered as a viable location for
the development of international standard hotels to accompany
the new office buildings that were being erected. This was the
case with the next two large hotel developments in Sydney the
Menzies, located above the new infrastructure of Wynyard train
station, and the new Wentworth Hotel, built alongside Qantas
House on Phillip Street.
Other operators within the hotel
development industry would have
watched the Chevron venture with
interest. One of these was Federal Hotels Ltd, a Melbournebased company that had expanded rapidly in the early 1950s on
the American model of the hotel chain. It had acquired the Hotel
Alexander and the old Menzies Hotel in Melbourne and bought
Ushers Metropolitan Hotel in Sydney in July 1955 its first
interstate purchase.45 Its move to modernise its properties was
signalled in 1960 with the announcement to transform Melbournes
Menzies Hotel through the erection of a large hotel block with
the capacity to accommodate 600 guests and banquet facilities
for 800 people.46 That same year Federal Hotels concluded an
agreement with Project Development Corporation Ltd to develop a
hotel and shopping block in Sydney as part of a larger office, retail
and transport complex known as Wynyard Centre. Opened on 17
October 1963 and costing 2.5 million, the new 15-storey hotel,
designed by Peddle, Thorp & Walker, sat on top of the concourse

The Menzies

D o u b l e m o d e r n i t y: T h e f i r s t i n t e r n at i o n a l h o t e l s

The most lavish public space of the new ChevronHilton

was its main dining and entertainment room, The Silver Spade,
located on the first floor, named in honour of Conrad Hilton.38 With
a seating capacity of 600, it epitomised high-class glamour in
Sydney in the early 1960s with its silvery colour scheme, mirrored
walls and glittering chandeliers. Nightly dancing and cabaret
shows were held on a retractable stage illuminated through a
glass floor. There were different types of guestrooms within the
hotel, ranging from single rooms to luxury VIP suites on the 13th
floor. All bedrooms had their own private bathroom, a telephone,
individually adjustable air-conditioning, built-in radios and remotecontrolled television, and the luxury suites their own living room,
bar, kitchenette and dressing room, each decorated according
to a different period theme or influence, including Louis XIV,
contemporary and Japanese.39 Furniture for the bedrooms, suites,
offices and lobby was selected and supplied by renowned local
cabinet-maker Paul Kafka.40
The overall cost of the first stage of the ChevronHilton was
in excess of 2.5 million, which was about 1 million over the
initial estimate. This meant that there was a deficit of funds
for the second stage of the development, due for completion in
1962. The circumstances of Stanhill Consolidated were to change
dramatically in 1960, the year of the hotels opening, when a
government-led credit squeeze dealt a severe blow to Stanhill,
which had over-borrowed and overcapitalised on its holdings. The
situation was not helped by the withdrawal by Hilton in March
1961 from its management of the hotel. Recent drastic changes
in the Australian economy were cited as the reason, with Hilton
also withdrawing from the larger joint project with Korman to
develop other hotels in Australia.41 As consolation, the Chevron
could continue to use Hiltons carte blanche credit and interhotel reservation systems.42 With the value of Stanhill shares
plummeting, the owner and operator of the hotel, Chevron Sydney


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Unlike the shiny exterior of the

Chevron, the new Menzies Sydney had
a subdued appearance derived from its
pebble-faced cladding and recessed
windows. Leafy Wynyard Park opposite
complemented the tranquil nature of
the hotels soft-hued interior decor.
Photographer unknown. Courtesy
Tourism Australia.


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Along with dark timber panelling and

Japanese wallpapers, the Asian flavour
of the Menziess entrance lobby and
nearby lounge area was also seen in a
large circular Tai Ping carpet, imported
from Hong Kong.
Photographer unknown. Architecture
Today, December 1963 January 1964,
p. 14.


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leisure space

Although its brick construction was

meant to accentuate the residential
quality of the building, the new
Wentworth Hotel was a spectacular
addition to Sydneys skyline due to its
dramatic arc form that partially enclosed
its Garden Court at fifth floor level.
Photographer unknown. Courtesy Qantas
Heritage Collection.

levels of Wynyard station. The west-facing orientation to Wynyard

Park drove the design of the building and its exterior expression.
The lower section of the hotel, which housed its public lounge, was
a series of two-storey window units set between columns faced
with white mosaic tiles. Above, the structure was clad in precast concrete panels faced with unpolished river pebbles in order
to shade the windows, reduce heat gain and avoid the curtain
wall idiom in favour of a modern enclosed approach to bedroom
Internally, the public sections of the hotel were physically
and visually unified by a staircase that ran continuously between
the floors. The sense of spatial continuity was enhanced by an
abstract copper mural by Sydney artist Silvano Mariti that formed
part of the stairway. Hanging above was a large chandelier of
individually blown brown clear glass crystals designed by the
lighting consultant for the hotel, W Allen Smith. A crystal motif
was used for lighting throughout the public areas of the hotel,
including the main entrance lobby and the Diamond Bar. Interior
design and decoration for the hotel was carried out by Donald
Johnston, with an emphasis on creating a quiet character for its
lounge areas, achieved through the use of black bean panelling,
soft-coloured moulded plaster ceilings and straw-coloured grassweave wallpapers.48 This was in contrast to the main restaurant
and nightclub of the hotel, the Emperor Room, which was richly
coloured in purple and gold and decorated with Roman plaques and
sculptured wall panels to express its Roman theme. The restaurant
was set around a stage which initially incorporated a retractable
ice rink on which ice shows were held, the first of its kind in
Australia. In 1966 the ice rink was removed and replaced by a
theatre restaurant, a concept imported from the United States.49
Black bean timber was used for the specially made built-in
bedroom furniture that was designed to give the rooms an air
of spaciousness. Bedside tables contained control panels for

lights and radios, and guests were able to directly dial service
departments and bypass the switchboard another first for the
hotel.50 With 260 bedrooms in all, the northern ends of the top two
floors of the hotel were given over to luxury suites, one of which
was furnished according to a Georgian theme, featuring antique
grey furniture, specially designed wallpaper and heavy-pile gold
carpeting. Another had an Oriental theme, with black-stained and
finished furniture and Thai silk accessories.51 Each suite had its
own private balcony offering views of Darling Harbour and the
upper reaches of Port Jackson.
If the ChevronHilton
pioneered international
standard hotel design in
post-war Sydney and the Menzies gave this a level of toned-down
sophistication, then the new $11 million Wentworth Hotel realised
a total luxury environment at a scale and expense previously
unseen in Australia. It was designed to embody the latest in hotel
comfort, service and amenity for the jet age. As plans for the new
Chevron were being developed, Qantas Empire Airways was also
considering the idea of building a first-class hotel on land it was in
the process of acquiring, adjacent to its new office headquarters on
Phillip Street in the city.52 A preliminary submission for the project
was made in 1958 and Cabinet approval for the construction of a
new hotel was granted in August 1961.53 On the recommendation
of Qantas board member Robert Law-Smith, the American
architectural firm of Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) was
commissioned to work in association with the local architectural
practice of Laurie & Heath on the hotel design, the former bringing
a formidable record of experience and expertise to the project.54
This was not the first time SOM had worked in Australia: the
firm had collaborated with Buchan, Laird & Buchan on Shell
House in Melbourne (1960) and was also involved in the master

T h e W e n t wo rt h
Hot e l


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One of the main attractions of the

new Wentworth Hotel was its
state-of-the-art convention facilities,
which included multilingual speech
translation equipment. The foyer area
to the convention hall was embellished
with a colourful mural of native flowers
and a sunflower-patterned lighting unit.
Photographer unknown. Building:
Lighting: Engineering, March 1967,
p. 48. Mitchell Library, State Library
of New South Wales.

planning and design of buildings for the new Australian Defence

Force complex in Canberra.55 The decision by Qantas to hire
SOM paralleled the strategy used by one of its competitors, the
Intercontinental Hotels Corporation, a subsidiary of Pan American
Airways. It had employed the American firm of Welton Becket &
Associates in association with the Melbourne practice of Leslie
M Perrott & Partners to design a new international class hotel for
Melbourne, the 435-room Southern Cross Hotel, opened in 1962.56
A preliminary model for the new Qantas hotel consisted of a
rectangular block tower, placed perpendicular to the street, that
rested on a podium a similar arrangement to the Royal Hotel
in Copenhagen, designed by Arne Jacobsen for the Scandinavian
Airlines System.57 Height controls, however, directed thinking away
from a tower form to a lower building where floor space could
be spread laterally. The resultant scheme centred on a dramatic
horseshoe arc designed to situate guestrooms away from Phillip
Street as well as avoid overlooking from nearby office buildings.58
The crescent-shaped form created the hotels own exclusive
outdoor environment: an open courtyard on the rooftop of its fourth
Construction began in April 1964 and the 20-storey, 452-room
Wentworth Hotel opened for business ahead of schedule on 14
December 1966. Unlike its curtain-wall neighbour, the exterior
walls above the trachyte-faced base were built in brick, as it
was felt brick would give the building a feeling of distinction and
substance.59 The fact that the hotel occupied a site of 36600
square feet (3400 square metres) and would have two street
entrances meant the architects needed to address a number of
reception and circulation scenarios. The principal entrance off
Phillip Street was shaded by a 130-foot (39.6-metre) long curved
copper awning, the only one of its kind in the world.60 This entrance
led down an arcade of boutique shops and past a travel advisory
office towards a large reception space that opened to a lounge

area and a cocktail bar to the north. The Bligh Street entrance
had the feel of an airline terminal, with chairs and writing desks
situated for guests preparing to leave, charts showing flight
arrival and departure times and an unstaffed reception desk with
a television link to the main desk upstairs, principally for use by
incoming guests.
A directive from Qantas was that, where possible, the decor of
the new hotel should be distinctly Australian in character, using
Australian timber, marbles and stone.61 To gain a feeling for all
of Australia its designers toured the different state capitals and
a number of rural and scenic areas throughout the country.62 Hal
Missingham, director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales, was
appointed to advise on the appropriate subjects for the artwork
in each public room, and the local artists who might produce it.63
Most of the bars within the hotel were given an Australian theme.
Off the main lobby was the Coral Reef Bar, its decor reflecting the
colours of the Great Barrier Reef, with abstract seashell designs
by Shirley Dressler, a domed ceiling inlaid with mother-of-pearl
and water dripping down one of its walls. On the lower level, the
Ayers Rock Grill Room and adjoining Cave Bar had a large copper
bas-relief of Uluru and Aboriginal pictograph cave paintings by
non-Indigenous artist Michel Santry. On this same level was the
Harbour Bar, which recalled the port of Sydney, and the Flight Bar,
featuring images of the history of flight, including Qantas Airways.
The Old Sydney Bar had walls made of original colonial sandstock
bricks and was decorated with cast iron Sydney Lace, along with
old prints of the city.64 In the opinion of one reviewer, the new
Wentworth had avoided the usual Australian flavour decor such
as pictures of kangaroos, koalas and Aboriginal spears, which
often demonstrated an embarrassing, over-patriotic pride.65
The third floor of the hotel was devoted to a large function room
for conventions and social events, with a capacity to seat 1200
people, all on locally designed Vista chairs by Sebel. This room


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could be subdivided into three smaller areas using soundproof

sliding partitions. A second function room held 375 people.
The decorative features of this floor included a tempera mural
by Dennis Adams displaying a field of Australian wild flowers,
heraldic tapestries of Australian cities by Margaret Grafton and a
sunflower-patterned lighting unit over the foyer area designed by
Edison Price of New York.66
The fifth floor of the hotel housed its main restaurant, the
Garden Court Restaurant, and lounge area, which swept around
the outdoor garden terrace. Shades of green were used for
the banquettes, tables and low-lying velour chairs. Next to
the restaurant was the Piano Room, an intimate cocktail bar
luxuriously padded in red velvet and adorned with a crystal
chandelier imported from Vienna.67 Each of the two private dining
rooms located to the west had themes suggested by their names,
Maori and Corroboree.68 Guestrooms were fitted with individually
controlled air-conditioning, operable windows, direct dialling to
hotel service departments, circular bathrooms and adjustable
vanity units. To accentuate the international character of the hotel,
nine of its 32 suites were themed and furnished as geographical
rooms: English, Georgian, Early American, SpanishMexican,
Japanese, Chinese, Thai, Indian and Italian.69 As explained in the
press, their function is to provide a home away from home for
the visiting foreigner.70
Located on the eighth floor, the Premier Suite, the size of
five standard rooms, had two bathrooms, dining and lounge
rooms, kitchen and dressing rooms and walk-out balconies, and
was opulently furnished with antique mirrors, Williamsburg
reproductions and original oil paintings.71 Fabric selection and
colour choice throughout the entire hotel interior was the work of
Audrey Borkenhagen, a young American interior designer employed
by SOM. With two other designers, Borkenhagen spent three years
working on the interior materials and designs for the hotel.72

R at i o n a l i sat i o n
a n d p l e as u r e

Several months after its

opening, the new Wentworth
Hotel was claimed to be
an immediate success, running at 80 per cent occupancy and
with conference and convention bookings up to 1972.73 These
figures would have pleased the hotels economic planners and
demonstrated the potential of an international hotel in Sydney
to live up to financial expectations in the light of the perceived
failure of the Chevron. It was seen as a victory for rational
economic planning and design, a contributor to which was Sydney
architect George Gordon Fuller, an associate of Laurie & Heath,
who had worked on the hotels design in SOMs San Francisco
office. While there, Fuller had been awarded a scholarship by the
University of New South Wales to travel to Europe, England and
other parts of the United States to study major hotel developments.
Fullers interests were in the procedural aspects of hotel planning
and the development of a structure of information that could
help those about to undertake the complex task of designing a
large international hotel. This became a topic within his Masters
of Architecture thesis, submitted in 1966, which centred on an
economic argument for the rationalisation of hotel planning and
design.74 As far as possible, quantitative methods were needed for
determining the potential and optimum economic value of selected
sites, hotel sizes and capacities, spatial volumes and the design
and layout of such things as corridor lengths, kitchen facilities and
parking areas. This thinking echoed the economic approach to the
design of large hotels that had been promoted by the American
architect William B Tabler in the 1950s75 and Fullers analysis marks
a moment in Australian discourse on the topic where an overriding
emphasis on rationalisation, from one of the Wentworths own
design team, proclaimed itself and its trajectory.
There was, however, a dimension to contemporary hotel design
that Fuller did not address but which was an important part of what


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concrete monolith stretched between George and Pitt Streets in

the mid-section of the city was a quiet, low-key affair.76 The
gloom of an economic recession and the depressed state of the
business world and the tourism and travel industry hung over the
43-storey tower-and-podium complex. Long construction delays,
industrial disputes and cost blowouts sullied the gloss of its
terrazzo floors, Japanese silk drapery and Italian silverware. If the
Wentworth Hotel marked the coming of age of Sydney in the world
of international hospitality and tourism, the new Sydney Hilton was
a reminder that such enterprise was not immune to the winds of
economic change and hubristic overextension.
The author would like to thank David Crotty, Curator of the Qantas
Heritage Collection, Greg Crone of Crone Partners and the Menzies
Sydney for their generous assistance in the supply of images and
other research material.

D ouble modernit y: T he first international hotels

an international hotel offered its customers the experience of

luxury and pleasure. The Chevron, Menzies and Wentworth hotels
all capitalised on providing their guests and visitors with firstclass accommodation and recreational facilities. Well-appointed
bars and lounges were one of their main attractions and many of
these were designed to induce pleasure through an aestheticised
encounter with the local and the indigenous. Displaying a more
overt form of theming, their deluxe suites offered occupants a little
luxurious escapism. These spaces were not considered antithetical
to the modernity of the hotels themselves but a natural component
of it, which itself signalled another trajectory for the future design
of international hotels, in Sydney and elsewhere.
The confidence and optimism that marked the opening of
the new Wentworth Hotel were notably absent when the next
international hotel arrived in Sydney. Instead of a highly public
event, the March 1975 opening of the new Sydney Hilton a


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Judith OCallaghan

the ultra

The view as hero. Gazing over Sydney

from the top floor of the Gazebo
Motor Hotel in 1967. The luxury of
this experience was enhanced by the
immediate proximity of a swimming
pool and relaxation terrace.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1969. Courtesy
Max Dupain & Associates.

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The West End Motel in Ballina,

featured in the lower image, was
described by Hotel and Cafe News
in 1953 as an ambitious attempt
to create above-standard roadside
Hotel and Cafe News, December 1953,
p. 14. Mitchell Library, State Library of
New South Wales.

It was a motel that provided the

setting for the most famous murder
in the history of film that of Marion
Crane in the shower of the Bates
Motel. Watching Marions demise in
Alfred Hitchcocks 1960 classic Psycho,
our suspicions regarding the wisdom
of booking into such an eerie and
isolated lodging in the first instance

l e i s u r e s pa c e

are immediately confirmed.

The slight, nondescript architecture of Norma and Norman
Batess establishment presents a distinct departure from the
popular image of the modern, North American motel. However,
it was far from unusual as not all motels fell within the slick
conventions of the large chains. Then, as now, they came in
many shapes, sizes and degrees of finish, but most particularly in
the early years of their development, before World War II.
Australias early motels were similarly varied. Even as late as
1953, a modest timber structure in the coastal town of Ballina,
offering just four units sandwiched between shared toilets,
was classified as a motel.1 But within a decade, motels had
developed not only into the generic type that we see scattered
along the regional highways of New South Wales. By the mid-

1960s, they had morphed into large, multi-storied structures

extending Sydneys skyline and presenting strong competition
to the large hotels in terms of facilities offered and glamour
Despite their popularity as a
leitmotif in modern literature,
cinema and television, motels
have largely been ignored in architectural discourse. As Jakle et
al.s major study The Motel in America concluded, The motel story,
so far as it has been told, has been buried in the pages of obscure
industry trade journals and popular magazines and newspapers.2
Nevertheless, during the boom years of the 1950s and 1960s,
motels provided a significant source of income for many
architects, both in America and Australia. Geoffrey Baker and
Bruno Funaros substantial handbook Motels, published in 1955,
provides a sense of the extent of that involvement.3 In addition
to examples of their own work, Motels features the designs of
68 architectural practices, including motels by Richard Neutra,
Raymond Loewy and A Quincy Jones Jnr, together with interiors
by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Similarly, the Architectural
Records Motels, Hotels, Restaurants and Bars, published in 1960,
includes a proposal by Frank Lloyd Wright for a motor hotel, as
well as a prototype study for a large motel chain by Victor Gruen
Certainly in Australia, leading modern architects of the period
for example, Robin Boyd, Guilford Bell, Harry Seidler and Dr Enrico
Taglietti were among those who designed motels during the
1950s and 1960s.5 Some, such as Harry Divola and JH (Jim) Bryant,
also contributed articles on the subject to professional and industry
journals.6 Nevertheless, while its importance has been recognised
by Australian cultural historians,7 there has been little investigation
of the motel from an architectural perspective.

E a r ly p o st- wa r
m ot e ls


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

A recent exception has been the work of Melbourne architectural

historian Simon Reeves, who has sought to trace the origins and
development of motels in this country. As Reeves notes, the term
motel was applied to roadside lodgings in South Australia and
Tasmania in the 1940s, but these early examples tended to be
chalet-like accommodation rather than falling within the broadly
standardised pattern of motel design that became popular in
Australia after World War II.8 Notwithstanding the appearance of
a small number of motels on Queenslands Gold Coast by the early
1950s, what has been described by Reeves, and the industry itself,
as Australias first modern United States-style motel9 opened at
Bathurst in central western New South Wales in February 1954
coinciding auspiciously with Queen Elizabeth IIs visit to the town
during her first Australian Royal Tour.10
Suitably named the American Motel, it embodied all the basic
characteristics of the model, developed in the United States, that
came to be adopted by moteliers in regional areas around Australia.
Built on a main road, with an eye-catching sign out front, the
Americans entrance opened into a large internal courtyard that
was described as a Spanish-style garden.11 The single-storey
accommodation was ranged around the courtyard in a U-formation
so that guests could drive and park directly in front of the doors of
their rooms. Other common motel configurations adhering to the
North American model had the rooms ranged in-line down the block,
or in a simple L-shape. The expansiveness of the footprint reflected
the low price of land in areas such as Bathurst and it was rare to
find a regional motel that went above one or two levels.
According to a local paper, the American was designed by a
Melbourne firm in conjunction with Bathurst architect D TrevorJones.12 Constructed in red brick with a pitched tile roof, it looked
more like a conventional house extruded into a U-shape than the
popular image of a modern highway motel. Rather, it referenced
a form of the American motor court of the 1950s that integrated

the individual units of the earlier cottage court under a single

roofline.13 An article that appeared in the Western Times just
before the opening of the motel provides a sense of the modestly
cheerful, self-contained accommodation on offer: Each unit has
its own shower-recess, wash-basin, gas fire (for heating), and
toilet. Comfortable bedding, ample cupboard space and individual
phones and radios are other features of the motel Each unit is
painted throughout in soft pastel colorings, and is well-lit, both with
artificial and natural lighting.14
Perhaps austere by todays standards, in the mid-1950s the
American provided travellers with a new form of accommodation:
not only economically and efficiently designed and standardised,
but also directly linked to the independent mobility of the car. As
historian Graeme Davison has observed, unlike the guesthouses
and camping grounds, which had been the favourite holiday resorts
of the 1920s and 1930s, the motel carried the privacy of travel
established by the motor car into an essentially self-contained,
cellular form of accommodation.15 According to the reported
comments of the Richardson family from Cabramatta, who stayed
at the motel in August 1954, the American offered an ultra modern
For those investing in motels, the emphasis in design and
construction in these early years was on economy. In 1955 a Hotel
and Cafe News cover story, entitled Theres Money in Motels,
made it clear that profitability was dependent on A position on a
main highway, careful planning to keep overhead to a minimum,
emphasis on comfort rather than glamour.17 This operational
leanness made the industry particularly attractive to small private
investors and owneroperators, who appear to have been the
dominant force within the industry in the early years as they had
in North America. Even the first chain of motels Accommodation
Australia Ltd sought investment from this sector, advertising
its 5 shilling shares in the Sydney Morning Herald shortly after its


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formation in 1955.18 It was also not unusual for those building and
operating motels in the 1950s to have had no prior experience of
the industry. Accommodation Australia Ltd, for example, went to
the extent of bringing out WL Edmundson Jnr, the President of
United Motor Courts Inc, Texas, as an advisor.19 Similarly Alex Bray,
who originally conceived of the American Motel, was a Bathurst
store manager who financed the project by forming a syndicate
with a number of local business associates. Bray claimed that their
original source of information on the industry came from American
Motel Magazine.20
Certainly the American influence was strong in relation to
providing not only models of design, construction and operation for
Australian moteliers but also a language. According to architect
and author Robin Boyd, however, something normally got lost in
translation. In The Australian Ugliness, published in 1960, Boyd
was damning in his description of the often illiterate, always
ill-considered and utterly undisciplined roadside style of Australia
as exemplified in the raw colours, the checker-board painting

of fibro panels, the jaunty skillion roofs and angled props to the
eaves, the autumnal stone veneering that characterised so many
motels of the period.21 But for some living in country New South
Wales, the popular trappings of this new roadside architecture
represented something quite different. Charles Pickett, author of
Fibro Frontier, for example, recalls: Taree where I grew up was
transformed in my mind from a hick town simply by the dozen or so
motels which sprang up along the highway around 1960. They only
needed functional design, pastel paint and a big illuminated sign to
achieve this glamour.22
Whatever the associations, the trans-Pacific influence did go
beyond the pattern of undistinguished structures, dressed up with
a few stylistic gimmicks, that commonly passed for Americanstyle in the 1950s and early 1960s. Books such as those produced
by Baker and Funaro and the Architectural Record represented
a much more accomplished and varied architectural approach to
the motel. They also served to provide detailed advice on siting,
design, construction and interior layout.

M o t e l s : t h e u lt r a m o d e r n e x p e r i e n c e

The American Motel in Bathurst

as featured in Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant in 1961, seven years after
its opening. The flashy neon sign out
front seems at odds with the motels
conservative pitched tile roof and red
brick construction, but perhaps, as the
journal notes, much water has flowed
under the bridges [sic] since then.
Hotel, Motel and Restaurant, March
1961, p. 12. Mitchell Library, State
Library of New South Wales.


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leisure space

The Black Dolphin motel in Merimbula was

designed not as one large block, but in six
parts ranged over the site. This view of the
entrance driveway, winding through the
established mahogany gums, shows one group
of units to the left, another long row to the
right and, in the distance, the two-storey block
housing the managers office and restaurant.
Photo by Mark Strizic, 1961. State Library of
Victoria H2011.55/2060. Estate of Mark


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The one I learnt most from had very good drawings of room
layouts. I immediately recognised from these drawings how
superior was the arrangement in which the bathroom acted as a
buffer between the parked car and the bedroom, leaving window
walls on the side away from the carpark to open out onto garden
areas and views. I asked the architects I commissioned to design
the rooms in this way.25

Yencken built his, and regional Victorias, first motel in Bairnsdale

in the Gippsland region in 1957.26 Called the Mitchell Valley Motel,
it was designed by John Mockridge of the noted Melbourne firm
Mockridge, Stahle & Mitchell and comprised 30 self-contained
units, a caretakers block with cafeteria, and a service station.
These were set within landscaped surrounds designed by architect
and landscape architect Beryl Mann during her time with the
practice. Economical in construction, as a motel was meant to be,
the thoughtful planning and design of the Mitchell Valley and its
grounds served to set it well apart from the norm. According to
Architecture and Arts:
The architects have proved that good design with meticulous attention
to detailing can provide a building at a highly competitive cost. This is
also probably the first motel which has consciously set out to provide
a pleasant and informal garden setting involving the planting of two to
three hundred shrubs and trees and two acres of lawn.27

The Mitchell Valley Motel quickly caught the attention of three

Melbourne businessmen, Alan Buchanan, Basil Hart and Ken
Stonier, who were keen to develop a similar project at Merimbula
on the south coast of New South Wales. They approached David
Yencken to direct the planning of the new motel. He agreed and
eventually became a major shareholder.28
For this project, Yencken commissioned Robin Boyd, then a
principal of Grounds, Romberg & Boyd and already a household
name.29 The site chosen for the motel was well situated but also
presented challenges, with the existing Princes Highway as well as
a broad easement for a planned alternative route slicing through its
western and eastern perimeters, from north to south. The strip of
undulating land was also dotted with established mahogany gums
that really gave the site its character30 and which both Boyd and
Yencken were keen to retain. Boyd designed the motel in six parts,
nestled among these tall gums and oriented to the west to take
advantage of the views to Merimbula Lake bordering the site, and
the hills beyond. A long row of ten double units and two groups of
four double and single units were constructed, all on one level with
a courtyard between. There was also another group of four single
units situated on a higher section of land, as well as a two-storey
building that united both ground levels. This housed the motels
restaurant on the top floor and the managers office and lodgings
below. Two flats were also constructed on the other side of the
Princes Highway, facing onto the lake.
All the timber-framed units were single-storey brick structures, a
domical skylight over each bathroom the only break to the emphatic
line of the flat roofs. Capped with copper fascias, exposed Oregon
beams extended past the brick walls to form, at the rear, part of the
framework for the outdoor screens separating the gardens of each
unit and at the front, a covered walkway. Boyds palette of local
red brick and exposed timbers included undressed gum tree trunks.
Used as columns, the trunks served as a unifying element within

M otels : the ultra modern experience

David Yencken was one aspiring motel developer in the 1950s for
whom such publications provided a valuable resource. Born in Berlin
to Australian parents and educated in both England and Australia,
Yencken settled in Melbourne in the early 1950s.23 On his journey
back to Australia as a young man, he travelled through Canada
where he was introduced to several wonders of the new world:
hamburgers, 3 minute carwashes and motels.24 Within a relatively
short time of arriving in Melbourne, he was planning his own motel,
ordering books from North America on motel planning and design:


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the scheme as a whole, providing support to the covered walkways

that effectively became colonnades linking all the units and the
restaurant/managers office. Five very tall trunks also provided a
kind of super-order to the facade of the two-storey block.
The unit interiors, furnished with light modern pieces, had
bagged and colour-washed brick walls, exposed beams and
polished walnut detailing. The rear window wall of each provided
visual and physical access to a sheltered and private garden and
the views beyond. Much attention was focussed on the restaurant
and its interior, which became a celebrated feature of the motel,
both for its design and cuisine. The glazed walls at one end were
oriented west towards the lake and opened out onto a wide
balcony. To shield the kitchen on the northern side and the toilets
and office space at the rear of the space, Boyd designed two sets of
continuous, angled screens in mountain ash with walnut standards
spaced to match the exposed beams above. Artificial light sources
were concealed in the cross beams. To complement the natural
warmth of the scheme, Yencken chose simply designed tables and
chairs in wood, and abandoned tablecloths in favour of woven
mats. Later, in 1963, Boyd designed an extension to the restaurant
that included a bar and cocktail lounge at the southern end.
The design of the Black Dolphin, including its siting, landscaping,
materials and detailing, represented a distinct departure from the
norm of motels at the time. However, Boyds original approach was
not universally applauded. Yencken recalls that The consensus
of opinion in the township was that it was the ugliest building
ever built in Merimbula.31 Nevertheless, the Black Dolphin quickly
developed a strong following, particularly within architectural
circles. In 1961 it was rated as one of the ten best buildings for
196061 by Architecture and Arts, which considered the motel a
very stimulating building and applauded the deliberate attempt
to create an entirely Australian character.32 Unfortunately, since
Yenckens departure in the mid-1960s, subsequent work on the

motel has somewhat diminished that distinctiveness.

By the time of the Black Dolphins completion in 1960, a boom
in motel construction had commenced, with New South Wales
leading the race. The 1961 edition of the Motel Guide for Australia,
for example, lists 76 motels for the state, and only 23 for its
closest rival, Queensland.33 At the same time, the industry began
to regulate itself, forming the Motel Federation of Australia in
1957 to establish and monitor standards of motel accommodation
nationally. But there were also fundamental changes occurring
within the industry itself, in terms of sources of investment and
locus of operation. In 1960 the Sydney Morning Herald reported:
The motel boom is a triumph for private investors; they set the
industry rolling before the chains (including hotel interests) moved
in with their big capital. The industry now is swelling fast
The future will be wonderful says the president of the Motel
Federation of Australia, Mr Alan Greenway. We havent seen the
real boom yet; wait till the middle or the end of the year. There
is a big future for terminal motels in the cities, too apart from
country expansion.34

Originally it was thought that to build motels on expensive city

sites would be uneconomical. But that attitude was to change
substantially in the 1960s. Most motels in New South Wales in the
late 1950s were located in regional areas. For example, in 1958
only three of the 30 motels listed for the state in the Motel Guide
for Australia were located in the Sydney metropolitan area. Within
just three years this figure had almost quadrupled35 and during the
course of the 1960s, not only did the numbers increase, but they
came to encompass the city centre and its environs. That is not to
say that the majority were not still located in the regions, but that
motels rather suddenly became part of Sydneys suburban and
urban landscape. Not surprisingly, given the capital outlay involved,
it was the large chains and development companies that were
behind this push.


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M otels : the ultra modern experience

Robin Boyd designed each unit of the

Black Dolphin Motel so that the living/
sleeping space opened directly out onto
a paved semi-sheltered outdoor area,
shielded on either side by tea-tree
Photo by Mark Strizic, 1961. State
Library of Victoria H2011.55/2072.
Estate of Mark Strizic.

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Enjoying the view and the hospitality

on offer at the Astor Motor Hotel. The
guest suites all faced into the centre
of the building, overlooking either the
swimming pool and terrace on the
ground floor or the Japanese garden
on the first. The decorative mural one
of many featured in the Astor covered
a stairway and elevator shaft.
Photo by Douglass Baglin, 1964.
National Archives of Australia: B942.

M ot e ls a n d
t h e c it y

The new city motels were originally

referred to as terminal motels, on the
basis that transport terminals for air,
rail and bus were located in the major cities. In this urban context,
the role of the motel was automatically expanded: In contrast to
highway motels where stays are usually only overnight, these guests
make the motel their base of operations for city sight seeing and
shorter trips in the environs of the metropolis.36
While this placed the terminal motel in direct competition with
the hotel, the traditional form of city accommodation, the modernity
of the motel offered distinct advantages. According to Hotel, Motel
and Restaurant for example: The rapid advance of motels in the
accommodation field is due to the fact that they offer more wanted
services, such as on the spot parking, adjacent or nearby service
station facilities, television, radio and above all larger and more
comfortable rooms.37
These distinctions were meant to appeal to not only local
but international tourists. Self-containment was high on the list,
particularly for the desirable American tourist, but it was something
that most hotels in Sydney failed to provide in the 1950s. According
to an article in the Sydney Morning Herald in 1955 entitled Why, You
Can Get a Room with Bath in Central Africa!:
Australia is 7,600 miles by sea from North America and 13,000 miles
from Britain. At journeys end, the tourist who has paid perhaps 744
dollars or stg 290 to come here finds one of the worlds lowest
standards of metropolitan accommodation and service When an
American tourist asks for a room, he expects a room with selfl e i s u r e s pa c e

contained bath or shower. Yet no more than 650 of the 7,950 hotel
rooms in central Sydney have a bath or shower.38

Motels were also frequently promoted on the basis of being more

family-friendly. The Rex Motel Chain, for example, advertised
Children welcome, which was meant to bring a sigh of relief to

the harassed mother who has found children in the ordinary hotel
a serious problem.39 For families and also women travellers (with
or without children), the economy, informality and self-containment
offered by motel accommodation was meant to be particularly
appealing.40 Additionally, unlike hotels, no liquor was sold on the
premises, suggesting a quieter, more family-oriented atmosphere.
However, this distinction was to change as a new hybrid emerged:
the hotelmotel or motor hotel. While they existed in regional
areas, particularly where hotels had attempted to modernise their
facilities, the advent of this hybrid form was also directly linked to
the urbanisation of the motel during the 1960s.
One of the first motor hotels in Sydney was the Astor, built in
Woolloomooloo, on the edge of the CBD. The Astor formed part
of Astor Hotel Motels Ltd (originally Astor Hotels Pty Ltd), which
commenced construction of its first chain of motor hotels on the
north and central coasts of New South Wales in the late 1950s.
The first to be completed, in 1957, was the PierAstor in Byron
Bay, designed by the Sydney practice Kevin J Curtin & Partners.
The PierAstor was meant to provide the pattern for the five others
planned for the Astor chain, with Curtin designing the original
single-storey structure on the basis that all could be erected
speedily, in approximately 20 weeks.41
In 1961, Astor Hotel Motels Ltd announced plans for a 3 million
program of expansion and construction in New South Wales.
This encompassed a hotel in Canberra as well as a number of
regional hotelmotels, but also a motel at Woolloomooloo.42 The
architectural practice contracted for this ambitious program was
the prominent Sydney firm of Rudder, Littlemore & Rudder,43 which
had recently completed the world headquarters for Qantas Empire
Airways in the city, Qantas House. During the 1930s, as Rudder
& Grout, the firm had established a reputation for hotel design,
particularly through its numerous commissions for the large brewery
Tooth & Co.


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An Oasis of luxury and leisure,

the Astor Woolloomooloo as it was
originally envisaged, with its distinctive
brise-soleil facade.
Sydney Morning Herald, 12 February
1963, p. 17. Fairfax Media

Reflecting its perceived significance to the city, the Astor

Woolloomooloo was officially opened by the Lord Mayor of
Sydney, Alderman HF Jensen, in February 1963.44 Estimated to
cost half a million pounds and boasting 96 single, double, family
and executive units, it was described at the time as the largest
motel-style hotel in Australia.45 Only one mile from the GPO and
five minutes from Kings Cross, the Astor was located at Sydneys
Gateway: at one end of the recently completed Cahill Expressway
and close to the harbour and the Matson line tourists who spill out
of No. 7 wharf.46
The Astor was rectangular in plan, rising to three stories on
two sides, and to four stories on its eastern and western ends
to accommodate the penthouse suites. Early drawings show the
eastern end, the Astors main approach, with three parallel rows of
brise-soleils running the full width of the facade above the ground
level.47 By the time of the buildings completion, however, these
had been replaced by terracotta decorative screens, dramatically
compromising the effect.
The Astors height and position afforded views across the
harbour, particularly from the penthouse executive suites. Like any
motel, it provided full parking facilities with the unusual bonus
of a drive-in reception area that enabled guests to drive direct
to the reception desk in their cars.48 There was also a drive-in
bottle department that featured a fully automated bottle service
the first of its kind in Australia. In the style of a motel, the
self-contained accommodation was ranged around two internal
courtyards. Separated by a central core of stairs and lifts, one of
the courtyards incorporated a Japanese-style garden with exotic
and decorative plants, waterfalls and pools. The other featured
a luxury swimming pool. But guests could also enjoy a range of
hotel facilities such as the hospitality offered by the Windjammer
and Frisco bars and the casual dining of the Vintage Grill. There
was also nightclub style dining in the Opal Room, where guests


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When it opened in 1962, Hotel,

Motel and Restaurant considered the
Rushcutter Travelodge the last word in
modern luxury for guests and practical
labour saving devices for management.
Hotel, Motel and Restaurant,
November 1962, pp. 1011. Mitchell
Library, State Library of New South


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could enjoy extravagant floor shows presented on a hydraulically

operated stage. Live entertainment was usually the provenance of
large hotels, but in order to underscore its status as an Oasis of
luxury and leisure,49 nightly entertainment, along with nightclubstyle dining, intimate bars and a casual grill, formed part of this
hotelmotel package.
The Astor represented a bold excursion into a new form of
accommodation for Sydney. While the expanded type of the
hotelmotel already existed in regional areas, in the city it became
enlarged, more complex and more sophisticated. Importantly, the
term motel became associated with luxury rather than economy
in these new hybrids.
On the other side of Kings Cross, just a few months before
the Astor Woolloomooloo opened, the Travelodge chain unveiled
the Rushcutter. Its launch comprised an at home function with
400 invited guests representing a wide cross section of Sydneys
community.50 Proudly a motel, the Rushcutter nevertheless
embodied the characteristics of the new hybrid. Touted as one of
Sydneys foremost tourist facilities,51 it was located on the border
of Kings Cross and one of the main roads leading into William
Street and the CBD beyond. Ironically, the motel was constructed
on the site of the former Rushcutters Bay tram depot, which had
been demolished late in 1961 to make way for the new project.
The Sydney tramway network, once the largest in Australia, was
by then a casualty of an increasingly car-centred approach to urban
The history of the Travelodge chain reflects the accelerated
growth both of the motel industry and of the large chains within
it from the late 1950s to the mid-1960s. The first motel in what
was to become the Travelodge chain had opened in Gundagai in
December 1958. Just four years later, according to the companys
annual report, Travelodge was the largest accommodation chain
in Australia and one of the largest individually owned chains in

the world. It formed part of Motels of Australia Ltd, which by

1966 also owned a raft of other companies, including motel chains
Caravilla, the Reef Motel, Associated Motel and Holiday Inn.52
For Motels of Australia, the Rushcutter represented the pride
of the fleet, with its inspired design by Sydney architects Frank
Kolos and Jim Bryant.53 By the mid-1960s, Bryant had designed
38 of Australias most modern motels54 and, together with Kolos,
would shortly take on the first fully-fledged Hilton hotel built in
Sydney. The Rushcutters five-storey, reinforced concrete structure
rested on piles sunk 30 feet (9 metres) below ground level.
Though offering slightly less accommodation than the Astor, the
motel was taller and its position provided views over Rushcutters
Bay and the expansive park encircling it. The five storeys
accommodated 93 units and parking for 98 vehicles, with 35 of
the units having a parking space directly adjacent. There was a
swimming pool in the motel grounds and, on the very top level,
a restaurant with views to the bay. Also, sharing the site on the
Bayswater Road side, was Rushcutter Bowl, the largest tenpin
bowling centre in the Southern Hemisphere.55 Although operated
separately, it meant that motel guests had yet another modern
leisure facility at their doorstep.
According to Hotel, Motel and Restaurant in 1962, the new
Rushcutter motel is the last word in modern luxury for guests.56
Two key considerations underpinned that assessment: the quality
of the motels interior decor and the modern technologies that
had been employed in the provision of new and improved services
for guests. These included air-conditioning equipment specially
imported from the United States, high speed lifts, chilled drinking
water piped to every unit and a mechanised accounting system
at reception. Each unit also had a message alert system built into
the bedside control panel a modern miracle that also included
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Only 3 kilometres from Sydneys CBD,

the Rushcutter Travelodge offered guests
splendid views over Rushcutters Bay Park
and to the bay beyond. This image shows
only one section of the north-facing
elevation, with its projecting suspended
walkway and staircase providing access
to the motels pool and surrounds.
Photographer unknown. Mitchell Library,
State Library of New South Wales.


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While the rooms of the Rushcutter basically followed the

standard layout, there were many refinements in keeping
with the extremely high standard of luxury maintained by this
company in its terminal motels.57 In 1962, Motels of Australia
had appointed the high-profile Sydney designer Donald Johnston
as Interior and Commercial Designer to the chain. Johnston
operated Don Johnston Interior Designers in the city and taught
design at East Sydney Technical College. Additionally, one of
Sydneys most accomplished cabinet-makers, Paul Kafka, was
employed to furnish the famed chain of Travelodge motels
throughout Australia to Johnstons design.58 This consistency
of approach to the interior design of Travelodges motels formed
part of a larger strategy aimed at establishing a clear brand for
the chain. Beginning with the iconic logo of the sleepy kangaroo,
it also came to include the adoption of blue as the corporate
colour for Travelodges advertising, stationery and staff uniforms,
and also the production of an in-house magazine for guests, Via
For the Rushcutters 93 units, Johnston devised eight different
colour schemes. Complementing these were a selection of framed
prints, luxurious Japanese woven grass wallpapers for feature
walls, boldly patterned drapes and specially designed carpets.
While at least one of the large special suites was furnished
in a traditional colonial style, most rooms featured modern,
clean-line furniture including built-in elements such as a luggage
bench, a tea-making cabinet and a triangular unit that served as a
bedhead, but also incorporated the multi-function control panel.
The rooms were also furnished with mobile beds designed by
Kafka, which became a feature of Travelodge motels throughout
Australia. Long flat rollers fitted at one end of the bed enabled it
to be pivoted to an angle of 75 degrees, allowing the bed, when
used as such, to be swivelled out into the room and easily swung
back against the wall to be used as a lounge during the day.60

There were a number of suites that could be interconnected

for large groups and families or luxury entertaining and some
of these appear to have included cocktail bars.
The only section of the motel for which Johnston was not
responsible was the penthouse restaurant, the Chateaubriand.
The timber panelling, red foil wall coverings and decorative
gold plaques and swords were the responsibility of Chester Ford
Pty Ltd, a subsidiary of Motels of Australia, which managed
the Chateaubriand, together with other Travelodge motel
restaurants at Woollahra, Ashfield, Ryde and Parramatta.61
With its floor-to-ceiling glass windows at one end providing a
panoramic view over the park and to the harbour, the licensed
restaurant was open to the general public as well as motel
guests. This was nothing new, given that in regional areas a
motel restaurant frequently provided a town or district with
one of its few venues for eating out. But as evidenced at both
the Astor and the Rushcutter, the resources devoted to fitting
out and promoting these facilities supported a carefully crafted
image that drew on distinctive elements of the luxury hotel as
well as the informality, self-containment, economy and newness
that denoted the modernity of the motel.
In 1966 Travelodge opened its 66th motel, designed by
Sydney architect Harold William (Bill) Reilly, in Victoria Street,
Kings Cross.62 Fourteen storeys high and located on the highest
point in Sydney, the motel commanded views across East Sydney
to the city. Its crowning glory, on the 14th floor, was its Top of the
Cross restaurant and cocktail bar designed by Donald Johnston
over two levels. Even Building: Lighting: Engineering
was somewhat taken with the interior scheme:
The ceiling above the entrance foyer has a starlight effect.
The restaurant decor features a specially woven green
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Complementing Donald Johnstons decor is a special wallpaper

created by Florence Broadhurst.63

From the beginning, Top of the Cross provided the focus of

publicity for Travelodge Kings Cross. Some months after opening,
it provided the venue for a special luncheon hosted by Motels
of Australia and its partner in the project, HC Sleigh Ltd, for the
Premier of New South Wales, Robert Askin, and other state and
local politicians. Via Travelodge also enthusiastically reported on
the various high-profile businessmen and celebrities who were
early patrons of the restaurant and bar.64 With its impressive
outlook, high-quality wine cellar and lively floor shows, Top of the
Cross very quickly became a popular Sydney venue for parties and
events. Such was its cachet that the motel soon came to adopt
the name as its own.
By 1968, Top of the Cross was one of seven motels listed for
the small Kings Cross precinct.65 Within twelve months, another
was added to that list: a striking new motor-hotel that opened in
the very centre of the Cross, near Robert Woodwards elegant El
Alamein Memorial Fountain in the Fitzroy Gardens. This was the
Gazebo Motor Hotel, the flagship of Master Hosts Motor Hotels
Pty Ltd a group affiliated with Master Hosts International,
which operated in North America, Germany, Austria and other
Designed by Design and Construction Consultants Pty Ltd to
be of world standard,67 the Gazebo combined the facilities of
an international hotel with the self-contained convenience and
generous parking facilities of a motel. It also had the obligatory
service station at its rear, only demolished to make way for the
construction of more accommodation in the 1980s. Design and
Construction Consultants was part of the Fischer Group run by
Sydney businessman Syd Fischer. It built the motor hotel at a cost

of $3.5 million.68 According to one report at the time, the Fisher

Group was responsible for the erection of many hotels in all parts
of the world.69 In 1965 it had also built the Motel Kings Cross in
Bayswater Road. Eight stories high and containing 138 units, it was
lauded then as Australias largest motel.70
Built on the site of the grand house and later private hotel,
Cheverells, the distinctive circular-shaped Gazebo comprised 22
floors, including four levels below ground for parking 200 cars.
Sixteen floors were devoted to the provision of 200 air-conditioned
rooms and suites. American designer Audrey Borkenhagen, who
had stayed on in Sydney after working on the Wentworth Hotel
project for Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, was commissioned by
Master Hosts to design the Gazebos interiors. For the reception
area at entrance level, with its gold vinyl wall coverings and
radiating ribbed ceiling, she designed a dramatic curvilinear desk
in a bright red-orange fibreglass and acrylic finish. Leading off
from reception was a circular cocktail bar and also a restaurant,
described by one commentator as
gay and attractive; carpet, chairs and banquettes are in three
shades of crimson. Most of the walls are of soft gold. There
is also a long window wall looking straight on to the puff-ball
fountain and park. This window wall is hung with gold chain
mesh which allows you to gaze out on the passing people of the
Cross but screens off their view of you.71

A typical floor within the 16 levels of accommodation had 13 selfcontained rooms including bathroom, radio, television, tea- and
coffee-making facilities and private exchange dialling telephone.
Six international suites were located on the top three residential
floors. Named Rome, Canberra, Paris, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and
New York, they offered possibilities of combination and included
pantries with double refrigerators.72 On the top level, above the
accommodation, was the swimming pool, with quarry tile surround,

M otels : the ultra modern experience

design representing typical terrace houses of earlier days.


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relaxation terrace and tiled mural. Other facilities offered by the

motel included special function rooms.
Very quickly, the Gazebo attracted the attention of both the
popular press and architectural commentators. Norman Edwards,
then senior lecturer in architecture at the University of Sydney,
took a rather romantic view of the project in the Sydney Morning
Herald: The architects and the client started with the philosophy
that a motel, like its Victorian counterpart, should suggest
something approaching sumptuousness in its architecture, and
appeal not only to the mind but to the emotions.73 The inspiration
for the form was meant to be Bertrand Goldbergs famous Marina
Towers in Chicago, completed in 1964. Closer to home, the circular
theme was also in evidence in the Tower Mill Motel, designed by
Fulton Trotter Architects and opened in Brisbane in 1966 and, of
course, Harry Seidlers Australia Square tower, completed in 1967.
There was also a clear emphasis in media reports generally on
the technological aspects of the motels construction and services,
from detailed descriptions of its pre-cast concrete units to the
latest in air-conditioning systems.
The Gazebo was officially opened by the Minister for Works and
Tourist Activities, Senator RC Wright, on 6 May 1969. According to
Leslie Walford in his regular social column in the Sun-Herald, Our
A couple of hundred crowded round the champagne bottles
behind golden chain curtains in the dining-room with its red
banquettes, before burrowing though the splendid mystery of
this elegant tower. Like a couple of kids exploring, Andrea and
I took the lift to the 13th Floor. The breathtaking wide-screen
views would be enough to stagger anybody looking at Sydney for
the first time. It took the breath out of us who know our Sydney
anyway the total concept is a rave.74

In terms of investment in design, construction and interior

fit-out, the Gazebo represented just how far the motel had
developed in New South Wales over the course of 16 years,
albeit in a hybrid form. This high-rise city landmark offered
the pleasures and glamour of a luxury hotel within the more
streamlined, self-contained operation of a motel quite a leap
from that modest timber structure in Ballina.
While other high-rise motels were to enhance Sydneys
skyline over the next few years notably Travelodges 14-storey
crescent-shaped motel in North Sydney, designed by the
prominent Sydney firm of Peddle, Thorp & Walker the boom
years of exponential growth were over. As Reeves notes, by
1970 the local motel market was flooded.75 Within the last
20 years, the Gazebo, along with the Astor, Rushcutter and
Top of the Cross sites, have been redeveloped as apartment
buildings, reflecting the changing needs and priorities of the
city and of private investment. But for some in the late 1960s,
the Gazebo embodied the very essence of modern Sydney: busy,
international and self-confident. Up on the 13th floor, with radio
broadcaster Andrea by his side, Leslie Walford felt he was in
good company for gurgling with delight about the magic of this
here-and-now city. It seems to glide towards future splendour.76
I would like to thank the following individuals and
organisations for the information and advice they generously
provided: Alexander Barr (State Library of Tasmania), Bathurst
Historical Society, Bathurst Library, Michael Bogle, Paola
Favaro, Bruce Judd, Charles Pickett, Matthew Stephens
(Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection) and David

M otels : the ultra modern experience

Located in the heart of Kings Cross,

the distinctive circular form of the
Gazebo Motor Hotel soon became
as emblematic of its precinct as the
El Alamein Memorial Fountain in the
Photo by Max Dupain, 1969. Courtesy
Max Dupain & Associates.


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M otels : the ultra modern experience

In the luxury suites situated on the

upper levels of the Gazebo, the living
spaces were physically separate from
the bedrooms. Here the contemporary
furnishings include Saarinen Tulip chairs,
with the large mirror behind maximising
not only a sense of space but also the
impact of the panoramic views.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1969. Courtesy
Max Dupain & Associates.


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S i n g D A r c y


An intimate night-time view of the bar

area of the Summit, located on the
stationary upper tier of the restaurant.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1968. State
Library of New South Wales. Courtesy
Penelope Seidler.

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We started with duck liver terrine

and prawns Florentine as the Opera
House drifted by These lines from
the 1978 television advertisement
See you at the Summit were an
attempt to revive the cachet once
enjoyed by the revolving restaurant
as Sydneys premiere dining venue.
No doubt the combination of
panoramas and pts was meant as
an enticement to a new generation of

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Sydney patrons.
When, ten years earlier, the Summit Restaurant opened atop
Harry Seidlers Australia Square tower, it offered a unique
experience in terms of its views, cuisine, decor, and pure novelty.
It was conceived as the consummate and confident expression
of all that the Australian hospitality industry had aspired to:
international, sophisticated, efficient, mechanised and profitable.
Although there can be little doubt that the Summit had passed
its zenith by the late 1970s, its significance in relation to the
development of the Sydney restaurant since World War II is

Dining out has long been an intrinsic part of Australias

cultural development and, despite the tyranny of distance, has
often been in line with international practices of consumption,
leisure and design. Societal changes after World War II, and an
associated shift in habits for both consumers and restaurateurs,
paved the way for a significant transformation of the prewar design paradigm in the 1960s. The case of the Summit
Restaurant and its protagonists serves to highlight the new
ways in which the dining experience came to be configured in
modern Sydney.

P r e - 19 4 5

The origins of the modern restaurant

have been mythologised as arising as a
consequence of the French Revolution.
However, research into dining cultures in early modern Europe
has linked the emergence of modern gastronomy to larger factors
such as urbanisation, commercial expansion, the growth of
leisure and greater demand for luxury.1
It may at first seem surprising that the phenomenon of
the restaurant generally associated with the urban leisure
of Europe should simultaneously emerge in Australia, with
contemporaneous examples in Paris, London and Madrid.
However, despite the distant contexts of colonial settlement,
Sydneys (and Australias) first restaurant had a definite
Continental connection. Its founder, James Larra, was a convict
of Spanish origin who arrived on the Second Fleet in 1790.2 He
was granted the colonys first alcohol licence and established the
Freemasons Arms in Parramatta in 1796, a single-room wattle
and daub hut that had by 1800 been transformed into a sturdier
brick structure.3 Michael Symonss authoritative, though not
uncontested, version of the history of eating in Australia echoes
European research in stating that, far from the grand narratives,
the provision of food services is a natural activity of a mobile,


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S e rv i n g u p
Sy d n e y

At the beginning of the 1950s the

static state of public dining in Sydney
was reflected in the limited options
available: the dining rooms of luxury hotels with their tired
gastronomy, and pubs with their plain food and unwholesome
atmosphere.12 The experiences they offered did not in terms of
their design, service or culinary mode appeal to the emergent
middle-class consumers who were beginning to seek experiences
somewhere between the two extremes of haute cuisine and
pub meal.13 PostWorld War II Sydney was becoming recosmopolitanised, due to a combination of new influences, tastes
and business ventures associated with the influx of immigrants
from Europe14 as well as the assimilation of overseas dining
experiences by Sydneysiders returning from war or travel.15 While
cafes boomed in the 1950s within the bohemian enclaves of Kings
Cross and laneways of the city, restaurants were still constrained
by cost factors and licensing laws. It was not until the 1960s that
the restaurant was to gain importance in design terms. This was
in large part due to greater family disposable income, increased
interest in gastronomy through media and travel, and, perhaps
most importantly, the relaxation of licensing laws in New South
The democratisation of eating out is a phenomenon of the late
20th century, starting in the late 1950s.16 What changed during
this period was not so much the restaurant per se, but rather
the manner in which it was marketed and experienced. In her
analysis of the history of dining out, Joanne Finkelstein stated
that fundamental to the pleasure associated with dining out was
the aura of the restaurant, which formed part of the modern
spectacle in which social relations are mediated through visual
images and imagined atmosphere.17 The close association of
the restaurant with the luxury hotel meant that participation had
traditionally been restricted to the wealthy elite. The new post-war

S k y- high ambitions : S y dne y s restaurants

consumer society and one which was intrinsic to Australia right

from its very inception.4
The period from 1850 through to the first decade of the new
century saw Sydney promote itself as the new London of the
South Seas and the proliferation of hotels and restaurants
during this period bore testament to this aspiration.5 Sydney had
a reputation for a lively and colourful restaurant scene only
surpassed by the great metropolises of Europe.6 Lamentably, we
have almost no record of the design of their interior spaces, save
the most notable of examples such as the Australia Hotel and
its magnificent dining hall, documented in the hotels publicity
material from the late 19th century.7
In regard to the evolution of the restaurant in Australia
between the commencement of World War I and the end of
World War II, Symons stated, The austerities of the Great
War killed off restaurant society8 restaurant dining did not
form part of the regular leisure activities or standard modes of
consumption for the people of the time. The emphasis was firmly
on eating home-cooked meals,9 and ones that were decidedly
traditional and non-ostentatious.10 The hangover of austerity and
entrenched eating habits lasted well into the 1950s and what
restaurant food there was tended to be generally degenerate
English-style cuisine.11
The transformation that occurred in public dining and its
associated environments within Australia, and in particular
Sydney, in the post-war period, occurred as a result of numerous
shifts in attitude towards leisure, its public consumption and the
entrepreneurs who promoted, serviced and profited from these
new trends.


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Themed restaurant interiors, such as

that of the Beach Hut Restaurant in
Sans Souci, were common in Sydney
throughout the 1960s and 1970s.
Photo by Jack Hickson, 1968.
Australian Photographic Agency. State
Library of New South Wales.


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family-centred mode of collective consumer culture imported from

the United States promoted mass access to the potential pleasures
of eating out.18 Accompanying this was a shift in the hospitality
industrys business attitude towards public dining that hsitorian
Dianne Kirkby noted as a deliberate decision to market food as
leisure and entertainment.19
According to Sydney entrepreneur and restaurateur Oliver
Shaul, People dont go out to restaurants because they are hungry
they go out because they want to enter a make-believe world,
feeling good, experiencing hospitality.20 Studies of contemporary
eating out practices support the notion that consumers enter
into a relationship with the restaurant promoter, in which
money is exchanged for a series of leisure-focussed pleasurable
experiences that are markedly separate from the everyday rituals
of food preparation and consumption.21 The manner in which this
experience was orchestrated in Sydney during the 1950s and 1960s
is apparent in the emergence of three distinguishable restaurant
types, which Finkelstein has categorised as fte spciale, bistro
mondain/parodic and convenience.22
In terms of the first category, the fte spciale, its formal
subtype could be described as the fine-dining experience
traditionally found in the grand hotels and city establishments.
Early examples of this subtype were Princes in Martin Place and
nearby Romanos, originally designed by Hennessy & Hennessy
in 1938, but still operating in the 1950s. It is interesting to
note that these two early examples of Sydneys top fine-dining
experiences were in basements, with no connection to an outside
view whatsoever. The second subtype, informal spectacular,
offered additional experiences to the dining package, such as
entertainment, views or design novelty. The revolving Summit
Restaurant, for example, with its emphasis on views and novelty,
could be classified as informal spectacular. Irrespective of
subtype, the fte spciale restaurants were often tourist

attractions or places of such great reputation that one dines there

for these reasons and not for the cuisine.23
The second category included the bistro mondain and the
parodic. The first offered new culinary experiences to attract
clientele, while the second, with its fully engineered atmosphere,
also known as a theme restaurant, used exotic or novel decor.24
From the 1960s onwards the themed restaurant was one of the
most prolific types to emerge in Sydney, notable examples being
the Cahills chain of restaurants: Island Trader in Goldfields House,
the King Street operation of Brass Rail, with its rustic stable decor,
and the Mexican-inspired interior of Cahills in the Imperial Arcade.
While the engineering of experience had to be finely crafted in
terms of the restaurant interior, professional designers were not
necessarily employed as many proprietors collaged the schemes
together to create the theme desired, whether Dutch, Spanish or
just plain exotic.
Nevertheless, the more outstanding examples of fte spciale
and themed restaurants did utilise the services of design
professionals, either architects or interior designers. While the
formal restaurant has generally had a longer and more continuous
association with design, evidence from the period shows that for
the hospitality industry in general, the active promotion of design
as a means of increasing business became a prime concern. In
1968 Erica Worsoe wrote an article titled Interior Design: Vital Part
of Your Business for the June issue of Hotel, Motel and Restaurant
in which she stated Design is a word we are using increasingly
in Australia today.25 In the same journal, Don Beavis, a prominent
designer of Sydney hotel and restaurant interiors of the 1960s
and 1970s, also provided insightful comment on the changing role
of the restaurant designer during the 1960s, stating that Interior
design has reached the stage where it calls for a specialist you
cant leave it to the managing directors daughter anymore.26 He
reflected that Eight years ago [1963] it would have been difficult to

S k y- high ambitions : S y dne y s restaurants

The interior of Romanos Restaurant,

1961. One of Sydneys top dining
venues, the restaurant was located in a
Martin Place basement, with no visual
connection to the exterior.
Photo by Jack Mulligan, 1961.
Australian Photographic Agency. State
Library of New South Wales.


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find a single restaurant in Sydney with an international standard

of cuisine and decor But Sydney has absorbed the civilising
influence of migrants and travellers home from abroad and now
has many restaurants of an international standard.27
During the mid-1960s, many similar articles appeared in
Hotel, Motel and Restaurant, highlighting not only the growing
importance and benefits of well-designed interiors, but also
the way in which restaurants were becoming an area of
specialisation in the design professions. One, for example,
featured Alan Duncan, a young Sydney architect who had been
sent on a two-year study tour in 1964 to investigate restaurant
design and decor. Duncan worked for the Grace Bros architectural
division. His study tour was to help him prepare the designs for
the food court at Roselands Shopping Centre. He reported that
Here in Australia I think we are just beginning to realise the
enormous importance of the psychology of decor and colour.28 He
particularly emphasised the fact that good design increased sales
and the enjoyment of food.
The informal spectacular restaurant best evidences the
changes that occurred in restaurant design in Sydney during
the post-war decades.29 This shift, in conjunction with a
transformation of the urban landscape, saw fine dining emerge
from the hermetically sealed underground venues of the pre-war
period into glass-walled spaces that allowed for the physical
landscape of Sydney in particular the harbour to be consumed
as part of the total experiential offering.
Elevation was a way of opening up to landscape. The idea
of locating dining spaces above ground level in order to take
advantage of surrounding views had first been introduced in New
York City at the end of the 19th century, with numerous mid-air
dining clubs that were located on the upper levels of high-rise
buildings. These bastions of civility were far away from the grotty,
bustling streets of Manhattan, where the distractions of the

city were not conducive to gentlemanly business.30 The closest

equivalent in Sydney was the Great Restaurant, located on level
seven of David Jones department store on Elizabeth Street,
opened in March 1928. The privileged view of the city from on
high transformed it into a landscape, serving it up as part of the
dining experience that was virtually prepared for the viewer to
consume passively.31
James Bendrodt, owner of the underground Martin Place
restaurant Princes, was the first to offer Sydneysiders spectacular
harbour views along with modern design and architecture at his
new Rose Bay floating restaurant, Caprice, designed by Forsyth
Evans & Associates and opened in 1956. Reviews of the design
particularly noted that it was strange that there has been a
complete lack of restaurants that took advantage of Sydneys
landscapes, most obviously the harbour.32 Bendrodt explained the
significance of his venture:
If an overseas visitor dines in some city restaurant or hotel
dining room, no matter how good the decor and cuisine may be,
it probably leaves no other impression than that of a good meal.
Caprice has been planned to exploit to the full the glorious
views of the harbour, Sydneys greatest national asset.33

This sentiment was shared by the critic John Pringle, who in 1958
remarked, in regard to the location of Sydneys restaurants, for
some curious reason it is hard to find one where you sit outside by
the harbour.34
Since the early 1950s, voices within the hospitality industry
had called for Sydney restaurateurs to stop ignoring the historic
or geographic potentialities of their district for design and
decor cues.35 A Hotel and Cafe News article from 1951 titled
Open Air Attack stated that Within the closer confines of the
City itself there is room for a smart ROOF-TOP club, restaurant,
or cafe; there is also room for a harbour-side water view


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The Caprice restaurant, located over

the waters of Rose Bay, was Sydneys
first true foray into harbour-side dining.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1956. Courtesy
Max Dupain & Associates.


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establishment.36 Apparently heeding this advice, the Hotel Astra

Bondi opened its Ocean Room rooftop restaurant in 1955, where
the regulars were unable to resist the combination of good
food and wonderful views.37 This was soon followed by similar
ventures, such as the 1958 Skyline Restaurant in the Grace Bros
department store in Bondi Junction, and later by restaurants
located on the top floor of motels such as the Travelodge Kings
Cross and the Rushcutter.
In Sydney, where once the dining experience had been
substantially influenced by the interior environment, this was no
longer the case. With at least one or more of the walls removed,
the supremacy of the view meant that the decor became little
more than a consolation for those diners seated furthest away
from the prime window tables. Where once it had been about
diners viewing and being viewed, it was now about taking in

A large mirrored wall was installed

at the rear of the Caprice restaurant
to reflect glimpses of the harbour for
those diners seated away from prime
window positions.
Photo by Winton Irving, 1956.
Australian Photographic Agency. State
Library of New South Wales.

Located on the 14th floor of the

Travelodge Kings Cross, the Top of
the Cross restaurant offered stunning
views of the city as part of the dining
Photographer unknown. Australian
News and Information Bureau. National
Archives of Australia: A1200, L62423.


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the landscape. The relationship of the viewer to the landscape

had also shifted. The harbour, which had always been associated
with the citys industry, was transformed into a component of
the leisure lifestyle. What had previously been dirty, smelly and
ugly, lined with factories and docks, had become sanitised and
quietened through glass walls and air-conditioning. The harbour
was now free to be romanticised, just like the French wine being
served with lunch.
The ultimate way of not only viewing but commanding
the landscape was offered by a new format: the revolving
restaurant. Symbols of achievement and status, and explicitly
tied to futurism, progress, and technological savvy,38 revolving
restaurants had originally been conceived of by the great
American visionary Norman Bel Geddes in 1929.39 The first
was built in Dortmund, Germany, in 1959 and within a year one
appeared in Australia. Skyway Restaurant in the Katoomba tourist
park Scenic World seated 200 diners and turned at six revolutions
per hour.40
The suggestion to place a revolving restaurant on level 47
of the Australia Square tower came from the developer Dick
Dusseldorp of Lend Lease, who instructed the architect Harry
Seidler to make provisions for one.41 The Shaul Group, headed
by Oliver Shaul, was the successful tenderer in what was to
be a 50/50 venture with Lend Lease.42 Shaul was one of the
leading figures in Sydneys hospitality and tourism industry during
the 20th century. Trained in Switzerland, with postgraduate
qualifications in hotel management from Cornell University,
he opened and operated numerous hotels and restaurants
throughout Australia over a period spanning nearly 50 years.
With his finger always on the pulse, Shaul was continually
looking at ways of improving business through better management, delivery and design.43 As commissioner of the new
Australian Tourist Commission (established in 1967), he was

well placed to see, promote and implement the changes and

trends that were occurring within an emergent globalised
hospitality industry. The Summit Restaurant bore Shauls
characteristic mix of business pragmatism and genuine ambition
to see Australia and in particular Sydney as an integrated and
important part of the international tourism industry. To Shaul, this
meant applying international standards of design and service,
while simultaneously appealing to the broadest client base, both
local and international.
From its very inception, the Summit was meant to be
spectacular, unique and accessible. The exclusivity of earlier
restaurants, marked by their enclosed spaces, was reconceived
through technology. The buildings architecture and engineering
were designed to provide this unique dining experience to anyone
willing to pay. In the promotion of the project, for example, it
was noted to be exclusive at moderate prices44 and within
the reach of everyone.45 The restaurant also offered its meals at
multiple price points, either as American style sandwiches for
lunchtime workers46 or at dinner to those persons in the Sydney
population at large who were willing and able to dine in first
class restaurants, not discriminating between local residents and
tourists.47 In a survey that Shaul conducted he discovered that
half of his clientele were working class.48 Compared to the elite
and enclosed environments of Princes and Romanos, the Summit
pitched itself as offering a modern spectacle open to all.
Unfortunately, the ambitions of the project were not fully
realised. In 1968 Shaul believed that the Summit would attract
tourists from all over the world and yet on reflection some 25
years later he conceded that the majority of diners in the early
years were actually Sydneysiders and not the international jet
set.49 It was not until the introduction of the fringe benefits tax in
1986 that the Summit changed tack in terms of its target market,
along with many other Sydney restaurant establishments.50 With


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S k y- high ambitions : S y dne y s restaurants

The interior of the Garden Court

Restaurant and Lounge at the new
Wentworth Hotel was the first project
Audrey Borkenhagen undertook in
Australia and the first of the three
circular designs (the other two were
the Summit Restaurant and the Gazebo
Motor Hotel) that marked her Sydney
Photo by John Tanner. Australian News
and Information Bureau. National
Archives of Australia: A1200, L59427.


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

Interior perspective of the Blue

dining area for the proposed Summit
Restaurant. It is interesting to note
the importance given to the detailed
depiction of the city view beyond.
Drawing prepared by Audrey
Borkenhagen for Harry Seidler &
Associates, c. 1967. State Library of
New South Wales.

A coloured presentation plan of the

proposed Summit Restaurant. The
different coloured zones of the
rotating dining area were designed to
allow patrons and staff to orientate
themselves in relation to the fixed
services core.
Plan prepared by Audrey Borkenhagen
for Harry Seidler & Associates,
c. 1967. State Library of New South


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S k y- high ambitions : S y dne y s restaurants

The material sample board for the Red

dining area for the proposed Summit
Restaurant. This is one of many sample
boards and images that were prepared
for the design proposal presentation.
Mixed media board prepared by Audrey
Borkenhagen for Harry Seidler &
Associates, c. 1967. State Library of New
South Wales.

the erosion of its traditional business clientele and the boom

in international tourism in the 1980s, tourists became the main
The Summits contemporary international cuisine was typical
of that served in revolving restaurants around the world.52 The
iconic prawn cocktail was not only safe but, as Shaul wryly
added, customers did not have to chew too hard.53 What
localised the experience was not the cuisine, nor the architecture;
rather, it was the landscape passing by outside. The brief for
the Summit called for an interior which afforded maximum
concentration on the outside, a subversion of the typical brief
given to interior designers.54 Earlier viewed-based restaurants
such as Caprice possessed interiors that cohabitated with the
landscape rather than serving as mere backdrops, as was the
case with the Summit. The advantage provided by the floor plate
of the Australia Square tower was its ingenious circular design,
allowing all patrons to have direct sightlines to the views. Caprice
had to make do with mirrors on the three non-harbour walls to
overcome the limitations caused by its oval structure.55
Shaul commissioned three design firms for initial proposals.56
The winning scheme was that of the interior design firm of Audrey
Borkenhagen & Associates. For Shaul, Borkenhagen managed
to meet the challenge of producing a quiet and non-aggressive
scheme which deferred to the view.57 Borkenhagens proposal for
the Summit can be read as an inversion of her work on the Garden
Court Restaurant for the new Wentworth Hotel, which opened in
1966. On the Wentworth project, Borkenhagen was part of the
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill architectural team brought out from
the United States. The Garden Court shared the Summits radial
plan. However, the interior courtyard meant that sightlines were
focussed inwards, whereas the Summit scheme reversed this.
Both schemes possessed a subdued elegance or, as described by
Borkenhagen herself, a soft quality.58


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

The dining area of the Summit rotated around the towers fixed
services core and was divided into three distinct colour-coded
sections: red, blue and beige. This colour coding was conceived
to help patrons and no doubt staff to orientate themselves to
their tables after returning to the fixed service core.59 The dining
section was tiered, with booths on the upper level and loose
tables and seating on the lower. The arrangement of tables on
the lower tier was staggered between the outer ring, closest to
the window, and the inner ring, and this, together with the level
change, ensured that all patrons were afforded uninterrupted
views of the exterior. The floor was covered in (colour-coded)
plush carpets and the custom-designed furniture upholstered
to match. Careful attention was paid to the ceiling colour and
design as well as to the lighting, all to minimise night-time
reflections highlighting once again the importance of achieving
the best possible view for diners. Despite the importance placed
on sightlines towards the exterior, Borkenhagen broke the
potentially monotonous field of view across the dining areas by
inserting welded metal screens between the coloured sections,
and, back towards the core, beaded curtains.
Borkenhagen attributed the success of her design to her
ability to work in an integrated and cooperative manner with
architects. She saw this method of practice as highly innovative
and professional, advocating its adoption as the way forward
for modern design.60 The Summit project involved a close
working relationship with Seidler & Associates Harry Seidler,
Colin Griffiths and David Forbes as well as high-level client
participation from Shaul.61 Borkenhagen also noted that there
was a great vacuum of qualified designers in Sydney, citing the
difference between her extensive education and training at the
University of California to that of the amateurs of the harbour
The Summit served to consolidate the role of the professional

interior designer as an essential component of restaurant

design within the cultural landscape of Sydney. Borkenhagen
& Associates described the Summit project as Total Concept
design, which included all furnishings, lighting and graphics,
down to the silverware.63 By the late 1960s, the situation
of the managing directors daughter being responsible for
the design of restaurant interiors was well and truly over for
high-profile and big budget projects. It would seem that the
increased involvement of design experts was part of the general
professionalisation of the hospitality and tourism sector, as can
be traced through the industry literature of the time.
Following the success of the Summit, Borkenhagen and
David Forbes formed Borkenhagen Forbes & Associates and
realised the interiors for the Gazebo Motor Hotel in Kings Cross
in 1969, and the Squire Inn motel in Bondi Junction also with
rooftop restaurant the following year. Shaul continued with
the informal spectacular restaurant type, going on to open
Chatties penthouse restaurant in Chatswood in 1972, taking over
the Captain Cook (Flanagans Afloat) floating restaurant in Rose
Bay the following year, and later, with the completion of the
Opera House, the restaurant facilities in Sydneys most iconic
For gastronomic satisfaction and everyday pleasure
Sydneysiders and visitors to the city still seek out cheap eats in
districts such as Chinatown, Surry Hills or Darlinghurst, where
what is served on the plate is more important than what is seen
out the window. However, to celebrate special occasions people
still peregrinate to the suite of informal spectacular restaurants
that have sprung up on the rooftops of city and beach-side
buildings, or on the foreshores of the harbour, in the last 40
years. This phenomenon gives credence to the urban historian
John Punters observation that modern Sydney is a place where
city life and city landscape are inextricably intertwined.65 This is


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furniture selection, but beyond that, its sympathetic design also

acknowledges the importance of this period in the formation of
Sydneys dining identity, and, in particular, the role that design
played in the consumption of landscape and leisure.
I would like to thank David Forbes for his generosity in assisting
with this project and, in particular, for the provision of material
from the archives of Borkenhagen Forbes & Associates.

S k y- high ambitions : S y dne y s restaurants

perhaps demonstrated nowhere better than by the Summit.

While many of the institutions established by Shaul still exist,
their original interiors are long gone. None of Borkenhagens
restaurant interiors are extant the rapid redesign of hospitality
spaces is something of a given in the design world. In 1999,
leading Sydney design firm Burley Katon Halliday redesigned
the interior of the Summit, paying homage to its revered
modernist legacy. In part, it nods to the Gazebo with its Saarinen


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Michael Bogle

coffee and

The espresso bar, with its gleaming

European machinery, welcoming
barista and design-driven setting,
created an ambience that
complemented the social aspirations
of the post-war generation of young
Australian men and women.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1959. Courtesy
Max Dupain & Associates.

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In 1958, a new Cahills restaurant

and coffee lounge opened opposite
the Lyceum Theatre on Pitt Street.
Working with what appears to have
been a generous budget, Gordon
Andrews designed the interiors,
furniture, mural and lighting as a
total work of art. It was, as the coded
commentary in Hotel and Cafe News

l e i s u r e s pa c e

said, definitely different. 1

The design-driven coffee shops and cocktail lounges that
appeared in Sydney in the mid-20th century presented new
modernist settings for the eras youthful audiences. The
architects and designers of the citys new coffee shops and
cocktail lounges were, however, influenced by the design
innovations established and refined by Sydneys earlier milk
bar phenomenon. These three leisure settings were generally
designed to accommodate the activities of three novel social
groupings. The milk bars beckoned to the Bodgies and Widgies
generation; Sydneys coffee shops drew a loose association
of Smart Set urbanites and bohemians attracted to design
and visual arts; and the cocktail bars lured a new class of
urban sophisticates in search of perfect cocktails, style and
conversation in a fashionable setting.

The decorative elements and interior architecture of the coffee

lounge and cocktail bar created a new classification of style in
post-war Sydney that incorporated the interwar innovations of
the urban milk bar. The linear evolution of these Sydney gathering
places illustrates that they are collectively shaped around a
stylistic meme that reproduced, albeit imperfectly, for each
generation. These memes shared social and cultural characteristics
and had specific architectural boundaries, settings and common
Richard White describes the
immediate post-war period as the
heyday of the holiday, putting
forward a figure of 80 per cent for families who travelled away
from home on holiday.2 Supplementing this desire for leisure
travel, of course, was the urban ritual of going out, an interlude
of idleness relieving the tedium of a city job or domestic work.
Coffee lounges and cocktail bars were transitional spaces between
work and leisure where ones labour could be forgotten through
friendships and associations. Often, these interior settings offered
glamour and a sense of adventure. The opportunity to be waited
upon or served was not without its attractions, providing a low
mileage outing for Sydneys urban population.
The audiences for these diversions were not lacking. By the
mid-1960s, Sydneys population was approaching 2.5 million.
In the post-war period, high birth rates and an active overseas
recruitment program drove Sydneys population from a pre-war
1933 figure of 1.2 million to 1.8 million by 1954.3 This growth was
not at the expense of the rural population (where the population
figures remained surprisingly static) but through internal and
foreign immigration. The completion of the Harbour Bridge and a
well-developed NSW Government railway system allowed quick
access to the city where urban jobs and infrastructure grew apace.

T h e s e a rc h
f o r c oo l


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Transport, urbanisation and population growth underwrote the

activity of going out to coffee or cocktail lounges.
Extensive newspaper and magazine accounts of the era reported
on the phenomena of the coffee lounge and cocktail bar and
demonstrate that discernible Sydney groupings with shared cultural
identities quickly adopted these new venues in pursuit of cool
activities. Generally, the patrons were young, unburdened by family
responsibilities and represent a socially integrated segment of the
population described as Early Adopters.4 In Cool Rules: Anatomy
of an Attitude, Dick Pountain and David Robins define 20th-century
cool as a new secular virtue, the official language of a private or
subcultural rebelliousness retuned from generation to generation.5

While cool commonly manifests itself in personal appearance

and sartorial expression, it is also expressed in interior architecture
and design. Colour, furnishings, lighting, artworks and ironic
cultural references (the essence of cool is the possession of
knowledge, rules and rituals mysterious to the general public) were
key elements in the patronage of distinctive venues throughout the
city.6 Cool as an ethic is exquisitely suited to a life of consumption
rather than production, Pountain and Robins continue, because
[it] can drive new adventurous and more discriminating modes of
Within an Australian context, Nicholas Brown surveyed
Australian culture to identify what he describes as the

A rchitecture , coffee and cocktails

The Mars Espresso on Pitt Street

was commissioned by the client from
Imre and Gyula Soos to represent the
interior of a spaceship and featured a
mural of Martians as imagined by the
illustrator Daphne Pierce.
Photographer unknown. Hotel and
Cafe News, July 1957, p. 14. Mitchell
Library, State Library of New South


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preoccupation of style in the fifties [1950s] as a phase of social

change requiring new formulations of the self. The issue of
style then reflected the threat of modernity in fracturing older
certainties into a mass, consumer culture.8 Brown identifies
the consecutive social groupings of the Bodgies and Widgies, the
Cools, the Rockers and the Surfies as prominent practitioners of
cool who were inseparable from their representations of style.
The post-war espresso
bar or coffee shop arose
as the phenomenon of
Sydneys milk bars faded
in popularity. The choreography of the barista, the hiss of steam
and the chrome-plated imagery of the Italian espresso machine
were central to the post-war coffee shop experience. While in the
popular mind the Sydney espresso bar has been directly associated
with the 1950s wave of European migration, research by Tania
Cammarano contests this assumption.9 Espresso, for Cammarano,
means espresso coffee with crema formed through the extraction
process, a result not possible with the early 1950s so-called
espresso machines. It was not until the David Jones department
store on Elizabeth Street installed a Gaggia Espresso machine
in April 1955 to produce coffee as served on the continent and in
London that the coffee shop trend accelerated.10 Other department
stores in Sydney, such as Mark Foys and Grace Bros (Bondi
Junction), followed closely behind, glamourising what the trendspotting Sydney Morning Herald called the Cult of Espresso.11
Cammarano also concludes that earlier coffee consumption
carried an innate social class affinity, as she observed that coffee
is found far more readily than tea in more up-market banquet
menus. Curiously, she found that French rather than Italian was the
language of coffee: caf noir, le caf and caf.12
With the urban population continuing to expand and the age

l e i s u r e s pa c e

Sy d n e y s c o f f e e
s ho p s a n d t h e
craze for coffee

grouping of 15 to 34 year-olds nearing one million (999800) in

1954, a youthful audience enthusiastic for fashionable coffee
lounges was assured.13 The patrons of the craze for coffee shops
coalesced into a new breed of cool hunters. Commenting in
1952 on the exploding market trend for coffee shops, Hotel and
Cafe News observed: The major change to be taken into account
is the way youth has invaded the cafe scene.14 The coffee shop
clientele were what one mid-1950s observer wryly described as
lonely continental bachelors by night and junior businessmen
and their secretaries by day. Other coffee shops drew nostalgic
housewives with Italian-boy haircuts by day and dreamy
bohemians in the evenings.15
While the Sydney Push has been associated with the coffee
shops clustered around the arts precinct of Sydneys Rowe Street
(particularly the Lincoln Coffee Lounge), a close investigation of
this louche group of bohemians which includes the late Robert
Hughes, Margaret Fink, Germaine Greer, Eva Cox and others
makes it clear that this Push preferred alcohol to caffeine.16 This
is a recurring motif among Sydneys intelligentsia. Beerhemia
is also where Peter Kirkpatrick located his study of the 1920s
generation of Sydney bohemians.17

The coffee
s ho p b u s i n e s s

Following the pattern of the

earlier milk bar, the financial
appeal of establishing cafes
and coffee shops in Sydney lured the small investor and European
migrants.18 Within the Italian community, the earliest independent
espresso coffee shops were clustered in the inner city suburbs of
East Sydney and Leichhardt. This included La Veneziana (1952),
Bar Coluzzi (1957), San Siro (c. 1964) and Caffe Sport, Leichhardt
(1956).19 While these stand-alone espresso bars (some remain
almost unchanged) were marginal operators, they are among the
survivors of the corporate raids of the 1970s by major operators


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chain remained a family business until it closed, with Ivans

brother Peter taking control after Ivans death, followed by his
son George, a major figure in the Catering Trades Organisation
of NSW.26 George exited the business in the mid-1960s but it
continued until the mid-1970s, when Harris Coffee acquired
Repins wholesale coffee trade.
Perhaps one of Sydneys best-known coffee chains was
Andronicus Brothers, established in 1937. It was then that
John Andronicus became director of the company, dismantling
its previous involvement in confectionery and tea to embrace
coffee roasting, merchandising and serving.27 By the 1950s, the
operation was restricted to coffee, with espresso served from
1952.28 Andronicus Brothers was a quick service arrangement,
with customers ordering and consuming their coffee from the bar
(Italians call this caff al banco), opening its first outlet on lower
George Street near Circular Quay. Andronicus also distributed
its coffee throughout the Pacific region and held the dealership
for the La Carimali espresso machine from 1956. University
College, Canberra (now the Australian National University), and
the University of Western Australia were among the first clients
for their La Carimali machine.29 The Andronicus shop on lower
George Street closed for development of the site for a hotel
in 1973 and, as part of its strategy to dominate the Australian
wholesale coffee industry, Nestls acquired the business in
Coffee was also an early entre for the Cahills operation
run by the brother and sister team Reg and Teresa Cahill, who
operated a chain of restaurants and taverns throughout the city.
The Cahills entered the coffee shop trade early with the Italian
Coffee Shop on Castlereagh Street in 1933. With a preference
for themed interior architecture, Teresa Cahill hired professional
interior designers such as David Lorimer and Tom Hardings Dcor
Associates and Gordon Andrews, among others. By the 1960s,

A rchitecture , coffee and cocktails

such as Nestl Australia and Harris Coffee on the citys multivenue operators, including Repins, Cahills and Andronicus.
Sydneys Repins chain of coffee inns began in 1930 with a
single shop at 152 King Street.20 It was initiated by the Russian
migr Ivan Repin and by 1956, Repins had six coffee shops, with
a new espresso coffee lounge, Moka, in Kings Cross.21 The early
Repins coffee shops introduced a consistent design branding
for the Repins Coffee Inns chain, drawing on a repertoire of
central European forms and motifs. The designer for Repins shops
was initially George Watkins, an employee of Frank G OBrien
Ltd, and the street facades of the earliest outlets glistened with
polished Staybrite steel and imported black Vitrolite glass.22
Repins at 138 King Street was the chains signature operation,
with Hotel and Cafe News reporting that The first floor section
of the main cafe is crowded from 5 p.m. until later in the evening
with students, artists and bohemians.23 Initially, Repins failed to
recognise the Sydney transition to espresso coffee but by 1955,
it responded with Moka Espresso at 68 Darlinghurst Road, Kings
Cross, and installed dual-function espresso machines at its Pitt
Street coffee lounge, where a mural by Professor [GF] Bissietta
was also commissioned.24 Mokas new coffee lounge fit-out,
also designed by Watkins, abandoned Repins moody Wiener
Werksttteinspired lighting system and sombre colour palette
for spun aluminium light fittings and bright fluorescent tubes, with
generous expanses of wall mirrors. Around the espresso bar, the
designer also introduced drum-shaped Tom-Tom stools in orchid
pink upholstery and in the table seating area used a dramatic
black-patterned wallpaper. Moka was, as one patron described it
to the press, Extra Grouse.25
Ivan Repin was restless and opened and closed a range of
other commercial ventures, including the Quality Inn, the Elite
Restaurant (on Pitt Street), a cabaret, the Hawaii Milk Bar and
a coffee-roasting operation on Flinders Street. The Repins


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the Cahill family controlled 25 outlets until Nestl Australia

Ltd acquired a controlling interest in 1970.31 Teresa Cahill was
especially active in marketing and the chain proved popular with
women (for romantic trysts, family gatherings and girls nights
out), who were perhaps drawn to interior architecture featuring
exotic locations such as the Pacific Islands and Africa.32
Sydneys urban milk
bars created a design
template in the 1930s
for the espresso bars
that followed. These milk bars developed a vocabulary of
youthful cool through casual seating and interiors that opened
directly onto the street, providing a highly visible setting for a
teenage audience to see others and to be seen. Banned from
the neighbourhood pub by age limits, the milk bar provided a
colourful alternative where free-spending young boys and girls
were welcome.
From its birth in Sydney in the early 1930s to the last
manifestations in the late 1950s, the milk bars emphasis on
marketing through design and the use of modern materials
established the importance of interior architecture in attracting
patronage. A newspaper correspondent reported in February of

E s p r e s s o ba r
design and the
M i l k Ba r m e m e

The latest fad [in Sydney] is the establishment of milk bars.

They are small shops in the heart of the city fitted as bars,

l e i s u r e s pa c e

with counter and maids, and even the comfort of brass rails to
ease the feet as the customer imbibes and carries on a gentle
flirtation with the girls that serve These milk bars have
taken the fancy of the young bloods of the city.33

The reportage establishes a Milk Bar meme of intimacy of

scale, a distinctive design presence and a setting that fostered

socialising that was to meld into the mid20th century espresso

bar and, ultimately, the cocktail lounge.
The architecture of the milk bar produced two new
entertainment experiences in Sydney: the architect-designed
cinema milk bar, integrated into new cinema architecture, and
the much-discussed and illustrated retrofitted milk bar, commonly
designed by shopfitting contractors to occupy conventional
rectilinear floor plans in commercial strip developments. Few urban
strip milk bars appear to have been built to an original design on a
vacant site.
The development of a design template for purpose-built cinemas
integrating a milk bar or cafe into the facade and streetscape
accompanied the California-based Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer
campaign for ownership and control of Australian cinemas in the
1930s. Another Hollywood corporation, 20th Century Fox, acquired
a controlling interest in the Australian distributor Hoyts in 1930 and
a US style and scale was considered essential for successful film
publicity.34 The association with Hollywood, cinema glamour and
celebrity culture also gave the cinema-integrated milk bar special
Most of the milk bars, however, were adaptive re-use tenancies
on commercial strips in urban and suburban locations. The Frank
G OBrien Ltd design of 1935 for Morrisons Milk Bar on Liverpool
Street in Sydney characterised many of the developments to
follow.36 Visible from the oversized and often door-less entrance,
a glazed showcase in Moderne ornamented stainless steel for
the display of confectionery led to a long, curved service counter.
The strategy was to draw the eye inward to ensure that the
milk bar customers could see and be seen. In planning terms,
the disposition of internal space followed the boundaries of the
rectilinear floor plan. The design work and signage, however, rarely
extended above the footpath level. While the cinema provided a
drive-by streetscape spectacle for motorists and tram passengers,


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The mirrored interiors, casual seating

and Carrara Glass lighting of
Morrisons Milk Bar on Liverpool Street
created a spectacle that beckoned to
Sydneys narcissistic youth.
Photographer unknown. Decoration and
Glass, January 1936, p. 35.


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

this milk bar development was a boulevard attraction scaled for

the pedestrian. Despite the design innovations and exuberant
decor, many of the earliest Sydney milk bars were not developed by
architects.37 It took a decade for Sydneys designers and architects
to loosen the shopfitters grip on the design of milk bars and the
early coffee shops such as Repins.38
By the late 1940s, when the prominent Sydney architectural
practice Lipson & Kaad (Samuel Lipson and Peter Kaad) and others
began pursuing milk bar work, the phenomenon was in decline and

designers began to work with Sydneys mural artists and sculptors

in an attempt to revive the visual excitement of the interiors.39 But
a shift in clientele was underway and not every milk bar owner,
independent or chain operator, was nimble enough to adapt to the
fluctuating demands of the Sydney audience. As one of the last
attempts to upgrade milk bar design, the One, Two, Three milk bar,
designed by architect FJ Zipfinger for the Sydney suburb of Double
Bay in 1958, attempted to bridge the widening division between
it and the espresso bar competition. Prominently displayed was a


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new accessory that would sweep away the milk bar business: the
espresso machine.
In the 1950s, like milk bars, many espresso lounges were
retrofitted into existing commercial tenancies, where designers
faced the same spatial issues. However, they now had to design
for an evolving audience who could (and would) assess coffee
shop interiors on the basis of a demanding set of contemporary
aesthetics. The new coffee shop audience brought a new snobbery
to their search for cool. Following an extensive survey and
interviews with espresso bar beats (beatniks), Patricia McConnell
published her assessment in the Australian Womens Weekly in
1959. According to McConnell the leaders of this club with no
membership fee are mainly students or ex-students of a university
or technical college There are many hangers-on affecting the
same arty brand of sophistication.40 This Week in Sydney, a Ure
Smith publication edited by Diana Fisher, addressed this same cool
hunter audience in her summary of new city attractions:
New ones springing up every day mostly dedicated to Espresso.
Decor invariably attractive (gay colours, good modern furniture,
mobiles, paintings for sale) and the waitresses young and pretty.
Besides coffee a light menu including several hot entrees is the rule
If you prefer good coffee made in the conventional way, Repins,
with several shops around the city, have a devoted following.41

Sydneys designers and architects met the challenge of the

espresso coffee lounge with what This Week in Sydney would
describe as a Smart interior, employing the espresso bars design
vocabulary of locally designed and manufactured japanned steel
chairs upholstered in colourful vinyls and finished with domeheaded upholstery tacks or, alternatively, moulded plywood
seating. Pedestal tables, cantilevered tables and bars surfaced
with laminates from the Formica range or other sources were also
a common feature. Furniture and fit-out designs were developed

around two concepts of service: busy customers could stand

at a bar or sit at a bar-height table, have a coffee and depart;
others might linger at leisure at a well-exposed table where they
could see and be seen. Unlike the earlier milk bar, where booths
afforded some intimacy, the open-plan coffee lounge provided a
visual spectacle of patrons as well as decor.
Max Dupains photographs of the Galleria Espresso shop
designed by Laszlo Ernst at 27 Rowe Street in the citys arts
quarter in 1956 illustrate some of the visual excitement of the
espresso lounge.42 The Galleria, operated by Mervyn Horton
(one-time assistant to Max Dupain and later the editor of Art
and Australia), was open from 10 am until 11.30 pm, Monday to
Friday.43 The Galleria promoted itself regularly in This Week in
Sydney with a smartly designed advertisement in a modernist
sans serif type. The Gallerias visual signature is captured in This
Week in Sydneys 1957 description of Sydneys fashionable coffee
shops as offering refined interior architecture in an exuberant
colour palette as well as artworks for sale.44 The Sydney Morning
Herald also reported that this ultra-modern espresso bar dressed
its wait staff in artists smocks to complement the artworks on
For the Galleria, Ernst worked with a familiar rectilinear plan
by introducing a multi-level ceiling, with concealed fluorescent
lighting reflecting from Cane-ite tiles and moderated by a
corrugated plastic diffuser extending the length of the shop.46 The
furnishings included steel chairs with an organic-shaped moulded
back and seat closely resembling the 1956 furniture range
exhibited by Melbournes Rosenfeldt, Gherardin & Associates
for Melbournes Olympic Games Arts Festival.47 In keeping with
the coffee lounge ethos, customers could sit and linger or stand
(European-style) at a row of glass-topped steel tables. Additional
lighting was provided by hourglass-shaped perforated spun
aluminium units suspended from the ceiling.

A rchitecture , coffee and cocktails

The Galleria Espresso on Rowe

Street featured rotating exhibitions
of paintings selected by art world
figure Mervyn Horton. A section of the
Galleria was also devoted to small
Photo by Max Dupain, 1956. Courtesy
Max Dupain & Associates.


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Cahills restaurant and espresso coffee

bar on Pitt Street opened at 9 am and
allowed customers to order directly
from the barista. Gordon Andrews,
who designed the interior, was also
responsible for the mural behind the
service counter.
Photo by Max Dupain, 1958. Courtesy
Max Dupain & Associates.


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The interior design of the Latin Quarter

espresso coffee lounge on Pitt Street
addressed three services: a street-side
espresso coffee lounge, which led to a
light refreshment area and terminated
in a Greek-themed restaurant, the
Delphi Room.
Photo by Max Dupain and Kerry
Dundas, 1958. Courtesy Max Dupain &


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Like the Galleria, Reg and Teresa Cahills city outlets

acknowledged the importance of interior architecture to their
younger audience. The new Cahills restaurant and coffee lounge
they commissioned Gordon Andrews to design established a new
benchmark when it opened in 1958 on Pitt Street. In the cafe and
adjoining coffee bar, Andrews featured two long terrazzo bars
supported by japanned steel dog-leg uprights that zigzagged the
length of the room, and the moulded and internally lit ceiling
foreshadowed his later design work for the NSW Government
Tourist Bureau in Martin Place.
Andrewss work unleashed a new wave of competitive coffee
lounge design. Andrew Andrews, the proprietor of the nightclub The
Latin Quarter on Pitt Street, engaged the Polish migr architect
Henry Kurzer to develop interiors for the street front espresso
coffee lounge and restaurant, where a gleaming chrome espresso
machine took pride of place.48 Kurzers coffee lounge was one of the
most exuberant interiors Sydney had seen. A dramatically curved
floor plan, multi-level ceilings, recessed downlights, directional
aluminium light fittings and an explosion of patterned wallpapers,
vinyl upholstery and laminates created an atmosphere of
excitement. The coffee lounge furniture was also to the architects
design. The counters were a mahogany laminate, and the ceiling
was a two-toned blue. Kurzer also commissioned a fellow Polish
immigrant, Marian Pretzel, to design two murals for his interiors.49
Kurzer articulated his views on restaurant design in an essay,

l e i s u r e s pa c e

An Approach to Restaurant Design, in Clive Carneys 1959 book

Sydney architect Harry Divola had
professional associations with the
hotel industry and wrote for the
hospitality industry press. He described
his sketch of a lounge bar as a cupolastyle lounge [with] a utility which will
outlive frivolous fashion.
Hotel and Cafe News, September 1953,
p. 59. Mitchell Library, State Library of
New South Wales.

Impact of Design:
The restaurant which plans to offer a more restricted menu popularly
priced calls for an open plan in which access to the dining area
must be direct This type of restaurant often becomes a rendezvous
for people who wish to establish with friends and associates the fact
that they may be found and contacted there at a certain time of day.50


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Sydneys earliest
cocktail lounges
featured an interior
architecture that drew
an emerging female market that had had few opportunities
for sophisticated drinking. As Clare Wright and others have
discussed, the interiors of male-dominated Australian pubs
were designed for perpendicular drinking.53 Just as cocktail
lounges in the city began to emerge, the earlier intimacy
of Sydneys neighbourhood pubs with their lounges, darts
competitions, barstools, tables and chairs were being stripped
out and, as Wright describes it, the tiled interiors were dressed
to swill.54 Women simply were not welcome at the bar. Anne
Coombss study of the Sydney Push surveys the barriers
women faced even among the advanced Push cohort:

G e n d e r - i f i c at i o n
a n d t h e c o c k ta i l
ba r

The watering hole in the 1940s and early 1950s was the Tudor
Hotel in Phillip St, a warm, convivial, old fashioned pub that
was the hangout of journalists and actors as well as bohemian
intellectuals The licensee of the Tudor, Mr Betts, was tolerant
of women drinking in the bar, then almost unheard of.55

At the same time, the former lounge (where these spaces survived)
had begun a transition into a female-friendly cocktail setting. Craig
McGregor visited a Woolloomooloo jazz pub for the Sydney Morning
Herald in 1957 and sketched a gendered description of the lounge:
Next door to the bar is the lounge. Bohemia. You step from one
room to another and you step from one world to another
Suddenly, youre in with the cats. Some of them wear beards,
some of them look as though theyve stepped straight from Esquire
The girls wear horsetails, French rolls, close-fitting slacks and
pale pink lipstick.56

Outside the confines of the corner pub there had been widespread
publicity, beginning in the 1930s, about cocktail lounges aboard
Australian ships, American trains, trans-Pacific air flights and the
Qantas flying boat service. However, for most Sydney-dwellers,
there were few accessible opportunities for participating in cocktail
glamour. Reporting from the United States, Sydney architect Walter
Bunning enthusiastically wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald about
the circular cocktail lounge at the new St Louis airport designed by
Hellmuth, Yamasaki & Leinweber in 1956.57 The allure of cocktails
was promoted in popular films, novels, magazines and newspapers,
but public cocktail lounges were stymied by a series of restrictive
liquor laws in New South Wales. In the 1920s, appointed Licensing
Court Magistrates ruled on liquor applications and noted that
permits were issued only to licensed hotels and clubs for the sale
of liquor if consumed with meals after the normal closing time of
6.00 pm.58 Private clubs could evade these issues with restricted
membership rolls. In 1946, amendments to the NSW Liquor Act

A rchitecture , coffee and cocktails

Kurzers discussion identifies the primary element that

links the milk bar and the espresso bar of the era: a lounge
environment designed for the habitu of Sydneys evolving
cafe society.51
In the 1950s, architects and proprietors were routinely
integrating espresso coffee lounges into hotels, nightclubs and
restaurants. The interior architecture could be complex in its
design, fabrication and detailing, frequently featuring dramatic
lighting effects, multi-level ceiling treatments, a range of unusual
colours and finishes, artworks (murals, paintings and sculpture)
and contemporary furniture. While these modernist innovations
appeared in earlier commissions as isolated elements, they were
first holistically integrated into the Hotel Rex in Sydneys Potts
Point when it opened in 1953. The Rex development introduced a
continental style sidewalk cafe with kerbside bar, an espresso
coffee service, beer garden, Canberra Lounge and colourfully
furnished cocktail lounge in a single hotel.52


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A mixed cocktail bar at the American

National Club designed by Douglas
Snelling. The furniture for the cocktail
bar and associated restaurant was also
designed by Snelling and manufactured
by the Sydney firm Functional Products.
Photo by Ray Leighton, 1948.
Decoration and Glass, January
February 1948, p. 23.

allowed the licensing of restaurants to serve wine and malted

liquors.59 In 1954, some of the recommendations of a NSW Royal
Commission of Inquiry into Liquor Laws were immediately taken up
by the Cahill Government and amendments drafted and approved
providing for the serving of liquor with meals by restaurants up to
midnight.60 As an earlier expedient, however, many of the large
hotels had bought and transferred an existing Hoteliers Licence
rather than struggle through the courts for a new one. The Hotel
Rex, Potts Point, for example, purchased and transferred a licence
from the Morning Star Hotel in Redfern so that it could open one of
Sydneys earliest cocktail bars.61
The development of the cocktail bar was a welcome change.
Teresa Cahills earlier use of Gordon Andrews, a designer with
significant European experience, and the Cahills chains reputation
as a female-friendly venue had signalled two profound shifts
in being on the town in Sydney.62 First, style was implicitly


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The earliest press references to Sydneys commercial-scale

cocktail bars began to appear in the late 1940s, but again public
access was restricted. A cocktail bar designed by Douglas
Snelling in 1947 for the members-only American National Club on
Macquarie Street (until recently, the American Club) was widely
promoted in 1948 and established a number of design precedents
for later bars in Sydney. Snelling, who had significant experience in
California, understood the intrinsic elements of this new Australian
type, the mixed cocktail bar, and its immediate association with
the playful artifice of the film set.68 The American National Club
interior used draped patterned fabric walls, extensive colour work,
furniture to Snellings designs and low-level pendant lighting.
While Snelling had the luxury of reworking a generous interior
space to his purposes, most of Sydneys earliest cocktail bars were
prefabricated freestanding designs wedged (often uncomfortably)
into a convenient corner. While many of these units were designed
and manufactured to a reasonable standard, they were little more
than mirrored and upholstered booths until dedicated cocktail
lounges were designed.
After Snellings 1947 work, LJ Hookers development of the
Hotel Rex on Macleay Street in Potts Point in 1953 appears
to be the citys next major purpose-built cocktail bar. The LJ
Hooker organisation, through the listed investment company Rex
Investments Ltd, developed a number of progressive hotels after
1950, with an emphasis on architecture, commissioned artworks
and cocktail bars. The cocktail bar at The Rex paid homage to
Snellings earlier work, with its asymmetrical bar, suspended
pendant lighting system, bar stools and colour work in yellow and
black. Designed by John P Tate & Associates, with assistance
from interior designer Mrs Player (today identified as Mrs Maisie
Player), who was involved in The Rex interior fit-out, the hotel
provided an American Bar featuring a mural by Judy Cassab, with
another mural by migr Swiss artist Richard Bauer located in

A rchitecture , coffee and cocktails

understood as an important marketing device in establishing

venues for young men and women. This Week in Sydney made it
clear that their predilection for fashionable interior architecture
was an essential element in choosing cool venues.63 Secondly,
a seismic shift was occurring in what was considered socially
acceptable for women. Excluded from the Public Bar of Sydney
pubs and marooned among the tuck-pleated vinyl upholstery of the
Ladies Lounge, women were now offered the new cocktail bar,
fitted for socialising with stools at the bar and intimate tableand-chair groupings, and providing opportunities for dressing
up. Aided by Hollywood and British films, the cocktail bar or
party increasingly became a legitimate setting for women and
their leisure activities, with the Sydney Morning Herald reporting
a 1951 Sydney Town Hall cocktail fashion party benefit for the
Lady Mayoresss (Mrs EC ODeas) charities.64 Fashion was quickly
integrated into cocktail outings and in the 1950s, cocktail dresses
and accessories became a perennial feature of the fashion pages
of the dailies.65
Significantly, Marion Hall Bests redesign of the interiors of the
Elanora Country Club in the North Shore suburb of Elanora Heights
in 1937 had positioned the cocktail bar at the inner circle of
Sydney society before World War II. Best also completed a cocktail
lounge for the exclusive and female-only Queens Club on Elizabeth
Street (1938).66 There was, however, some local resistance to
the emergence of the 1930s cocktail custom and the dangers
it presented to the modern woman. Alerted by press reports of
cocktail parties, the Methodist Conference warned the cocktail
habit started not in hotel bars, nor in wine bars but at social
functions where it was not uncommon for young women to get
drunk.67 We have beautiful fruit drinks, a Methodist spokesperson
emphasised, and more use should be made of them. It was
to be some years before the cocktail bar became more broadly


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The Macleay Street terrace cafe and

espresso bar at the Hotel Rex, Potts
Point, was described as Sydneys first
espresso bar to serve liqueurs with
coffee, for example Coffee Royal
(brandy and coffee) and Tia Maria (rum
and coffee).
Photo by William Brindle, 1959.
Australian News and Information
Bureau. National Archives of Australia:
A1200, L31092.

ultra modern cocktail bar.72 Abbotts interior drew on some of the

innovations emerging in Sydneys cocktail bars, with the compound
curves of the bar, the subdued indirect lighting, spotlighted
artworks and large-scale figured textile prints in yellow, brown
and grey masking the massive masonry walls creating an interior
setting with an intimate atmosphere that could attract mixed
couples and foster conversation.73
The entry of women like Marion Hall Best, Hilda Abbott and
Maisie Player into cocktail bar and lounge design, in partnership
with architectural practices, formed part of a larger shift that saw
interior designers firmly establish themselves in the commercial
fields of cafes, coffee shops and restaurants. At the same time,
designers were organising themselves into professional bodies,
with the first Sydney meetings to establish the Society of Interior
Designers of Australia (SIDA) held in 1950. Among the earliest

The Corroboree Room cocktail bar

of the old Wentworth Hotel (on Lang
Street), designed by Hilda Abbott. The
corroboree theme extended to textile
prints with motifs of Aboriginal dancers
and a changing series of watercolours
by Aboriginal artists.
Photographer unknown. Hotel and Cafe
News, September 1954, p. 13. Mitchell
Library, State Library of New South

A rchitecture , coffee and cocktails

its Canberra Lounge.69 There was also an espresso bar opening

out onto Macleay Street.70 After the success of the Potts Point
Rex, LJ Hooker opened the Canberra Rex, featuring a cocktail
bar and external murals by Margo Lewers, and the Alexander
Kanndesigned Carlton Rex, which ran between Castlereagh and
Elizabeth Streets in Sydney. The Carlton Rex had two cocktail bars,
including the Jet Club Cocktail Bar, with light fittings resembling
jet engines, an undulating timber lath ceiling and photomurals by
David Moore.71 But while it was cocktails at The Rex in the city,
cocktails lounges were rarely sighted in Rex Investments suburban
The Hotel Rex was closely followed by Hilda Abbotts design
work for the 1953 renovations at the original Wentworth Hotel.
Working with the architect Robert Maclurcan, Abbott remodelled a
fusty Edwardian interior into what Hotel and Cafe News called an


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SIDA members were Marion Hall Best, Joyce Tebbutt, Hilda Abbott,
Mary White and Margaret Lord, many of whom were undertaking
commercial-scale work.74
As the 1950s passed, the design and development of Sydneys
new international hotels, including the ChevronHilton, the Menzies
and the new Wentworth, created fresh opportunities. Architects and
designers were thoroughly briefed on their clienteles expectations
and the importance of creating a unique experience through smart
cocktail lounges and lavish lobbies. By the late 1950s, the genderification of Sydneys milk bars, coffee shops and cocktail bars and
lounges was well established, with women increasingly visible in
these venues.
Sydney milk bars, coffee shops and cocktail bars of the era
were design spaces built for emergent youthful audiences. The
processes of this leisure place-making was commonly linear, and
the design developments suggest an evolutionary role; these spaces
were cultural memes integrating interior architecture, design
and generational social expressions and aspirations.75 Sydneys
cool hunters were anxious for secular information on what was
fashionable in the urban setting.76 Style was interchangeable with
cool and publications such as This Week in Sydney, the Sydney
Morning Herald and a hyperactive trade press acknowledged
the importance of art and design, particularly in the evolution of

Sydneys espresso coffee lounges and cocktail bars. Caffeinated

urbanites of both sexes quickly colonised the citys coffee shops and
expected to move among original artwork, murals and modernist
furniture. Architects and designers had been able to wrestle away
the milk bar and coffee shop commissions formerly enjoyed by
Sydneys shopfitters. Architectural firms and designers such as Imre
and Gyula Soos, Douglas Snelling, Henry Kurzer, Gordon Andrews,
Hilda Abbott and others began to produce interior architecture that
had no precedent in urban Sydney. The engagement of women as
interior architects for hotels and cocktail lounges further advanced
the evolution of this cultural meme. Sydneys architecture and design
community understood that the end of the era of Dressed to Swill
was at hand, while the age of Dressed to Kill was only beginning.
The resources of Max Dupain & Associates, MDAA; the staff of
the Caroline Simpson Library and Research Collection, Historic
Houses Trust of New South Wales; and the Mitchell Library, State
Library of New South Wales, were essential to the development of
this research. A special thank you to George Repin, for generous
sharing of information on Repins; Nichola Teffer, for assistance
with resources and discussion on Sydneys coffee shops; and Davina
Jackson, for background and information on the career of Douglas

The Chevron at Potts Point, designed

by Donald Crone & Associates, had
several bars on the principal levels,
including the Hilton Bar, with a counter
face of hand-painted tiles. The other
bars employed themed decor.
Photo by Jack Mulligan, 1961.
Australian Photographic Agency. State
Library of New South Wales.


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Shirley Daborn

Big, bright,
The new

Constructed on land that was

previously a golf course, the Roselands
shopping centre was built as a minicity within an established consumer
Photo by Norman L Danvers. Coles
Myer Archives Box 2891. State Library
of Victoria.

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I have a faint memory of visiting

Roselands as a young child, climbing
jubilantly over kangaroo and penguin
play sculptures located throughout the
centre. And Im not alone. It seems
as if most, if not all, Sydneysiders of
the late 1960s have a Roselands story
to tell. When my family migrated to
Australia and settled in St Marys, a
suburb far west of Sydneys CBD and
at the foot of the Blue Mountains,
Roselands was already open for
business. Although we lived outside the
targeted geographic area, my parents

l e i s u r e s pa c e

piled my sister, brother and me into

our Morris Minor one day to make the
pilgrimage to the modern retail marvel
for a glimpse of the future.

There had been no major modifications to retail architecture

in Australia since the success of the department store model
until a suburbanised consumer society triggered a reevaluation of established forms. This gave retail developers
an opportunity to attempt the transformation of pre-war
functional, subsistence shopping into an activity that was
entwined with a sense of individual and societal identity.
Integral to the message that modern consumer practices were
tied to national prosperity was a growing belief that notions of
leisure and pleasure were synonymous with everyday modern
living. The reconfiguration of city ideals within the modern
suburban shopping centre was to create a new community
space designed to deliver a sense of cosmopolitan style and
glamour to the growing number of families living within a
rapidly expanding suburban landscape.
PostWorld War II Sydney underwent
a period of rapid change that saw
not only a boom in population figures
but also a marked shift away from city living and towards a
suburban lifestyle and higher living standards. In 1961 the Bureau
of Statistics recorded a 7.5 per cent decrease in Sydneys inner
area population since the last census in 1954, but an 18.7 per
cent increase in the wider Cumberland division (including the
Blacktown sector, which had expanded by a massive 214 per
cent). The rate of population growth accelerated and by 1967
another million people were added to the County of Cumberland
area. Subsequently, the wider Sydney metropolitan area
contained well over half the inhabitants of New South Wales.1
As families increasingly settled in the new suburbs of Sydney
there was a significant decrease in the retail sales figures of city
stores. The Retail Trader listed monthly Research Bureau statistics
that reported changing sales patterns.2 These patterns provided

S u b u r ba n
e x pa n s i o n


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argued that perhaps the greatest evidence of commercial sprawl

is the endless clutter of roadside stalls and hoardings, cafes,
car sales yards, and service stations along our highways. Only
strong ribbon development control proposals in country and local
planning schemes can halt the evils of highway shopping.9
In contrast to the evils of highway shopping, Shaw argued
that a well designed regional shopping centre would not only
provide a safe pedestrian environment but also accommodate
rising car dependency. Accordingly, a well planned shopping
centre had the potential to provide an acceptable and innovative
solution to planning issues.
In terms of planned retail space,
Australia looked to North America
for the latest ideas and development
trends. In 1959 American architect Paul Zucker published his
seminal work, Town and Square, in which he advocated that
a well developed square functioned as the heart of a city and
was crucial to a healthy community. The square, he argued,
represented a psychological parking space within the civic
landscape that would help form a true community rather than
a place that was merely an aggregate of individuals.10 The aim
to create a retailcommunity space saw developers incorporate
town square principles into the suburban retail environment.
A significant figure was Victor Gruen, who was instrumental
in pioneering the regional shopping centre in the United States
in the 1950s. Gruen had migrated from Austria to the United
States in 1938 and his European background greatly influenced
his practice and ideas. For Gruen, the regional shopping centre
needed to be designed to provide the civilising qualities and
community aspects experienced within the European city
square.11 Gruen argued that denying suburban residents a
centralised meeting place meant that they could not forge a true

i d e as

B ig , bright, beautiful : T he new shopping centres

a clear account of sales growth within the suburbs, while the city
market experienced either limited or even negative growth. In
particular, suburban sales of hardware, furniture, floor coverings,
electrical and other goods increased dramatically, reflecting the
growing trend towards home ownership. Consequently, suburban
development resulted in consumer spending power being
relocated to outer city areas.3 By the 1960s it was clear that city
trading was under considerable strain, and for retailers it was
apparent that business needed to follow the consumer into the
The growing population settling within Sydneys suburbs
was matched only by car ownership and by 1965 1.5 million
cars were registered, equating to approximately one car per
family.4 The rapid growth in population, and a heavy reliance
on cars for individual transportation, greatly increased the
pressure on infrastructure and services and made it necessary
to re-evaluate urban development policies.5 The Monthly Bulletin
of Registrations of Motor Vehicles records that in New South
Wales alone the number of motor vehicles registered (excluding
motorcycles) almost tripled from 4463 in 1952 to 12358 in 1964.6
As car ownership numbers rose, so too did traffic congestion.7
Issues of car parking and convenient access to retail outlets
generated much concern for inner city retailers, but also became
problematic for outlying areas. The unplanned development of
retail growth had resulted in ad hoc shopping strips that lined
Sydneys main arterial roads and, according to contemporary
planners and architects, was responsible for the creation of a
sprawling ugliness.8
Planners and theorists were also concerned about the taxing
impact that the uncontrolled spread of arterial development
would have on broader planning objectives. JH Shaw, senior
lecturer in town planning at the University of New South Wales,
looked at the impact of the commercial shift to the suburbs and


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

sense of community, resulting in the creation and perpetuation of

an ill community.12
To counter unmanaged suburban growth, Gruen favoured the
density of activity present within the metropolis, positioning it
as pivotal to any long-term sustainability plan. Diversity was not
merely a physical manifestation of variety within an industrial
consumer society, but rather an entrenched psychological
dimension that underpinned life. An injection of difference was
crucial and considered to be the primary solution to the boredom
of sameness. Gruen argued that a well designed, and therefore
healthy, environment would create the basis for intensive core
activities such as working, dwelling, shopping, sightseeing,
participating in civic, social, cultural, recreational and spiritual
events. An urban heart with these healthy conditions will then
attract great numbers of people whom we will call activity
Gruen reasoned that the regional shopping centre could
provide local communities with opportunities for such valuable
social interaction. These large developments were not only
to be primary retailing centres their true success was to be
dependent on the provision of community spaces for sociocultural
activities including dances and art exhibitions.
As with Gruen, the desire to create a shopping
environment was a recurrent theme for other architects
and commentators. American architect and editor James S
Hornbeck, for example, argued that the shopping environment
needed to be considered in its entirety, with particular focus
on navigating the spaces that existed between and around
each store, as well as its overall relationship to the community
in general.14 Similarly, Zucker emphasised the needs and
demands of a community, but he also prioritised the physicality
of design to generate the creation of space as a frame for
human activities.15

Au st r a l i a n

In postWorld War II Australia,

the long-standing pursuit for
the rights of workers gained
momentum when the Arbitration Court handed down its judgment
in support of the 40-hour week in 1947. The rewards of leisure
were inextricably tied to the rights of the individual to pursue his
or her own interests. Judge Alfred Fosters summation concluded
that the advantages of capitalism directly extended the benefit
of leisure beyond the minority who were able to command the
labour of others to include the majority.16 Leisure was viewed
as the first and most significant step towards achieving a higher
standard of living for the working class.17 Post-war Australia
enjoyed the reassurance of full employment and, despite some
fears of lost productivity due to a shorter working week, job
security encouraged the wide-scale consumption of household
goods, including white goods, television sets and lawn mowers.
During the post-war commodity boom, shopping as leisure
shifted from an elite pastime to an all-encompassing consumer
The importance of home ownership to post-war Australian
society reflected the high proportion of leisure activities that
were based in and around the home. Radios, televisions and the
private backyard saw the individual home increasingly employed
as a site of leisure.18 In this domestic context, a womans
responsibilities of caring for the home and the family resulted
in her being viewed as a key facilitator of family interests and
recreational pursuits. The cultural importance of the private
family home, and a womans role within it, combined with the
booming consumer society, led to women being a focus for
suburban retail development design.
The suburban shopping centre experience arrived in
Australia in May 1957, when Chermside opened in the north
of Brisbane. Chermside would be the first of many centres to


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Below right The concourse of

Bankstown Square, designed by Hely,
Bell & Horne, facilitated access for the
many customers still reliant on public
Photographer unknown. Constructional
Review, October 1966, p. 6.

be promoted for its synthesis of suburban accessibility and city

style. Sydney soon followed but on a smaller scale with Top
Ryde, opened in November 1957, while Melbourne heralded in
the new retail phenomenon with Chadstone in October 1960.19
Nineteen fifty-nine saw the genesis of the Westfield shopping
centre model, when Westfield Place opened in Blacktown in
western Sydney, with two department stores, a supermarket
and 12 specialty stores surrounding a square, and 50 parking
spaces in an adjoining lot. The move into Sydneys west found
a ready customer base and a string of successful Westfield
shopping centre developments were soon to follow, in a range
of locations.20 Westfield opened in Hornsby in 1961, only to
quadruple its size in 1968, while also establishing centres in
Yagoona, Dee Why and Eastwood in 1963, Wollongong in 1965
and Burwood in 1966.
Other major shopping centres to open in Sydney during the
1960s were Miranda Fair in Sutherland, Bankstown Square,
Hurstville Super Centre and Warringah Mall. With a site scale
of approximately 29 acres (about 12 hectares), Warringah Mall
was, for a short time, the largest regional shopping centre in
Australia. In 1965, however, it was well and truly eclipsed when
leading Sydney retailer Grace Bros opened Roselands: a 32-acre
(13-hectare) fully enclosed city in the suburbs designed to
invigorate suburban life in south-western Sydney.
The drive to create an enjoyable shopping environment that
evoked the values and glamour of a city atmosphere saw the open
court adopted as a principal feature. Referencing the ideals of the
town square, it enabled unfettered access to a range of goods and
services, and relaxed the boundary between community space
and retail premises. The open court also incorporated modes
of entertainment specifically aimed at engaging families, such
as fashion parades, childrens pantomimes and celebrity guest
appearances. As a foundational design feature, the open court

B ig , bright, beautiful : T he new shopping centres

Top right The open court area at Top

Ryde shopping centre was meant to
express the ideals of the urban square,
and prioritised pedestrian traffic.
Photo by Norman L Danvers.
Architecture in Australia, December
1961, p. 72. Mitchell Library, State
Library of New South Wales.


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

appeared within early centre developments such as Top Ryde,

and continued to remain a principal design element when the
fully enclosed shopping centre model for example, Bankstown
Square and Roselands became increasingly popular. It enabled
a degree of vibrant, community activity that was valued as a
crucial contributor to consumer satisfaction, as well as ensuring
commercial success.
The rapid development of Australian shopping centres as
modern community spaces relied on the use of modern materials
and technology. New design trends included a system of
prefabricated shelving that not only saved construction time
but supported the move towards open selling, eliminating the
use of counters between the customer and goods.21 Concrete,
steel, glass, plywood, metals and plastics were identified as
revolutionary to structural systems, while elevators, escalators,
air-conditioning and modern lighting techniques reconfigured
the possibilities of store design.22 Escalators, for example, were
advertised as essential to efficient design so as to mitigate
crowds causing bottlenecks and annoyance on a day of shopping
leisure.23 Large panels of glass and cantilevered structures
compacted floor space, while also generating a sense of
openness. Specific design features, such as the generously
scaled concourse at Bankstown Square by Hely, Bell & Horne,
offered a transitional zone that elevated the everydayness of
shopping into a modern leisure activity, while also providing easy
access to the public transport facilities that many women still
relied upon.
Town planner Richard Johnston observed that the use of an
exposed aggregate finish in Bankstown Square successfully
utilised a warm, natural colour chosen to assist in the creation
of a warm, human environment of lasting quality, also noting
that the use of concrete was extended to include the bus
shelter, bins and planter boxes.24 Concrete was also used for

the construction of key landscape and public facility elements

such as platforms that created informal seating and play areas,
as in the open court at Warringah Mall designed by Alexander
Kann, Finch & Associates. Within the promotional realm, the use
of modern materials was emphasised to endorse the legitimacy
of the shopping environment as a community space specifically
designed to interest men as well as women; for example, a
wealth of building materials was on open display at Roselands.
These included examples of fibrous plaster sheets, acoustic tiles,
asbestos, hardboard, aluminum, 18 different ceiling finishes and
the folded V type luminaire ceiling, which was promoted as the
first of its type to be presented in Australia.25

To p Ry d e a n d
Ro s e l a n d s

Top Ryde offered Sydneysiders

their first taste of the modern
American retailing trend that
saw an inversion of the traditional looking out onto the street
approach into one that enveloped the shopper within an inward
looking environment. Approximately 12 miles (19 kilometres)
from Sydney, close to main arterial roads and rail lines, Ryde was
a growth area that attracted the attention of Peter Benjamin,
from the retailing family AJ Benjamins. In 1953 Benjamin
travelled to America to research shopping centres and teamed
up with his friend, the engineer and planning consultant Peter
Yeoman, who was in Detroit completing postgraduate studies on
the American shopping centre. Following their return, the concept
for Top Ryde was developed and, when built, consisted of a
Benjamins department store of 77000 square feet (7154 square
metres) over three floors, a supermarket, a variety store and 44
specialty shops that covered a combined area of 92000 square
feet (8547 square metres).26 Architects Walter Bunning and Kevin
Smith observed:


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The childrens play area was located

in the central court area of Top Ryde
and signified the importance of
catering for the family unit.
Photo by Norman L Danvers.
Architecture in Australia, December
1961, p. 73. Mitchell Library, State
Library of New South Wales.

Protected from the elements by covered

walkways, Top Ryde consumers were
encouraged to view the shopfront
displays that lined the centre court.
Photo by Norman L Danvers.
Architecture in Australia, December
1961, p. 71. Mitchell Library, State
Library of New South Wales.


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The inclusion of modern art and

landscaping elements in shopping
centres such as Top Ryde was meant to
symbolise the developers commitment
to ideas of modernity and civic
Photo by Max Dupain, 1957. Courtesy
Max Dupain & Associates.


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Centre is pleasantly served by balconies, arcades and a

pedestrian mall, and customers relying on public transport are
accommodated by the adjacent bus stands and taxi ranks. It
is estimated that the centre, in competition with other nearby
well established shopping facilities, draws 60,000 customers
from an area of nearly 16 square miles.27

NSW Premier Joe Cahill opened Top Ryde in November 1957

in time for the Christmas shopping rush. The centre delivered,
for the first time in New South Wales, amenities that were to
become synonymous with the modern shopping experience.
These included child minding, a baby health centre, courtesy
strollers and wheelchairs, as well as a drive-through parcel pickup.28
The inclusion of public art also became an integral feature
of this new community space. For the Top Ryde centre, Sydney
designer Gordon Andrews was engaged to create a modern
sculpture to be placed as a focal point within the open court.
Standing 15 feet tall (4.6 metres), the abstract sculpture was
made from steel mesh overlaid with fibreglass and polyester
resin, and embellished with a mosaic made with slivers of
coloured glass.29 The modernist, abstract aesthetic instigated
a degree of public controversy, but Andrews argued that the
sculpture was just meant to be a vertical decorative feature
[while] its form is symbolic of contemporary living themes.30
Andrews also designed Top Rydes pool and childrens play area.
The Monaro Mall, built in Canberra in 1963 and designed by
Whitehead & Payne, also sought the cultural cachet of including
contemporary art by commissioning the high-profile modern artist
Margel Hinder to create a centrepiece. Hinders abstract copper
mobile was suspended from the ceiling above the escalators
within the main open court area. Illuminated by the overhead
light well, the mobile was visible from all three floors. Locating

modern artworks and design features within new shopping

centres tapped into a sense of spectacle. Paying artistic attention
to the environment acknowledged that the desire to heighten the
cultural value of the shopping centre was a justifiable, additional
In October 1965, eight years after Top Ryde altered shopper
expectations, leading Sydney retailer Grace Bros launched
Roselands as a community-focussed retail centre of the future
that was to transform the suburban landscape. Not only was
Roselands championed as the largest in the southern hemisphere,
it was consistently reported to be a mini-city community
shopping centre in which a sizable proportion of the centres
floor space was allocated to community services over leasable
retail. Architects Whitehead & Payne, along with Grace Bros
representatives, had travelled to the United States to research
the latest shopping centre trends.31 The firm closely studied
American developments and standards before finally being
confident of bettering American design practices by concentrating
on constructing a condensed and enclosed civic space.32
Built in Wiley Park, 10 miles (16 kilometres) south-west of
Sydney, Roselands was a 604 000 square foot (56 113 square
metre) building that housed a Grace Bros department store
over three levels. The fully enclosed shopping centre also
incorporated 95 specialty stores and services, including a Coles
variety store and supermarket, childcare facilities, a cinema, a
Rendezvous Room (designed to provide a relaxed meeting place
with telephone access and ironing facilities!), doctors surgery,
dental clinic and a post office, as well as a Four Corners Eatery
food court, restaurants and cafes. All in all, great emphasis was
placed on promoting the provision of services and entertainment
within the comfort of a climate-controlled environment where
shoppers could be happily absorbed within the enclosed city-like
atmosphere for an entire day. Claims of community development

B ig , bright, beautiful : T he new shopping centres

Following on general American principles, the [Top Ryde]


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The famous Raindrop Fountain in the

centre court of Roselands consisted of
beads of liquid flowing down hundreds of
nylon threads. This modern day water
feature, amid a landscaped garden, was
the backdrop for popular events such as
fashion parades and concerts.
Photo by William Brindle. Australian
News and Information Bureau. National
Archives of Australia: A1200, L52832.


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were justified by the expenditure of close to 2 million on

customer amenities, from a total building cost of 6 million,
although this also covered the cost of the undercover, decked car
The building of a vertical, internalised city engendered an
atmosphere of visual engagement. Open balconies and eateries
offered opportunities to engage in public observation and display.
In Roselands, an open balcony coffee shop, promoted as the
Charming Coffee Roost, was situated High above the crowd
with a box seat view of the exciting goings-on in the Fashion
Square. A meeting place of restfulness where youll love to
relax and enjoy watching the activities, the crowds, the parades.
The Coffee Roost is a place youll enjoy to see and be seen.33
Within the space below, a 15-foot (4.6-metre) high rotating
copper rose fountain, by Peter Stone, was designed to
represent the shopping centre symbol and, positioned against
a backdrop of lush foliage, the Raindrop Fountain, featuring
beads of liquid running down hundreds of nylon threads,
was set to become an iconic attraction. In addition, sculptor
Gerard Havekes was commissioned to create multi-coloured
ceramic tiles to ornament planter boxes and the department
store goods lift. Amid these touches of glamour, the shopping
centres interior presented a unified environment within
a controlled, architectural background. The repetition of
materials, form and fixtures harmonised the austerity of the
shopping centres exterior with the visual indulgence of the
At Roselands and other large shopping centres, the
movement of the shopper through the building was seen as
essential to the success of the overall design. Its layout was
devised to encourage a rambling engagement with the centres
attractions and facilities, and tapped into the philosophy of
the amusement park. Disneyland had successfully averted the

Modern design elements, such as the

central light well and cantilevered
balconies, created a sense of
openness within the enclosed
shopping environment of Roselands.
Photo by William Brindle. Australian
News and Information Bureau.
National Archives of Australia:
A1200, L52833.


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boredom and frustration of queuing visitors by creating winding

pathways. Adopted by retail designers, Disneylands meandering
psychology meant that traffic flow avoided the creation of dull
spots.34 The introduction of luxurious highlights, such as aviaries,
fountains and gardens, provided a variety of vistas that energised
and entertained shoppers as they alternated between shopping
and strolling. Such a pedestrian-focussed plan for shopping
centres has been described by planner Richard Bennett in
terms of a leisurely amble through a small village: The lookingaround-a-corner process lures one forward and at the same
time by shortening and limiting the view, as in many villages,
concentrates ones attention upon the attractions most nearly at
This, combined with the directional power of architecturally
defined space, not only maximised the movement of people
but also channelled the delivery of visual stimulation as
entertainment. The quality and variety of amusing interludes
strategically located throughout the centre was seen as key to
evoking a sense of liveliness essential to shopping as a modern
activity.36 At Roselands, it generated a space and atmosphere of
excitement, spectacle and entertainment a phantasmagoria that
offered the public a sense of recuperation through stimulation.
The everyday routine nature of shopping became elevated to one
of freedom and spectacle.
Roselands, like other shopping centres, was also oriented
towards creating a place that specifically welcomed women,
making them feel safe and comfortable. In particular, the
inclusion of coffee shops, food halls, fashion parades, a picture
theatre, popular entertainment and facilities for children within a
building that employed modern architectural aesthetics created
a fusion of fashion and style that positioned leisure time as
central to modern living. Live radio broadcasts, celebrity guest
appearances and drive-through parcel pick-up facilities provided

a balanced mix of rational excess. While child-minding

facilities had been a popular inclusion in the large shopping
centres from the beginning, freeing women to stay longer and
shop unencumbered, Roselands again went one step further. The
installation of closed-circuit television transmissions around the
centre enabled women to shop while still keeping an eye on
their children in childcare.
Given the growing number of children within the centres
customer demographic, Roselands focussed on running targeted
programs. The centre, for example, functioned as a registered
operator for the Duke of Edinburghs Award Scheme, through
which it delivered a range of activities for boys and girls. These
included training in the service of the community; Design for
Living, specifically to help girls become good homemakers and
well groomed, poised young women; and Fitness, for boys only
and designed to instill self-discipline, determination and effort.37
A cadet training program was also established for young people
who decided to make their vocation in some aspect of retail
The provision of extensive car parking facilities allowed the
shopper to relax and enjoy a full day of shopping. Consequently,
the number of car parking bays became a significant factor
within the overall design of shopping centres. When Top Ryde
opened in 1957, its design included a ground-level car park with
400 parking spaces.39 By the time Roselands opened in 1965,
Grace Bros boasted that the car parking capacity at Roselands
equated to approximately 14 miles (22.5 kilometres) of
traditional kerbside parking, with half of that located under the
same roof as the shopping centre. The inclusion of a decked car
park, in addition to traditional peripheral parking, was promoted
as an example of the pioneering vision behind the centre
and a design feature that even impressed developers in North
America.40 In addition, the access ramp to the multi-storey car


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suburban lifestyle, postWorld War II Australia was primed to

embrace the new commodity culture, in which the making of the
family home was a primary focus. Designed to attract the family
unit, and in particular women, modern shopping centres were
promoted as safe environments that provided a mix of comfort and
Importantly, planners and architects considered a well designed
shopping centre to be a rational solution to Sydneys unfettered
suburban growth, while at the same time creating a new, healthy
space for much-needed community engagement. These highly
designed spaces were a deliberate attempt to reconfigure a
city space that tapped into an understanding of leisure as being
intrinsic to modernity and, subsequently, integral to modern
Australias cultural identity. All in all, the shopping centre was
marketed as a place of everyday leisure and pleasure for the entire
community, heralding the arrival of modern, cosmopolitan-style
living within Sydneys suburbs.
I would like to give special thanks to Kirstin Cox, Community
History Librarian at the City of Canterbury Library, for her generous

B ig , bright, beautiful : T he new shopping centres

park was conceived with specific reference to the needs of women

pushing prams. For those parked in the outside parking bays, a
shuttle bus was provided to transport customers especially
women trying to juggle children and parcels between the centre
and their cars.
Despite the growing number of suburban shopping centres in
Sydney, their overall acceptance was not universal, particularly
in the early years.41 What did become clear, however, was that
the onset of automobility and an expanding suburban landscape
created a society primed for distance shopping as leisure.42
Presented as a solution to uncontrolled growth, as well as a
suburban heart, the large self-contained suburban shopping
centre was, for retailers, an apposite venue for the delivery of
goods en masse to the population.
There is no doubt that the suburban shopping centre of the late
1950s and 1960s was an environment designed to revolutionise the
shopping experience and evoke a sense of the traditional day out in
the city. Notions of leisure and pleasure, typically attributed to the
city retail atmosphere, were effectively repackaged and designed
as spaces to engender community life. With high employment
levels, a regulated working week and wide-scale adoption of a


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Roselands focus on the shopping

experience as a leisurely, fun day
was supported by the provision of a
courtesy bus, complete with parcel bay,
to shuttle shoppers between the centre
and their cars.
Photographer unknown. Coles Myer
Archives Box 3018. State Library of


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B ig , bright, beautiful : T he new shopping centres

l e i s u r e s pa c e

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Robert Freestone

The rise
and fall
of the

A novel proposal but inherently

more desirable than the conventional
theatre, declared the backers of the
first twin drive-in at Chullora. This
perspective drawing by the architects
Frank R Fox & Associates is dated
October 1954.
State Records New South Wales
17/3245. Estate of Frank R Fox.

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Sydney freely lends itself to this

new facility, which enables us to
enjoy the beauty of our bushland and
our pleasant climate. There seems little
doubt that the Drive-ins have added yet
another interesting facet

l e i s u r e s pa c e

to our modern way of life. 1

In 1956 Labor Premier Joe Cahill declared at the opening ceremony
of the MGM twin drive at Chullora that this really magnificent drivein cinema predicates an entirely new era in public entertainment in
NSW.2 The drive-in theatre was an American innovation tailor-made
for baby-boomer auto-dependent cities. It was a quintessentially
suburban phenomenon, geared to informality, mobility and
convenience. The drive-in captured brilliantly how the built
environment could be responsive to the demands and possibilities of
the motor car. The architecture may have been minimalist but was
undeniably modern, as was the whole experience of viewing films
outside the more staid protocols of conventional hardtop cinemas.
New South Wales had lagged behind other states as it grappled
with issues of licensing and planning regulation, but the first three
Sydney drive-ins eventually opened on the same night in October
1956, with great fanfare. Their major appeal was as wholesome
family entertainment at a time when options were limited, but the
drive-in also created a new freedom for young people. Drive-ins
enjoyed a relatively brief efflorescence through the 1950s and 1960s,
and by the end of the 1970s there were 14 drive-ins in Sydney.

But the 1980s a decade that saw an explosion of new leisure

options and technologies was a game-changer. The market dried
up and only a handful of drive-ins survived. Declining box office was
counterpointed by rising land values as former fringe sites were
revalued as large, underdeveloped land banks in prime locations.
Several waves of redevelopment into business parks, retail outlets
and residential complexes saw Sydneys stocks further reduced to
just one surviving facility at Blacktown.
When the first Sydney drive-in licences were granted in the mid1950s, political machinations and regulatory controversies played
out with a colourful cast of characters. During these formative years,
archetypal Sydney tales of profiteering, speculation and corruption
surfaced. The drive-in story is an instructive one in Sydneys postwar urban development as it intersects with broader issues of
commercial entrepreneurialism, technological change, shifting tastes
in popular culture, and evolving design responses to modernism.
The drive-in was a signifier
of modernity with its twin
imperatives of consumption and
creature comfort. It was a technologically advanced showcase
for new approaches to construction, signage, sound systems, site
engineering, traffic movements and building fit-out. At the same
time it provided a novel opportunity for socialising in a quasi-public
space. The drive-in could both bring people together and keep
them apart; it transported the privacy of the home into a social
environment while at the same time offering a certain protection
from the effects of this interaction.4
More broadly, the drive-in simultaneously reflected several key
and intersecting influences on modern life in the early post-war
period. First, it manifested growing American influence on Australian
popular culture, bringing together the appeal of Hollywood movies,
music, fast food and cars. The drive-in was a uniquely American

Explaining the


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invention5 in that it valued innovative free enterprise, consumed

urban space at low density, reflected a high material standard of
living, and relied on the automobile. Invented in the early 1930s, the
so-called ozoner made the greatest impact in the United States and
internationally after World War II.
Second, the drive-in revealed the force of suburbanisation in
fuelling consumer demand. The initial appeal was to young families
seeking informal leisure opportunities close to home. The drive-in
was a staple of the baby boomer generation, with its impact felt
beyond the declining population of the inner city and across the
rapidly developing middle ring suburbs.6
Third, and relatedly, the drive-in captured a democratisation of
car ownership. All statistical indicators pointed to growth. By 1953,
one Australian in five owned a car; by the early 1960s, it was almost
one in three and the family car became the norm.7 Between 1950 and
1960, car registrations in New South Wales increased by over 130
per cent.8 Moreover, car ownership became a necessity, as Sydney
sprawled into new localities away from its 19th-century railway
network. The city was remaking itself into a suburban metropolis.9
Fourth, the drive-in captured a built environment responsive to
the intersection of these other trends. It was expressed in other
ways, such as car-based shopping centres, parking garages and
service stations. The suburban landscape was being systematically
remodelled to accommodate the car.10 Architects embraced their
new opportunities to gear the design of buildings to cars. Morton
Herman wrote that America, with its car-civilisation, of necessity,
gives the lead in this field.11 Builders were equally ecstatic: the
drive-in era was undoubtedly contributing towards yet another
important chapter in the social and economic expansion of our
country.12 Planners were a little more ambivalent. Walter Abraham
declared suburbia is the motorists dream, but questioned whether
all these new drive-in opportunities were making us helpless and
inarticulate appendages to a steering wheel?13

Smoke if you wish and Dress as you

please: advertisement for the opening
of Sydneys first two drive-ins.
Sun, 23 October 1956, p. 38. Courtesy
Fairfax Syndicated Media.


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

Awa it i n g
a r r i va l

Drive-ins struggled to find a strong

foothold outside of the United States,
but Australia was one country where the
outdoor theatre did catch on.14 There was already an Australian
tradition of outdoor cinema, with open-air or garden cinemas in
existence from the turn of the last century. Townsville boasted
an ephemeral car-based outdoor theatre as early as 1940.15 Other
makeshift events in the early 1950s signalled the way ahead.
In October 1951 at Bondi Beach, 700 people and 27 cars turned
out to see The Barber of Seville and hear sacred recordings.16 At
Miranda, Stanley Rowlandss Jubilee Shrine, a multi-purpose
amusement facility used mostly by charitable and religious groups,
also had occasional film screenings. But all eyes were on the
United States, where drive-ins were booming. Local newspapers
conveyed a new kind of cinema experience, where the keyword
was informality: You can take the kids in their pyjamas. You
can smoke, eat a snack, wear your slippers or your shorts, come
unshaven, or do your knitting. If you dont like the picture you can
get out and clean the car or tinker with the engine.17
When the drive-in was ready to be imported, by the early
1950s, most technical issues concerning in-car speakers, screen
luminance, projection optics and weatherproofing had been
resolved.18 The first Australian drive-in opened in the Melbourne
suburb of Burwood in February 1954. A little over two years later,
23 drive-ins were in operation in Victoria, with ten in Melbourne
alone. Sydneys newspapers teased their readers with coverage
of the Melbourne drive-in scene, touting their great popularity,
affordable prices and meal options.19 The NSW Governments
decision that drive-ins would be licensed and regulated under
the Theatres and Public Halls Act 19081946 requiring the
development of new approval and regulatory processes meant
that Sydneys first drive-ins would come two and a half years after
Melbourne had savoured the ozoner experience.

R e g u l at i n g

Commercial aspirations in Sydney

were mediated through a rather
opaque governance regime intended
ostensibly to serve the public interest. Town planners argued that
Sydneys delay in taking up this new idea will prove of benefit in
as much as the proprietors and the authorities concerned profit by
the Melbourne experience.20 But regulatory power rested not so
much with the planners as with existing arrangements for licensing
cinemas in New South Wales.
Established in 1939, the Theatres and Films Commission
actually began receiving and deliberating on applications
submitted under the general provisions of the Theatres and Public
Halls Act from 1953. Its operations came under the auspices
of the Colonial later Chief Secretary, an office with an
extensive range of licensing responsibilities. The Commission
was a three-man board consisting of FR Lake (executive officer),
RR Perry (businessman) and William Harrop. Chief Secretary CA
(Gus) Kelly, who served in this portfolio from 1952 to 1965, was
a controversial old-style Labor parliamentarian. Evan Whittons
account of Kellys administration uncomfortably points to an
ingrained institutionalisation of corruption.21 Kellys approach to
the issuing of licences of all kinds appears to have been to auction
them off, and the Labor Party was then notorious for doing favours
for mates.22 Kelly appointed Harrop as chairman of the Commission
in July 1953. Harrop was known as the Mr Big of the film
industry, and for some years as Each Way Harrop since he was
simultaneously both secretary of the main union and the honorary
business manager of the Motion Picture Exhibitors Association.
Both union and employer organisations had offices in the same
building at 337 George Street.23
Determination of early drive-in applications was compromised
by the status of drive-ins as building-less sites under the
Theatres and Public Halls Act. This ambiguity was resolved with


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operators keen to capitalise on a new popular sensation, but

established cinema operators were torn between exploiting a new
market opportunity and protecting their existing investments. The
latter took the view that they were the logical people to operate
drive-ins, since they were already running cinemas in this country
and have sunk a lot of money into them.27 Greater Union and Hoyts
were the two major players in New South Wales. They registered a
new company, Consolidated Drive-In Theatres Corporation Pty Ltd,
as an overarching entity for the bidding process and were joined
by some independent members of the Motion Picture Exhibitors
Association. The independents were reportedly canvassed on
whether they would like to take up a minority shareholding in a
drive-in combine, their inclusion thought prudent to mitigate risk
of later legal appeals.28 This consortium proved a powerful force.
One independent entrepreneur complained that his decisions were
always shadowed by Consolidated Drive-Ins buying up land in the
same locality; he was being squeezed by a powerful monopoly
which wants to have a stranglehold on the proposed new film
Between May and October 1955 the Commission assessed
a total of 22 applications for drive-ins in New South Wales, the
great majority being for Sydney, each lodged with a mere 20
application fee. During this period the Commissioners visited
Melbourne to inspect drive-ins and gather information on a range
of issues, including traffic, impact on existing theatres, staffing
needs, operating costs, admission charges and provision of
amenities.30 Meanwhile, the bids were made public and objections
to the granting of applications were permitted for a prescribed
fee of 5. Applicants busied themselves objecting to each others
applications on a range of standard grounds: undue competition,
economic waste, not in the public interest, and existing cinema
facilities already providing properly and adequately in particular

the rise and fall of the s y dne y drive - in

an amendment to the Act in December 1954. This was buttressed

by new regulations specifying the type of documentation required
and, arriving rather belatedly in September 1956, basic town
planning requirements. The Government was keen to prevent
overinvestment and ensure an equitable distribution of facilities
across the metropolitan area. Among other requirements, driveins had to be at least 4 miles (6.4 kilometres) from each other;
no closer than 1 mile (1.6 kilometres) to a train level crossing;
accessed by a side rather than main road; away from airports;
and configured so that movies would not be distracting to passing
traffic. The sites also had to be big enough: a rule of thumb in the
industry was a minimum of about 13.5 acres (5.5 hectares).24
With the announcement that legislation had been amended to
permit drive-ins, the Theatres and Films Commission reportedly
received a flood of licence applications in May 1955.25 There were
other stakeholders in the approval process. The Government Architect
advised on a range of design issues related to matters such as
toilets, fencing, drainage, generating plant, screen tower and screen
face, and the capacity of car holding areas. The NSW Fire Brigade
commented on public safety issues, the Police on traffic management,
and the Department of Main Roads on access and egress to major
highways. The powers of the Cumberland County Council, Sydneys
first metropolitan planning authority, were invoked when sites were
chosen within its Green Belt zone, an initiative intended to constrain
scattered suburban development. Under the NSW Local Government
(Town and Country Planning) Amendment Act 1945, local councils had
powers to approve actual development applications, regardless of
the licensing decisions of the Commission, but ultimate power rested
with the Minister for Local Government (Jack Renshaw for the period
195359). Formal objections were also permitted under the Theatres
and Public Halls Act.
While a significant investment was required, drive-ins were seen
as an excellent money-spinner.26 They appealed to independent


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

T h e f i rst

On 14 October 1955, the Theatres and

Films Commission awarded seven
licences in Sydney for drive-ins at Bass
Hill (Vernon Development Company), Caringbah (East Coast
Development Company Pty Ltd), Chullora (Twin Drive-In Theatres
Pty Ltd), Dundas (Parklands Estate Company Pty Ltd), Fairfield
(James McFadden and Eric Clementson), Frenchs Forest (Northern
Forests Development Company Pty Ltd) and North Ryde (Greenfields
Development Company). In addition, licences were issued in
Newcastle (Lambton) to Provincial Gardens Pty Ltd and Wollongong
(Fairy Meadow) to Al Rosen. The decision had major economic
ramifications, with each metropolitan licence estimated to be
worth about 2.8 million in todays dollars.31 The greater number
of applications were refused: Bass Hill (2), Epping, Ermington,
Frenchs Forest (2), Gymea, Milperra, Padstow (2), Sylvania (2) and
Five of the seven Sydney licences went to companies connected
to the powerful combine dominated by Hoyts and Greater Union,
laying the foundation for the successful Skyline drive-in chain.
Two independent entities also won licences. One was the
partnership between chartered accountant James McFadden and
Eric Clementson, director of a construction company, although
they missed out on other bids. The second was Twin Drive-In
Theatres, a colourful syndicate comprising bookmaker Tom Powell,
Ben Chechik, owneroperator of drive-ins in British Columbia, and
businessman Eddie Kornhauser. Kornhauser made his first fortune
in the fur trade in Melbourne and became one of Australias richest
men in the 1970s, by which time he had moved into Gold Coast
property as a member of the white shoe brigade in the Joh BjelkePetersen and Russ Hinze era. Linked to Abe Saffron in the 1950s,
and later a confidante of Bob Hawke, his activities were carefully
scrutinised by the Fitzgerald inquiry into police and political
corruption in Queensland (198789).32

Controversy over the NSW State

Governments process for allocating
drive-in licences in 195657 was
fodder for parliamentary debate, legal
actions and often sensational media
Newspaper cartoon, Daily Telegraph,
1 May 1956, p. 2. National Library
of Australia NX277. Courtesy News

The Newcastle licence went to the Greater UnionHoyts

combine, but Wollongong was the sole success from several
applications by Al Rosen. Rosen was a nuggety American
theatrical impresario, also with links to the notorious Saffron, but
enjoying wider fame as a veteran producer, director, talent scout,
agent and tour manager. He was Judy Garlands first manager and
Cecil B DeMille once said that he could sell refrigerators to the


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The drive-in was another classic

Sydney saga in the politicisation
of urban development. The
awarding of drive-in licences was a hot topic in parliament,
the media and the courts.34 Pat Morton, the Liberal Opposition
Leader, encapsulated what he saw as the central problem:
restrictions breed rackets.35 On 6 May 1956, the Sun-Herald s
Candid Comment column, in comparing the roll-out of drive-ins in
Melbourne and Adelaide to Sydney, said that Sydney has run true
to form: delays, recriminations; inquiries; charges of favouritism;
rumours of payments on the side; wads of easy money raked in
by the fortunate few and no drive-ins, yet.36 At the epicentre
stood the Theatres and Films Commission, which, under its Act,
did not have to disclose reasons for its decisions: it sits behind
closed doors and has evolved its own methods.37 Taking most of
the heat were Harrop and Kelly. Both the Fairfaxs Sydney Morning
Herald and Sir Frank Packers Daily Telegraph were critics of the
government on the lack of transparent decision-making. The
awarding of five licences to companies controlled by the major
cinema operators attracted most concern and left many people
faintly uneasy about the whole proceedings.38
The question mark over the Theatres and Films Commission
was whether it was merely an agency to serve the interests of
the film combine.39 The debate turned on corporate self-interest
versus the little man. A spokesman for the combine, justifying
its involvement, argued that we learned long ago that drive-in
theatres can be constructed only at great capital cost and must be
scientifically planned.40 In all applications to the Commission, it
put its case as a financially sound and experienced operator fully
intending to construct and manage proposed drive-ins and with no
intention to trade upon such licence. Nevertheless, critics felt that
extraordinary lengths were taken to prevent independents from
appealing against decisions favouring the big boys.41

The Commission was also under attack on another front: the

wording of its new regulations. The sticking points were the
requirements regarding the spacing and distance from a railway
crossing. The effect of these in a regional centre like Newcastle
and a country town like Dubbo both centres of controversy
was to dampen prospects for any development, and most
certainly bestow virtual monopoly rights on any lucky initial
The Commissions decisions also sparked a series of appeals,
which had to be heard by the District Court. All these battles
ensured delays to commencement of actual development.43 Blue
Sky Theatres, a company associated with former Labor Premier
and Governor-General William McKell, launched two actions, but
lost both against a formidable legal team including Sir Garfield
Barwick representing the Northern Forests Development Company.
Court proceedings revealed that Al Rosen was also a party to
the unsuccessful application, but had fallen out with the other
company directors amid accusations that he intended only to
secure a licence to cash in on it quickly.44 As an unsuccessful
bidder for a hotly contested Bass Hill drive-in, he also took on the
Hoyts-GU-indies combine, but reportedly withdrew his appeal on
the strength of a 30 000 inducement.45
More drama ensued when Kornhauser, Powell and Chechik
on-sold their licence for the Chullora drive-in to Metro-GoldwynMayer Pty Ltd (MGM) for a reported 102000 in April 1956.46 This
was an especially good deal because MGM had been shut out
of the western suburbs by Hoyts.47 But it raised the spectre of
speculative behaviour, and the whole enterprise was questioned
as a probable financial gamble just to help fund Kornhausers
other business interests in hotel licences.48 Minister Kelly asked
the Theatres and Films Commission to investigate, but all was
found to be in order. The Daily Telegraph was less than impressed
that the Commission was investigating itself and felt that the

the rise and fall of the s y dne y drive - in

C o n t rov e rsy


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process merely reinforced the perception that the moving picture

business [was] a very close preserve.49 Kelly defended the action,
but suspicion surrounded his personal role, with later evidence
pointing to him personally making 10000 on the deal.50
The cloud of suspicion and political mileage to be gained saw
the Liberal Opposition repeatedly call for a major public inquiry.
Leading the charge well into 1957 was Deputy Leader RW Askin.
A Sydney Morning Herald editorial canvassed the grounds for
an inquiry on the basis of a succession of events lucrative
trafficking in licences, strange amendments to the drive-in theatre
regulations, and persistent official refusals to clear up a thoroughly
discreditable situation.51 The irony here is that Askin as State
Premier from 1965 to 1975 is now best remembered for his own
role in institutionalising corruption in the political process in New
South Wales. Nevertheless, the drive-in scandal lingered and Kelly
was fobbing off calls for an inquiry and maintaining full confidence
in Bill Harrop as late as 1962.52

l e i s u r e s pa c e

Design and

Philip Goad has written that

although drive-ins brought a
new dimension to the cinema
experience architecturally, there wasnt much to them.53
Nevertheless, what structures there were the projection facility,
the food hall, the ticket booths, the screen evinced a strippedback modernism in line with the unornamented aesthetic values of
the day. The architectural commentator Morton Herman captured
what lyrical qualities existed in an article for the Sydney Morning
Herald in October 1956 when the first drive-ins opened. He
espied a streamlined architecture befitting the modern age and
decorated only by nature and the open sky. They were admittedly
minor buildings [in] seemingly architectural vacuity but their real
significance lay in the successful resolution of the overall design
challenge to skilfully integrate sightlines, drainage, traffic flows,

playgrounds and landscaping within a meaningful whole; dynamic

planning always carries an excitement of its own.54
Several architects were choreographing these new suburban
leisure spaces. Frank Fox of Old Sydney Town fame developed
the first plans for Chullora, which envisaged a futuristic central
building seemingly inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright, but MGM
brought in the versatile Kevin J Curtin. Ancher Mortlock &
Woolley did several projects for ES Clementson. John P Tate, a
former chairman of the Cumberland County Council, was similarly
contracted for working drawings on unrealised projects. The
biggest name was John W Roberts & Associates. Specialists in
theatre architecture, they also designed the Footbridge Theatre
at Sydney University (1961) and undertook the reconstruction of
Her Majestys Theatre in the 1970s. They were the architects for
the Skyline chain, for whom they delivered a generic standardised
formula no matter what the site, ticking another box for
functionalist modern design. Most of the Skyline sites were less
than 25 acres (10 hectares), with capacity for around 700 cars
facing a single 36- by 24-metre screen, the height of a seven-storey
building. The amenities blocks were mostly simple rectangular,
low-rise, centrally-located structures decked out in candy stripes
low-rise so as not to interrupt sightlines to the screen from
the cars parked behind. In the projection rooms the low ceilings
and the heat generated by the equipment in the absence of
air-conditioning made for uncomfortable working environments.
Outside, playground facilities were provided nearby or under
the giant screens.55 The space standards were considered more
commodious than in Victoria because of the requirements laid
down by the Theatres and Films Commission.56 The average cost of
construction was 200000.
North Ryde was an archetypal Skyline drive-in, described
in detail in Building: Lighting: Engineering in November 1959.
Consolidated Drive-Ins had their corporate office there.57 Designed


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The early Skyline drive-ins were

difficult to tell apart. This is thought
to be Bass Hill, in 1969, after the
vertical candy stripes were replaced by
a uniform white exterior and before a
new bio box for projection was added
when the drive-in was twinned in the
late 1980s.
Photo by John Mulligan, 1969. John
Mulligan photograph collection,
National Library of Australia


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Interior of a refurbished Skyline drive-in

snack bar, possibly Bass Hill. Drive-ins
did not serve alcohol.
Photo by John Mulligan, 1969. John
Mulligan photograph collection,
National Library of Australia nla.picvn3079279.

elements but was designed at a significantly larger scale on a

20-acre (8-hectare) site close to the Hume Highway. This was
the most contested site, with prime accessibility near the
geographical centre of Sydneys metropolitan population and
proximate to the two fastest-growing municipalities in New
South Wales (Canterbury and Bankstown). In all, there were
13 separate objections to the application by Twin Drive-In Theatres,
although 11 of these were interests associated with the rival
combine Consolidated Drive-In Theatres. With 660-car capacity in
each field, it was the largest drive-in in the southern hemisphere
until upstaged by a sister MGM development in Melbourne.61
Nevertheless, it was claimed that all cars could exit within 15
minutes. Building Kevin Curtins design was ES Clementson,
involved in drive-ins elsewhere in Sydney, and the engineers were
the leading firm Crooks, Mitchell & Peacock. The development cost
was over 300000. The central amenities building serving both
fields was described in detail in the Homes and Building section
of the Sydney Morning Herald on opening day.62 It was a one-storey
structure in studied texture brickwork, with large areas of glass.
The flat roof was supported by exposed steel frames and open cube
trusses, with a continuous overhang of wide eaves. Housing snack,
drinks and candy bars, a dining room, a grill and fish bar, and backof-house facilities, its contemporary colours, fluorescent lighting
effects, and cartoon murals bestowed a gay atmosphere. The
building opened to a large paved area, with steps to the childrens
playground. Chullora was said to offer superior viewing compared
to a large single drive-in, and a central amenities building serving
both fields meant it could happily trade all night without dimming
the lights, thereby increasing concession revenue. Being able
to stagger commencement times was also seen as more userfriendly.63 At its peak, the Chullora Twin could accommodate six
sessions on a Friday and Saturday night, with nearly 4000 cars
passing through its gates.64

the rise and fall of the s y dne y drive - in

by John W Roberts and constructed by AW Edwards Pty Ltd, it

almost did not get built, with the Cumberland County Council
opposing the site as being too close to hazardous intersections
and potentially compromised by the proposed widening of Lane
Cove Road.58 The 16-acre (6.5-hectare) site carved out of Green Belt
land offered accommodation for 620 cars. Access was from side
roads, with the approach fenced to avoid headlights shining on the
screen. The main auditorium area was designed as a series of
concentric ramps; the nearer the screen, the steeper the angle of
the ramp, a calculation requiring some tricky trigonometry. Twin
speaker stands were spaced systematically throughout. Each had
a volume control and a switch to alert ever-ready assistants that
some type of service is required. A central flat-roofed, rectangularshaped, single-storey block housed the snack bar, milk bar, toilets,
projection room, kitchen and storage rooms, opening onto a narrow
patio running the full length of the building and with tables and
chairs where patrons could enjoy outdoor dining and viewing.
The structure was painted in gay colours to enhance the general
carnival spirit.59 The ticket offices, approached by a modern multilane roadway, were said to resemble the toll booths on the Harbour
Bridge. The dominant feature was the screen, providing allweather viewing without distortion and built to withstand winds of
200 kilometres per hour. At its base was the childrens playground,
fully equipped with swings, slippery dips, roundabouts and, in the
early days, pony rides. Here too, it was said, colour plays a big
part in creating a delightful atmosphere of gaiety.60
Chullora, the original twin drive-in, had the same basic


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Drive-ins were night-time parking

lots, with cars enjoying the right of
way. Cars and patrons in front of the
restaurant and amenities building at
the Chullora Twin Drive-In, 1956.
Photographer unknown. RJ Lucas
Archive, Collection: Powerhouse

Prime time

Premier Cahill not only officially

opened MGM Chullora on Tuesday
23 October 1956, he also made it
to the first two Skylines at Dundas and Frenchs Forest the same
evening for inaugural special screenings, with proceeds going
to the Childrens Hospital at Camperdown. With an expression
of confidence in the private sectors ability to deliver new
entertainment opportunities for Sydney suburbanites, he declared
the quality of the new drive-ins as equal to that in any part of the
world, America included.65
Inert and silent during the day, the drive-in came alive at night
and for two decades continued to capture the imagination of
Sydneysiders. The glow from the huge screens made them new
suburban landmarks. The drama up close was captured by one
journalist in a Cold War metaphor:
The tough wire netting fence surrounding the 14 acre area,
the lights blazing down from tall poles, the concrete buildings,
the impressive driveways in and out, the dozens of young men
moving purposefully about in clean white boiler suits, black
boots and red berets, all made the place look like Project X of the

l e i s u r e s pa c e

atomic energy programme.66

The early drive-ins were extremely labour-intensive.67

Windscreens would be cleaned, food delivered to cars, and
boys selling drinks and sweets circulated between the elevated
ramps. Dressed in red berets and white overalls with gaiters, the
ushers or car hops at the Skyline drive-ins resembled tropical
The successful tenderers for the first licences had done their
market research and concentrated their marketing on family groups
and films with wide appeal. McFadden and Clementson regarded
the drive-in in almost nationalistic terms: the outdoor Australian
way of life is upheld under healthy climatic conditions.69 They

commissioned pioneering market researcher William McNair

to assess public opinion for a new drive-in at Frenchs Forest.
Interviewing over 300 respondents, McNair found that although
few were regular cinemagoers, a healthy nine out of ten would
attend a drive-in, especially since it solved the tricky problem of
finding a babysitter for the kids.70 Steve Bedwell captures nicely
the experiences of a generation of 1950s children:
As a small child I remember the Drive-in experience vividly; what
an adventure it was for a kid. You would have a bath and put on
your pyjamas thinking that that was about it for the night, then
all of a sudden it was on with the dressing gown and slippers,
into the car with a selection of your favourite toys, and off to the
Drive-in. Smiling men in white coats collected the money at the
gate and waved the Movie News temptingly in the faces of the
mostly untemptable drivers. Dad would park the car, front wheels
perched on their little asphalt hill as if the Holden was poised for
take-off, and hook the speaker up. Then it was fun time; time to
head for the playground down in front of the screen. What a life,
being able to play on public swings in your pyjamas, something
that under normal circumstances you wouldnt even dream of
doing From the playground it was up to the snack bar to stock
up on provisions for the movie, and hope that you didnt spill
anything sticky on the upholstery because there was no surer
way to cop a belting.71

Although young nuclear families were the prime target group, as

in the United States, the drive-in appealed to a heterogeneous
audience in a way mainstream cinema could not. It welded a
disparate class of people, including the elderly, the disabled and
even those just unable to climb cinema stairs,72 into a brand
new type of audience quite remote from regular cinemagoers
[and] more caught up in the community spirit.73 Young people
were attracted early and the drive-in soon became an ideal place
for dating or just hanging out with a group of mates.74 Church


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Close-up of the action at the diner

at the Chullora Twin Drive-In,
1956. With licensed capacity for
over 1300 vehicles, Chullora was
Sydneys largest drive-in. A 1975
Theatres and Public Halls inspection
reported that the limited toilet
accommodation was not quite up
to official sanitary requirements.
Photographer unknown. RJ Lucas
Archive, Collection: Powerhouse

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Sydneys network of drive-ins at

its peak in the early 1980s. The
Theatres and Films Commission
regulated to promote an even
spatial distribution, but the St
George area west of Botany Bay
missed out.
Map by Andrew Tice.


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The coming of the drive-in

proved enormously popular
and early attendances
far outstripped even the
most enthusiastic advance predictions, with patrons driving
from well beyond the immediate vicinity.79 Early success
guaranteed enthusiasm in the marketplace and the spread of
drive-in theatres was testimony to the impact of the motor
car on leisure.80 More new drive-ins were seriously mooted
in 1956 and 1957, including sites at Arncliffe, Five Dock,
Kingsgrove and St Ives. But after the first tranche of licences
was awarded in 1955, only another seven were developed;
some independently, some by Consolidated Drive-Ins under the
Skyline brand.
Matraville (1957) was first of the second generation driveins, Sydneys smallest and the only one in the eastern suburbs.

F ro m g row t h
to d e c l i n e to
u r ba n r e n e wa l

It was used as a set for the film Dead-end Drive-In (1985), based
on a surrealist short story by Peter Carey. Fairfields El Rancho
had received one of the original drive-in licences but, delayed
by lease issues, did not open until 1965. Penrith commenced the
same year and Campbelltowns independent Gayline in 1967.
Skyline built further drive-ins at Blacktown (1963); Casula (1967),
designed by Peter Muller; Warriewood (1971); and Sydneys last,
Parklea (1977). Altogether, seven drive-ins were constructed
between 1956 and 1977.
Drive-ins arrived almost simultaneously with the introduction
of television in Australia, commencing with TCN-9 in Sydney
in September 1956. They helped cushion the blow which
television was set to deliver to traditional city and suburban
cinemas, especially through the years when television was not
yet an affordable mass entertainment.81 The Managing Director
of Paramount Pictures maintained that the drive-in was one of
the film industrys most important developments in answer to
the competition of television.82 Nevertheless, television saw
attendances at cinemas plummet, and many closed down.83 Soon,
drive-in patronage would also suffer. Its golden age, as Graeme
Davison notes, was short-lived.84 The ambience of many driveins shifted away from family entertainment towards R-rated
and cult screenings designed to attract a newly mobile younger
audience. When the family barbecues were shut down, cartoons
and musicals gave way to rock-and-roll and horror movies and
the family playground was turned into the passion-pit.85
Drive-ins soon faced many competitive pressures: the advent
of colour TV in March 1975; the home video recorder, followed
by direct selling of film videos from 1985; and the birth of
computer games. All represented a significant privatisation
of entertainment. At the same time came the rise of licensed
suburban clubs offering better food, entertainment and drinks,
although they too faced the challenge of random breath testing,

the rise and fall of the s y dne y drive - in

leaders warned of a new threat to morality, but Sydneysiders

were assured in advance of their first drive-ins by Melbourne
operators that behaviour in cars is no worse than what goes
on at any beach in broad daylight during a summer week-end.75
The informality of the drive-in delivered a carnival or picnic
atmosphere.76 It was a special kind of privatised public space
offering a degree of freedom very different to conventional
cinemas. Going to the drive-in was a great night out: film, play,
drinks and food. There was unrelenting pressure on audiences
to eat, with the profitability of drive-ins closely tied to its
food concessions.77 Options ranged from a la carte dining
to DIY barbecues, but the strongest demand was usually for
American-style fast food, well in advance of the corporate
chains. Again, there is similarity with the American experience,
with films often just a backdrop to a broader social and leisure


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introduced in New South Wales in December 1985. There would

eventually be a suburban cinema revival, but via multiplexes in
shopping malls, which constituted a further blow for drive-ins.
While sound systems were upgraded, huge screens dimly lit by
projectors a long distance away also proved a customer turnoff.86 Aesthetically, drive-ins remained the same old night-time
bitumen parking lots. David Kilderry notes that people started
to lose interest in coming because drive-ins didnt have much
money spent on them a lot of them still looked like they were
out of the 1950s.87
The 1980s was the darkest decade for drive-ins in
Australia.88 In 1984, around 100 drive-ins went out of
business.89 In Sydney the same writing was on the wall. In
1979, Consolidated Drive-Ins divided their 12 Sydney Skyline
facilities into separate Greater Union and Hoyts operations. The
partnership had not been all smooth sailing; directors meetings
(initially held at their headquarters in a house purchased with
the North Ryde site) tended to be factionalised and the lighting
preferred by Hoyts and projection equipment supplied by Greater
Union were a technological mismatch.90 Three years later Greater
Union bought out Hoyts to secure a stranglehold on the Sydney
market. Through 1984 it shut down one drive-in after another

and within a year there were just four survivors.91 The closure
of Bass Hill in 2007, by then the oldest continuously operating
drive-in in Australia (twinned in 1987 to enhance customer appeal),
left Blacktown as the only surviving drive-in in Sydney.92 In 2013
Blacktown underwent a successful 1950s-retro makeover.
The silver lining for owners was an appreciation of property
values that made drive-in sites appealing for redevelopment.
The sale of the drive-ins to developers also released capital for
investment in new multiplexes.93 By the late 1980s the sites,
which had been undeveloped bushland, market gardens, grazing
property and quarries at the time of their initial transformation,
were now invariably bordered by an intensification of commercial,
residential and mixed-use development as the suburban frontier
marched steadily outward. Kilderry estimates that even the best
drive-ins may have only been making $250000 or $500000 annual
profit, so that multi-million dollar values accompanying rezoning
were irresistible.94 Developers moved in on sites in the 1980s and
the process which the American geographer Derwent Whittlesey
dubbed sequent occupance was set in train.95 Drive-in sites
metamorphosed into a mix of new higher and best uses including
business parks (North Ryde and Frenchs Forest), housing estates
(Bass Hill, Dundas, Matraville, Campbelltown, Warriewood), retail


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complexes (Chullora, Caringbah), markets (Parklea), a school

(Fairfield) and a retirement village (Liverpool). At most of these
sites little trace remains of the drive-in era.
The life-cycle of Sydneys drive-ins echoes their rise and
decline in other Australian and American cities. Mary Morley
Cohen sees drive-ins as exploiting a liminal moment in the
history of entertainment, occupying a space intermediate
between the golden age of cinema and the inexorable demand
for home entertainment.96 It is perhaps easy to see in hindsight,
but they were destined to be ephemeral spaces at the confluence
of broader leisure and development trends. In its heyday, the
drive-in was a high temple of modernity in bringing together
the motion picture and the automobile.97 For a time it was even
a powerful symbol of the new Australia, signifying prosperity,
gathering consumer confidence and, in metropolitan areas,
marking the path of urban development through its concentration
in new, outer suburban areas.98 During the 1950s and 1960s
almost anything that was new, modern and had originated
in the USA attracted people in droves.99 At the height of the
phenomenon in the late 1970s there were over 300 drive-ins in
Australia; now there are less than 30.
Sydney never went overboard like other cities. Melbourne

embraced the innovation more wholeheartedly, and even by the

late 1950s had more drive-ins than any other world city, including
Los Angeles.100 In Sydney the rate of development was slower
because of the licensing regulations (which mandated trade areas
to limit numbers and effectively favoured existing conservative
cinema interests intent on protecting their investments), as well
as a shortage of suitable sites. In its prime, the drive-in was a
decisive private sector contribution to leisure options in Sydney.
Going the same way as other lost artefacts of modern popular
culture, its essential appeal as an opportunity to enjoy films
outdoors survives today in summertime cinemas in the park.
My research on drive-ins commenced in the mid-1980s while at
the Urban Research Unit at ANU, much to the consternation of
Pat Troy, who wanted me to concentrate solely on the project
that became Model Communities (Thomas Nelson, 1989). It went
nowhere until resuscitated and updated for this project, thanks
to Paul Hogben and Judith OCallaghan. Thanks also to Michael
Bogle for additional research at NSW State Records and the
Powerhouse Museum, plus Diep Hang, David Kilderry, Andrew
Tice, Damien Stapleton, William Gray, Les Tod and Paul Hogben
for their assistance.

the rise and fall of the s y dne y drive - in

The suburban life cycle: transformation

of the Caringbah drive-in site 1955
2010 from undeveloped land to drive-in
to current highest and best use as
bulky goods and fast-food outlets.
Montage by Diep Hang.


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C a t h e r i n e E v a n s Tr a c i e H a r v i s o n

Golf: A

Arnold Palmer demonstrates his golf

swing on the roof of Mick Simmons
Sports Store on George Street, Sydney,
to advertise Dunlop Golf Equipment.
Photo by Curly Fraser, 1964. Australian
Photographic Agency. State Library of
New South Wales.

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Golf has a long history in Sydney,

with the earliest registered club, The
Australian Golf Club in Rosebery,
founded in 1882. Since the early 20th
century, Sydneys golf courses have
appealed to both locals and tourists;
the NSW Tourism Bureau promoted
the citys golf clubs and courses as
early as 1925, and by end of World
War II there were 50 registered clubs
in the metropolitan area. Post-war,
the popularity of golf continued to
increase across Australia, largely due
to the exposure of Allied troops to the
l e i s u r e s pa c e

game during their military service. 1

By the 1970s, Australia had the second-highest number of golf
courses in the world, behind the United States, and in Sydney,
as elsewhere, golf became big business.2 During the post-war
era, 26 new courses were constructed across the city, and many

established clubs extended and modernised their facilities. At the

same time, the business of golf diversified to encompass equipment
manufacture, specialised retail facilities, tourism, golf driving ranges,
agronomy, turf management, and media and publishing interests.
War had a major influence on the game of golf, course design
and ultimately the development of golf clubs in Sydney, but it was
not the only factor. Technological advances changed how the game
was played, and the way courses were designed and maintained.
Revisions to gaming laws in New South Wales and the local
diversification of retail industries led to new thinking about the role
and design of clubhouses. And television played a significant role
in bringing international exposure and commercially sponsored golf
events to Sydney.
Wartime austerity measures
threatened the game of golf
worldwide. Materials used to make
golf balls and clubs, such as rubber and steel, were redirected into
the war effort, as were the skills and capacity of sporting goods
manufacturers.3 In Sydney, for example, Slazengers Alexandria
factory produced rifle parts, ammunition boxes and filter pads for
anti-gas respirators, as well as rowboats for the Royal Australian
Navy. Slazenger also handled timber for aircraft production at the
Empire Timbers Ltd facilities in Balmain, and between 1943 and
1945 leased river frontage at Putney to build timber hulls for a
variety of small assault craft.4
As men and women were called into wartime service,
membership of golf clubs declined. Conscription also reduced the
availability of labour for course maintenance, and the supply of
caddies.5 Clubs across Sydney faced increasing difficulties in finding
the people, equipment and financial resources necessary to maintain
their courses. In addition, 11 strategically located metropolitan
courses were taken out of play and occupied for military purposes.6

Wo r l d Wa r II
and golf


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that Commander-in-Chief Dwight Eisenhower was an avid golfer

and continued to play during wartime and later, while in office
as the US President.16 Similarly, top-ranked players like Arnold
Palmer who served in the military were frequently photographed
in uniform and their postings promoted. Hollywood embraced the
game, with many celebrities taking up golf, most notably Bob Hope
and Bing Crosby.
This media exposure presented golf as a leisure activity of
the rich and powerful. The nexus of this association was the
Thunderbird Country Club, the first golf course in Palm Springs,
which was reported to have started the California Golf Rush.17
Thunderbird was one of the first golf course estates in the world
and was marketed to Hollywoods elite. By 1951 Bob Hope and
Bing Cosby had both purchased homes within the estate, followed
by Lucy and Desi Arnaz, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Ginger
Rogers and a host of others. Thunderbird hosted a major Pro-am
Tournament (later known as the Bob Hope Classic) that attracted
worldwide media attention. The motorised golf cart was also
invented at Thunderbird in the early 1950s and quickly became a
permanent feature of the modern resort-style course.
Media attention extended to Australia. In November 1956,
two months after television first arrived in this country, Sydneys
Channel 9 televised play at the Pelaco Tournament at The Australian
Golf Club. This was the first time an entire 18-hole tournament was
televised anywhere in the world, and the first live broadcast of sport
in Australia.18 As the name indicated, the event was sponsored by
Pelaco, an iconic Australian clothing brand, which for many years
had been associated with top Australian golfers, including Ossie
Pickworth, Kel Nagle and Norman Von Nida.19 Not surprisingly,
following the Pelaco tournament, sponsorship of local tournaments
increased as corporate interests as diverse as Ampol and
McWilliams Wines seized the opportunity to leverage the growing
popularity of the game in the domestic market.

G olf : A changing landscape

The short course at The Australian Golf Club, for example, served
as an anti-aircraft battery for Sydneys central business district,
while its clubhouse accommodated US military personnel and the
American Red Cross.7 Similarly, Concord Golf Club was occupied
to protect the adjacent Mortlake Gas Works8 and the Mosman
Golf Club disbanded in 1940 after the Commonwealth resumed its
harbour-front course for the Balmoral Naval Hospital.9
In contrast to these local setbacks, the Allied forces promoted
golf within its ranks, and fuelled a post-war boom in the games
popularity. This was a well-orchestrated campaign backed by the
major sporting goods manufacturers and the US Professional Golf
Association (USPGA) to ensure the industry had a market once the
war ended.10 Spearheaded by Wilson Sporting Goods and later
administered by a special War Service Committee of the USPGA,
the campaign promoted golf as a valuable and healthy recreational
pursuit, both on the home front and for those in military service.11
The military provided lessons, golfing equipment and access to
courses wherever troops were trained or stationed.12 Professional
associations and players supplied golf instruction, exhibitions and
free privileges programs, all of which guaranteed defence force
personnel access to golf courses, equipment and, importantly, balls.13
One result of this campaign was that demand for golfing supplies
became so high that the US Surgeon Generals Office provided
sporting goods manufacturers with access to synthetic materials
in an attempt to secure the supply of golf balls for veterans
hospitals and rehabilitation centres. By 1944 the Worthington
Ball Company had developed a synthetic golf ball for the Armed
Forces, and shipped thousands of balls around the world for use by
Allied troops.14 Swing Clubs (golf rather than dancing) were also
established within veterans hospitals and rehabilitation centres
across the United States.15
Another striking feature of the promotional campaign was its use
of the mass media. Every opportunity was taken to promote the fact


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Channel 9 television presenter Brian

Henderson promotes Pelaco shirts at
the 1958 Pelaco Tournament at The
Australian Golf Club.
Photo by Don McPhedran. Australian
Photographic Agency. State Library of
New South Wales.

l e i s u r e s pa c e

T h e t r a n s f o r m at i o n
o f Sy d n e y s g o l f c l u b s

Golf clubs in
Sydney exploited
the games
increasing profile, transforming both their operation and facilities to
maximise business opportunities. Courses were remodelled to boost
income from green fees and to arrest the increasing cost of course
maintenance. Clubhouses were enlarged and modernised, with retail
and entertainment components added to the traditional range of
clubhouse facilities. Mixed lounges and cocktail bars complemented
members dining rooms and gaming areas, while extensive use
of plate glass and verandahs took full advantage of views across
courses. This was particularly the case with St Michaels at Little
Bay in Sydney, which enjoys a spectacular coastal setting. Opened
in 1963, the design of the St Michaels clubhouse broke with
convention by using a large internal courtyard with a decorative
water feature to separate golf-related and social areas within the
club.20 The inclusion of junior recreation rooms catered for under-age
persons not otherwise permitted within the licensed premises. An
added attraction was an entertainment area complete with stage and
polished dance floor.
The American-style pro-shop also became a standard feature of
clubhouses. These specialised in golfing equipment and branded
clothing lines, and set golf clubs in direct competition with traditional
sporting goods retailers and large department stores.21 The clubs had
the competitive advantage of allowing equipment to be tested on
the course, with expert advice from associated professional players
Given the size and range of amenities on offer, the suburban golf
club became an appealing alternative to the inner city hotel and
restaurant experience, catering for corporate events by day and family
celebrations such as weddings by night. As some of the few licensed
venues outside the city centre, golf clubs offered local communities
dining and entertainment experiences not previously available in the

suburbs. The clubs could successfully compete with the attraction

of city-based venues by offering spectacular views, attractive
landscaped settings and, most importantly, ample car parking.
Liquor and gaming laws within New South Wales played a
significant role in the increased popularity of golf clubs as places
for social entertainment. During World War I, all Australian states
restricted hotel trading by instituting a closing time of either 9
or 9.30 pm.22 Following the 1916 alcohol-fuelled military riot in
which troops protesting against conditions at Casula Camp marched
to Liverpool, invaded hotels and drank them dry, then travelled
to Sydney to rampage drunkenly through the streets the NSW
Government legislated that hotels close by 6 pm. As a result,
hotels increasingly catered to the post-work rush hour, often at the
expense of lounge and dining facilities. These restrictions were not
applied to registered clubs, and, with the backing of a later NSW
Supreme Court ruling, clubs could legally serve alcohol outside
hotel trading times. The only limitation imposed on clubs was the
number of licences. In 1954, the NSW Royal Commission of Inquiry
into Liquor Laws reinstated the 10 pm closing for hotel trading,
and recommended lifting the quota on club numbers. As a result,
between 1954 and 1962 there was a 223 per cent increase in the
number of registered clubs across New South Wales.23
Changes to the laws governing gaming machines also benefitted
golf clubs. Gambling had occurred illegally in NSW clubs since the
1880s, but was largely ignored because of their not-for-profit status
and members only access. As reported by the Sydney Morning Herald
in 1939:
Investigations revealed that poker and similar machines were being
operated on the premises of most clubs in Sydney including Golf
Clubs, with many leased by importers on a 50-50 basis. Most were
imported from America In the case of golf clubs on the outskirts
of the city, it was stated that the profit from two fruit machines
amounted to 950 last year.24


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G olf : A changing landscape


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The cocktail bar at the new Massey

Park Golf Club, c. 1962 a typical
example of the expansion of
entertainment facilities at suburban
golf clubs.
Photographer unknown. Courtesy
Massey Park Golf Club.

After gaming machines appeared in Sydneys hotels during the

1930s, the government restricted gambling across the state. By
1956, following political and community debate and several failed
attempts to outlaw gaming machines, registered clubs, including
golf clubs, were given exclusive rights to legally operate them.25
Twenty-six new
golf courses were
constructed in Sydney
between 1945 and
1970. The majority of these were located away from the coastline,
facilitated by the advent of mechanical earthmoving equipment
which eliminated the cost and physical constraints of broad-acre
land forming and the use of horse-drawn equipment and manual
labour. However, inland sites presented their own challenges.
The links-style courses that had been constructed at inland

l e i s u r e s pa c e

C h a n g e s to
c ou rs e d e s i g n a n d
m a n ag e m e n t

locations in Sydney in the early 20th century were less attractive

than their coastal counterparts. They often lacked the advantages
that exposed coastal or waterfront locations delivered, such as
spectacular views and the variable wind conditions which provided
much of the playing challenge on these open and relatively flat
links-style courses. Exposed conditions also assisted with course
maintenance, with wind and salt spray providing natural control of
rough areas alongside fairways and limiting the need for mowing.
Technological innovations allowed difficult sites to be reshaped
into manageable landscapes and for visual interest and playing
challenge to be literally manufactured for each course. PostWorld
War II, new and remodelled courses started incorporating artificial
water bodies, large, free-form bunkers, elevated tees and greens.
Fairways were contoured and sloped, not simply for aesthetic
reasons, or to increase the challenge of play, but to collect runoff in on-site storage dams, thereby reducing costs. Automatic


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practice facilities such as nets and putting greens became popular

and were incorporated as a noticeable feature.
The major reason for course remodelling, however, was technical
innovation in the design of golfing equipment. Ball and club
redesign increased hitting distances and added loft to ball flight,
allowing players to hit golf balls up and over obstacles rather than
just running balls along fairways. The extra length of ball strike
presented the most significant challenge to existing courses, in that
it threatened the par of individual holes and the course overall
par being the number of shots assigned between tee and green
to sink the ball. This demanded modification to the mix and layout
of holes, and at times necessitated the need for additional land.
For example, by 1947 The Australian Golf Club had lengthened its
course by 326 yards (298 metres), and around the same time a 300yard (274-metre) extension was made to the Oatlands Golf Course.32
Increased distance was also achieved through reducing the par of
some holes (for example converting a par 5 into a par 4), introducing
a dogleg or bend into a fairways alignment, or relocating either
or both the green and tee position. If additional yardage could not
be achieved through reconfiguration of holes or purchase of land,
hazards were typically constructed to restrict a players choice of
club selection.
Car ownership and road construction also inevitably impacted
course and clubhouse design after World War II. Both eliminated
the necessity for clubs, and particularly their clubhouse facilities,
to be located with ready access to public transport.33 Instead, road
access and the provision of on-site parking became paramount.
The position of the clubhouse relative to the sites access changed,
with new facilities able to adopt central positions, making it easier
to set the clubhouse as the start and finishing point relative to the
course layout. Areas surrounding a clubhouse also changed as the
buildings curtilage needed to accommodate vehicle access and
provide sufficient space for parking.

G olf : A changing landscape

irrigation, another major technical innovation of the era, reduced

reliance on precipitation to keep courses in playable condition.26
As a result, natural landforms and a sites scenic outlook became
less important factors when locating new golf courses. Suburban
courses throughout Sydney came to present a manicured, park-like
aesthetic which contrasted markedly with the more natural and
rough character of the citys traditional links courses along the
Aside from their aesthetic appeal, these remodelled courses
allowed clubs to arrest the escalating cost of course maintenance.27
Traditionally, clubs had used manual labour to maintain their
courses, but with the post-war labour market, clubs struggled
to keep pace with wage increases.28 Gang mowers and other
innovations developed during the war for airfield maintenance
offered labour-saving solutions, but their take-up required
adjustments to course design.29 For example, the gradient of slopes
needed to be carefully configured to prevent tipping of wheeled
vehicles. Edge treatments to bunkers and other hazards, as well
as the spacing between trees, were altered to match the width
and turning radius of mowing equipment. Permanent paths were
constructed in high-traffic areas between greens and tees to reduce
maintenance and to accommodate the use of pull buggies and the
newly introduced golf carts.30
As a way of maximising their earnings from green fees, clubs
also modified courses in various ways to increase the speed of
play and the number of players able to be accommodated. Tree
plantings framing fairways became commonplace as a means of
containing wayward shots and preventing them from drifting onto
adjacent fairways, causing unnecessary delays in play.31 The order
in which holes were played was often changed to reduce walking
time between holes. Tee times were scheduled and supervised by
ensuring the pro-shop had unobstructed views of the first tee. The
starters box also began to appear on some courses. Additionally,


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I n c r e as i n g
c o m m e rc i a l i sat i o n



















1932 - 1947
Hole Allignment
alignment 19321947

Remodelling to

the course in 1947. Reflects

- 1970.

l e i s u r e s pa c e

The reconfiguration of The Australian

Golf Course.
Drawn by Tracie Harvison on 1949
aerial photograph. Courtesy City of
Sydney Archives, Historical Atlas of

Diverse commercial
opportunities emerged
with the expanding
popularity of golf. Speciality sporting goods stores owned and
operated by celebrated sportsmen had been a feature of Sydneys
pre-war retail environment. The popularity of these stores reached
a peak in the 1960s. The most successful stores were located in
the citys centre, including Mick Simmons, Bert Oldfield and Stan
McCabe. DunlopSlazenger also operated a speciality sports store
in Martin Place. Golf equipment was an important product line
within these stores, as well as in Sydneys department stores,
and featured prominently in their window displays. Touring
professionals were also regularly paid to appear in-store to
promote their product lines, especially when major events were
being played in Sydney.
Golf retailing featured prominently in Sydney, and the
city supported equipment manufacturing. The best known
internationally was the Australian-based Precision Golf Forging
(PGF), which became a world leader in club design during the
1960s and retains the title of being Australasias longest-standing
specialist golf manufacturing company. Originally known as East
Brothers, PGF formed in 1932 and made its mark within the industry
by manufacturing the worlds first parallel tip iron shaft, as well as
introducing the famous Little Slammer on which todays rescue
clubs are modelled.34 East Brotherss manufacturing presence was
in the suburb of Alexandria, literally a block away from Dunlop
Slazengers sporting goods factory and showroom. With its own
iron head forging and lost-wax casting plant, PGFs Sydney factory
was, by world standards, technically advanced. The company was
also unique in its approach, being one of only two companies
custom-fitting clubs (the other was Henry Griffin). Colgate
Palmolive took over the company in 1974, and for a period PGFs
presence in the market faltered. In 1978 Kerry Stokes acquired the


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The story of The Lakes Golf Club

epitomises the transformation of golf
in Sydney during the modern era. It
illustrates how golf became big business within the city and put
Sydney on the map as a viable international destination for golfing
enthusiasts and professional players. The club took full advantage
of its strategic location and from its inception developed a course
catering to the modern style of play. But it was the clubs business
acumen that secured its status as one of the nations premier
golf venues, capable of attracting Australias most prestigious
tournament events.
The club was established in 1928 in the inner southern suburb of
Eastlakes, nestled between the citys aerodrome on Botany Bay (in
operation since 1920) and central business district. Today it is one
of a string of golf courses that line the route to the citys centre from
the international airport, including Kogarah, Eastlakes, Bonnie Doon,
The Australian and Moore Park. Prior to 1947, New Brighton could

The Lakes
Golf Club

also have been included, but it relocated after the original course
was resumed for the airports expansion. Few other modern cities
can boast such a number or variety of courses within close proximity
to their central business district.
The Lakes Golf Club occupies land originally leased from the
Metropolitan Board of Water Supply and Sewerage (now Sydney
Catchment Authority). The original 20-year lease for 110 acres
(44.5 hectares) was granted to the club on the condition that it fund
the construction of a public 18-hole course on land adjacent to and
east of the proposed private course. By 1932, the public course
had been constructed, and in 1958 The Lakes Golf Club transferred
management of the public course to the Eastlake Golf Club.37
Working with Tom Howard, Eric Apperly designed The Lakes
course and clubhouse. Apperly, a distinguished amateur golfer,
was also a qualified architect, and is considered to be Australias
first professional golf course architect.38 In addition to The Lakes,
Apperly designed the Avondale Golf Course (1926), Eastlakes (1932),
Royal Melbourne (1933), and remodelled the New South Wales Golf
Course (1936), Pennant Hills (1946) and Pymble (1953). Apperlys
partner on The Lakes project, Tom Howard, was a long-time friend
and adversary on the golf course, who by the 1930s had turned
professional and had also been responsible for the layout of several
courses, including the Liverpool Golf Club in outer western Sydney.
The original 6791-yard (6210-metre) par 72 course was reputed to
be the first course in Sydney landscaped by mechanical earthmoving
equipment.39 The attraction of the course was its proximity to the
citys central business district and, at the time, its accessibility by
tram. Built on a geological formation known as the Botany Sand
Sheet, the course drained well, making it playable in wet weather,
but its major distinction relative to Sydneys premier links courses
was Apperlys use of the sites existing water features. The layout
mirrored the innovations in golf course design appearing in the
United States, which enticed players to make challenging, lofted

G olf : A changing landscape

company and brought it back under an Australasian banner before

selling it to Singapores Haw Par.
By 1954, golf driving ranges popular in America since the
1920s had also appeared in suburban Sydney. Sid Cowling
developed a range at Cooks River and its success prompted a
syndicate of local businessmen to develop facilities in Parramatta,
Rockdale and Beverley Park.35 The new driving ranges had enormous
appeal to time-poor players, allowing them to practise and refine
their games without needing to access a golf course. The appeal
of driving ranges was enhanced by the fact that they operated at
night under floodlights. Ranges were promoted as leisure outings
and an activity for the entire family. During the mid-1950s, facilities
reported attracting an average 1000 players per week, with
the Beverley Park range boasting that it had to park more baby
carriages than cars.36


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

shots over water hazards. Apperly also used extra length to

accommodate longer hitting distances, so that from the outset
The Lakes was considerably longer than its major rivals. Such
attributes combined to make the club an attractive and challenging
alternative to host major tournament events.
By 1933 The Lakes had secured the rights to host its first major
tournament the New South Wales Open. Building on the success
of this event, the following year the club broke new ground by
staging an international competition The Lakes Cup, which it
secured by guaranteeing 1000 in prize money from the Australian
Professional Golf Association, and a trophy. This in turn helped to
attract a top American team to Sydney for the tournament. The
Lakes Cup played four times in Sydney, with Australian teams
also travelling to the United States to compete in what became an
annual competition between Australian and American teams.40
The Lakes Cup also attracted international attention from both
media and world-class players. In 1935 the financial rewards
gained by American players was reported in the United States,
suggesting the 20000-mile journey had been worth the effort.41
In addition to the cup team, that year another four highly ranked
American players also travelled to Australia to compete, initiating
a tradition of international players travelling to play in Australia
during their countrys off-season.
Importantly, The Lakes Cup provided an opportunity for
corporate Australia to realise the potential return that could be
derived from sponsorship deals. With the headline 10, 000 in Golf
Prizes, in 1952 the Sunday Herald reported:
Four leading American golfers will play in Australia in October and
November for guaranteed prize money of 10,000 Although
the tour was proposed and negotiated by The Lakes Golf Club,
Ampol Petroleum Ltd. is sponsoring it and guaranteeing 7,000
of the money. The tour, which will cover five to six weeks, so
far takes in only two international matches against Australian

professional teams, and two tournaments, one in Sydney and the

other in Melbourne. The International matches will be controlled
by The Lakes Club. Negotiations are in hand for the Australian
Professional Golf Association to play its national championship in
Sydney and in which the four Americans would compete. A Sydney
firm is prepared to give 2,000 prize money for that championship,
and if the gate takings are not sufficient, to guarantee 3,500.42

The following year The Lakes had another first, when Ampol
brought four top women players out from the United States to play
in Sydney and compete in the field on equal terms with the men.
Despite the fact that The Lakes Cup attracted top-ranked
players and support from both nations professional associations,
the competition lapsed in 1954. Nevertheless, the tournament
itself continued, but under the name of its earlier sponsor, Ampol,
until 1957. Over that time, the event became the richest golfing
tournament outside of America, gaining sufficient prestige to
attract the world champion Gary Player in 1956. In total, five
Ampol Tournaments occurred at The Lakes. But golf was not the
only sport Ampol sponsored. As part of its corporate branding and
marketing strategy, the company targeted the broader Australian
sporting public by sponsoring events ranging from polo to fishing
and, in doing so, cemented the alliance between big business and
sport that had evolved during wartime.43 As for the tournament,
its lasting and valuable legacy was in showcasing Sydney as a
feasible destination for leisure tourism to the American market.44
In 1968 The Lakes was forced to close due to the construction
of the Southern Cross Drive. This new motorway was heralded as
a much-needed gateway for Sydney, providing a direct and more
attractive connection between the citys international airport and
its central business district and harbour-side attractions. The
motorways proposed route cut through the middle of The Lakes
course, and also threatened an adjacent private course The
Australian Golf Club. Unlike The Lakes course, which was leased


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Hagges most acclaimed course is Les Bordes in the Loire Valley,

France, built for Marcel Bich, the founder of the Bic ballpoint pen
empire. This course remains one of Europes most highly ranked
golf courses.
The remodelling of The Lakes course is acknowledged as a
demonstration of von Hagges design skills, particularly the back
nine, where he took advantage of the permanent water bodies to
stretch holes around and over the lakes.49 The remodelled layout
radiated out from a new circular clubhouse located centrally on an
elevated vantage point. Ironically, this was similar to the position
for a clubhouse proposed by Apperly but rejected by the club in
favour of a location on the northern edge of the course, which was
less isolated, and more importantly, within walking distance from
the tram on Gardeners Road.
The new two-storey circular clubhouse, dubbed the Flying
Saucer,50 was designed by the Sydney architectural firm of Kevin J
Curtin & Partners. Typical of Curtins approach, the design utilised
the buildings mass, strong geometric form and landscape curtilage
to effect.51 While the building itself was memorable, its presence
within the broader landscape of the golf course was designed
to be unassuming, its size disguised through clever use of the
sites topography and mounding.52 The building was visible from
several vantage points around the course, with the lakes providing
the foreground across which the buildings elevation could be
appreciated. From the course, the buildings horizontal dimension
was accentuated, and as one of the few buildings on the course,
the clubhouse appeared as an extension of the landscape rather
than dominating it.
The buildings circular floor plan took full advantage of the
panoramic views of the course and distant city skyline.53 The
reinforced concrete structure featured a wide cantilevered
verandah that extended on the eastern side to provide a large,
partly covered observation deck. Continuous concrete balustrade

G olf : A changing landscape

from a state government agency, The Australian was freehold,

requiring compulsory government acquisition of the land for the
motorways construction. The two clubs subsequently joined forces
to negotiate the motorways final alignment and compensation for
land resumption.45
The Lakes Club took advantage of the disruption created by the
motorway to modernise the course and build a new, contemporary
clubhouse. American designer Robert von Hagge was approached
to undertake the commission for a complete remodelling of the
course, and subsequently formed a design partnership with
Australian champion Bruce Devlin that lasted 20 years.46 The
club had hoped that The Australian Golf Club would also use
von Hagges services, and assist with the cost. However, as an
interesting commentary on the perceived influence of importing
design talent from the United States, the committee at The
Australian felt the redesigned course should retain its links quality
rather than adopt what was seen to be the American tendency
towards target golf.47
Robert von Hagge was a colourful character within the golfing
world. Born Robert Bernhardt Hagge, he grew up around golf
courses and was himself an accomplished player, having secured
a position on the American PGA Tour before becoming a club
professional and later turning his talents to golf course design.
He was good friends with Sammy Davis Jr, and, after appearing
in several commercials, he became known as televisions original
Marlboro Man. He also worked as a commercial artist before
studying landscape architecture at Purdue University.48 In 1957
he worked as an apprentice in the firm of Dick Wilson, which
specialised in golf course architecture. He subsequently became
one of the firms principal designers before establishing his own
firm in 1963 and changing his name to von Hagge. During the
1960s and 1970s his practice was extremely successful, with
offices established in South Florida, California and Australia. Von


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Perspective of Kevin Curtins flying

saucer design for The Lakes clubhouse,
c. 1969.
Cover image, Lakes Golf Club Bulletin,
February 1971. Courtesy The Lakes
Golf Club.

Robert von Hagges layout for The

Lakes Golf Course.
Drawing by Tracie Harvison, 2014,
based on The Lakes Golf Club
promotional brochure (no date).


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level all rooms shared views of the course and access to the
verandah and the observation deck. The clubs dining and mixed
lounge were separated by a two-step, split-level floor and low
decorative dividing element which allowed both areas to operate
independently or as a single large auditorium for major functions.
The entrance foyer, accentuated with a large Perspex chandelier,
was accessible from a porte-cochre which allowed guests to drive
to the door and move directly into the social areas of the club on
the upper level.
Von Hagges layout of the course catered to modern play and
reflected an American manicured, park-like aesthetic. The original
course had been devoid of trees, but in the new layout non-native
trees, mostly pines (Pinus radiata), were introduced to frame the
fairways and views of the citys skyline, and to screen unsightly
boundary features. Despite the severe physical constraints
imposed by the intrusion of the motorway, which divided the
course in two, von Hagges trademark design approach is evident.
He favoured vertical elements to create subtle plays of light and
shadow and to frame or screen features. As such, his courses used
a sites landform and topographic features rather than structural
planting to provide their distinct character and visual impact. The
planting he introduced at The Lakes was used as a uniting element
in the background, framing edges and accentuating the openness
of fairways. Von Hagge explained: You cant rely on ornamental
horticulture for permanent forms of definition and presentation
because trees either die or grow to be too large and you should
never place any vertical obstruction in the design path of the golf
The permanent lakes, the sites most valuable asset, took centre
stage, unifying and giving focus to the course, as well as forming
an attractive foreground to views across the course to the citys
skyline. However, von Hagges use of other playing hazards was
constrained. Formally shaped bunkers were used first and foremost

G olf : A changing landscape

and supporting columns, constructed using white quartz and

cement with polished exposed aggregate finish, contrasted with
the dark manganese brick walls and tinted glass windows set in
bronze-coloured aluminium frames.54 The roof was radial shiplap
aluminium sheeting, which produced a continuous vertical cladding
set at a five-degree pitch.55
The interior design was striking. On the upper level, sections
of the concrete floor remained exposed; their grey finish provided
a strong contrast with the turquoise blue carpeting used in the
remaining areas. A white acoustic ceiling with exposed beams and
orange pendant lighting featured in the lounge and dining gallery.
These public areas also included black upholstered timber lounge
furniture and extensive use of interior planter boxes.
Curtins design for The Lakes reflected his view that a clubhouse
is not just a building but the medium for the cultivation of a
good club: a Club House provides economic support and the
vital facilities to encourage and ensure social stimulus, which is
an extension of the game itself.56 To this end, Curtin designed
the clubhouse to accommodate what he called the two distinct
activities provided by golf clubs. The social facilities including a
mixed lounge, billiards room and the dining gallery were located
on the upper level, while the facilities for the players were on the
ground level. The needs of players before, during and after the
game were situated there, including the professional shop, the
starters office, locker rooms, sauna and drying room facilities,
as well as the Spike Bar, which could be accessed by players oncourse as they transitioned from the front to the back nine.
While carefully separating the game from the entertaining
areas, Curtins design also encouraged maximum access between
upper and lower levels, and between the interior and exterior.
The verandah wrapped around the building, ensuring that every
room benefited from the views across the course.57 A distinctive
central circular staircase connected both levels, and on the upper


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The Lakes clubhouse and immediate

surrounds, post-1970.
Photographer unknown. Courtesy
Australian Institute of Architects (NSW
Chapter) Digital Archive.

as descriptive signals (von Hagges term) to indicate the desired

direction of play rather than to penalise.59 As a result, the fairways
looked deceptively simple, with the degree of cross-slope often
difficult to read, given their breadth and openness and the visual
trickery achieved with shadowing and refracted light effects.
Combined with the strategic placement of bunkers and occasional
intrusion of rough, the course required clever negotiation to avoid
In a prophetic comment made during one of his last interviews
before his death in 2010, von Hagge was asked about the biggest
problem he faced as a designer. He commented:
Green Committees after you have created a course, the
committee managers read the latest books on what should

happen with the golf course relative to agronomy and ornamental

horticulture. They usually plant too many trees and eventually the
vegetation swallows up all the vertical expression. You go back
15 years later and you cant believe it. You tell them how to fix it
and they say Oh, we cant get rid of all these beautiful trees.60

In the ensuing years, The Lakes course suffered this very fate.
By 1973 The Lakes was again in the spotlight, featuring as
one of Australias top-ranked venues. The club succeeded in
attracting and hosting the Chrysler Classic, with Lee Trevino in the
field, drawing over 10000 spectators on the final day. The event
was televised around Australia, with feature pieces sent around
the world, showcasing the bold and modern course to a global


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The impact and distinctiveness of the aesthetic of modern era

golf courses is difficult to appreciate today, mainly because the
approach was so widely adopted and normalised internationally.
Only when photographs of The Lakes course as created by von
Hagge are compared to the most recent remodelling of the course
undertaken in 2007 by Michael Clayton are the distinctive park-like
qualities of the modern era evident. While the von Hagge layout
remains, the courses character has been substantially altered,
reflecting contemporary aesthetic trends and the requirements to
achieve ecologically and economically sustainable outcomes.

The remodelled 8th hole, c. 2007, with

a more natural appearance.
Photo by Michael Clayton. Courtesy
Ogilvy Clayton and The Lakes Golf Club.

For their assistance with our research on The Lakes Golf Club,
we gratefully acknowledge Graham Christian and Christian
Gillot at The Lakes Golf Club; Noni Boyd, Heritage Officer,
NSW Chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects; Kerime
Danis at City Plan Services; Jenny MacRitchie, Heritage
Librarian, City of Botany Bay; Brian Bathgate at Curtin,
Bathgate, & Somers Pty Ltd; and Michael Clayton and Ashley
Mead at Ogilvy Clayton. We also thank our colleague Dr
Michael Bogle for his enthusiastic support and interest in this

G olf : A changing landscape

Robert von Hagges configuration of the

8th hole at The Lakes Golf Club,
c. 2004. Note the park-like aesthetics.
Photo by Michael Clayton. Courtesy
Ogilvy Clayton and The Lakes Golf Club.


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Harry Margalit

A workingclass


Night view of the main entry from the

Princes Highway, St George Leagues
Club, 1963. The lighting of the facade,
as indeed of the whole complex,
was an integral part of creating its
ambience as a night-time destination.
Photographer unknown. Courtesy St
George Leagues Club.

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The threads of Sydneys expansion and

transformation in the boom years of
the 1950s and 1960s intersect tellingly
in the game which defines regional
loyalties in the city rugby league. As
the dominant football code and winter
sport in New South Wales since 1913,
the game and its associated club
facilities chart the development of
Sydney, its suburban expansion and

l e i s u r e s pa c e

population shifts. 1
The game itself appears to contemporary eyes as a massive
corporate entity, dominating television sports coverage and
ubiquitous in its marketing, its player promotion and its interstate
rivalries. In its expansion beyond the Sydney competition, the
National Rugby League (NRL) has attempted to increase market
share for the code, and to exploit small latent pockets of interest in
Victoria, as well as strong allegiance to the game in Queensland.
This move has obscured the early history of the game, and its
development along lines markedly different in the two states which
primarily play the game, New South Wales and Queensland.
The major division of football codes in Australia runs along the
so-called Barassi Line, a division proposed by sports historian Ian

Turner and commemorating the achievements of Australian rules

player and coach Ron Barassi, which runs in an arc from the New
South WalesVictorian border to Arnhem Land, and separates
rugby league dominance from that of Australian rules.2 Although
entrenched, this divide is at most a century old. The fluidity of
football codes in the late 19th century shows a population eager
to adopt innovation. Rugby league is an outgrowth of rugby union,
its rise in England in the 1890s well documented as a response to
the trenchant amateurism of the parent game, which found injured
players out of pocket for lost wages.3 The new game also reduced
the number of players and eliminated some set pieces by which
play is restarted, thus simplifying the game and increasing its
The game was introduced to Sydney in 1907, and immediately
attracted players from rugby union clubs dissatisfied with the ban
on player payments. The first competition took place the following
year, its composition reflecting a city yet to expand beyond its
late-Victorian extents. Founding clubs were Glebe, South Sydney,
Newtown, Eastern Suburbs, North Sydney, Balmain, Western
Suburbs and Newcastle. A Cumberland team joined later in the
first year.5
The expansion of the game through the ensuing decades
is instructive in a number of ways. Firstly, it charts the
development of the game beyond its parochial roots, and hence
into a competition with commercial potential. Secondly, the
amalgamation or disappearance of smaller clubs and the rise of
new ones tells a graphic story of geographic and economic change
in the city. Thirdly, as football clubs establish linked registered
social clubs, the game becomes inextricably entwined with the
significant differences in laws governing registered clubs in
different states.
The status of registered clubs in New South Wales is defined by
several conditions. Clubs may be established for social, cultural or


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T h e 19 5 0 s

Although gaming machines in clubs were

only legalised in 1956, they had been
tolerated by gaming authorities for many
years prior. Legalisation, however, facilitated a massive increase
in revenue for clubs. By 1956 the composition of the NSW Rugby
League had significantly altered. The First Grade Premiership was
contested by ten clubs, with Glebe, Newcastle and Cumberland
replaced by St George (1921), CanterburyBankstown (1935),
ManlyWarringah (1947) and Parramatta (1947).7 In the following
years, the modern format of the clubs was consolidated: the
football clubs were associated with social clubs devoted to the
development of rugby league in their local areas. Thus the profits
from the social clubs funded the salaries and costs of the football
clubs, and clubs often stipulated that directors of the social clubs
be drawn from the board of the football clubs.
The result was a wave of expansion of social clubs, including
leagues clubs, in the early 1960s. The St George club, for example,
grew dramatically from a small 1952 establishment on the corner
of Rocky Point Road and the Princes Highway, consisting of a basic
meeting place with two poker machines, a couple of offices, a
stage for the band and one long bar. Nonetheless it made 3000
in its first six months of operation.8 Harnessing the opportunity
presented by the legalisation of poker machines in 1956, the club

embarked on a dramatic expansion under club chairman Baden

Wales. The preferred site was a set of sports fields owned by
the St George Soccer Club, which were eventually acquired by
the leagues club, and in 1961 construction of the new premises
The new St George Leagues Club opened
in July 1963. Within days the chairman
of the NSW Rugby League, Ben Buckley,
visited and offered the throwaway line that it reminded him of
the Taj Mahal.9 The name, half mocking and half proud, persisted
as the popular reference for the club premises. It represented an
astonishing transformation of scale in just 11 years of operation.
But it also marked a significant period in Sydneys history, as a new
affluence lured families from the older suburbs around Marrickville
and Tempe to the new subdivisions opening up south of the city,
towards Port Hacking and the Georges River. The latter part of this
migration is recalled by Lindsay Barrett, who grew up in Arncliffe
in the 1960s:

T h e Ta j
M a h a l

Allegiance to St. George was literally baked into the local

landscape, various points of which, like Earle Park like the
Arncliffe Scots Club whose junior teams had produced a series of
St. George first graders formed a particular grid of reference
points by which you oriented yourself on a daily basis.10

Barretts reminiscence is noteworthy not only for its geographic

subject, but also for the social dynamic it charts. The catalyst for
the observations is the 1967 League competition, with Barrett
travelling to his friend Ralph Gordons new home at Kangaroo Point
in Sutherland, at the southern fringe of St Georges traditional
basin of support. The Gordon family became upwardly mobile,
and moved to take advantage of the clean waterways and
virgin quarter-acre blocks of the newly developing Sutherland

the leagues club : a working - class palace

sporting reasons, but they are not-for-profit and need to provide a

social benefit or objective. They are owned by members, but cannot
distribute dividends to those members. Thus all money generated
by the clubs must be ploughed back into club development or given
over to community or sporting organisations. However, New South
Wales clubs are further distinguished by one important attribute:
their virtual monopoly on non-racecourse gambling for most of
the 20th century through ownership of gaming machines, known
colloquially as pokies.6


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Aerial view of St George Leagues

Club in 1963, with its home ground
of Jubilee Oval in the foreground and
Beverley Park Golf Club in the distance.
This image captures the significance of
the club as a major venue in the rapidly
developing homogeneous suburbs of
the 1960s.
Photographer unknown. Courtesy
St George Leagues Club.

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Statue of St George in the forecourt of

St George Leagues Club, 1963. Artist
unknown. The image of St George
slaying a dragon has wide currency,
and here it is employed to good effect
as a symbol of sporting dominance.
The name derives from the region of
St George, which encompasses the
clubs traditional area of support.
Photographer unknown. Courtesy
St George Leagues Club.


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Shire.11 But 1967 is more significant yet it marks the end of the
remarkable dominance of St George in the Sydney competition.
The record established by the club remains to this day. Between
1956 and 1966 the club claimed 11 consecutive premierships. For
Barrett, this was more than a simple lucky confluence of players:
The St. George district was [the] postwar era made manifest. It
was filled with self-employed tradesmen and small businessmen,
the men who were building the actual infrastructure of the
suburban boom as it spread out from the old city centre. To an
extent, the social strength and authority that flowed from such
proximity to the prevailing economic order spilled over onto the
football field, as it did into all areas of cultural life.12

Crucial to this success was the leagues clubs role as the

revenue generator that allowed the football club to retain
players, as well as providing a social focus that gave football
fans a place to drink and gamble, to eat and be entertained. An
aerial photograph of the club at completion is instructive: the
new building stands alongside fresh suburbs and their fledgling
The scale of the club was part of its original appeal and
fame. Initially budgeted at 500 000, the final cost was twice
that figure. Designed by architects Kenwood, Hoile & Allen,
the building boasted a range of lounges, dining rooms, foyers
and bars. The main ballroom/auditorium, 140 by 80 feet


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(42.7 by 24.4 metres), could accommodate 1000 patrons and

became a major venue for performers and live shows such as
Jesus Christ Superstar. Six months after its opening, Building:
Lighting: Engineering described it as catering for almost every
recreational need of its 12000 members, who pay but a small
fee to enjoy its privileges. Members were quoted as describing
it as being as glamorous as a luxury liner, with the journal
adding archly Altogether a magnificent tribute to the efficiency
of the poker machine as a revenue producer.13
As Barrett notes, the 5-acre site, importantly, could
also accommodate significant car parking.14 The dearth of
entertainment venues in the locality, as well as the provision
of a games room with billiard tables, indoor bowls, darts and
table tennis, drew patrons from a wide area who were reliant
on cars. Yet this alone does not account for the clubs success.
At its opening it could also capitalise on the expanded number
of liquor licences granted to clubs in the 1950s. The public
bar, or pub, had been the traditional drinking and socialising
venue, an extension of the male domain. In the cramped (by
contemporary standards) house of the 1930s, the pub allowed
a measure of separation between adult socialising and the
family. However, as Hing notes: by the end of World War Two,
ordinary social drinkers were dissatisfied with hotel drinking
conditions, the general shortage of beer, exploitation by the
hotels and breweries, and the rampant black market.15 The
leagues club expanded on the appeal of out-of-home socialising,
in effect inventing a range of spaces that were less reliant on
gender separation, and made appealing to men and women as
an amalgam of the dance club, the restaurant and the drinking
lounge, as well as the casino. In deference to traditional drinking
patterns it incorporated a male bar, a curiously utilitarian
space with functional furniture and little of the ambience of
the traditional pub. Yet one crucial factor at St George was

meticulously controlled to induce both comfort and a sense of

separation from the quotidian lighting was soft and indirect
in the male bar, and was tightly modulated throughout the
The lighting design was part of an overall modernist
sensibility that governed the St George complex. Belying its
apparent working-class origins, the club design shows little
sentiment for the games inner-city beginnings. Indeed, the
modernity is an integral part of the redefinition of the club
as not only suburban, but aligned with the ascendant middle
class that populated the new suburbs. In Barretts opinion, the
success of St George both on and off the field in the decade
from the mid-1950s to the mid-1960s lay in a professionalism
born of the entrepreneurial mindset of its directors. Media
portrayal of the club directors as average men masked a
smooth and ruthless operation.17 They may not have specified
that the building be in the modernist style, but it nonetheless
reflected their ambition of reconfiguring the traditional
venues of socialising into a single edifice, with the functions
themselves rendered as both contemporary and glamorous
through their association with expanding leisure opportunities.
This was neither a neutral endeavour nor a-contextual. The
Victorian city had been vilified since the early part of the century
as overcrowded and harbouring malevolent influences, especially
on children. The disaggregation of the city into suburbs and
industrial or commercial zones drew on this anxiety. The St
George Leagues Club exploited this sentiment for the social
realm, effectively borrowing traditional areas of entertainment
and reconfiguring them as accessible within suburbia. Equally
importantly, the stain of the inner city was effaced the glamour
of the venue rode on the back of the new, as growing prosperity
allowed the reinvention of life and the reconfiguration of social


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A full house in the large auditorium,

St George Leagues Club, c. 1964. The
auditorium was also used as a venue
for live shows, and by 1969 had hosted
English touring acts Vera Lynn and
Julie Rogers.
Photographer unknown. Courtesy St
George Leagues Club.


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The spacious, marble-paved foyer of St

George Leagues Club in 1963, with its
specially designed lounge chairs. The
backlit screens are noteworthy for the
stylised figure of St George, employed
as a decorative motif.
Photographer unknown. Building:
Lighting: Engineering, August 1963,
p. 47.

Main entry to North Sydney Leagues

Club, facing Abbott Street in
Cammeray. The utilitarian tenor of the
building, following the brief of the
directors, is a hallmark of the era of
leagues club expansion.
Photographer unknown. Building:
Lighting: Engineering, July 1964, p. 24.


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Look back to the early fifties. There was no TV then. No lists

of restaurants filled the newspapers. If you wanted to go out
on Saturday night, what was offering? A night at the local
movies; the local dance; or a drink. But the hotels closed at 6
until 1955. You could go into town for a meal, but most people
couldnt afford this. So the void existed. People couldnt find
any place to go to satisfy their basic wants.19

In Shaws opinion the licensed club developed rapidly to fill

this void. In the case of St George, the end result is not too
dissimilar to a modernist gesamtkunstwerk, or integrated work
of art, as space, structure, furniture, lighting and decoration
are pressed into the service of this ideal. The aesthetic space
which opened up around suburbanisation is noteworthy for its
lack of sentiment. Despite being skewered for its featurism,
or excessive use of artifice, by Robin Boyd, the modernism
underpinning the Taj Mahal cannot be dissociated from the
prevailing optimism.20 This can be contrasted with the current
appearance of the building. Clubs such as St George are subject
to extremely heavy usage. Thus they are constantly renovated,
with areas reconfigured to maximise trading profit and fixtures
replaced as they wear and are updated to conform to changing
regulations and fashion.
Visiting the club in 1969, journalist Helen Frizell found the
atmosphere huskily masculine, with women barred from any
form of membership and requiring the company of one of the
31500 male members for admission. The club had extended
its leisure facilities to two outdoor bowling greens, a holiday
caravan park at Windang, near Wollongong, [and] a water-

ski lodge at Lower Portland. Much of the original decor was

Today, the ambience is mixed, with only the main stair partly
original. The rest of the public spaces have been reshaped by the
postmodern tendency to falsely thicken walls and structure, but
the resulting fit-out is less evident than the lights and sounds of
a gaming and gambling environment offering poker machines,
off-course betting and Keno, among other options.
The new club was a creation of mid-century rising affluence
and urban expansion, but these same conditions further
bifurcated league identity. In 1967 the Cronulla club was
admitted to the Sydney competition, providing a separate
nucleus of identification for the fast-developing Sutherland Shire
and its legion of traditional St George supporters.
As one of rugby leagues foundation
clubs from 1908, North Sydney enjoyed
something of a monopoly over players
residing north of the harbour until the admission of Manly
Warringah into the competition in 1947. The post-war years
brought many other changes to the club and district. The opening
of the Harbour Bridge in 1932 had of course changed the nature
and status of North Sydney. In its foundation years it drew many
players from the harbour-side trades and professions, including
wharf workers, ferry workers and tram workers from the system
servicing the lower North Shore. After a dominant period in
the early 1920s, the club saw its tight-knit community base
transformed and prised apart.22 It was not only the 500 houses
demolished for the bridges approaches that changed the area.
The greater convenience of the bridge integrated North Sydney
into the commerce of the city as a whole, and opened up the
middle and upper North Shore to middle-class development.
Originally slated in part for industrial development, a concerted

N o rt h s

the leagues club : a working - class palace

Interviewed in 1969, Jerry Shaw, then executive director

of the Registered Clubs Association of New South Wales,
accounted for the rise of what he termed the giant democratic
club thus:


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leisure space

campaign by Mrs AG Hillard and Harry Seidler led to the zoning

of McMahons Point for residential uses in 1958.23
While these developments may have cut into the workingclass constituency of the North Sydney football club, they
paralleled the legal and social changes which bred the leagues
club. As noted above, the legalisation of poker machines in clubs
was extremely significant. Equally significant was the NSW
Royal Commission of Inquiry into Liquor Laws of the early 1950s,
which recommended the granting of liquor licences to clubs
in 1954. Two years later, the first North Sydney Leagues Club
opened in a house bought for the venture at 2 Merlin Street,
North Sydney. In part, the instigators had been inspired by the
small St George club of the period, which had already proved
The club at Merlin Street prospered through the initial
half-decade, but limited opportunities for expansion and
ultimately the construction of the broad traffic ribbon harnessing
the capacity of the Harbour Bridge, known as the Warringah
Expressway, forced a relocation. The new premises, in the
adjoining suburb of Cammeray, opened in July 1964 to the
design of Gordon P ODonnell.
The Cammeray club is indicative of the enormous potential
of leagues clubs. The club received compensation of 56000
for its Merlin Street premises, yet raised 450000 to cover
construction costs. The venture was underwritten by the
security of poker machine and alcohol profits a year
after opening, the club showed an operating net profit of
210000.25 The club also quickly moved towards fulfilling
its social potential. As institutions, clubs like Norths had
management structures that could exploit their non-profit
status and incorporate aspirations of social cohesion and
self-improvement. Within the utilitarian modernist structure

characterised like many buildings of the age by a slenderness

of fenestration, using fine aluminium window framing were a
range of activities. These included indoor bowls, darts and table
tennis, as well as a gym. The club also hosted cultural activities:
a library was established, and formal groups came to include a
band and a photography club, as well as classes in French and
ballroom dancing. As historian Andrew Moore notes, In their
educative role the leagues clubs continued the good work of the
Mechanics Institutes that had dotted New South Wales in the
late nineteenth century.26
Membership numbers also rose dramatically. Initially limited
to 8500, by 1970 numbers had climbed to over 27000 all
men. When a restricted category of associate membership was
introduced for women in 1969, within months 5800 women
had taken it up, despite not being able to enter the members
bar, make dinner reservations, use the gymnasium, nor book
entertainment.27 Only in 1984 could women access all club
facilities and become full members, a reminder that the club
started as one run by men for men.
The building itself encapsulates this restriction, but with a
more subtle extension. As a mens club it nonetheless needed an
aesthetic expression, one compatible with both the expenditure
and the vision of the guiding committee. As at St George, the
experience of the ocean liner, whether real or media-driven,
provided the referent. The large main foyer at mid-level led to an
expansive staircase to the upper level auditorium, its dark treads
and risers highlighting the nautical utility of the steel handrails.
The main bar, with its large radius curves, was described as
resembling an ocean liner.28
The interiors were designed by a separate entity, Project
Interiors. Working with the architect, they responded to the simple
yet telling brief drawn up by the club management. A key point was


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Its [sic] interior design, furniture and furnishings should

portray a masculine outlook, and give at the same time a
definitive character to the Club itself, original in concept, and
not a follow on to existing formats.
Modern decor must be a prime point of the building
eliminating any tinsel or garish effects.29

It is instructive that the committee were happy to forgo

sentiment or any historical dimension to the design.
The opening of the premises is one bright chapter in the
history of a club whose demise had commenced with the
opening of the Harbour Bridge. Despite commercial success,
the club has become increasingly estranged from its role as
a bastion of working-class leisure. The gentrification of its
surrounds is almost complete, and the rival ManlyWarringah
club continues to draw junior players from the tradesmen and
small business owners who live along the northern beaches,
parallel to the Pacific Highway that forms the armature of
the North Shore, a largely professional string of bush-lined
suburbs whose identity is a world away from the sensuality
of the beaches. The earnest professionalism of the North
Sydney catchment, its striving for academic achievement
and awareness of status, funnels its children towards the
rugby union code associated with the areas numerous private
schools, or to the happy parochial amorphism of grassroots
soccer. In a final act of decline, after an ill-fated merger with
ManlyWarringah in 1999, the club was excluded from the top
tier of competition in 2002.

T h e l a rg e r

Of the leagues clubs which opened

in the early 1960s, St George
and Norths may have been the
most costly, but they were by no means the only ones. The
Balmain club opened modest premises in 1963, centred around
an 80-person dining room which proved popular for lunches.
The buildings scale prompted the trade headline Tigers
Cosy Lair.30 Other leagues clubs to expand into registered and
licensed premises included ManlyWarringah, which commenced
in an existing building in 1957, and Parramatta, whose reported
building costs in 1959 were 30000, a fraction of the published
costs of 450000 for Norths and 1 million for St George.31
The size of the social club did not always reflect the
prestige of the club. Lower tier clubs were also building
premises to cater for the demand for drinking and socialising
facilities, as in the case of the 176500 extension to
Wentworthville Leagues Club in 1965, or the 160000 works
for the Bathurst club.32
Within Sydney, the significance of St George and Norths as
social facilities can be contrasted with the social club built in
1964 for Sydneys most successful rugby union club, Randwick
District Rugby. Built on the site of two terrace houses facing
the clubs playing oval at Coogee, its corporatist modernist
facade and lack of parking indicate a different intent to that
of the leagues clubs.33 Its purview is local, and shows little
of the expansionist vision of its league counterparts. Similar
remarks could be made about clubs built by organisations such
as the Returned and Services League (RSL), which could be
architecturally ambitious like the 1964 neo-Wrightian Granville
RSL (architects Frank R Fox & Associates), or the striking 1957
Kempsey RSL (architects H Ruskin Rowe & Elmes). However,
none of these approach the scale of the large leagues clubs,
which most successfully rode the wave of club expansion

the leagues club : a working - class palace

that the building must be functional. This was further qualified

by ensuing descriptors:


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South Sydney Junior Leagues Club

all the amenities you could want.
Drawing by Fred Beck accompanying
a 1969 series in the Sydney Morning
Herald on clubs by Helen Frizell. The
image captures the bustling interior of
a popular club, with the pokies forming
a light and sound backdrop to the
socialising around food and alcohol.
Sydney Morning Herald, 12 May 1969,
p. 6. State Library of New South Wales.
Courtesy Fairfax Syndicated Media.


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As a leisure institution these N.S.W. clubs are unique in the

world. Canada has its winter clubs, with an entry fee of $700 or
$800 a year, and the U.S.A. its country clubs, but in New South
Wales, and only in New South Wales, are clubs available for
low-income people.34

Membership costs for 1969 bear this out. At St George Leagues,

an initial entry fee of $10.50 entitled members to its facilities for
$5.20 annually. At Eastern Suburbs Leagues, members did even
better for an initial $4.20 fee, and annual renewal for the same
amount. Associate members women paid half the male annual
fee. Caldwells sentiments were echoed by Jerry Shaw of the
Registered Clubs Association of New South Wales: Clubs as we
know them in this State are unique to the Commonwealth and the
The wave of club building in New South Wales in the late 1950s
and 1960s was, in one sense, spawned by the favoured legal
status clubs had acquired, which allowed them to host gambling
and serve alcohol. However, the leagues club was a more complex
affair. Conceived as an amalgam of social club and facility for
social betterment, along the lines of the Mechanics Institutes and
other worker-oriented institutions, yet with some historical debt to

the gentlemans club, its newness is attested to by the desire for a

modernist expression.36 The explanation for this is twofold. On the
one hand, a palpable lack of sentiment accorded with a workingclass game whose roots and constituency were being remade by
the prosperity of the post-war years. Aspirant middle-class values,
and entrepreneurial management, characterised the clubs as they
sought to establish themselves as clusters of social, sporting and
entertainment venues that collected these functions from their
inner-city localities and suburbanised them within an organisation
subsidised by gambling profits. On the other hand, these entities
assumed their own importance, and their success in many cases
was not linked to the sporting success of the clubs but rather to
their managerial efficacy. By the 1960s modernism had ceased
to be the style of social idealism, and was equally apt for the
corporatist culture that guided the expansion of the leagues clubs.
The ensuing decades have seen the further separation of
the relative success of the rugby league football clubs and their
respective social venues. A wave of expansion in the 1970s
saw clubs like Eastern Suburbs acquire enlarged premises. But
the registered social clubs have their own impetus, and the
managerial skills which accounted for the success of St George
and Norths in their heyday has flourished elsewhere. Despite their
initial prominence, in contemporary terms both St George and
Norths Leagues Clubs have been dwarfed by establishments such
as South Sydney Juniors in Kingsford, and the enormous gambling,
entertainment and leisure venue of Penrith Panthers, whose scale
has placed it alongside large theme parks and convention facilities
as an object of analysis.

the leagues club : a working - class palace

in the 1950s, with their entrepreneurial model and broad

community engagement.
The case for these clubs to be considered as unique institutions
seemed well established by the 1960s. Geoffrey Caldwell, a
sociologist at the Australian National University, asserted in 1969


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Dijana Ali

clubs: The
dream of


The distinctly male clientele of the

Lebanese Club in 1953. The murals on
the interior walls reference the cultural
and historic heritage of Lebanon.
Photographer unknown. National
Archives of Australia: A1200, L16215.

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Over the post-war decades, public

libraries, childcare centres and
other community buildings fostered
and provided for a growing nation
of Australians. Such structures
supported the image of Australia
as an egalitarian society and a

l e i s u r e s pa c e

paradise for workers. 1

The 2010 book Community: Building Modern Australia presents
a study of the community facilities built by municipal bodies
across Australia in the mid-to-late 20th century and highlights
the importance of architecture in defining and perpetuating a
sense of belonging and social cohesion.2 With most buildings
designed in a modernist idiom, the new public infrastructure
entwined the ideas of progressive welfare with architectural
design.3 The growing community of Australians conceived as a
group of people bound together by common threads, including
geographical location, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexuality
or circumstances seemed open and inclusive of one and all.4
On the margins of the larger government and private
provision of infrastructure sit the clubs of non-English-speaking
immigrants. Given the broad definition of community outlined
above, the needs of immigrant groups should have been met
by the provisions of the nation. Once in Australia, members
of these groups shared with other Australians not only
geographical location but also social fabric and, commonly,

social aspirations. Nevertheless, the ethnic club did not sit

comfortably with broader efforts for community engagement;
it posed a challenge to the Australian governments efforts to
construct a homogeneous nation.
Ethnic clubs represent their communities and provide
a link to a wider social and political context. Furthermore,
clubs within urban and suburban locations indicate shifting
relationships and changing notions of Australian identity
formation. The social transformation of clubs from inner
city eateries to expansive suburban leisure, sporting and
family facilities was underpinned by their gradual geographic
relocation from the centre to the periphery. These changes
demonstrate that while immigrant groups were called on to
participate in building their new country, political and aesthetic
demands moderated their contributions.
Sydney has a long
tradition of providing
infrastructure to
its diverse groups
of immigrants.
Social historian Walter Lalich presents evidence of extensive
community infrastructure developed in Sydney between 1809
and 1941.5 His study shows, for example, that in the city area
alone between 1825 and 1882, six religious institutions were
built: four Christian churches of various denominations and
two Jewish synagogues.6 In the period to 1942, more than 13
churches, six synagogues and three temples, representing
various faiths, and about six clubs were built to facilitate
social gatherings for the German, Chinese, Italian, Maltese and
Jewish people of Sydney. This tilt towards building religious
infrastructure rather than community facilities recognises
that religion can be of greater importance as a form of social

T h e r e l i g i ou s
b u i l d i n g as t h e
p rov i d e r o f s o c i a l


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I n t h e c it y

The end of World War II marked the

starting point of an ambitious post-war
rebuilding program in Australia. The
federal government established its Department of Immigration in
1945 and embarked on plans to increase Australias population at
a rate of 1 per cent per year.16 In 1950 net migration from overseas
soared to 150000 people, a number only surpassed by a substantial
peak in 1988.17 Although migration numbers fluctuated in the
following years, the 1950s marked significant changes in Australian
immigration.18 The increase in migrants was aimed at establishing
a balance between assisted and non-assisted migrants, as well as
between migrants of British and non-British backgrounds. The shift
towards greater inclusion of non-British migrants saw numerous
intergovernmental treaties and agreements aimed at assisting
the arrival of new settlers. In an attempt to maintain the racial
consistency of Australia, the post-war resettlement programs
accommodated migrants from various European countries including
Greece, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Poland and Yugoslavia.19 These new
migrant communities needed facilities to support their social and
cultural integration into Australian society.
In political terms, the post-war period was marked by
government promotion of a homogeneous Australian society. The
concept of national identity was based upon supposedly shared
British roots of the bulk of the population.20 Paradoxically, the study
Mistaken Identity: Multiculturalism and the Demise of Nationalism
in Australia argues that the doctrine of assimilation simultaneously
reinforced the sense of homogeneity and the sense of superiority
of the Anglophone population.21 The expectation that migrants
assimilate to a uniform Australian culture also concealed internal
differences linked to class, gender and religion, as well as the
relationship to Australias Indigenous culture.22 In relation to
migrants, the expectation that such a large number of people could
assimilate to the point of invisibility was problematic.23 Their right

E thnic clubs : T he dream of tomorrow

organisation than other community associations. The promotion

of religious infrastructure also facilitated assimilation of
immigrants into existing religious organisations, and by
extension provided for a more homogeneous society.7
Although on a smaller scale than religious institutions, a
number of community clubs opened in the early 20th century.
They represented efforts to provide spaces for social gatherings
and alternative forms of community engagement. Commonly,
these organisations purchased or hired halls and other existing
places suitable for large gatherings. Such was the case with
the Concordia German Club, established in 1883 and one of
the earliest community clubs in Sydney.8 The club acquired an
existing property bounded by Elizabeth, Nithsdale, Goulburn and
Liverpool Streets, and erected a hall and club premises on the
site in 1905.9 In subsequent years the club changed location,
and in 1915 it was closed, along with a number of German
institutions in the light of security concerns prompted by the
war in Europe.10 World War I led to the destruction of communal
migrant property and enforced name changes to 90 places
established by German settlers.11 To avoid the destruction of
their property at the beginning of World War II, many German
migrant organisations willingly handed over their facilities to the
According to Lalich, the infrastructure built for ethnic
communities in the interwar period was unable to meet
the needs of the increasingly diverse groups arriving in
Australia.13 A 1936 Royal Commission into urban settlement
found that major Australian cities did not provide adequate
public spaces for their inhabitants.14 The lack of social
space presented opportunities for migrants to develop their
own informal and formal organisational networks. The
development of such public premises became a mode of
community organisation.15


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

Architects drawing of the proposed

APIA Club building. The rooftop tennis
courts and the bowling green express
the clubs modern aspirations.
Leichhardt Council Library, Local
History Collection, APIA Club.

to difference and to express their culture seemed primarily focussed

on, if not limited to, food, language and dress.24
As a consequence, community clubs became focussed on
providing food and entertainment. The predominance of male
migrants over female also increased the need for restaurants and
after-work enjoyment. Not far from the German Club mentioned
earlier, Sydneys Spanish population established its own club, on
Liverpool Street, in 1962. From its early days the club promoted
Spanish dancing and language study, drawing on the support of
a wider audience. By 1969 the club had about 2000 members,
with the SpanishAustralian ratio being two to one.25 The clubs
prominent and central location provided easy access, facilitating
its development into an important centre for Sydneys Spanish
community.26 As documented in the Dictionary of Sydney, one of the
most popular restaurants in the Spanish Quarter, La Bodega, served
wog food with such strong garlic flavour that it marked you down
for days afterwards.27 The consumption and enjoyment of food
became a primary mode for promoting ethnic identities.
The Lebanese Club was not dissimilar, opening in August 1953
near the Strawberry Hills Post Office in the inner-city suburb of
Redfern. Reporting on the newly opened club, Hotel and Cafe News
stated: More than 3,000 people gathered in Cleveland Street,
Redfern, for the opening of the Lebanese Club and Restaurant
early this month. Only 1,000 were able to gain admission, but the
crowd was indicative of the way in which the Club caught Sydneys
The magazine suggested that the clubs cooking was one of
its main features. Its two restaurants were open to Australians,
as well as Lebanese and served Lebanese, French and English
dishes.29 The magazine also observed that in renovating a twostorey building, the proprietors have missed scarcely a square
inch, with the spaces entirely redecorated and repainted, inside
and out.30 Extending compliments to the interior colour schemes,

finishes and lighting, it quoted the clubs manager: without doubt,

[the club offers] the most modern restaurant in Australia.31 The
interior wall decorations, which featured the cedar of Lebanon
as the central motif, were described as colourful handcarved
murals of modernistic design.32 Inspired by the heraldic devices
of Lebanon, the decorations served to connect a distant homeland
to the interiors of inner suburban Sydney.33 The club was important
both in terms of its commercial success in presenting authentic
Lebanese food to a wide audience and in providing a venue for
private gatherings of men from the Lebanese community.
Another Hotel and Cafe News article, published in June 1960,
described the newly opened Hellenic Clubs highly desirable
location on Elizabeth Street, overlooking Hyde Park, as the only
extensive verdant breathtaking spot in the very heart of the city.34
The clubs membership, the article continued, included both Greeks
and Australians and confirmed the values of the classic Greek
model of democracy. As was the case with the Lebanese Club,
references to culture were made via the interior murals. These
depicted the Greek Australian outlook of the club by linking
classic Greek myth and legend with the contemporary scene and
with Australian tradition and outdoor life.35 A map of Greece and
its islands, the traditional trident of the seagod, fishing boats, the
Olympic torch and classical buildings on one side were described
as being counterbalanced by pictures of Australia that included a
leaping kangaroo, a bronzed surfer and tropical fish. An adjoining
mural compared Greek and Australian horsemanship, highlighting
the clubs aspirations to build on the common links between
Australian and Greek ways of life.36
Anthropologist and social theorist Ghassan Hage has argued
that the opening of such clubs and eateries enabled the basis
of home-building in the public sphere and fostered forms of
recreation or intimations of homely communality.37 Describing
the role community clubs played, he writes, As each wave of


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Growing suburbanisation, along with

the increasing number and social
cohesion of immigrant groups, were
major factors that contributed to the gradual but steady move of
ethnic clubs out of the inner city. In 1960 the NSW Minister for
Immigration, AR Downer, laid the foundation stone for one of the
earliest clubs to be set up in the suburbs, the ItalianAustralian All
Sports Association (APIA) Club. This club would mark a significant
shift in the way ethnic clubs operated. The association was
established in 1954 and evolved as a social and sporting institution

M ov i n g i n to

that aimed to bring together Italians and Australians. Its first

constitution (1957) stated:
The prime object is to promote and encourage the sporting
activities of Italian migrants, thus assisting their assimilation into
the Australian society The activities of the Association are of
a purely sporting and social nature and are strictly non-political
and non-sectarian. The Association is open to all who seek to
advance themselves in the amateur sporting fields.39

After operating from various addresses, Leichhardt Council

offered APIA a 49-year lease on a wasteland site overlooking
Iron Cove, a tributary of the Parramatta River.40 The move of the
club to Leichhardt was significant as it responded to the needs
of the growing Italian population in the area, and it sought broad
membership. Providing for engagement in soccer and other sports,
the club was a point of contact for the large number of single
Italian men living in Sydney and it contributed to the growth of the

E thnic clubs : T he dream of tomorrow

immigrants settled in, little knots of eateries, evocative of the old

world, served as meeting places where lonely groups of migrants
chatted in their native tongue and recreated the tastes of home.38
An increasing number of ethnic clubs and eateries opened in
inner Sydney throughout the 1950s and 1960s, but they appear
to have catered primarily to the entertainment of men, and only
occasionally for families and the wider community.


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

The APIA Club as seen from across

the bay at Haberfield. Construction
began in 1960 and the building was
completed in 1965.
Photographer unknown. Leichhardt
Council Library, Local History
Collection, APIA Club.

Architect OS Deomedes proposed design reflects the clubs

apparent aspiration to be a modern and open organisation.41 The
purpose-built, free-standing structure was evocative of its modern
counterparts. The elevated ground floor provided for free circulation
and helped integrate the building into the surrounding landscape.
The rooftop tennis courts, designated ground-floor bowling area
and ample car parking highlighted the benefits of locating the
building in a suburban and park-like environment that offered ready
access to open space. Although the executed building differed
from the proposed sketch design, both buildings presented an
indisputably modern vision set in the suburban landscape.
The APIA Club catered for diverse experiences that would
engage the whole family. Of the two floors operating in 1965, one
was dedicated to dining and entertainment; the other to sport, with
a food-serving area. The larger upstairs restaurant catered for more
formal entertainment, while the smaller downstairs restaurant
served lunch and casual dinners. The bar service in the latter was
informal, aimed at members coming straight from work not
dressed to conform with the standards required of the main floor.42
The clubs most prominent feature was its Italian bowling alley, the

game being described as extremely popular amongst Italians of

all ages and as having an enthusiastic following.43 The club also
catered for Australian sports, which included table tennis and
table soccer.44 According to Hotel, Motel and Restaurant, the club
played a real part in the day to day lives of its members.45
Utilising the strengths of the Italian community, the APIA Club
made the most of its members skills, and various local construction
companies provided service, credit and labour. Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant was particularly impressed with the clubs entrance,
noting the marbled magnificence of its impressive portico.46 The
walls were covered with green marble from Verona and the floors
with cool white Tuscan marble, while the columns in its Boomerang
Hall were from a New South Wales quarry.47 Club members donated
the mirror wall in the entry foyer to the main dining room and the
mural on the lower floor. Murals throughout the interior depicted
architectural wonders from famous Italian cities such as the
Venetian Palace of the Doge, the Colosseum of Rome and Pisas
tower against a background of the Italian Alps.48 With its modern
interior embellished with murals that depicted lands far away, the
APIA Club took a similar approach to the Lebanese and Greek clubs.


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The interior of the APIA Club in 1969,

featuring a mural depicting aspects of
Italys maritime history.
Photographer unknown. National
Archives of Australia, A12111,


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The south-east corner of Club Marconi

at Bossley Park Recreation Centre in
Photographer unknown. Sourced from
Bounce Books. Courtesy Club Marconi.


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E thnic clubs : T he dream of tomorrow

While APIA cherished its Italian roots it also promoted the

clubs connection to the wider Sydney community. In his well
publicised speech at the clubs opening ceremony in April 1965,
Prime Minister Robert Menzies remarked on the contribution the
Italian community had made to Australia. You know, he stated, if
I might make a quiet, confidential admission to you, we nativeborn Australians are occasionally a little narrow-minded about
our own ideas and our own way of living. We say, Well, who are
these fellows to tell us?49 Encouragingly, he continued, Dont
be exclusive. Dont get off, but get in, get into the community, get
mixed up with the community. Let everyone have the benefits of
what you can contribute and you get the benefit of what they can
contribute, an integrated Australian society.50
The APIA Club was something of a success: its restaurant was
reputable, its performances and sport events were well attended,
and its affiliates were diverse. In 1966, club membership was 8000
and by 1970 it was 13000, with 49 per cent of these members
of non-Italian background.51 In general, the focus on sport and
recreation and its appeal to diverse groups enabled a new position
for ethnic clubs in Sydney, one that integrated the social terrain of
specific community interests with broader government goals. In this
new paradigm, community clubs could facilitate assimilation as
well as provide food and entertainment to a wide range of users.
A suburban location allowed clubs to diversify their services
and focus on community needs, as was the case with Club Marconi
at Bossley Park, established in 1956.52 Land was affordable in
the outer suburbs, and Club Marconi was able to build its own
facilities. The original building was constructed in 1958, and in
October 1960 plans were submitted for an extension.53 Community
members guaranteed the loan against their own homes and
financed the building through generous contributions.54
Through a series of expansions in the 1960s and 1970s,
adjacent blocks of land were included in the complex. Titled


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Master plan for the growing Club

Marconi, titled The Dream of Tomorrow.
The expansive club grounds included a
soccer field and training and bowling
grounds, as well as playgrounds and an
open field.
Sourced from Bounce Books. Courtesy
Club Marconi.


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associations. Unfortunately, the links between ethnic and national

identities were not always overcome. Although not a topic of this
discussion, it is worth mentioning that a 1957 match between
the APIA soccer club and a team from Prague ended up in such a
brawl that two APIA players were hospitalised.61
The move of ethnic clubs from the city to the suburbs from
the mid-1950s onwards saw a change in their relationship with
the wider Australian community. Providing a greater diversity
of services, which included sport as well as food, suburban
ethnic clubs positioned themselves as the places where new
Australia was being constructed. The built expression of these
clubs celebrated the suburban condition, while the facilities
provided by the clubs accommodated weekend leisure
A significant shift in the
development of ethnic community
infrastructure came on the back
of political and social changes in the late 1960s and the 1970s
that included the emergence of ethnic politics. Ethnic politics
developed out of what has been described as the sheer weight
of non-English-speaking migrant numbers and their relative
social disadvantage.62 Prejudice and a lack of recognition of
overseas qualifications posed barriers to the social and economic
advancement of people from non-English-speaking communities.
Government policies responded to the push for recognition
of social and cultural diversity within Australian society. The
publication of the Galbally Report, commissioned by Prime
Minister Malcolm Fraser in 1977, marked a shift in relation to
ethnic infrastructure development. Melbournes Frank Galbally
QC argued that the role of government was to make migrants
welcome; to help them settle more easily into Australian life;
to allow them to maintain their own cultures; to encourage an

O n t h e c it y
m a rg i n s

E thnic clubs : T he dream of tomorrow

The Dream of Tomorrow, the master plan for Club Marconi

showed expansive club facilities: a soccer field, bowling grounds,
picnic sites and open, landscaped surrounds. The clubs close
relationship with and support of the Marconi Stallion premier
football team, along with the provision of sports fields, provided
for the integration of the club into the suburban context.55 The
club grew into one of the largest and most prominent buildings
in Bossley Park.56 In recognition of the clubs importance, Fairfield
Council renamed Middle Road Marconi Road in 1966.57
Increasingly diverse facilities within suburban ethnic clubs
provided for a greater and wider community engagement. Images
of Club Marconis Ladies Auxiliaries present women in the
various roles they played. Although most commonly associated
with organising Mothers Night and Ladies Night, women
also played a significant role in the daily running of the club
and the organisation of social and family events. Photographs
also show women in formal gowns actively participating in
club functions. Children and youth as well were able to join
the daily activities of the club in a variety of ways. In addition
to the sports facilities offered, the club encouraged the social
integration of children through Christmas parties and similar
functions.58 Marconis promotion of the modern ideals of leisure
and recreation moderated specific community needs with broader
social aspirations.
Sport in particular provided a conduit for merging the
diversities of a growing Australian nation. In 1964, for example,
Australian businessmen interested in lawn bowls and Italian
farmers interested in playing bocce established the Dural Country
Club.59 Italian labour and gardening skills saved the bowling club
section in its infancy from collapse and maintained the property
to acceptable standards.60 In their initial stages, the promotion
of sport by ethnic clubs provided a common interest that
eschewed the separatist and nationalistic aspirations of ethnic


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understanding of others; and to ensure that they had the same

rights and access to services as other Australians.63 The Report
presented 57 recommendations that involved expenditure of $50
million over three years.64 They included settlement services,
English language classes for adults and children, translation
services and improved government communication, the extension
of grant-in-aid programs to ethnic community organisations, and
the establishment of migrant resource centres. The intent was
that services and programs be designed and operated in full
consultation with migrant communities so that their members
could quickly become self-reliant.
In 1975, as a part of a range of government initiatives, Richard
Healey, then NSW Minister for Community Services and Health,
set aside Crown land to be used for community clubs.65 Bantry
Bay, on the fringe of Sydneys northern suburbs, was identified
as appropriate. Used until 1973 for the storage of explosives, the
Bantry Bay area had become desolate.66 The governments offer
to various club organisations was that each could occupy and
rent a block of the available land.67 Austrian, Czechoslovakian,
Scandinavian, Armenian and Dutch organisations were among
those that took up the offer.68
Land was conveyed to the Dutch Australian Neerlandia
Society in 1976, and in 1977 a new clubhouse was opened. It
was a simple brick building, which, due to a limited budget, was
primarily constructed by the community.69 It was set back on its
block in a manner typical of residential development, and the
private, small-scale front elevation was enclosed, presenting
limited interaction with the street. Isolated and enclosed, the
Neerlandia clubhouse appeared much like a private residence and
it only occasionally opened its grounds to the wider public. A few
blocks from the Neerlandia clubhouse was the Czech Sokol club,
which, larger in scale, included a gymnasium, library, dining hall,
recreation room and multi-function space.

Removed from the heart of the city and associated public

services, the clubs that were developed around Bantry Bay and
other fringe locations lacked connections to the communities
they were meant to serve. Thus the very forces that promoted
the emergence and expression of multiculturalism in built form
paradoxically diminished the social agency of these clubs. While
the consumption of food remained an integral aspect of their
daily activities, geographical distance made them less accessible
and desirable.
Hages concept of multiculturalism lends itself to an
understanding of the changing architecture of ethnic clubs.
Hage argues that in contemporary Australia, multiculturalism
is commonly defined by the availability of ethnic restaurants
for cosmopolitan consumers.70 Because the cosmopolitan
subject sees ethnicity as an object of appreciation, he argues
that multiculturalism frames a class discourse.71 Cosmomulticulturalism becomes primarily a class discourse aimed
at establishing a cultural distinction between cosmopolitan
subjects those consuming ethnic culture and those who
contribute to it.72
The integration of ethnic clubs in the city fabric relied heavily
on the consumption of ethnicity, with food being a desired
commodity. The early clubs, which were set in the inner city,
provided the context for this consumption to occur and, by
extension, facilitated an intimate connection between culture
and the city. The move to the suburbs changed the relationship
between clubs and their surroundings. The suburban clubs,
such as APIA and Marconi, provided for a much more diversified
community engagement. Such clubs perceived the promotion
of sport as a way of going beyond the provision of food and
engaging in an active manner with a changing Australian
society. The broad appeal of sport facilitated inter-community
interactions and the assimilation of ethnic groups within a

E thnic clubs : T he dream of tomorrow

Women played a significant role

in the social organisation of Club
Marconi. Photograph of the Ladies
Auxiliary in 1968.
Photographer unknown. Sourced
from Bounce Books. Courtesy Club


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

Assyrian winged-bull statues that have

a body of a lion, the crowned head of
an ancient Assyrian king and the wings
of an eagle mark the front entry to the
Assyrian community club Nineveh in
Photo by the author, 2013.

growing Australian nation. Political changes and the increasing

relevance of ethnic politics in the mid-1970s heightened the need
for ethnic communities to promote the difference of their own group
in relation to society at large. As a result, the community clubs built
on the suburban fringe focussed on creating and promoting the
unique national, cultural and ethnic identity of their member groups.
The club facilities built by the Neerlandia Society, and later by
the Assyrian community in Bonnyrigg in outer western Sydney in
1980, openly questioned the need to assimilate in terms of the
built fabric and cultural context. Instead, it appears these buildings
promote the essential qualities of the communities they represent.
For example, Nineveh, the name of the Assyrian community club, is
a symbolic reference to the ancient royal place of Nineveh, in what
is present-day Iraq. Promoting difference and ethnic specificity, the


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transformations in the ways these clubs engaged in public life.

Some promoted private belief and religion as a primary mode
of ethnic organisation; others, like the Spanish and Lebanese
clubs, catered for cosmopolitan consumption, while others,
such as the APIA Club and Club Marconi, promoted assimilation
and integration. It is clear that the expectation that migrant
groups might contribute something of their own culture is often
measured against broader social and political demands.
The author would like to thank the students who undertook The
Architecture of EthniCity research and graduation design studio
at UNSW Australia in 2012; Walter Lalich for an informative
conversation about ethnic infrastructure in Sydney; Deepika
Ratnaraj for research assistance; Dianne Powell for her help in
locating images of Club Marconi; and Bounce Books for providing
copies of Club Marconi images.

Ethnic clubs: The dream of tomorrow

entire external wall of the Nineveh Club makes visual reference

to ancient Assyrian architecture: the entrance is marked by the
Assyrian winged-bull (lamassu) statue, with a body of a lion,
the crowned head of an ancient Assyrian king and the wings
of an eagle. The explicit cultural references in the architecture
of Nineveh aim to affirm the communitys historical continuity
and credibility. To the general public, however, the symbols are
generally unfamiliar and so they act as a barrier to the private
spaces of the club.
The changing nature of ethnic community clubs in Sydney
demonstrates the connection between built fabric and the broader
political and social context. Hage argues that multiculturalism
without migrants asks migrant groups to moderate contentious
issues or omit them entirely from their contribution; otherwise,
they risk social rejection. The changes in social roles and design
strategies presented by ethnic clubs demonstrate gradual


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Maryam Gusheh Catherine




An early beach house by Harry Seidler,

the Fink House, Newport, c. 1950, was
subject to an extended legal battle over
planning approval.
Photo by Clive Thompson, c. 1950.
Collection: Harry Seidler Archives.
Courtesy Penelope Seidler.

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If there is one thing that symbolises

the Australian way of life, it is leisure
time in a weekend house, preferably
near the sea. It is with utter abandon
that families dedicate themselves to
the pursuit of sport, swimming or just
relaxation, such as are only available
to people who can enjoy outdoor life
in the benign, almost all-year-round
open air climate in cities that are near

l e i s u r e s pa c e

or on the coast. 1
Thus wrote architect Harry Seidler in his introduction to Stephen
Craftis Beach Houses of Australia and New Zealand, published
in 2000. Identifying a number of key qualities in the selected
houses, Seidlers testament links these with the rise of modernism
in Australian architecture and its replacement of the Victorian
tradition. For Seidler, the buildings featured in the books are united
by the goals of economy in size and cost. Their plans emphasise
clarity in layout; they are utilitarian. Importantly, the buildings
facilitate connections to their surrounding landscape. They are,
moreover, organised around an imagined life, their predominant
aim being to maximise a sense of freedom and ease of use in open
spaces, both inside and out of the house. They put their emphasis

on an emerging Australian unpretentious simplicity of style.2

Seidler stated that an emphasis on space in the planning of
the beach houses had replaced the old oppressive boxy volumes,
suggesting that these recent buildings showed that the European
migr architects of the early part of the 20th century, and their
followers, have had a beneficial effect.3 As perhaps the most
prominent post-war European migr architect in Australia, his
view foregrounds his own contribution to this broader project.
Observing that the architectural combination of economy and
freedom via leisure had been crucial to the development of a local
modernism, Seidler suggested that the holiday house as a type
might have helped manifest a particularly Australian modernist
idiom: The clear direction evidenced in this book should act as a
catalyst to refine and help create an unmistakable Antipodean way
of building for our future.4
The popularity and easy familiarity of the picture Seidler paints
speaks of the Australian dissemination and now broad acceptance
of once radical goals. In post-war Australia, regulatory approval
for modernist architectural works was typically hard-won. For
example, particular early modern houses by architects such
as Seidler and Sydney Ancher were only realised after welldocumented legal battles.5 Kenneth McDonald, at that time the
editor of Architecture and Arts magazine, explicitly highlighted such
achievements as early as the mid-1950s with his 1954 book The
New Australian Home.6 Dedicated to those Australian architects
who have overcome the bias and problems associated with
pushing forward the frontiers in house design, the book identified
exemplary local adaptations of an international modernism with an
emphasis on the single-family dwelling.7 Intending to consolidate
the presence of a national modern style, McDonald here suggested
that the maturity evident in those works could serve as a new
local foundation for modern architecture.8 He declared, A true
indigenous residential Australian Architecture has begun.9


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Cover of The New Australian Home

by Kenneth McDonald, 1954.
Represented within the book were
acclaimed architects such as Harry
Seidler, Robin Boyd, Sydney Ancher,
Arthur Baldwinson, Hugh Buhrich,
Roy Grounds, Ray Berg as well as
McDonald, an architect himself.
Kenneth McDonald, The New
Australian Home, Melbourne, Kenneth
McDonald, 1954. Mitchell Library, State
Library of New South Wales.

Cover of Sixty Beach and Holiday

Homes by Phyllis Shillito, 1954. The
book was an early typological survey of
Sydneys holiday houses.
Phyllis Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday
Homes, Sydney, Associated General
Publications, 1954. State Library of
New South Wales.


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Ou r hou s e s
h av e a n ac c e n t
n ow

In a 1954 newspaper review

of The New Australian Home
entitled Our Houses Have an
Accent Now, Harry Perrott
aligned this book with another study Sixty Beach and Holiday
Homes published in the same year.10 Implied in his double review
were inherent similarities between the books. Both were directed
at homemakers. They included many of the same modernist
buildings, represented in many cases by the same photographs and
drawings. Particularly highlighted was the manifestation in both
publications of contemporary architecture in a local form:

l e i s u r e s pa c e

The question whether we are developing an Australian national

architecture within our homes has been discussed from time
to time over the last 20 or more years. Since the First World War
we have seen the Georgian, the Colonial and other styles
used for our homes, but from none of them has there developed
anything which could be called truly Australian in style
But recently we have been developing an Australian style in
our domestic architecture. Two recent publications the New
Australian Home and 60 Beach and Holiday Homes support this

Reiterated here was McDonalds emphasis on the proximate

relationship between modernist domestic architecture and the
recent emergence of an Australian architectural style. Further, by
pairing the two volumes, Perrott connected McDonalds compilation
with a more democratically selected study of holiday houses.
Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes was a local survey by the
Sydney design educator Phyllis Shillito. Compared to McDonalds
publication, her book was more specific in both region and building
type. Collecting 60 actual house designs in Sydney, it importantly
identified a new house type for an expanding post-war market of
holiday homemakers. In his review, Perrott highlighted Shillitos
modernist design priorities and their relationship to the idea of a


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I nformal modern : H oliday houses

Holiday homescape at Palm Beach,

Photographer unknown. Government
Printing Office. State Library of New
South Wales.


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national architecture. Citing an interview with Shillito, he quoted

her as saying the [modern] trend is surely winding its way to the
simplest designed form illustrating the new mood of Australian
architecture.12 Connected were the two books discrete emphases.
Anticipating Seidlers end-of-century insight, the holiday home was
in this review associated with the evolution of a local modernism.
Addressing her book to holiday
home and beach house planners,
specifically those amateurs who
would normally set out to plan a
holiday dwelling without professional assistance, Shillito sought to
appeal to a broad audience of lay readers.13 Engaging the growing
class of middle-income earners emerging after World War II, her
study was aligned with the social and economic modernisation of
Sydney and the subsequent expansion in urban scale and population
during the 1950s. Longer leisure hours thanks to the introduction
of the 40-hour working week, greater disposable incomes and the
rising use of the car had led to growing concentrations of holiday
dwellings. The increasingly common ownership of these homes
extending from the working man to the jaded executive was implied
in the colloquial reference shack or weekender.14
The weekender, a term first used in Australia, was initially a
modest extension of the camping and tent constructions built in
holiday communities and typically formed from scrounged cladding
and corrugated iron.15 Historian Charles Pickett has described
their development: Many weekenders were built intermittently
during holidays, and some originated as tents During the 1930s
Depression, thousands of iron or fibro shacks sprang up in seaside
happy valleys.16 Later these environments were subject to more
restrictive planning controls and were gradually reconfigured as more
permanent structures. By the mid-1950s weekenders were seen to
have produced a distinctive type of resort landscape, the holiday

l e i s u r e s pa c e

Ho l i day
ho m e s c a p e s

homescape characterised by the number, proportion and density

of holiday homes.17 The constituent houses ranged from economical
spec buildings to architecturally designed residences. Extremely
diverse, they were connected by the priorities of economy and the
expectations of a dwelling dedicated to the carefree pleasures of
Consolidation of camp-like structures into holiday home
communities was registered in the Australian popular media by
the mid-1940s. Particular emphasis was placed on the contribution
of modern design towards the evolution of these environments. A
holiday house For hills or the sea was published in the Australian
Womens Weeklys book Home Plans.18 As a compact raised box,
it was described as an efficient, rational, adaptable solution
distinguished from the average holiday home (as) a pretty haphazard
bit of planning.19 Similar priorities were evident in Gornalls 50
Post War Home Designs for Town and Country (1948).20 Melbourne
architect Robert Arthur Spence, winner of the Sydney Morning
Herald s Home Design Competition of 1946, compiled the collection,
including a number of weekend house plans. These ranged from
designs for pitched tiled brick bungalows to flat-roofed weatherboard
boxes and smooth rendered forms with circular windows. Economic
criteria in cost, size and construction technique, along with tight
planning for multi-purpose use, were unifying factors.
The post-war emergence of the weekend house type in Sydney
was identified by Shillito in Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes. Charting
the evolution of weekender settlements, she noted: Local Councils
began to tighten up on building covenants, untidy Camping Areas
were tidied up and new communities, with predominating beach
home style houses have sprung up which have a character of
their own.21 In describing this particular development pattern under
the subtitle What is a Holiday Home?, she located the Sydney
holiday house as a distinct building type in this new suburban


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Cover of Home Plans, published by

the Australian Womens Weekly. A
compilation of modern home designs,
the book was addressed to a wide
audience of post-war homemakers.
Eve Gye (ed.), Home Plans, Sydney,
Australian Womens Weekly, c. 1946,
State Library of New South Wales.
Courtesy Bauer Media.


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An adaptable holiday house design

titled For hills or the sea, published in
Home Plans.
Eve Gye (ed.), Home Plans, Sydney,
Australian Womens Weekly, c. 1946,
p. 68. State Library of New South
Wales. Courtesy of Bauer Media.

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Trained in art and design and

as an educator in England,
Shillito was an energetic and
committed pioneer in Australian design education. Migrating to
Australia in 1923 she took a position at East Sydney Technical
College in 1925, teaching there for over 34 years, and worked to
establish Australias first design diploma, a program particularly
influenced by the Bauhaus.23 Upholding the idea that design
students today must realise that their future is concerned with
mass production rather than Individual Craftsmanship,24 Sixty
Beach and Holiday Homes was an extension of her teaching.
The books focus provided a productive vehicle for the popular
dissemination of once radical early modernist ideas and a key
associated democratic social vision: the economic availability of
good design.
Within Shillitos book, the projects were presented using
several distinct conceptions of economy. Real costs for each
project are provided and economy of means as a design criterion
is favoured. Houses are described as efficient and compact, thus
well planned. Hierarchy between the buildings is in terms of cost;
otherwise, the designs are depicted in a standard format. Each
house was represented by similar plan renderings accompanied
by black and white photos, many by noted photographer Max
Dupain. A brief description of each house accompanied a table
detailing numerical dimensions, quantities and construction
materials with approximate costs.
Throughout the book, advertisements promoted locally
manufactured mass-produced building materials and components,
with a continued emphasis on practical information and consumer
advice. The same terms of value were used to describe these
items, together with the houses. Words such as economical,
efficiency, healthy and modern were employed to endorse the
houses as well as to advertise, for example, industrial products

and manufacturers such as the Australian Aluminium Company,

Philips lights and Hardies fibrolite.
Inclusion of a house in the book was attributed to its
excellence in contemporary design, yet always, of course, in
relation to the price bracket.25 The table of contents presented
three price categories for the featured houses: Group 1 (houses
under 3500 pounds), Group II (houses between 3500 and
5000) and Group III (houses above 5000). Construction price
was the main criteria for distinctions drawn between the
buildings. There is even a note in the Foreword on matters of
accuracy in achieving the provided cost estimates. Shillitos
goal was to suggest the availability of the best modern home
designs to a broad public, through an emphasis on moderate
Featuring a wide range of buildings
in her book, some of which had
been designed by prominent
architects including Seidler, Shillito placed key modernist works
next to weekender shacks. Blurring the architectural differences
between high-end architect-designed houses and vernacular
make-do structures, she thus documented a common context
for all the featured buildings, one which prioritised the popular
informality of holiday life. The format unified and implied
connections between the diverse houses. Included were designs
apparently not by architects. Log cabins, garage conversions,
pitched tiled roof bungalows and colonial style adaptations
were included, along with modernist works. Locating a simple
shed one could almost build oneself next to a house design by
Sydney Ancher in a double-page spread is indicative. A similarly
diverse range of landscape locations was suggested (beach,
mountain and bush), although no specific dates or locations
were provided.

D e m o c r at i c

I nformal modern : H oliday houses



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l e i s u r e s pa c e

Above A double-page spread from

Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes,
containing an exterior view and plan
of a small weekender adjacent to a
house designed by the architect Sydney
Phyllis Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday
Homes, Sydney, Associated General
Publications, 1954, pp. 2021. State
Library of New South Wales.
Right An exterior view of the Waterman
House at Palm Beach, 1952, by Harry
Seidler, published in Sixty Beach and
Holiday Homes.
Photo by Clive Thompson, c. 1952.
Collection: Harry Seidler Archives.
Courtesy Penelope Seidler.

An explicit example of high modernism in Sixty Beach and

Holiday Homes was a weekender at Palm Beach by Harry Seidler.
This house was an almost pure translation of the Bauhaus
principles inherited by Seidler, who had studied under Walter
Gropius and Marcel Breuer at Harvard University. Standardised
construction components, strict functional organisation, economy
of means, compact arrangements and minimalism in materials
and details were combined with a structural clarity and austere
aesthetic elegance in Seidlers early houses, such as this Palm
Beach home. Geometric restraint provided both a contrast and
means of engagement with nature. Large areas of glass enabled
connections between the houses and their inhabitants with


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The living room also floated in plan, between a courtyard on

the north and ocean views to the south. The suggestion was of
an environment surrounded by sunlight, air and dramatic views.
Functional parts of this home were formally distinguished, and a
clear, simple, geometric order prevailed. Categorised as rational
and low cost, it must have been hard not to have been persuaded
by both the popular appeal and affordability of this architectural
argument for a new life.29
Shillitos representation of prominent modernists such as
Seidler and Ancher was indicative of her broader educational
priorities. By aligning the modern house with the holiday home
she productively identified a moment in Sydneys development

I nformal modern : H oliday houses

the landscape. Glazed elements were considered in practical

terms, typically oriented towards the north and shaded from the
summer sun by overhangs. Classified in the book according to
its moderate cost of 3000, Shillito emphasised the financial
availability of this refined modernism.26 High architectural ideals
were thus presented as pragmatic, readily attainable choices.
Also included was Seidlers Fink House in Newport, in this case
explicitly distinguished by Shillito as having much to say about
architecture as an ART.27 This reading was partly derived from the
interplay of closed and open spaces and the exciting and dramatic
flow of space.28 A large living room floating above the landscape
provided a sense of openness and a connection to the outdoors.


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

when modernist design principles could also coincide with popular

everyday pragmatic choices for building. Part of the reasoning
lay in the economic arguments, but the crucial factor was the
development of the particular housing type, the holiday home. She
drew attention to the different lifestyles associated with a holiday
and the consequent implications for architectural design, noting:

While there is a lot of material available about the sexual

behaviour of the average male or female [the famous Kinsey
Reports had recently been published], very little accurate data
has so far been prepared about the average Australias [sic]
holiday set-up. Generally speaking, people on holiday lead a life
different from their usual life.30


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An exterior view of the award-winning

Poyntzfield house, Killara, 1945. This
modern architectural work, included
in Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes,
was designed by Sydney Ancher as his
family residence.
Photo by Max Dupain, c. 1947. Courtesy
Max Dupain & Associates.

Shillito argued that ones lifestyle on holiday

is more relaxed and casual; people spend
much more time outdoors, including cooking
and eating. She suggested that outdoor showers and toilets are not
only worth considering, but might actually be sensible. Spaces in
the home in general could be smaller and more informal, and might
potentially function in more than one way (for example, the overlap
between living and extra sleeping areas). Holidays, whether at the
beach or in the mountains, suggested spending more time in that
landscape, implying strong connections between a buildings interior
and exterior. The pleasure, informality and strong sense of freedom
associated with holidays might thus promote the development of
new types of contemporary architecture for a freer, more relaxed
lifestyle. The book provided 60 possibilities, most of which strongly
aligned with modernist architectural ideals.
In The Fibro Frontier, Pickett describes the particular priority of
weekenders to reflect comfort and relaxation: Their architecture
promotes pleasure and ease over efficiency and status.31 Materials
such as fibro, considered dclass for the suburban homes of the
wealthy,32 were conversely quite agreeable for their weekenders.33
For those invested in promoting the value of contemporary design,
the holiday home provided a building type and lifestyle environment
outside the expectations and prejudices of traditional domestic
architecture. Numerous qualities associated with early modernism
lack of adornment, modesty in scale and material, lack of formal
room hierarchy and simplicity in appearance might have been
considered unappealing in a permanent Sydney dwelling. They
could, however, be much more acceptable in an explicitly informal
social, physical and cultural context. A building proposed for
escape from everyday life could make sense for an architecture
conceived as a break from tradition. The holiday home could
therefore be used to effect a local shift in public perception of the
modern house per se.

Ho l i day hou s e /
m o d e r n ho m e

It is strikingly ambiguous
whether the houses presented
in Sixty Beach and Holiday
Homes were all designed and built as weekenders. The buildings
seem more particularly united by compactness and economy
of means, a strong connection to the landscape, efficiency and
practicality in the planning, together with arrangement around
a life characterised by informality and pleasure. The growth of
this housing type out of its precursor, camping, further suggests
a building organised around only the essentials for required
shelter and sustenance. Many houses for example, one by
Arthur Baldwinson at the seaside34 and the other by Sydney
Ancher overlooking bushland35 could easily be compact, yet
generous, suburban homes. More continuous occupation of these
buildings surrounded by landscape and sunshine seems possible
and desirable. The absence of precise contexts allowed modern
suburban dwellings to stand as potential holiday home models, and
vice versa. An example of this is the 1945 Sulman Awardwinning
house Ancher designed for himself in Maytone Avenue, Killara, a
northern Sydney suburb. This house was included in Shillitos book
without specific attribution and prosaically described thus: There
is economic sense in this design.36
Holiday and permanent home types had also been treated
synonymously in a 1953 article published in PIX magazine entitled
Search for Ideal Australian Home.37 The article noted that
Modern architecture is becoming popular in Australia, and the
houses included were illustrated and discussed with an emphasis
similar to that in Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes. The efforts
of architects who have been trying for years to break down the
barriers of tradition and conservatism was similarly highlighted.
Homes which not long ago would have been laughed at are
being built and accepted in Castlecrag, Palm Beach, some North
Shore suburbs and other progressive Sydney areas.38

I nformal modern : H oliday houses

C as ua l


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

Hypothetical design for a holiday home

by Hugh Buhrich.
Holiday Home by the Water, Woman,
16 June 1952, p. 43. Mitchell Library,
State Library of New South Wales.

The identified suburbs Castlecrag, Palm Beach and those

within Sydneys North Shore were popular sites for weekenders,
as well as locations for contemporary domestic architecture during
the 1950s. In Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, the locations of
the featured buildings were notably provided only generically.
This form of representation supported the work of architects like
Seidler, whose output was not typically distinguished by its locale.
The location of his houses, for example, was often described in
generic ways by writers: a house overlook[ing] a beautiful valley
of gumtrees was located in Turramurra; A week-end house in the
mountains in Kurrajong Heights; and A week-end house of very
moderate cost in a beach suburb was at Palm Beach. The image of
the home in Turramurra featured a small external spiral staircase
to its terrace, which almost quoted a similarly located spiral stair
in Gropiuss own house (1938) in Lincoln, Massachusetts. In that
image, Australian gum trees replace the New England foliage.
Seidlers designs for these holiday/modern homes in discrete
landscape conditions were strikingly similar.
Ancher and Baldwinson, two Sydney architects most vigorously
represented in Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, were, by contrast,
less singular in their attitude to situating the building. In a 1947
discussion paper for the Contemporary Art Society, for example,
Baldwinson drew on Gropiuss The New Architecture and the
Bauhaus (1935). However, he additionally outlined the need to
adapt building to its site, climate and environment. It is often
impossible to repeat a design successfully on a different site.39
Compared to Seidler, the work of these two architects was more
particularised, yet such specific attitudes towards varying landscape
conditions were, in Shillitos book, deliberately de-emphasised.
If the modern house was able to suggest an efficient life
associated with pleasure and freedom, Sixty Beach and Holiday
Homes argued for the democratic acceptance of architectural
modernism via a house dedicated to leisure. Within the book,

buildings associated with early 20th-century utopias were not

distinguished in kind from more straightforward, compact, simple
houses and this carried a productive message for readers. In his
review of Shillitos book, Perrott drew specific advice from this
conscious ambiguity: the prospective builder of a permanent
home, as different from a holiday home, can gain many ideas.40
Modest, economical and informal, the Sydney holiday house
offered Shillito a vehicle for the post-war democratisation of
earlier radical ideals.
Immediately beneath the
prominent title of Perrotts
review, Our Houses Have an
Accent Now, was a single illustration, a photograph of a house
with a caption that read, This open, hillside house was designed
by Hugh Buhrich to catch Sydneys lavish sunshine and focus on
the superb views.41 Located at Balmoral Beach, Mosman, on a
very steep site and faced with large areas of sandstone, Buhrichs
design explored a long, narrow, predominantly one-room-wide
plan with large, shaded glazed areas facing north and the water.
The image selection, taken from McDonalds book, was curious,
as it represented one of the few Sydney-based examples not also
included in Shillitos survey. It appears as if this thin, verandahlike house of Sydney sandstone, oriented from its high perch
towards the sun and water, best satisfied Perrotts conception of an
emergent indigenous modernism.
Architects Hugh and Eva Buhrich had arrived in Australia from
Germany via Holland and London in 1939. In their early years in
Sydney, Eva published a series of holiday home designs in a 1942
issue of the Swiss magazine Das ideale Heim.42 Though unbuilt, her
four proposals are interesting for their strong modernist priorities
and the dual qualities of extreme economy and implied lifestyle
freedom. The last one in particular bears a close resemblance to a

Ho l i day hou s e /
i d e a l ho m e


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purpose use; implied freedom in the planning; engagement with

the landscape; and a prevailing sense of informality. Here was a
home that provided just the essentials, and one that presumably
anyone could build. Yet it is hard to imagine a more desirable
lifestyle. Swimming, sailing, sunbathing, diving, are all within
easy reach. There is even a place to store the boats. Surrounded
by summer skies, trees and water, the suggestion is of a life of
extreme pleasure, of radical freedom. Seidlers noted lifestyle in
a benign, almost all-year-round open-air climate seems located
here. This is a modern holiday dwelling that is almost a shack.
There is almost no house, and no specific site. If Shillitos argument
for the popular distribution of modern architecture in Sydney at
this time was at least partially through the holiday home as a
type, this suggestive image of a freer life in an apparent natural
paradise, economically and physically available to everyone, is
potent. A local version of the promised freedoms of early European
architectural modernism seems right here; the good life perhaps
one spent permanently on holiday.
The authors would particularly like to thank Neil Buhrich for
providing generous access to Hugh Buhrichs personal papers.

l e i s u r e s pa c e

later design by Hugh for a Holiday home by the water, published in

the Australian magazine Woman in 1952.43 This latter design was
extremely compact and proposed to be built in two stages, initially
with one room, a balcony and boatshed. The entire enclosed area
was about 6 by 4.5 metres, including the balcony. The roof of the
boatshed became a sunbathing deck and a separate outhouse was
provided. Fixed glass was proposed for economic reasons, located
between studs to open the house to the sun and view, while stock
sized French doors provided ventilation.44 Sleeping accommodation
was for two people, with meals eaten at a counter separating the
cooking recess from the multi-purpose room. The second phase
would add three compact bedrooms and a bath, to accommodate six
people comfortably and an extra two in an emergency. Every room
had light and air on two sides. The house was mainly intended for
summer use, so there was no internal hall, but a covered outdoor
way offering bedroom access. A stepladder connected the deck to
the diving board and the boatshed.
The picture provided by this highly minimal dwelling is striking
for its embodiment of extreme economy coupled with a sense of
unexpected luxury. Other aspects of the Sydney holiday home are
also present: the notion of staged construction; flexible, multi-


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See Wynyard Travelodge, Constructional

Review, June 1969, pp. 2629.
These studies include JWC Cumes, Their
Chastity Was Not Too Rigid: Leisure Times in
Early Australia, Melbourne, Longman Cheshire,
1979; Philip C Candy and John Laurent (eds),
Pioneering Culture: Mechanics Institutes and
Schools of Art in Australia, Adelaide, Auslib
Press, 1994; JM Freeland, The Australian Pub,
Carlton, Victoria, Melbourne University Press,
1966; Carl Rhen, Pub Splendid: The Australia
Hotel 18911971, Collaroy, NSW, John Burrell in
association with Murray Child & Co., 1995; Ross
Thorne, Picture Palace Architecture in Australia,
South Melbourne, Victoria, Sun Books, 1976;
Ross Thorne, Cinemas of Australia via USA,
Architecture Department, University of Sydney,
1981; Sam Marshall, Luna Park: Just for Fun,
Sydney, Luna Park Trust, 1995; Joan Ford, Meet
Me at the Trocadero, Cowra, NSW, Personal
Publishing, 1995.
See The Aquariums, Sydney Morning Herald,
14 January 1888, p. 12.
Hannah Lewi and David Nichols (eds),
Community: Building Modern Australia, Sydney,
UNSW Press, 2010.
Apart from Community, this book also
complements the studies published within
Modern Times: The Untold Story of Modernism
in Australia, Ann Stephen, Philip Goad and
Andrew McNamara (eds), Melbourne and
Sydney, Miegunyah Press in association with
Powerhouse Publishing, 2008.
A focus on building type as a form of historical
analysis, either singularly or in a collective way,
has informed many historical studies, one of the
most prominent being Nikolaus Pevsners A
History of Building Types, London, Thames &
Hudson, 1976.
Jim Davidson and Peter Spearritt, Holiday
Business: Tourism in Australia since 1870,
Carlton, Victoria, Miegunyah Press, 2000;
Richard White, On Holidays: A History of
Getting Away in Australia, Melbourne, Pluto
Press Australia, 2005.
8 White, On Holidays, p. xvi.
Travel to Sydney Tourism Region, Year Ended
March 2013, Destination NSW, <www.
10 See Hilton Hotels will Bring Prosperity Here,
Hotel and Cafe News, April 1957, pp. 1617,

L e i s u r e i n Sy d n e y d u r i n g
t h e lo n g b o o m

Robin Boyd, The Australian Ugliness, Melbourne,

FW Cheshire, 1960, p. 22.
Rodney Maddock, The Long Boom 19401970 in
Rodney Maddock and Ian W McLean (eds), The
Australian Economy in the Long Run, Cambridge
and Melbourne, Cambridge University Press, 1987,
p. 79.
Maddock, The Long Boom 19401970, p. 82.
Greg Whitwell, Making the Market: The Rise of
Consumer Society, Fitzroy, Victoria, McPhee
Gribble, 1989, p. 4.
5 Whitwell, Making the Market, pp. 2627.
Recessions occurred in 195758, 196162 and
Maddock, The Long Boom 19401970, p. 79.
John R Kelly and Geoffrey Godbey, The Sociology
of Leisure, State College, PA, Venture Publishing,
1992, p. 89.
Richard White, On Holidays: A History of Getting
Away in Australia, Melbourne, Pluto Press
Australia, 2005, p. 118.
10 White, On Holidays, p. 121.
11 White, On Holidays, p. 121.
12 Clive Forster, Australian Cities: Continuity and
Change, 2nd edition, South Melbourne, Victoria,
and New York, Oxford University Press, 1999,
p. 18.
13 Harris, Kerr, Forster & Co. and Stanton Robbins &
Co., Inc., Australias Travel and Tourist Industry
1965, Melbourne, Australian National Travel
Association, 1966, p. 14.
14 Harris, Kerr, Forster & Co. and Stanton Robbins &
Co., Inc., Australias Travel and Tourist Industry
1965, pp. 17172.
15 Peter Spearritt, State of Play: 100 Years of
Tourism in New South Wales 19052005,
Sydney, Tourism New South Wales, 2005, p. 44.
16 See, for example, Harris, Kerr, Forster & Co, and
Stanton Robbins & Co., Inc., Australias Travel and
Tourist Industry 1965, pp. 151, 189.
17 Peter Spearritt, Sydney since the Twenties,
Sydney, Hale & Iremonger, 1978, p. 252.
18 Phillip M ONeill and Pauline McGuirk,
Reconfiguring the CBD: Work and Discourses of
Design in Sydneys Office Space, Urban Studies,
vol. 40, no. 9, 2003, p. 1756.
19 Jim Davidson and Peter Spearritt, Holiday
Business: Tourism in Australia since 1870,
Carlton, Victoria, Miegunyah Press, 2000, p. 115.
20 Davidson and Spearritt, Holiday Business, p. 115.
21 Interior Decoration: A New Art All Too Often

Neglected by Australian Caterers, Hotel and Cafe

News, August 1946, p. 14.
22 The Qantas Corroboree Room, Hotel and Cafe
News, September 1954, p. 13; Accent on
Designer, Hotel, Motel and Restaurant, February
1967, p. 19; The Australian Colour Revolution,
Hotel and Cafe News, November 1953, pp. 1920.
23 While private design classes were available in
Sydney, such as those offered by artist Thea
Proctor, interior designers including Marion Hall
Best and Margaret Lord had to seek specialist
instruction abroad: see Peter McNeil, Decorating
the Home: Australian Interior Decoration Between
the Wars, Art and Australia, Summer 1995,
pp. 22231.
24 Carol A Morrow, Women and Modernity in
Interior Design: A Legacy of Design in Sydney,
Australia from the 1920s to the 1960s, PhD
Thesis, University of New South Wales, 2005,
pp. 27273.
25 With respect to Sydney, articles were published
on Kings Cross, Circular Quay, the Sydney Opera
House and dining out in Sydney: see Kenneth
Neville, Kings Cross Was So Different,
Walkabout, April 1960, pp. 1215; Sir Charles
Moses, Sydneys Opera House, Walkabout,
August 1961, pp. 2830; Mare Carter, Dining Out
Sydney Style, Walkabout, July 1962, pp. 3234.
26 See Mare Carter, The Gold Coast: Mecca for
Holiday Makers, Walkabout, June 1963,
pp. 1013.
27 Nan Hutton, The Pleasures of Shopping,
Walkabout, December 1963, pp. 5457.
28 Editorial, Hotel and Cafe News, June 1946, p. 3.
29 See, for instance, Roland Hill, Did You Ever See a
Dream Working? A Prestige Proposition from
Puerto Rico, Hotel and Cafe News, July 1950,
p. 19; Conrad Hilton: Collector of Hotels, Hotel
and Cafe News, September 1955, pp. 1819, 25;
Trends in American Hotel Design, Hotel and Cafe
News, February 1956, pp. 25, 39; Hilton Hotels
Will Bring Prosperity Here, Hotel and Cafe News,
April 1957, pp. 1617, 29.
30 The Liquor (Amendment) Act of 1954 meant that
from 1 February 1955, restaurants could sell liquor
with meals between 9 am and midnight, and
licenced bars could remain open until 10 pm.
31 See, for instance, Open Air Attack: A Plea for
Fresh Ventures in Pastures New!, Hotel and Cafe
News, January 1951, pp. 33, 44; The
Accommodation Problem in Different Types of
Hotels, Hotel and Cafe News, April 1951,
pp. 2829, 31; Australians Like to Eat and Drink


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Outdoors, Hotel and Cafe News, January 1954,

pp. 1011.
Money on the Roadside, Hotel and Cafe News,
May 1953, pp. 1415, 30.
Australia Goes Chinese, Hotel and Cafe News,
February 1952, pp. 1213, 15; Mysterious East Is
Here, Hotel and Cafe News, January 1959,
pp. 1213.

2 t h e C h a n g i n g fa c e o f t r av e l :
T h e m o d e r n to u r i st o f f i c e

l e i s u r e s pa c e

Gordon Andrews, Gordon Andrews: A Designers

Life, Sydney, New South Wales University Press,
1993, p. 115.
This growth rate continued until 1970: see John
Richardson, A History of Australian Travel and
Tourism, Melbourne, Hospitality Press, 1999, p. 130.
Jim Davidson and Peter Spearritt, Holiday
Business: Tourism in Australia since 1870,
Carlton, Victoria, Melbourne University Press,
2000, p. 60.
Davidson and Spearritt, Holiday Business, p. 65
Intelligence Department (19051908), Immigration
and Tourist Bureau (19081919), http://
Intelligence Department (19051908), Immigration
and Tourist Bureau (19081919), http://
Davidson and Spearritt, Holiday Business, p. 74.
Peter Spearritt, State of Play: 100 Years of
Tourism in New South Wales 19052005,
Sydney, Tourism New South Wales, 2005, p. 20.
Davidson and Spearritt, Holiday Business, p. 89.
10 Richard White, On Holidays: A History of Getting
Away in Australia, Melbourne, Pluto Press
Australia, 2005, pp. 12129.
11 White, On Holidays, pp. 12939.
12 White, On Holidays, p. 133.
13 White, On Holidays, p. 140.
14 Tourist Trade, Canberra Times, 2 May 1929, p. 4.
15 Chuck Y Gee and Matt Lurie (eds), The Story of the
Pacific Asia Travel Association, San Francisco,
Pacific Asia Travel Association, 2001, p. 26.
16 Richardson, A History of Australian Travel and
Tourism, p. 153.
17 Spearritt, State of Play, p. 42.
18 Richardson, A History of Australian Travel and
Tourism, p. 153.
19 Richardson, A History of Australian Travel and
Tourism, p. 153.
20 Richardson, A History of Australian Travel and
Tourism, pp. 12930.
21 Richardson, A History of Australian Travel and

Tourism, p. 134.
22 Walkabout, March 1935, p. 9.
23 Travel, Walkabout, March 1935, p. 9.
24 Royal Dutch Airline Offices, Architectural Record,
March 1948, pp. 97101.
25 Clive Carney, Impact of Design, Sydney, Lawson
Press, 1959, np.
26 Air-India: A Soupon of India in New York,
Interiors, September 1960, p. 153.
27 Symmetry of Angles and Curves, Interiors,
November 1962, pp. 12024.
28 The Matson Line: New Booking Office, Berger
House, Elizabeth Street, Sydney, Building:
Lighting: Engineering, April 1956, p. 27.
29 Airways Booking Office, Architecture and Arts,
July 1956, p. 26.
30 Sir William Oliver Opens B.O.A.C. House:
Dramatic Sydney Building Operation, Building:
Lighting: Engineering, July 1963, p. 19.
31 Andrews, Gordon Andrews, p. 115.
32 The Matson Line, p. 27.
33 Andrews, Gordon Andrews, p. 121.
34 Shipping Offices, Sydney, N.S.W., Architecture
in Australia, JulySeptember 1956, p. 43.
35 See Andrew Metcalf, Anzac House and Liner
House, Sydney in Jennifer Taylor (ed), Tall
Buildings: Australian Business Going Up 1945
70, Sydney, Fine Art Publishing, 2001, pp. 15556.
36 Liner House, Architecture in Australia, December
1960, pp. 6974.
37 Andrews, Gordon Andrews, p. 66.
38 Andrews, Gordon Andrews, p. 118.
39 Tourist Bureau for the New Zealand Government,
Architecture in Australia, March 1966,
pp. 12426.

D o u b l e m o d e r n i t y: T h e f i r s t
i n t e r n at i o n a l h o t e l s

For Annabel Jane Wharton, the Caribe Hilton was

the prototype for other first-generation Hilton
hotels including the Beverley Hilton (1953), and
the Istanbul Hilton (1955): see Annabel Jane
Wharton, Building the Cold War: Hilton
International Hotels and Modern Architecture,
Chicago, University of Chicago Press, 2001, p. 189.
Wharton also acknowledges the El Panama Hotel
in Panama City (1951) and the Statler Center in Los
Angeles (1952) as other important prototypes for
future international class hotels.
According to the Architectural Forum, space
within the Caribe Hilton was spread horizontally,
not shot away in lofty high ceilinged spaces for
the conventionally impressionable. The impression

is of broad, windswept porches built expansively

for the true luxury of use. The only high room is
the sumptuous gambling casino.: Spectacular
Luxury in the Caribbean the Caribe Hilton Hotel
at San Juan, Puerto Rico, Architectural Forum,
March 1950, p. 98.
Sydneys Glamor Hotel, Australian Womens
Weekly, 12 October 1960, p. 3; First Stage of
Biggest Hotel Opened, Sydney Morning Herald,
20 September 1960, p. 27.
4 Advertisement, Australian Womens Weekly,
28 September 1960, p. 30.
See To Make Sydney Pacific Playground,
Northern Star, 25 February 1946, p. 1. The
announcement explained, The money will not be
sent to Australia direct, but will be placed to the
credit of Australian trade in America, enabling this
country to purchase 50 million pounds worth of
goods from America.
Designs for Sydneys New Luxury Hotels,
Morning Bulletin, 10 September 1946, p. 10.
State Plans to Aid Tourist Trade, Sydney Morning
Herald, 24 March 1949, p. 4.
N.S.W. Needs Holiday Resorts for 1 Million
People, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 April 1949,
p. 2.
N.S.W. Needs Holiday Resorts for 1 Million
People, p. 2.
10 See Otto Hellwig, The Hotel of To-morrow, Hotel
and Cafe News, November 1951, pp. 23, 25. The
exhibition was held at David Jones Art Gallery
from 1324 August 1951. Included in the
exhibition was a student scheme for a new opera
house at Fort Macquarie.
11 Hellwig, The Hotel of To-morrow, p. 25.
12 Kenneth W McDonald, We CAN Build Luxury
Hotels and Make Them Pay, Argus, 7 January
1953, p. 2.
13 McDonald, We CAN Build Luxury Hotels and
Make Them Pay, p. 2. McDonald referred to the
opinions of local hotel men who, he quotes,
insisted that it was economically impossible to
make an adequate return on a modern residential
hotel built at anything like present-day building
14 This arrangement was that hotels were built using
local finance and construction, with Hilton
assuming the management and running of hotel
operations, banking about one third of the
operating profits.
15 See Column 8, Sydney Morning Herald, 31 May
1950, p. 1. At this time the Intercontinental Hotels
Corporation also had an interest in the possibility


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future Chevron hotels. Reportedly, the design for

the Sydney Chevron was a collaboration between
Crone and David Brunton, a senior associate
within the newly formed firm of Donald Crone &
Associates. Their initial scheme consisted of two
blocks placed at right angles to each other, one
12 storeys high, the other 20. Articles on the latter
scheme include Preview 1960, Architecture and
Arts, March 1960, pp. 4041; Chevron Hotel,
Sydney, to be Australias Tallest Structure,
Building: Lighting: Engineering, March 1960,
pp. 36, 55; and Chevron Tourist Centre, Hotel
and Cafe News, May 1960, pp. 1415.
31 By late 1959, Chevron Sydney Ltd, the entity
created to deliver the project, had acquired
sufficient land within the Potts Point block for the
hotel development. Approval for the tower was
granted by the Chief Secretarys Department on
the recommendation of the Height of Buildings
Advisory Committee in February 1960: see Tallest
Aust. Hotel, Sydney Morning Herald, 25 February
1960, p. 5.
32 The connection between the ChevronHilton and
the Pittsburgh Hilton extended to the fact that the
person in charge of Hilton operations in Australia
and New Zealand in 1960, H Alexander
MacLennan, vice-president of Hilton Hotels
International, was central to the planning and
development of the Pittsburgh Hilton, opened in
December 1959: see New Dimension in Hotels,
Hotel and Cafe News, October 1960, p. 12.
33 Mr. Hilton Comes to Kings Cross, Sydney (Daily)
Telegraph, 5 April 1960, p. 1.
34 New Dimension in Hotels, p. 15.
35 New Dimension in Hotels, p. 15.
36 Wharton, Building the Cold War, pp. 45.
37 Wharton, Building the Cold War, p. 4.
38 Conrad Hilton used a silver spade to turn the first
sod of each of his new hotels, an act that inspired
the title of his biography, The Silver Spade,
published by Farrar, Straus & Young in 1954.
39 A New Dimension in Hotels, Australian
Architecture Today, September 1960, p. 25.
40 Advertisement, Hotel and Cafe News, October
1960, p. 18; see also Kafka Furniture Designer,
Hotel, Motel and Restaurant, March 1962,
pp. 51, 53.
41 Hilton, Chevron Cancel Agreement, Sydney
Morning Herald, 10 March 1961, p. 4.
42 Hilton, Chevron Cancel Agreement, p. 4.
43 Chevron Sydney Ltd was part of the Stanhill
Chevron group of companies.
44 In subsequent years plans were drawn for the





completion of the site as a larger hotel and

convention complex, firstly in 1964 by Neville
Gruzman for a joint SydneyHong Kong syndicate
of developers and, secondly, in 1969, by Donald
Crone & Associates for Whitehouse Properties Pty
Ltd, owners and operators of the Chevron hotel
since 1966. Neither of these came to pass and the
large excavated site that had been prepared for
the 1962 Chevron tower remained, at some point
used as a makeshift car park until the construction
of the Rockwell Gardens apartments in the late
1990s. In 1985 the Nikko corporation purchased
the Chevron hotel, and after plans for an extensive
renovation were abandoned, the hotel was
demolished to make way for the five-star Hotel
Nikko Sydney, opened in September 1990. In 1995
the Nikko became the Landmark Parkroyal, and
between 2002 and 2004 the building was
converted by Mirvac into the Ikon apartments,
which stand today.
See Federal Hotels Go to Sydney, Argus, 30 April
1955, p. 19.
Melbournes New Menzies, Hotel and Cafe
News, June 1960, p. 24.
Menzies Sydney Hotel, Building: Lighting:
Engineering, October 1963, p. 48.
Menzies Sydney Hotel, p. 54. The hotels
atmosphere of quiet elegance was described in a
feature article published in the Sydney Morning
Herald at the time of its opening: see Menzies
Hotel Completes Wynyard Centre, Sydney
Morning Herald, 15 October 1963, p. 23.
Also in 1966 the Fjord Room was created within
the Menzies. This room-restaurant had a
Norwegian theme; its walls were decorated with
large colour photographs of fjords and tiled
mosaics displaying the coats-of-arms of
Norwegian towns. The centrepiece of the room
was a replica of a Viking ship upon which the
smorgasbord was served: see Its a Little Bit of
Norway in Sydney, Building: Lighting:
Engineering, August 1966, pp. 1819.
Menzies Facade is Impressive, Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant, November 1963, p. 12.
Menzies Sydney: A Mammoth Designing Job,
Building: Lighting: Engineering, October 1963,
p. 64.
The land purchase included the William Wardell
designed Union Club on Bligh Street, which was
sold on the condition that Qantas help finance the
construction of new club premises on Bent Street.
Cabinet Approves 5m Qantas Hotel in Sydney,
Sydney Morning Herald, 8 August 1961, p. 1.

N otes

of developing tourist hotels in Australia: see Hotel

Plans for Australia, Townsville Daily Bulletin,
6 November 1950, p. 5.
16 Operation Sea-Bird Beats Hilton, Hotel and Cafe
News, April 1956, p. 12.
17 Operation Sea-Bird Beats Hilton, p. 12.
18 We Still Have a Chance, Argus, 15 June 1956,
p. 3; Hiltons Outline their Sydney Hotel Ideas,
Sydney Morning Herald, 21 August 1956, p. 2.
19 Opposition to Hilton Hotel Plan, Sydney Morning
Herald, 26 March 1958, p. 7.
20 Opposition to Hilton Hotel Plan, p. 7.
21 Editorial, Hotel and Cafe News, April 1956,
p. 11; Trends in American Hotel Design, Hotel
and Cafe News, February 1956, pp. 25, 39; What
Tourists Will Expect, Hotel and Cafe News, April
1959, pp. 35, 48; Frank Leskovec, Pleased People
Build High Class Business, Hotel and Cafe News,
July 1959, pp. 1011, 41.
22 Modern Hotel Rex Has Many New Innovations,
Hotel and Cafe News, March 1953, pp. 1416;
Notable New Features in Hotel Rex, Sydney
Morning Herald, 9 June 1953, p. 11.
23 See Theyre Building a House, Hotel and Cafe
News, May 1956, p. 45. A month later, a report
told of the cost being 1 million for a 14-storey,
L-shaped glass hotel building on the same site:
see Theyre Building a House, Hotel and Cafe
News, June 1956, p. 41.
24 The back wing would span the existing Cairo
hotel. Press coverage included Sydneys New
Hotel International, Architecture and Arts,
October 1956, p. 21; Hotel International,
Building: Lighting: Engineering, November 1956,
pp. 2425; 14-storey Luxury Hotel Planned for
Kings Cross, Sydney Morning Herald,
4 December 1956, p. 9.
25 Sydney City Councils Works Committee granted
permission for the hotel to rise to 150 feet, 50 feet
higher than the current height limit for the area.
26 Hotel International Super Luxury Ideas, Hotel and
Cafe News, July 1958, p. 37; see also Hotel
International, Building: Lighting: Engineering,
February 1958, pp. 4243.
27 Hotel International Super Luxury Ideas, p. 15.
28 See Trevor Sykes, Two Centuries of Panic:
A History of Corporate Collapses in Australia,
Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 1988, pp. 32558.
29 Sykes, Two Centuries of Panic, p. 339.
30 While employed in the Melbourne office of
Stephenson & Turner, Donald Crone was
approached in May 1959 to work on Kormans
Potts Point project as well as a number of other


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l e i s u r e s pa c e


In the area of hotel architecture SOM had

designed the Cincinnati Terrace Plaza Hotel,
opened in 1948, and had been the architects for
the Istanbul Hilton. In 1950 they were
commissioned to lead the design of a Hilton hotel
for Rome before a group of Italian architects were
awarded the project.
See Philip Goad, SOM and Australia: Architectural
Connections and Collaborations in Miles Lewis
(ed.), The Pacific Connection: Travel, Trade and
Technology Transfer, proceedings of a seminar
held at the University of Melbourne, February
2009, p. 206.
In the late 1950s the Intercontinental Hotels
Corporation also planned to build first-class hotels
in Sydney and Auckland: see 4m. Hotel for
Sydney, Sydney Morning Herald, 6 February
1957, p. 6.
William Laurie, of Laurie & Heath, had undertaken
a study of the Royal Hotel in Copenhagen,
presented in an unpublished report in February
Qantas Plans New 4m. Sydney Hotel: Change in
Design, Canberra Times, 6 October 1962, p. 16.
Curved Facade a Logical Plan, Sydney Morning
Herald, 31 March 1967, p. 13. Jack Rodgers, a
partner within SOM and project director for the
job, stated, In fact, brick is the oldest permanent
building material known, but we thought an
aluminium and glass curtain wall, or one of
precast concrete, unsympathetic as an enduring
expression for a residential building of distinction.
The awning was fabricated by Ralph Symonds Ltd
within their factory at Homebush Bay: see
Wentworth has Only One Copper Awning,
Building: Lighting: Engineering, October 1966,
pp. 56.
Wentworth Hotel, Architecture in Australia,
June 1968, p. 458.
Australian Themes in All Rooms, Sydney
Morning Herald, 31 March 1967, p. 14.
Australian Themes in All Rooms, p. 14.
Australian Themes in All Rooms, p. 14.
Bold Design Wins Fame for New Wentworth,
Building: Lighting: Engineering, March 1967,
p. 28.
Australian Themes in All Rooms, p. 14.
Enchanting Elegance of the Garden Court, Hotel,
Motel and Restaurant, February 1967, p. 21.
In 1953 the Tudor Room of the old Wentworth
Hotel on Lang Street was remodelled as the
Corroboree Room, described as having an
Australian atmosphere due to a bold







Corroboree mural curtain on one wall and two

original watercolours painted by Aboriginal artists
in strong bright colours on the other: Australian
Atmosphere in Design of Hotel Dining Room,
Sydney Morning Herald, 28 July 1953, p. 8.
Qantass foreign offices also featured Corroboree
Rooms, intended as places of contact between
fellow nationals.
Sydneys New International Hotel, Hotel, Motel
and Restaurant, February 1967, p. 19.
Sydneys New International Hotel, p. 19.
Sydneys New International Hotel, p. 19.
The two other designers, also with SOM, were
Margo Grant and Marjorie Herndon: see Architect
Needs a Team of Designers, Building: Lighting:
Engineering, December 1966, p. 13.
Project Cost $11 Million, Sydney Morning
Herald, 31 March 1967, p. 13.
George Gordon Fuller, A Design System Applied to
International Terminal Hotels in Australia: with
Emphasis on Capital City Requirements, Masters
of Architecture Thesis, University of New South
Wales, 1966.
See Bill Tablers Hotel Boom, Architectural
Forum, July 1957, pp. 11421. For a discussion of
Tabler, his design formulae and connection to the
Statler and Hilton hotel corporations see Wharton,
Building the Cold War, pp. 18285.
The Hilton Gets Ready for a Quiet Opening,
Sydney Morning Herald, 4 February 1975, p. 7.
M o t e l s : t h e u lt r a m o d e r n

The West End Motel in Ballina in Northern New

South Wales, as featured in Australian Motels
Are on the Way, Hotel and Cafe News, December
1953, p. 14.
John A Jakle, Keith A Sculle and Jefferson
S Rogers, The Motel in America, Baltimore,
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1996, p. 18.
Geoffrey Baker and Bruno Funaro, Motels, New
York, Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1955; see
also Henry End, Interiors Book of Hotels and
Motor Hotels, New York, Whitney Library of
Design, 1963.
Architectural Record, Motels, Hotels, Restaurants
and Bars, 2nd edition, New York, FW Dodge
Corporation, 1960, pp. 9497, 126.
Robin Boyd designed the Black Dolphin, opened in
Merimbula in 1960, and the John Batman Motor
Inn, Melbourne, opened in 1962; the State Library
of Victoria holds drawings by Guilford Bell for a

motel in the coastal town of Narooma in New

South Wales from 1961; Dr Enrico Taglietti
designed the Town House Motel and Motel Adam
in Canberra, opened in 1962 and 1966
respectively; and the Town House Motel in Wagga
Wagga opened in 1963. The Harry Seidler
Collection, Mitchell Library, Sydney, includes
drawings for A proposed motel for 48 Bayswater
Road, Kings Cross, dated 1959.
See, for example, Henry Divola, An All-Australian
Motel, Hotel and Cafe News, November 1953,
pp. 1617, 27; JH Bryant, Planning a Motel? Here
Are Some Pointers, Building: Lighting:
Engineering, November 1966, pp. 47; and J
Bryant, Dont Build on Quicksand, Hotel, Motel
and Restaurant, August 1968, pp. 2021.
Notably Jim Davidson and Peter Spearritt, Holiday
Business: Tourism in Australia since 1870,
Carlton, Victoria, Miegunyah Press, 2000; Graeme
Davison with Sheryl Yelland, Car Wars: How the
Car Won Our Hearts and Conquered Our Cities,
Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 2004; Richard White, On
Holidays: A History Of Getting Away in Australia,
Melbourne, Pluto Press Australia, 2005; see also
John I Richardson, A History of Australian Travel
and Tourism, Elsternwick, Victoria, Hospitality
Press, 1999.
Simon Reeves, Motels in Philip Goad and Julie
Willis (eds), The Encyclopedia of Australian
Architecture, Port Melbourne, Victoria, Cambridge
University Press, 2012, p. 473; see also Simon
Reeves, Australias First Motels, Australian
Motel Owners Journal, vol. 10, no. 2, 2009,
pp. 1115 and Australias Early Motel Boom,
Australian Motel Owners Journal, vol. 11, no. 1,
2010, pp. 1520.
Reeves, Motels, pp. 47374; Motel Means
Quality, Hotel, Motel and Restaurant, March
1961, p. 12.
10 Motel Industry to Celebrate Coming of Age,
Western Advocate, 11 June 1975, p. 17.
11 Bathurst Leads the Field with Motel, Western
Times, 11 February 1954, p. 1. My thanks to the
Bathurst Historical Society for this and the
Western Advocate reference.
12 Motel Industry to Celebrate Coming of Age, p. 17.
The identity of the Melbourne firm could not be
13 Jakle, Sculle and Rogers, The Motel in America,
p. 43.
14 Bathurst Lead the Field with Motel, p. 1.
15 Davison, Car Wars, p. 99.
16 Gleanings, The Biz, 18 August 1954, p. 3.


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Theres Money in Motels, Hotel and Cafe News,

September 1955, pp. 1617.
18 Sydney Morning Herald, 26 April 1955, p. 5.
19 Sydney Morning Herald, 26 April 1955, p. 5.
20 Motel Industry to Celebrate Coming of Age, p. 17.
The syndicate traded under the name of Cosy
Cabins Pty Ltd: Bathurst Leads the Field with
Motel, p. 1.
21 Robin Boyd, The Australian Ugliness, Melbourne,
FW Cheshire, 1960, pp. 62, 63.
22 Charles Pickett, in correspondence with Judith
OCallaghan, 4 June 2013.
23 Among the numerous achievements of his later
career, Professor David Yencken AO established
the successful project building firm Merchant
Builders with John Ridge in the 1960s.
24 David Yencken, A Tale of Two Motels: The
Setting, the Architecture and the Architects,
Melbourne, Future Leaders (forthcoming).
25 David Yencken, interview with Judith OCallaghan,
11 April 2013.
26 Former Mitchell Valley Motel, Victorian Heritage
Database <vhd.heritage.vic.gov.au>. The motel
was demolished in 2008.
27 Motel, Architecture and Arts, October 1959,
p. 65.
28 Other investors included John Ridge, Yenckens
partner in Merchant Builders.
29 Yencken, A Tale of Two Motels.
30 David Yencken, interview with Judith OCallaghan,
11 April 2013.
31 Yencken, A Tale of Two Motels.
32 The Ten Best Buildings and Houses for 196061,
Architecture and Arts, October 1961, pp. 2526.
33 Motel Federation of Australia, Motel Guide for
Australia, Crows Nest, NSW, Australian Motel
Magazine Company, 1961. It should be noted that
the listings change according to the source,
whether it be this publication or the
accommodation directories of the RACV or the
NRMA. The Motel Guide only listed registered
members of the Motel Federation of Australia.
34 Motels Threaten the End of the Country Pub,
Sydney Morning Herald, 10 March 1960, p. 2.
35 Motel Guide for Australia, 1958, pp. 1417 and
Motel Guide for Australia, 1961, pp. 1322.
36 Randwick (City) Motel, Hotel and Cafe News,
July 1960, p. 27.
37 Terminal Resort or Transit?, Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant, June 1961, p. 27.
38 Why, You Can Get a Room With Bath in Central
Africa!, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 May 1955,
p. 2.




Rex Motel Chain, Hotel, Motel and Restaurant,

July 1961, p. 14.
Rex Motel Chain, p. 14. But see also Baker and
Funaro, Motels, p. 6. It discusses the results of an
American Hotel Association survey which showed
that Too many Americans and especially women
hesitate about going to hotels because it is a
strange and different world They are afraid of
not knowing the right thing to do, the way to act,
how to tip, what to say, and what not to say to the
various employees.
New Chain of Motels, Architecture and Arts,
October 1957, p. 11.
Astor H.M. 3m Expansion, Sydney Morning
Herald, 15 April 1961, p. 8.
Astor Motel at Wagga, Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant, January 1962, p. 21.
New 500,000 City Hotel Motel, Sydney Morning
Herald, 12 February 1963, p. 17.
Astors Loo Terminal, Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant, February 1963, p. 21.
Luxury Hotel Motel at Sydneys Gateway,
Building: Lighting: Engineering, March 1963,
p. 72.
See, for example, Astors Loo Terminal, p. 21.
Astors Loo Terminal, pp. 21, 39. All subsequent
quoted descriptions of the Astor are from this
source unless otherwise indicated.
Advertisement for the Astor Woolloomooloo,
Sydney Morning Herald, 12 February 1963, p. 17.
400 Guests Attend Rushcutter At Home,
Via TraveLodge, October 1962, p. 1.
Ice Water Piped to 89 Units in Luxury New Sydney
Motel, Travel, MarchApril 1962, p. 12.
Annual Report 1962 and Annual Report 1966,
Motels of Australia Ltd. The original connection
with the American chain of the same name is
unclear, but Alan Greenway, who was the director
of Motels of Australia, led the consortium that
took over American Travelodge in 1968: see
Richardson, A History of Australian Travel and
Tourism, pp. 21819; Jakle, Sculle and Rogers,
The Motel in America, pp. 15659.
Rushcutter Travelodge, Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant, April 1962, p. 13.
Bryant, Planning a Motel?, p. 4.
Travelodge Motel at Rushcutters Bay, Sydney,
Building: Lighting: Engineering, February 1962,
p. 111.
Key Word Is Modern, Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant, November 1962, p. 10. Subsequent
quoted descriptions are from this source unless
otherwise indicated.

Key Word Is Modern, p. 10.

Advertisement for PE Kafka, Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant, March 1962, p. 53.
59 Growth and Development of the Travelodge
Corporate Image, Hotel, Motel and Restaurant,
August 1968, pp. 13, 15.
60 Kafka Custom Built Furniture, Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant, March 1963, p. 59.
61 New Travelodge Motel, Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant, May 1963, p. 11.
62 Premier Visits New Travelodge, Via Travelodge,
April 1967, p. 3.
63 Sydneys Most Magnificent All-round View,
Building: Lighting: Engineering, December 1966,
p. 70.
64 Premier Visits New Travelodge, p. 3; Top of the
Cross Looks on the Stars, Via Travelodge, April
1967, p. 8.
65 Five motels are listed in the Motel Federation of
Australias Official Directory 196869, pp. 4647.
Motels of Australias Via Travelodge, vol. 5, no. 3,
1968, p. 7, lists an additional two.
66 World Standard Is Set for Gazebo Motor Inn,
Sydney Morning Herald, 20 May 1969, p. 23.
67 World Standard Is Set for Gazebo Motor Inn,
p. 23.
68 Circular Tower Is Landmark at Kings Cross,
Sydney Morning Herald, 20 May 1969, p. 21.
The Fischer Group was owned by Syd Fischers
Australian Development Corporation Pty Ltd.
69 Gazebo Motor Hotel, Constructional Review,
June 1969, p. 30.
70 Australias Largest Motel, Building: Lighting:
Engineering, May 1965, p. 38.
71 Ted Moloney, Rehearsals for a New Motel,
Sun-Herald, 27 April 1969, p. 99.
72 Gazebo-Gazing, Sydney Morning Herald
(Womens Section), 1 May 1969, p. 6.
73 Norman Edwards, Kings Cross Landmark an
Appeal to the Emotions, Sydney Morning
Herald, 29 April 1969, p. 17.
74 Leslie Walford, Our Town, Sun-Herald, 11 May
1969, p. 118.
75 Reeves, Motels, p. 474.
76 Walford, Our Town, p. 118.

S k y- h i g h a m b i t i o n s : S y d n e y s
r e s ta u r a n t s

Beat Kmin, Eating Out Before the Restaurant:

Dining Cultures in Early-modern Inns in Marc
Jacobs and Peter Scholliers (eds), Eating Out in
Europe: Picnics, Gourmet Dining, and Snacks

N otes



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l e i s u r e s pa c e

since the Late Eighteenth Century, Oxford, Berg,

2003, p. 71.
Ivan Barko, The French in Sydney, Sydney
Journal, June 2008, p. 63.
Michael Symons, One Continuous Picnic:
A History of Eating in Australia, Adelaide, Duck
Press, 1982, p. 112.
4 Symons, One Continuous Picnic, p. 113.
David Bell and Gill Valentine, Consuming
Geographies: We Are Where We Eat, London and
New York, Routledge, 1997, p. 140.
Romantic History of Sydneys Restaurants, Hotel
and Cafe News, January 1956, p. 21.
There are a number of images (H Edwin Moore
1893) of the interior held in the Mitchell Library
NSW collection.
8 Symons, One Continuous Picnic, p. 124.
Cathy Banwell, Jane Dixon, Dorothy Broom and
Anna Davies, Habits of a Lifetime: Family Dining
Patterns over the Life Course of Older Australians,
Health Sociology Review, vol. 13, no. 3, 2010,
p. 349.
10 Symons, One Continuous Picnic, p. 145.
11 Adam Jamrozik, Cathy Boland and Robert
Urquhart, Social Change and Cultural
Transformation in Australia, Cambridge,
Cambridge University Press, 1995, p. 165.
12 Michelle Arrow, Friday on Our Minds: Popular
Culture in Australia since 1945, Sydney, UNSW
Press, 2009, p. 77. Sitting between the pub and
fine-dining experience were the cafeterias of the
large department stores such as David Jones and
Anthony Hordens. Many of these venues pre-date
the period in question in this chapter, or, owing to
their daytime and cafeteria nature, fall outside
the scope of restaurants as considered here.
13 Tanja Luckins, Gentrification and Cosmopolitan
Leisure in Inner-Urban Melbourne, Australia,
1960s1970s, Urban Policy and Research,
September 2009, p. 270.
14 Tanja Luckins, Flavoursome Scraps of
Conversation: Talking and Hearing the
Cosmopolitan City, 1900s1960s, History
Australia, vol. 7, no. 2, 2010, p. 31.5.
15 Luckins, Flavoursome Scraps of Conversation,
p. 31.5, and Banwell et al., Habits of a Lifetime,
pp. 34950.
16 Adel den Hartog, Technological Innovations and
Eating Out as a Mass Phenomenon in Europe: A
Preamble in Jacobs and Scholliers (eds), Eating
Out in Europe, p. 263; and Lydia Martens and Alan
Warde, Urban Pleasure? On the Meaning of
Eating Out in a Northern City in Pat Caplan (ed),

Food, Health and Identity, London, Routledge,

1997, p. 131.
17 Joanne Finkelstein, Dining Out: A Sociology of
Modern Manners, Cambridge, Polity Press, 1989,
p. 2.
18 Andrew Hurley, From Hash House to Family
Restaurant: The Transformation of the Diner and
Post-World War II Consumer Culture, Journal of
American History, March 1997, p. 1306; Diane
Kirkby, From Wharfie Haunt to Foodie Haven:
Modernity and Law in the Transformation of the
Australian Working-Class Pub, Food, Culture and
Society, March 2008, p. 38; and Luckins,
Gentrification and Cosmopolitan Leisure in InnerUrban Melbourne, Australia, 1960s1970s,
p. 270.
19 Kirkby, From Wharfie Haunt to Foodie Haven,
p. 31.
20 Selwyn Parker, Cook Climbs to the Summit,
Sydney Morning Herald, 13 February 1973, p. 7.
21 Zachary Neal, Culinary Deserts, Gastronomic
Oases: A Classification of US Cities, Urban
Studies, January 2006, p. 1; and Patrick Mullins et
al., Cities and Consumption Space, Urban Affairs
Review, September 1999, p. 45.
22 Finkelstein, Dining Out, p. 28.
23 Finkelstein, Dining Out, p. 28.
24 Finkelstein, Dining Out, p. 29.
25 Erica Worsoe, Interior Design: Vital Part of Your
Business, Hotel, Motel and Restaurant, June
1968, p. 9.
26 Hotels and Restaurants Are Selling Atmosphere,
Hotel, Motel and Restaurant, May 1971, p. 5.
27 Hotels and Restaurants Are Selling Atmosphere,
p. 5.
28 A Complete World of Restaurants Roselands,
Hotel, Motel and Restaurant, January 1966, p. 8.
29 Falling outside of the two restaurant types
discussed above is one that Finkelstein labelled as
convenience. These ranged from cafes which had
an emphasis on food service through to Europeanstyle restaurants in Kings Cross or the city. In
addition, there were the sit-downs that sprang up
in the 1960s, aimed at the lunchtime crowds of
city office workers. While this category could
provide interesting anecdotes and social
narratives of everyday Sydney, it poses numerous
challenges in terms of design history as a result of
an absence of primary source material the
majority of these establishments did not use the
services of professional designers and hence
does not fall within the particular scope of this

Cleveland Moffett, Mid-air Dining Clubs, Century

Magazine, September 1901, p. 644.
31 Meir Wigoder, The Solar Eye of Vision:
Emergence of the Skyscraper-viewer in the
Discourse on Heights in New York City, 1890
1920, Journal of the Society of Architectural
Historians, June 2002, p. 165.
32 Caprice Restaurant, Rose Bay, Sydney: Enjoying
the Beauty of the Harbour, Building: Lighting:
Engineering, May 1959, p. 39.
33 Caprice Restaurant, Rose Bay, Sydney, p. 39.
34 John Pringle, Australia Accent, London, Chatto &
Windus, 1965, p. 197.
35 Your Decor Should Carry Out a Theme, Hotel and
Cafe News, August 1955, p. 14.
36 Open Air Attack: A Plea for Fresh Ventures in
Pastures New!, Hotel and Cafe News, January
1951, p. 44.
37 A Dining Room with a View, Hotel and Cafe
News, May 1955, p. 18.
38 Chad Randl, Revolving Architecture: A History of
Buildings that Rotate, Swivel, and Pivot, New
York, Princeton Architectural Press, 2008, p. 128.
39 Norman Bel Geddes, Horizons, Boston, Little,
Brown & Company, 1932, p. 158.
40 Kevin Meethan, Consuming (in) the Civilized City,
Annals of Tourism Research, vol. 23, no. 2, 1996,
p. 104.
41 Garrick Middleton, Designing in the Round,
Business Review, November 1969, p. 8.
42 Designing in the Round, p. 9.
43 Oliver Shaul Personality Profile, Hotel, Motel
and Restaurant, February 1968, p. 13.
44 Summit, Hotel, Motel and Restaurant, February
1968, p. 3.
45 Dining 47 Floors Up, Age, 4 October 1967, p. 13.
46 Summit, p. 11.
47 Neil Leiper, Tourism Management, 2nd edition,
Sydney, Pearson Education, 2003, p. 207.
48 Parker, Cook Climbs to the Summit, p. 7.
49 Oliver Shaul, p. 13.
50 The fringe benefits tax was levied on salary extras
such as free or heavily subsidised lunches. As this
was payable by the employer, it effectively
signalled the death of the business lunch.
51 Leiper, Tourism Management, p. 208.
52 Rosario Scarpato, Gastronomy as a Tourist
Product: The Perspective of Gastronomy Studies
in Anne-Mette Hjalager and Greg Richards (eds),
Tourism and Gastronomy, London, Routledge,
2002, p. 62.
53 Symons, One Continuous Picnic, p. 231.
54 Summit, p. 3.


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Sydneys Seascape Luxury Restaurant, Hotel and

Cafe News, December 1956, p. 17.
Designing in the Round: Borkenhagen Forbes and
Associates, Design Australia, vol. 6, 1969, p. 34.
Designing in the Round, p. 34.
Borkenhagen Forbes & Associates, Project
Description Sheet for the Summit (undated),
Borkenhagen Forbes Collection, State Library of
New South Wales.
Michael Bogle, Interview with David Forbes,
2012, Borkenhagen Forbes Collection, State
Library of New South Wales.
Accent on Designer, Hotel, Motel and
Restaurant, February 1967, p. 19.
Designing in the Round, p. 33.
Accent on Designer, p. 19.
Borkenhagen Forbes & Associates, Project
Description Sheet for the Summit.
Ted Moloney, $100,000 for Facelift on the Old
Cook, Sydney Morning Herald, 8 April 1973,
p. 87; and Cook Climbs to the Summit, p. 7.
John Punter, Urban Design in Central Sydney
19452002: Laissez-Faire and Discretionary
Traditions in the Accidental City, Progress in
Planning, 63, 2005, p. 15.

6 Architecture, coffee and

c o c k ta il s



Ultra-Smart, New Cahills Opened, Hotel and

Cafe News, May 1958, pp. 1213.
Richard White, On Holidays: A History of Getting
Away in Australia, Melbourne, Pluto Press
Australia, 2005, p. 147.
Figures drawn from Wray Vamplew (ed.),
Australians, Historical Statistics, Sydney, Fairfax,
Syme & Weldon Associates, 1987.
A term developed in the early work of Everett M
Rogers: see Diffusion of Innovations, 5th edition,
New York, Free Press, 2003, p. 283 (originally
published in 1962).
Dick Pountain and David Robins, Cool Rules:
Anatomy of an Attitude, London, Reaktion Books,
2000, p. 165.
Notably, the practice of feigning boredom when
exposed to new experiences and settings:
Pountain and Robins, Cool Rules, pp. 11415.
Pountain and Robins, Cool Rules, pp. 16566.
Nicholas Brown, The Exacting Culture and Politics
of Style in the 1950s in John Murphy and Judith
Smart (eds), The Forgotten Fifties: Aspects of
Australian Society and Culture in the 1950s,
Carlton, Victoria, Melbourne University Press,
1997, p. 51.

Tania Cammarano, Espresso in 1950s Sydney. One

Drink, Two Scenes: The Introduction of Espresso
Coffee in Sydney and the Role of Italian Migrants,
MArts (Gastronomy) Thesis, University of
Adelaide, 2006.
10 Espresso Coffee for Sydney, Hotel and Cafe
News, April 1955, p. 17.
11 This is explored at length in Cammarano,
Espresso in 1950s Sydney, pp. 2627.
12 Cammarano, Espresso in 1950s Sydney,
pp. 1617.
13 Population figures drawn from Vamplew (ed),
14 Caf Scene Takes on Splash of New Colour,
Hotel and Cafe News, December 1952, pp. 2425.
15 Self-Espresso, Observer, March 1956, in Alan
Birch and DS Macmillan, The Sydney Scene,
17881960, Sydney, Hale & Iremonger, 1982,
pp. 37071; see also Cammarano, Espresso in
1950s Sydney for a broad audience profile. John
Murphy describes this 1950s generational
grouping as beatniks in Imagining the Fifties:
Private Sentiment and Political Culture in
Menzies Australia, Sydney, UNSW Press and
Pluto Press, 2000, pp. 2089.
16 Anne Coombs, Sex and Anarchy: The Life and
Death of the Sydney Push, Ringwood, Victoria,
Viking, 1996.
17 Peter Kirkpatrick, The Sea Coast of Bohemia:
Literary Life in Sydneys Roaring Twenties, St
Lucia, Queensland, University of Queensland
Press, 1992, p. 139.
18 An exhibition, Coffee Customs, curated by Nicola
Teffer in 2005 for the City of Sydney and shown at
Customs House, Circular Quay, established a
contemporary narrative for the development of
coffee shops in the city.
19 Charming Cafe Owner Enlivened East Sydney with
a Taste of Italy: Bill Chiappini, 19292008, Sydney
Morning Herald, 29 July 2008, p. 18. The date for
Caffe Sport is from Ann Reynolds, Italian Art in
Sydney, Italian Historical Society Journal,
JanuaryJune 2002, p. 8. The dating of Sydney
espresso shops is a contentious issue within the
Italian community.
20 Garry Wotherspoon reports that Repins King
Street was a popular gathering place for what he
describes as homosexually-inclined men: see
Garry Wotherspoon, City of the Plain: History of
a Gay Sub-culture, Sydney, Hale & Iremonger,
1991, p. 67.
21 Another Russian, Vadim Kerr, ran Vadims in Kings
Cross, on the site of the former Corroboree Coffee









Watkins did major work in Sydney, but to date his
career remains undocumented. He had worked for
a shopfitting firm in Canada and visited the United
States: The Australian Colour Revolution,
Hotel and Cafe News, November 1953, p. 19.
The Repin Story, Hotel and Cafe News, April
1955, p. 13. Thanks to Mr George Repin for
discussions and source material on Repins.
New Look for Repins Pitt Street Coffee Lounge,
Australasian Confectioner and Restaurant
Journal, November 1955, pp. 1015. Bissietta,
the muralist, has also been identified as a Sydney
gallery owner: see <www.printsandprintmaking.
Class Comes to the Cross, Hotel and Cafe News,
February 1956, p. 15. The customer was the actor
Chips Rafferty, who lived in a flat nearby.
The Repin Story, pp. 1215.
DWA Baker, Andronicus, John Damianos
(18941973), Australian Dictionary of Biography,
National Centre of Biography, Australian National
University <http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/
Cammarano, Espresso in 1950s Sydney, p. 24.
The House of Andronicus, Hotel and Cafe News,
July 1956, pp. 1819; see also Cammarano,
Espresso in 1950s Sydney, p. 21. A full discussion
of Andronicus is presented.
Cammarano, Espresso in 1950s Sydney, p. 21.
Kerry Regan, Cahill, Teresa Gertrude (1896
1979), Australian Dictionary of Biography,
National Centre of Biography, Australian National
University <http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/
Regan, Cahill, Teresa Gertrude (18961979).
Cahills also produced maps and illustrated
placemats that promoted their venues throughout
Milk Bars, Mercury, 15 February 1933, p. 12.
Film Weekly, 18 March 1948, pp. 45, in Ross
Thorne, The Visual and Aural Environment as
Part of the Presentation Used to Attract
Audiences to Picture Theatres, circa 1910 to 1955,
1st International Symposium on Environment,
Behaviour and Society, February 2006, paper
published in People and Physical Environment
Research, February 2006, p. 80.
Crick and Furse were Sydneys foremost cinema
architects to introduce US style and scale. The
practice began in 1935 with the principals of Guy
Crick and Bruce Furse. Crick was certainly well
placed to profit from a shift to a modernist cinema

N otes



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l e i s u r e s pa c e

style as his brother Stan Crick was the Managing

Director of American Fox Film Corporation
(Australasia) Ltd in 1922.
36 Morrisons New Milk Bar, Liverpool Street,
Sydney, Decoration and Glass, January 1936,
pp. 3435.
37 Frank G OBrien Ltd was a Sydney design and
retail firm working in specialty glass, Formica,
furniture and shopfitting. H and E Sidgreaves were
involved in shopfitting.
38 H and E Sidgreaves also executed Douglas
Snellings American National Club cocktail bar in
1948: see Decoration and Glass, January
February 1948, p. 23.
39 Lipsons pre-war work had included the precedentestablishing California Caf, Kings Cross, opened
by the American entrepreneur Dick McGowan: see
Mandy Sayer, Cross Dressing, Sydney Morning
Herald, 12 August 2000, p. 3.
40 Patricia McConnell, The Beats, Australian
Womens Weekly, 24 June 1959, pp. 77, 79.
41 Coffee Shops, This Week in Sydney, AprilMay
1957, p. 14.
42 Ernst also designed the Opera Espresso coffee
lounge, Castlereagh Street, in 1959.
43 Daniel Thomas, Horton, Mervyn Emrys Rosser
(19171983), Australian Dictionary of Biography,
National Centre of Biography, Australian National
University <http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/
44 Coffee Shops, p. 14.
45 Judith Lipscomb, A Face Lift for Rowe Street,
Sydney Morning Herald, 14 April 1957, p. 33.
46 Cane-ite formed from reclaimed sugar cane
stalks was a pre-war development of the Colonial
Sugar Refining Co Ltd (CSR), but was widely
promoted in the mid-20th century as a modern
sound-absorbing cladding.
47 Industrial Design, The Arts Festival [A guide to
the exhibitions], Melbourne, Olympic Civic
Committee of the Melbourne City Council, 1956,
p. 127.
48 Latin Quarter: 3-way Restaurant, Hotel and Cafe
News, April 1958, pp. 1213.
49 Pretzels career is outlined in Marion Pretzel,
Outwitting Hitler: An Incredible True Story of
Triumph over the Third Reich, Milsons Point,
NSW, Random House Australia, 2002.
50 Harry Kurzer, An Approach to Restaurant Design
in Clive Carney, Impact of Design, Sydney, Lawson
Press, 1959, np.
51 Carney, Impact of Design, np.
52 Notable New Features in Hotel Rex, Sydney

Morning Herald, 9 June 1953, p. 11.

Clare Wright, Beyond the Ladies Lounge:
Australias Female Publicans, Carlton, Victoria,
Melbourne University Press, 2003, p. 115.
54 Wright, Beyond the Ladies Lounge, p. 115. Gender
segregation in Sydney pubs limped on until the
55 Coombs, Sex and Anarchy, p. 20.
56 Craig McGregor, Blues, Jazz Style in the Loo,
Sydney Morning Herald, 27 October 1957, p. 37.
57 Walter Bunning, New American Airport is Worldleader in Design, Sydney Morning Herald,
23 October 1956, p. 12.
58 Liquor Amendment Act. Act no. 36, 1927. The
Liquor (Amendment) Act 1927 (Act No.36, 1927)
authorised the licensing courts to issue permits to
licensed hotels and clubs for the sale of liquor if
consumed with meals after the normal closing
time of 6pm. No appeal was available if the Court
declined applications under this section:
Metropolitan Licensing Court [II] <http://
59 Liquor Amendment Act, Act no. 44, 1946. The
Liquor (Amendment) Act 1946 introduced the
licensing of restaurants to serve light wines and
malted liquors and of Community Hotels
operated as trading enterprises by local councils.
A close-of-service of 9 pm was later lifted to
12 midnight following the 19511954 Royal
Commission and its 1954 report: Metropolitan
Licensing Court [II] <http://investigator.records.nsw.
60 Premier Hopes Liquor Reform Will Be Completed
this Year, Sydney Morning Herald, 16 June 1954,
p. 4; see also Bold and Welcome Changes of the
Liquor Laws, Sydney Morning Herald, 25
November 1954, p. 2.
61 Hotel Licence Transferred, Sydney Morning
Herald, 4 June 1953, p. 3.
62 Regan, Cahill, Teresa Gertrude (18961979).
63 Coffee Shops, p. 14.
64 Lady Mayoress at Cocktail Fashion Show, Sydney
Morning Herald, 31 August 1951, p. 8.
65 The phenomenon of the cocktail dress was
discussed in Australian newspapers as early as
1926: see Cocktail Dress is the Latest Creation
, Perth Sunday Times, 31 October 1926, p. 7.
66 Michaela Richards, The Best Style: Marion Hall
Best and Australian Interior Design 19351975,
New York, Art & Architecture Books, 1993,
pp. 83, 117.
67 Cocktail Habit Condemned, Sydney Morning







Herald, 17 August 1938, p. 5.

Plan of a Cocktail Bar, Decoration and Glass,
JanuaryFebruary 1948, pp. 2224; see also
The Australian Timber Journal, February 1948,
p. 35. For a survey of Snellings career see Davina
Jackson, Douglas Snelling: Asia-Pacifics Missing
Link to California Modernism <www.douglassnelling.com>.
Good Taste, Good Food, Friendly Service, Hotel
and Cafe News, October 1957, pp. 1011, 31. Mrs
Player is described as a trained interior decorator
and making a major contribution to the interior
architecture of the cocktail bar and other elements
of The Rex.
The Hotel Rex was widely reported: see Notable
New Features in Hotel Rex; Details Given of
Decisions On City Property, Sydney Morning
Herald, 27 November 1953, p. 4. Illustration of
Judy Cassab mural in Good Taste, Good Food,
Friendly Service, p. 11.
Illustrated in Sydney Morning Herald, 27
September 1960, p. 17.
The Qantas Corroboree Room, Hotel and Cafe
News, September 1954, p. 13.
The Wentworth Hotel, Sydney, Building:
Lighting: Engineering, January 1956, p. 37. The
watercolours are described as works by Aboriginal
artists. Hilda Abbott later designed the Motel
Canberras cocktail lounge: see Motels, Hotel
and Cafe News, June 1956, pp. 1316.
Margaret Lord, A Decorators World: Living with
Art and International Design, Sydney, Ure Smith,
1969, p. 185.
See Rebecca Spang, The Invention of the
Restaurant: Paris and Modern Gastronomic
Culture, Cambridge, Massachusetts, Harvard
University Press, 2000, p. 3.
Secular information is the essence of cool: see
David Trotter, Lady Chatterleys Sneakers, London
Review of Books, 30 August 2012, p. 3; see also
Pountain and Robins, Cool Rules.

7 Bi g , b r i g h t, b e a u t i f u l : T h e
new shopping centres


EC Fry, The Growth of Sydney in JW McCarthy

and CB Schedvin (eds), Australian Capital Cities:
Historical Essays, Sydney, Sydney University
Press, 1978, p. 44.
These statistics were compiled by the Reserve
Bank of Australia in co-operation with the Retail
Traders Association of NSW.
Articles on the changing demographics appeared
in retail journals; for example, see George Fisk,


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Cited in Richard White, On Holidays: A History of

Getting Away in Australia, Melbourne, Pluto Press
Australia, 2005, p. 125.
17 White, On Holidays, p. 126.
18 AJ Veal, Simon Darcy and Rob Lynch, At Home at
Leisure, Australian Leisure, 4th edition, Frenchs
Forest, NSW, Pearson Australia, 2013, pp. 19798.
19 For a study of Chadstone and Australian shopping
centre development in general, see Andrew
Hutson, I Dream of Jeannie? The American
Origins of the Chadstone Shopping Centre,
Fabrications, May 1999, pp. 1729 and Peter
Vernon, Shopping Towns Australia, Fabrications,
June 2012, pp. 10221.
20 Beginning in 1954 with a food store and
delicatessen in Blacktown, Frank Lowy and John
Saunders went on to develop the Westfield Group.
From 1958, Saunders regularly visited North
America to study retail trends and in 1960 the
Westfield Group was listed as a public company
on the Sydney Stock Exchange. Westfield soon
developed as a leader in Australian retail
management and subsequently became an
international competitor.
21 New Type of Shop Fitting, AJ Benjamin
Supplement, Daily Telegraph, 13 November 1957,
p. 27.
22 Richard Johnston, Drive-in Shopping Centre
Study, Architecture in Australia, February 1969,
p. 107.
23 Whos Riding Escalators?, Journal of the Retail
Traders Association of NSW, March 1963, p. 8.
24 Johnston, Drive-in Shopping Centre Study, p. 107.
25 Random Facts, Roselands, A Grace Bros Project,
Grace Brothers, Sydney, 1965.
26 See City of Ryde, Top Ryde City Shopping Centre,
History <www.ryde.nsw.gov.au/Development/
27 Walter Bunning and Kevin Smith, Shopping
Centres in Australia, Architecture in Australia,
December 1961, p. 59.
28 Top Ryde Shopping Centre Heritage Assessment
and Heritage Impact Statement, Noel Bell, Ridley
Smith & Partners, 30 October 2006, p. 13.
29 Top Ryde Shopping Centre, 40 Years, 19571997,
Souvenir Booklet, 1997, p. 4.
30 A Dominating Feature to Greet the Shopper,
AJ Benjamin Supplement, Daily Telegraph,
13 November 1957, p. 31.
31 A New Concept for Sydney in Regional Centres,
Sydney Morning Herald, 5 October 1965, p. 16.
32 Douglas Thompson, Vision and 6m Creates





City in Suburbs, Roselands Feature, Sydney

Morning Herald, 12 October 1965, p. 1.
Explore Australias Largest Community Shopping
Centre: Roselands Big, Bright, Beautiful,
Roselands Feature, Sydney Morning Herald,
12 October 1965, p. 5.
Patterns of customer movement, as used in
Disneyland, were referenced in contemporaneous
studies: see Richard M Bennett, Planning
Shopping Centres for Pedestrians in Stores and
Shopping Centres, pp. 9294 and Roselands
Shopping Centre PM Press (Disney), Wallet One,
Coles Myer Archives, Australian Manuscripts
Collection, State Library of Victoria.
Bennett, Planning Shopping Centres for
Pedestrians, p. 93.
Johnston, Drive-in Shopping Centre Study,
pp. 1045.
Folder 3018, Coles Myer Archives, Australian
Manuscripts Collection, State Library of Victoria.
Wallet Two, Coles Myer Archives, Australian
Manuscripts Collection, State Library of Victoria.
Top Ryde Shopping Centre Heritage Assessment
and Heritage Impact Statement, p. 11.
Roselands The One-stop City in the Suburbs,
Roselands, A Grace Bros Project, Grace Bros,
For example, in 1955 Ryde Council defeated the
proposed Top Ryde development by six votes to
five and in 1963 Pat Hill, NSW Minister for Local
Government, revoked permission to build the then
proposed shopping centre on the site of the
Roselands Golf Course: see Minister Refuses
Permission, Roselands Regional Shopping Centre
Rejected, Campsie News and Lakemba Advance,
22 May 1963, p. 4.
See Gary Cross, A Social History of Leisure since
1600, State College Pennsylvania, Venture
Publishing, 1990, pp. 17996.

8 T h e r i s e a n d fa ll o f t h e
Sy d n e y d r i v e - i n


Drive-In Theatres: A New Feature on the

Australian Scene, Building: Lighting: Engineering,
November 1959, p. 40.
Drive-In Opening Starts New Era, Film Weekly,
1 November 1956, p. 3.
John Richardson, Movies Under the Stars: DriveIns and Modernity, Continuum, vol. 1, no. 1, 1988,
p. 113.
Mary Morley Cohen, Forgotten Audiences in the
Passion Pits: Drive-In Theatres and Changing
Spectator Practices in Post-War America, Film

N otes

Problems of Centre-City Shopping Districts,

Journal of the Retail Traders Association of
NSW, October 1962, pp. 4448; Sydney
A Declining Shopping Centre, Retail Trader,
September 1964, p. 3.
Fry, The Growth of Sydney, p. 44.
Ian Morrison, The Corridor City: Planning for
Growth in the 1960s in Stephen Hamnett and
Robert Freestone (eds), The Australian Metropolis:
A Planning History, Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 2000,
pp. 11330.
Monthly Bulletin of Registrations of Motor
Vehicles, Commonwealth Bureau of Census and
Statistics, Canberra, 102, December 1959;
Monthly Bulletin of Registrations of Motor
Vehicles, Commonwealth Bureau of Census and
Statistics, Canberra, 174, December 1965.
Professor WR Blunden, An Evaluation of the
Problem of Land Use, and Traffic in Central
Sydney, Retail Trader, April 1965, pp. 815.
Failure to deliver a managed decentralisation
strategy was seen by many professionals as
contributing to a sprawling ugliness. For example,
in 1961, senior lecturer in town planning JH Shaw
argued that the flight to the suburbs of
commercial facilities required control so as to
avoid adding to the already unbearable blight of
ugliness of urban sprawl in Decentralisation or
Sprawl?, Architecture in Australia, December
1961, p. 55. At a 1965 architectural forum in
Melbourne, architect and critic Robin Boyd
outlined how most outdoor advertising was a form
of aggressive, antisocial urban ugliness: see
Development and Redevelopment Forum,
Architecture in Australia, June 1965, p. 77.
Shaw, Decentralisation or Sprawl?, p. 57.
10 Paul Zucker, Town and Square from the Agora to
the Village Green, New York and London,
Columbia University Press, 1959, pp. 12.
11 Victor Gruen and Larry Smith, Shopping Towns
USA: The Planning of Shopping Centres, New
York, Reinhold Publishing Corporation, 1960,
pp. 1719.
12 Victor Gruen, The Heart of Our Cities, the Urban
Crisis: Diagnosis and Cure, London, Thames &
Hudson, 1965, p. 24.
13 Gruen, The Heart of Our Cities, p. 84.
14 James S Hornbeck, Suburban Shopping Can Be a
Pleasure in James S Hornbeck (ed.), Stores and
Shopping Centers, New York, McGraw-Hill Book
Company, 1962, p. 89.
15 Zucker, Town and Square from the Agora to the
Village Green, p. 3.


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History, vol. 6, no. 4, 1994, pp. 47879.

Kerry Segrave, Drive-In Theaters: A History from
Their Inception in 1933, Jefferson, North Carolina,
McFarland & Company, 1992, p. 104.
DN Jeans and MI Logan, Population Movement in
Sydney, Sydney Morning Herald, 29 August 1960,
p. 2.
Graeme Davison with Sheryl Yelland, Car Wars:
How the Car Won Our Hearts and Conquered Our
Cities, Sydney, Allen & Unwin, 2004, p. 15.
Peter Spearritt, Sydney since the Twenties,
Sydney, Hale & Iremonger, 1978, p. 163.
WG Faithfull, The Suburban Metropolis, Sydney,
Cumberland County Council, 1962.
10 Davison, Car Wars, p. 78.
11 Morton Herman, Sydney Needs More Drive-In
Facilities, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 July 1956,
p. 9.
12 The Drive-In Era, Building: Lighting: Engineering,
July 1957, p. 18.
13 Walter Abraham, Suburbia Blessing, or Blot on
Social Life?, Sydney Morning Herald,
26 November 1957, p. 15.
14 Segrave, Drive-In Theaters, p. 110.
15 Kevin Adams, Re-writing History?, Cinemarecord,
vol. 76, no. 4, 2012, pp. 2425.
16 Bondi Drive In Theatre Attracts 500, Sydney
Morning Herald, 29 September 1951, p. 4.
17 Drive-In Theatres Booming in USA, Courier-Mail,
16 September 1952, p. 2.
18 Ben Goldsmith, The Comfort Lies in All the Things
You Can Do: The Australian Drive-In-Cinema of
Distraction, Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 33,
no. 1, 1999, p. 155.
19 This Is What Youre Missing, Sun-Herald,
12 February 1956, p. 13.
20 The New Look in Cinemas, Civic Development,
24 December 1955, p. 4.
21 Evan Whitton, Trial by Voodoo: How the Law
Defeats Justice and Democracy, Sydney, Random
House, 1994.
22 Andrew Moore, Mr Big of Bankstown: The
Scandalous Fitzpatrick and Browne Affair, Perth,
UWA Publishing, 2011, p. 9.
23 Inside Story of Sydney Film Worlds Mr Big,
undated newspaper clipping, courtesy Damien
Stapleton, August 1985.
24 Diane Collins, Hollywood Down Under:
Australians at the Movies, 1896 to the Present
Day, Sydney, Angus & Robertson, 1987, p. 226.
25 Drive-In Applications Soar, Film Weekly, 26 May
1955, np.
26 Rival Interests in Drive-In Cinema War Await

l e i s u r e s pa c e

Vital Decision, Sydney Morning Herald,

18 August 1955, p. 2.
27 Rival Interests in Drive-In Cinema War Await
Vital Decision, p. 2.
28 Inside Story of Sydney Film Worlds Mr Big.
29 Rival Interests in Drive-In Cinema War Await
Vital Decision, p. 2.
30 Drive-In Theatres: Investigations at Melbourne
[Report on visit 1617 September 1955], 3 pp.
State Records Authority of NSW (SRANSW), Twin
Drive-In Chullora, SR15318/179.
31 Keith Gosman, NSWs Drive-In Scandal,
Sun-Herald, 28 April 1990, p. 32.
32 Greg Stolz, A Sunny Place for the Shady,
Courier-Mail, 27 March 2009, pp. 3233.
33 Rival Interests in Drive-In Cinema War Await
Vital Decision, p. 2; Al Martinez, Al Rosen is
Worlds Top Theatrical Agent (Just Ask Him),
Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 2 July 1982, p. 8D.
34 Gosman, NSWs Drive-In Scandal, p. 32.
35 Inquiry Ordered into Drive-In Deal at Chullora,
Sydney Morning Herald, 2 May 1956, p. 4.
36 Candid Comment, Sun-Herald, 6 May 1956,
p. 30.
37 Editorial, Daily Telegraph, 2 May 1956, p. 5.
38 Drive-Ins and Drive-outs, Sydney Morning
Herald, 14 October 1955, p. 2.
39 Probe Urged on Drive-Ins, 21 October 1955,
newspaper clipping, courtesy Damien Stapleton,
August 1985.
40 Delay of One Year Possible on Drive-In Films,
Sydney Morning Herald, 14 October 1955, p. 7.
41 Gosman, NSWs Drive-In Scandal, p. 32.
42 Monopoly, Newcastle Morning Herald,
13 September 1956, p. 2.
43 Delay of One Year Possible on Drive-In Films, p. 7.
44 Cash-in Charge at Drive-In Theatre Case,
Sydney Morning Herald, 11 February 1956, p. 13.
45 Drive-In Licences Deals Start Storm in Politics,
Sydney Morning Herald, 1 May 1956, p. 1.
46 Bookie in Big Drive-In Deal, Sydney Morning
Herald, 29 April 1956, p. 2.
47 Drive-In Deal May Mean Film War, Sydney
Morning Herald, 4 May 1956, p. 4.
48 The Drive-In and the Payout, Sydney Morning
Herald, 1 May 1956, p. 2.
49 They Found Themselves Not Guilty, 11 May 1956,
newspaper clipping, courtesy Damien Stapleton,
August 1985.
50 Moore, Mr Big of Bankstown, p. 9.
51 Mr Askin and the Drive-Ins, Sydney Morning
Herald, 29 August 1957, p. 2.
52 Kelly Refuses Inquiry on Drive-In Theatres, 1962,

newspaper clipping, courtesy Damien Stapleton,

August 1985.
53 Philip Goad, Cinemas in Philip Goad and Julie
Willis (eds), The Encyclopedia of Australian
Architecture, Port Melbourne, Victoria, Cambridge
University Press, 2012, p. 146.
54 Morton Herman, Where Design Is Concerned
Almost Entirely with Open Space, Sydney
Morning Herald, 23 October 1956, p. 13.
55 Steve Bedwell, Suburban Icons: A Celebration of
the Everyday, Sydney, Australian Broadcasting
Commission, 1992; Phil Matthews, Bass Hill
Drive-In, Sydney: An Appreciation,
CinemaRecord, vol. 58, no. 1, 2008, pp. 2830.
56 Drive-In Theatres, p. 37.
57 William Gray, The Skyline Drive-in Theatre,
CinemaRecord, vol. 76, no. 4, 2012, p. 10.
58 County Clerk, Cumberland County Council to
Secretary, Theatres and Films Commission, 10
October 1955. SRANSW, Sylvania file, 15318/263.
59 Drive-In Theatres, p. 39.
60 Drive-In Theatres, p. 40.
61 Matthews, Bass Hill Drive-In.
62 Largest Drive-In Theatre Ready, Sydney Morning
Herald, 23 October 1956, p. 13.
63 RJ Lucas, Twin Versus Single Drive-In, draft
typescript, 15 February 1957. RJ Lucas Collection,
Powerhouse Museum.
64 Matthews, Bass Hill Drive-In.
65 Quoted in Goldsmith, The Comfort Lies in All the
Things You Can Do, p. 162.
66 A Night at a Drive-In, Sydney Morning Herald,
25 October 1956, p. 2.
67 Simon Brand, Picture Palaces and Flea-Pits:
Eighty Years of Australians at the Pictures,
Sydney, Dreamweaver Books, 1983, p. 266.
68 Drive-In Theatres, p. 37.
69 Declaration, 14 September 1953, SRANSW,
Proposed Drive-In at Bass Hill (Part 2).
70 McNair Survey Pty Ltd, Proposed Drive-In Picture
Theatre at Frenchs Forest, Survey of Public
Opinion, February 1953. [Prepared for J McFadden
& Co]. SRANSW, 15318/17.
71 Bedwell, Suburban Icons, pp. 11213.
72 Richard Waterhouse, Private Pleasures, Public
Leisure: A History of Australian Popular Culture
since 1788, South Melbourne, Longman Australia,
1995, p. 216.
73 Keith Manzie, Drive-Ins Are Here to Stay!, Film
Weekly, 22 December 1955, p. 32.
74 Survey Shows Young Adults Pre-dominate at
Drive-Ins, Film Weekly, 26 March 1964, p. 3.
75 Drive-In Theatres, Sydney Morning Herald,


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Golf: A changing landscape

NSW Government Tourist Bureau, Official NSW

Golfers Guide 1925, Sydney, Australian Guide


Book Company, 1925.

GT Caldwell, Sport and Australian Culture:
A Note, Politics, vol. 2, 1972, pp. 18084.
Wilson Sporting Goods Co., Golf in the War,
Golfdom, May 1943, pp. 1921.
Australian War Memorial, Small Arms and
Machine Guns, Australia in the War of 1939
1945, Series 4, Civil, Canberra, 1958, pp. 32332;
Ryde City Council, Slazengers Shipyard <www.
Ronald Charles, First Competitions for Six Years
Are Included in The Golf Season, Western Mail,
4 April 1946, p. 23.
David J Innes, The Story of Golf in New South
Wales, 18511987, Sydney, New South Wales
Golf Association, 1988, pp. 28384.
John Alenson, Ten Decades, 18821982: A Story
of the Events which Go to Make the History of
100 Years of The Australian Golf Club, Sydney,
Australian Golf Club, 1982, pp. 6164.
Philip Derriman, Concord Golf Club: The First 100
Years 18991999, Caringbah, NSW, Playright
Publishing, 1999, pp. 13233.
Royal Australian Navy, HMAS Penguin <www.
Innes, The Story of Golf in New South Wales,
18511987, p. 284.
Herb Graffis, Outline Plan to Utilize Club
Properties in War Effort, Golfdom, March 1942,
pp. 910.
Golfs War-time Values as Seen by Manufacturers,
Golfdom, January 1942, pp. 1112.
John Strege, When War Played Through: Golf
During World War II, New York, Gotham Books,
2005; Hunki Yun, Part 1: Golf and the Military,
USGA <www.usga.org/news/2011/August/Part-I-Golf-And-The-Military/>; Hunki Yun, Part 2: Golf
and the Military, USGA <www.usga.org/
Golf Featured for Army Occupation Troops,
Golfdom, September 1946, p. 44.
Worthington Ball Companys 50th Year Is
Celebrated, Golfdom, April 1954, pp. 7478.
Helen Lengfeld, Golf in Veterans Hospitals,
USGA Journal and Turf Management, November
1951, pp. 10, 20.
Catherine M Lewis, Dont Ask What I Shot: How
Eisenhowers Love of Golf Helped Shape 1950s
America, New York, McGraw-Hill, 2007.
Rancho Mirage Cultural Commission, A Look Back
in Time, 1993, Rancho Mirage City Council,

Rancho Mirage, 2008.

18 Innes, The Story of Golf in New South Wales,
18511987, p. 219; B Parker, Golf, Media and
Change in Australia in J Alastair Cochran and
Martin R Farrally (eds), Science and Golf II:
Proceedings of the World Scientific Congress of
Golf, London, E&FN Spon, 1994, pp. 75256.
19 Pelaco International, The Pelaco Story, timeline
19062006 <www.pelaco.com.au>.
20 Golf Clubhouse Cost 140,000, Sydney Morning
Herald, 3 December 1963, p. 21.
21 US Influence in New Australian Pro-shop,
Golfdom, May 1960, p. 68.
22 Nerilee Hing, A History of Machine Gambling in
the NSW Club Industry: From Community Benefit
to Commercialisation, International Journal of
Hospitality and Tourism Administration, vol. 7,
no. 1, 2006, pp. 81107.
23 Hing, A History of Machine Gambling in the NSW
Club Industry, p. 11.
24 Ban on Poker Machine Clubs May Close, Heavy
Revenue Loss, Sydney Morning Herald, 5 July
1939, p. 15.
25 Hing, A History of Machine Gambling in the NSW
Club Industry, pp. 1314.
26 Kent W Kurtz, The History of Golf Course
Irrigation, Hole Notes, May 2003, pp. 1119.
27 Herb Graffis, Course Problems Surveyed: Golf
Sees Problems and Considers Answers, Golfdom,
October 1952, pp. 3740, 91; Edwin B Seay,
Are Modern Courses Designed for Golfers or for
Superintendents?, Golf Business, May 1977,
pp. 2021.
28 European Institute of Golf Course Architects,
Post-War: Golf since 1945 in Golf Courses as
Designed Landscapes of Historic Interest: A
Report by the European Institute of Golf Course
Architects, abridged, English Heritage, London,
2007, pp. 911; Charles B Schalestock, Would
Modernise Design: Architect Calls for Reexamination of Golf Course Construction,
Golfdom, September 1958, pp. 1920, 51.
29 William B Langford, Machine Maintenance Has
Its Architectural Limitations, Golfdom, July 1947,
pp. 6869; William B Langford, Old Course Design
Needs Re-write, Golfdom, June 1945, p. 49; Herb
Graffis, Looking Ahead to Postwar Course
Maintenance, Golfdom, July 1945, pp. 1112,
30 EB Levy, WA Kiely and WM Horton, Construction,
Renovation and Care of the Golf Course,
Wellington, Institute for Turf Culture, 1950; Verne
Wickham, Bag Cart Traffic is Course Wear

N otes

25 September 1955, p. 63.

76 Collins, Hollywood Down Under, pp. 22021.
77 Collins, Hollywood Down Under, p. 221.
78 Bruce Austin, The Development and Decline of
the Drive-In Movie Theatre, Current Research in
Film, vol. 1, 1985, p. 87.
79 Sydney Drive-In Biz Outstrips Predictions, Film
Weekly, 1 November 1956, p. 3.
80 Spearritt, Sydney since the Twenties, p. 235.
81 Brand, Picture Palaces and Flea-Pits, p. 265;
Elwyn Spratt, Fade-out of the Cinemas, Sydney
Morning Herald, 14 May 1961, p. 77.
82 Grahams Open Letter on Drive-Ins, Film Weekly,
5 September 1963, p. 3.
83 Collins, Hollywood Down Under, pp. 22829.
84 Davison, Car Wars, p. 104.
85 Davison, Car Wars, p. 104.
86 Gray, The Skyline Drive-In Theatre, p. 15.
87 Quoted in Diep Hang, The Fate of Drive-In
Cinemas in Sydney, Bachelor of Planning Thesis,
University of New South Wales, 2010, p. 62.
88 Goldsmith, The Comfort Lies in All the Things You
Can Do, p. 160.
89 Stephen J Lacey, Ticket to Drive-In, Sunday Life
(Sun-Herald), 17 February 2002, pp. 1215.
90 William Gray, interview with Robert Freestone,
21 May 2013.
91 Drive-Ins Take a Back Seat, The Good Weekend,
Sydney Morning Herald, 23 January 1988,
pp. 1415.
92 Yuko Narushima, The End Thats All, Folks,
Sydney Morning Herald, 2728 October 2007,
p. 11.
93 David Kilderry, Birth of the Drive-In,
CinemaRecord, vol. 54, no. 1, 2007, p. 13.
94 Quoted in Hang, The Fate of Drive-In Cinemas in
Sydney, p. 62.
95 Derwent Whittlesey, Sequent Occupance, Annals
of the Association of American Geographers,
vol. 19, no. 3, 1929, pp. 16265.
96 Cohen, Forgotten Audiences in the Passion Pits,
p. 484.
97 Goldsmith, The Comfort Lies in All the Things You
Can Do, p. 154.
98 Goldsmith, The Comfort Lies in All the Things You
Can Do, p. 154.
99 Brand, Picture Palaces and Flea-Pits, p. 266.
100 Aussies Ahead as Drive-In Fans, Film Weekly,
22 March 1956, p. 8.


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Problem, Golfdom, April 1946, pp. 3336, 64.

Levy, Kiely and Horton, Construction, Renovation
and Care of the Golf Course, pp. 6364.
32 Alenson, Ten Decades, 18821982, p. 156;
Oatlands Golf Club, Club History <www.
33 Innes, The Story of Golf in New South Wales,
18511987, p. 255.
34 Precision Heritage, Golf Leisure and Lifestyle
Magazine, Summer 20045 <www.pgfgolf.co.nz/
35 Innes, The Story of Golf in New South Wales,
18511987, pp. 21819.
36 Innes, The Story of Golf in New South Wales,
18511987, p. 218.
37 Tom Ramsey, 25 Great Australian Golf Courses
and How to Play Them, Adelaide, Rigby, 1981,
pp. 7377; Tom Ramsey, Great Australian Golf
Courses, Sydney, Weldon Publishing, 1990,
pp. 14047.
38 John Scarth and Neil Crafter, Great Australian
Golf Course Architects: Apperly, Golf
Architecture, vol. 8, 2005, pp. 5863.
39 Scarth and Crafter, Great Australian Golf Course
Architects: Apperly, p. 60.
40 The Lakes Golf Club, The Lakes History <www.
thelakes golfclub.com.au /thelakes/TheLakes.
OpenDocument>; The Lakes Cup Golf Proposal,
West Australian, 7 May 1952, p. 13; The Lakes
Cup, Thomas and Nagle in Form, Sunday Herald,
2 November 1952, p. 9.
41 Yank Team Reaps Harvest on Australian Tour,
Golfdom, January 1935, p. 32.
42 Les Ryan, 10,000 in Golf Prizes, Sunday Herald,
22 June 1952, p. 6S.
43 Barrie Dyster, Walkley, Sir William Gaston (1896
1976), Australian Dictionary of Biography <http://
44 The Lakes Golf Club, The Lakes History.
45 Alenson, Ten Decades, 18821982, pp. 13743.
46 Frank Somers, Obituary: Kevin Curtin,
Architecture Bulletin, June 1996, p. 4; John
Barnard, Departures: Kevin Joseph Curtin 1925
1996, Architecture Australia, JulyAugust 1996,
p. 34.
47 Alenson, Ten Decades, 18821982, p. 257.
48 Adam Lawrence, Robert von Hagge: Light
and Shade, Golf Course Architecture
49 Darius Oliver, Best Redesigns, Australian Golf

l e i s u r e s pa c e



Digest, 500th Issue Architecture Special, 15 May

2012 <www.planetgolf.com.au/index.
Innovative Clubhouse, Architecture Today,
August 1971, p. 13.
Somers, Obituary, p. 4.
Kevin Curtin, The New Club House, Lakes Golf
Club Bulletin, February 1971.
Clubhouse in the Round, Sydney Morning
Herald, 8 October 1970, p. 15.
Curtin, The New Club House.
City Plan Heritage, Heritage Impact Statement:
The Lakes Golf Club, Mascot, Sydney, 2003.
Curtin, The New Club House.
Curtin, The New Club House.
Robert von Hagge: A Titan of Golf Architecture
(interview), On the Links <http://otlgolf.
Robert von Hagge.
Robert von Hagge.
The Lakes Golf Club, The Lakes History; Ramsey,
25 Great Australian Golf Courses and How to Play
Them, p. 74.

10 T h e l e a g u e s c l u b : A w o r k i n g c l a s s pa l a c e

See Andrew Moore, Interpreting 100 Years of

Rugby League in Andrew Moore and Andy Carr
(eds), Centenary Reflections: 100 Years of Rugby
League in Australia, Melbourne, Australian
Society for Sports History, 2008, p. 2.
Bob Stewart and Geoff Dickson, Crossing the
Barrassi Line in Bob Stewart (ed.), The Games Are
Not the Same: The Political Economy of Football
in Australia, Carlton, Victoria, Melbourne
University Press, 2007, p. 72.
Gary Lester, The Story of Australian Rugby
League, Paddington, NSW, Lester-Townsend
Publishing, 1988, p. 10.
Moore, Interpreting 100 Years of Rugby League,
p. 2.
5 Lesters The Story of Australian Rugby League
gives a particularly detailed social account of the
early years of the game in Sydney.
Nerilee Hing, A History of Machine Gambling in
the NSW Club Industry: From Community Benefit
to Commercialisation, International Journal of
Hospitality and Tourism Administration, vol. 7,
no. 1, 2006, pp. 81107.
Ian Coliss and Alan Whiticker, 100 Years of Rugby
League, Volume 1: 19071966, Chatswood, NSW,
New Holland, 2007, p. 238.
Ian Heads, March of the Dragons: The Story of St

George Rugby League Club, Paddington, NSW,

Lester-Townsend Publishing, 1989, p. 90.
9 Heads, March of the Dragons, p. 90.
10 Lindsay Barrett, Twilight of the Idols in Moore
and Carr (eds), Centenary Reflections, p. 37.
11 Barrett, Twilight of the Idols, p. 37.
12 Barrett, Twilight of the Idols, p. 38.
13 Building Activity around Australia, Building:
Lighting: Engineering, January 1964, p. 25.
14 Barrett, Twilight of the Idols, p. 39.
15 Hing, A History of Machine Gambling in the NSW
Club Industry, p. 10.
16 St. George Leagues Club: New 1,000,000 Project
Completed, Building: Lighting: Engineering,
August 1963, p. 48.
17 Barrett, Twilight of the Idols, p. 38.
18 See Harry Margalit, Reasoning to Believe:
Aspects of Modernity in Sydney Architecture and
Planning 19001960, PhD Thesis, University of
Sydney, 1997, pp. 4876.
19 Quoted in Helen Frizell, In Clubland Everyman
Has a Palace, Sydney Morning Herald, 12 May
1969, p. 6.
20 Robin Boyd, The Australian Ugliness, Melbourne,
FW Cheshire, 1960.
21 Helen Frizell, Clubs Always Trumps, Sydney
Morning Herald, 13 May 1969, p. 6.
22 See Andrew Moore, The Mighty Bears!: A Social
History of North Sydney Rugby League, Sydney,
Macmillan, 1996, for a spirited account of this shift.
23 Moore, The Mighty Bears!, p. 226.
24 Moore, The Mighty Bears!, p. 271.
25 Moore, The Mighty Bears!, p. 280.
26 Moore, The Mighty Bears!, p. 282.
27 Moore, The Mighty Bears!, p. 286.
28 Moore, The Mighty Bears!, p. 287.
29 Planned Interior Reflects Experience, Building:
Lighting: Engineering, July 1964, p. 32.
30 Tigers Cosy Lair, Hotel, Motel and Restaurant,
April 1964, p. 8.
31 Parramatta Leagues Club New 30,000
Building, Building: Lighting: Engineering, April
1959, p. 41. Norths costs from 450,000 Project
Largest on Sydneys North Shore, Building:
Lighting: Engineering, July 1964, p. 24, and St
George from St. George Leagues Club, p. 43.
32 Building Activity around Australia, Building:
Lighting: Engineering, October 1965, p. 32,
and Bathursts Rugby Leagues Club, Building:
Lighting: Engineering, March 1964, p. 68.
33 See Randwick Rugby Transformed, Hotel, Motel
and Restaurant, October 1964, p. 9.
34 Quoted in Frizell, Clubs Always Trumps, p. 6.


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Quoted in Frizell, In Clubland Everyman Has a

Palace, p. 6.
Hing, A History of Machine Gambling in the NSW
Club Industry, p. 11.
Ethnic clubs: The dream of
to m o r row

Hannah Lewi and David Nichols (eds), Community:

Building Modern Australia, Sydney, UNSW Press,
2010, p. 4.
Lewi and Nichols (eds), Community, p. 3.
Lewi and Nichols (eds), Community, p. 3.
Lewi and Nichols (eds), Community, p. 8.
Walter F Lalich, Ethnic Community Capital: The
Development of Ethnic Social Infrastructure in
Sydney, PhD Thesis, University of Technology
Sydney, 2003, p. 143.
Lalich, Ethnic Community Capital, p. 143.
With the passing of the 1901 Immigration
Restriction Act, which underpinned the White
Australia policy, the diversity of people moving to
Australia was severely restricted.
Lalich, Ethnic Community Capital, pp. 14243.
The club operated at various locations, including
premises on Phillip Street in Sydney, c. 190010.
It is currently located in the suburb of Tempe.
The original land was part of two grants: the
Elizabeth Street property and the Nithsdale Street
portion. Due to the outbreak of the plague, city
authorities widened the street and relocated the
Concordia Club to an adjacent address, 150152
Elizabeth Street: see NSW Environment &
Heritage entry on CyprusHellene Club <www.
According to the Dictionary of Sydney, after being
used since 1920 by a right-wing Catholic fraternity
group, the building at 150152 Elizabeth Street
was sold in 1979 to the Hellenic Club: see
Australian Hall, Dictionary of Sydney <www.
Lalich, Ethnic Community Capital, p. 140.
Lalich, Ethnic Community Capital, p. 141.
Lalich, Ethnic Community Capital, p. 141. Lalich
suggests that intra-communal cultural and
linguistic differences continued to expand in many
communities, including the Jewish community.
Lalich, Ethnic Community Capital, p. 141.
Lalich, Ethnic Community Capital, p. 141.
Immigration Nation: The Secret History of Us,
documentary, SBS, March 2011 <www.sbs.com.
Immigration: Federation to Centurys End,

prepared by the Statistics Section, Business

Branch, Department of Immigration and
Multicultural Affairs, Commonwealth of Australia,
2001, p. 4. The return of troops after World War I
also resulted in a large number of people entering
Australia. The number of immigrants fluctuated
postWorld War II, with net immigration declining
following the 1950s peak.
18 Immigration, p. 4.
19 Immigration, p. 17.
20 Stephen Castles, Bill Cope, Mary Kalantzis and
Michael Morrissey, Mistaken Identity:
Multiculturalism and the Demise of Nationalism
in Australia, Sydney, Pluto Press, 1988,
pp. 24356.
21 Castles, Cope, Kalantzis and Morrissey, Mistaken
Identity, p. 45.
22 Castles, Cope, Kalantzis and Morrissey, Mistaken
Identity, p. 45.
23 Castles, Cope, Kalantzis and Morrissey, Mistaken
Identity, p. 45.
24 Castles, Cope, Kalantzis and Morrissey, Mistaken
Identity, p. 44.
25 See Helen Frizell, Of Migrants, Diggers and Other
Clubmen, Sydney Morning Herald, 14 May 1969,
p. 6.
26 According to the article Hola (Spanish) Sydney,
the club was donated to the community by multimillionaire shipping tycoon RD De Lasala: see
Scratching Sydneys Surface, 24 June 2011
27 Bodegas, Dictionary of Sydney <www.
28 The Lebanese Club: Sydneys Newest Night Spot,
Hotel and Cafe News, August 1953, pp. 1921.
29 The Lebanese Club, p. 21.
30 The Lebanese Club, p. 19.
31 The Lebanese Club, p. 19.
32 The Lebanese Club, p. 19.
33 The Lebanese Club, p. 19.
34 Luxury Hellenic Club, Hotel and Cafe News, June
1960, pp. 2021.
35 Luxury Hellenic Club, p. 21.
36 Luxury Hellenic Club, p. 21.
37 Ghassan Hage, At Home in the Entrails of the
West: Multiculturalism, Ethnic Food and Migrant
Home Building in Helen Grace, Ghassan Hage,
Lesley Johnson, Julie Langsworth and Michael
Symonds (eds), Home/World: Space, Community
and Marginality in Sydneys West, Sydney, Pluto
Press, 1997, p. 111.


Quoted in Hage, At Home in the Entrails of the

West, p. 111.
39 The A.P.I.A. Association and the A.P.I.A. Club in
Leichhardt, Sydney: A Brief History of Their
Origins, Italian Historical Society Journal,
JulyDecember 2001, p. 14.
40 The A.P.I.A. Association and the A.P.I.A. Club in
Leichhardt, Sydney, p. 15.
41 Untitled Brochure, Leichhardt Council Library, Local
History Collection, APIA Club. No biographical
information has been found on the architect,
OS Deomede.
42 APIA Club (Sydney) is Cultural, Social and
Sporting, Hotel, Motel and Restaurant, June
1965, p. 14.
43 APIA Club (Sydney) is Cultural, Social and
Sporting, p. 23.
44 APIA Club (Sydney) is Cultural, Social and
Sporting, p. 23.
45 APIA Club (Sydney) is Cultural, Social and
Sporting, p. 23.
46 APIA Club (Sydney) is Cultural, Social and
Sporting, p. 14.
47 Frizell, Of Migrants, Diggers and Other Clubmen,
p. 6.
48 APIA Club (Sydney) is Cultural, Social and
Sporting, p. 15. Alitalia donated the murals.
49 The A.P.I.A. Association and the A.P.I.A. Club in
Leichhardt, Sydney, p. 16.
50 As reported in Il Globo, 26 September 1967,
pp. 3435.
51 The A.P.I.A. Association and the A.P.I.A Club in
Leichhardt, Sydney, p. 17.
52 For further discussion on Club Marconi see Diane
Powell (Diane Leslie), Club Marconi 50th
Anniversary 2008, Rosanna, Victoria, Bounce
Books, 2008; Deepika Ratnaraj and Sahar Shirazi,
Club Marconi Fairfield, Dictionary of Sydney
53 The architect Cavalier was commissioned for this
project; it has not been possible to identify Mr
Cavaliers first name.
54 Powell, Club Marconi 50th Anniversary 2008,
pp. 12736.
55 See <http://clubmarconi.com.au>.
56 Today, Club Marconi employs more than 200 staff,
and has more than 25000 members of 18 different
nationalities, speaking 24 languages, making it the
most cosmopolitan club in Australia: see <http://
57 Deepika Ratnaraj and Sahar Shirazi, Club Marconi

N otes



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58 Powell, Club Marconi 50th Anniversary 2008,

p. 115.
59 Lalich, Ethnic Community Capital, pp. 22526.
60 Lalich, Ethnic Community Capital, p. 226.
61 Philip Mosely, European Immigrants and Soccer
Violence in New South Wales 194959, Journal
of Australian Studies, vol. 18, no. 40, 1994, p. 15.
62 Castles, Cope, Kalantzis and Morrissey, Mistaken
Identity, p. 120.
63 See Making Multicultural Australia for the 21st
Century <www.multiculturalaustralia.edu.au>.
64 See Making Multicultural Australia for the 21st
Century <www.multiculturalaustralia.edu.au>.
65 For further discussion see Laura Parengkuan,
Dutch Australian Society Neerlandia, Dictionary
of Sydney <www.dictionaryofsydney.org/entry/
66 Bantry Bay Fact Sheet, History of Manly <www.
67 The clubhouse, designed by Mr Brandt and completed in 1978, is located on the corner of Grattan
Crescent and Bantry Bay Road, Frenchs Forest.
68 Mijntje Hage, Fifty Years: The Story of the Dutch
Australian Society Neerlandia, Sydney, DAS
Neerlandia, 2004, pp. 4849.
69 Hage, Fifty Years, p. 53.
70 Grace, Hage, Johnson, Langsworth and Symonds
(eds), Home/World, pp. 104108.
71 Grace, Hage, Johnson, Langsworth and Symonds
(eds), Home/World, p. 100.
72 Grace, Hage, Johnson, Langsworth and Symonds
(eds), Home/World, pp. 12426.

l e i s u r e s pa c e


I n f o r m a l m o d e r n : H o li d ay

Harry Seidler, Introduction in Stephen Crafti,

Beach Houses of Australia and New Zealand,
Melbourne, Mulgrave, 2000, p. 13.
Seidler, Introduction, p. 13.
Seidler, Introduction, p. 13.
Seidler, Introduction, p. 13.
For example, Anchers house design for WM Farley
(North Curl Curl, 1947) was only approved after a
landmark [court] decision in 1948, which
prohibited municipal councils from rejecting

designs purely on their aesthetic merit: see

Connie Boesen, Ancher, Sydney in Philip Goad
and Julie Willis (eds), The Encyclopaedia of
Australian Architecture, Port Melbourne, Victoria,
Cambridge University Press, 2012, p. 18. Seidlers
early project, the Fink House (Newport, c. 1950),
was also the subject of an extended battle with
the local council and only approved after
substantial legal negotiation.
Kenneth McDonald, The New Australian Home,
Melbourne, Kenneth McDonald, 1954, np.
In the Foreword to McDonald, The New Australian
Home, np.
McDonalds architectural projects are included in
this volume alongside works by acclaimed
architects such as Seidler. Paul Hogben
comments on McDonalds investment in
promoting his own architectural work through
this publication: see Paul Hogben, Architecture
and Arts and the Mediation of American
Architecture in Post-war Australia, Fabrications,
June 2012, p. 49.
9 McDonald, The New Australian Home, np.
10 Harry Perrott, Our Houses Have an Accent Now,
Argus, 25 September 1954, p. 15; Phyllis Shillito,
Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, Sydney,
Associated General Publications, 1954.
11 Perrott, Our Houses Have an Accent Now, p. 15.
12 Perrott, Our Houses Have an Accent Now, p. 15.
13 Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, p. 5.
14 Richard White, On Holidays: A History of Getting
Away in Australia, Melbourne, Pluto Press
Australia, 2005, p. 136.
15 White, On Holidays, p. 136.
16 Charles Pickett, The Fibro Frontier: A Different
History of Australian Architecture, Sydney,
Powerhouse Museum, 1997, pp. 4849.
17 White, On Holidays, p. 136.
18 Holiday House: For Hills or the Sea in Eve Gye
(ed.), Home Plans, Sydney, Australian Womans
Weekly, c. 1946, p. 68.
19 Holiday House: For Hills or the Sea, p. 68.
20 Clifford J Orme and Robert A Spence, Gornalls
50 Post War Home Designs for Town and
Country, Gornall, 1948.
21 Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, p. 10.
22 Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, p. 10.

Christopher John Kent writes that four

students graduated from Shillitos diploma of
Design & Crafts in 1936 and it was not until
1953 that another comparable course was
established in Australia: see Christopher John
Kent, Phyllis Shillito 18951980: A Review,
Master of Design Thesis, University of
Technology Sydney, 1995, pp. 1, 44. Kent also
elaborates on Shillitos interest in the Bauhaus
24 Quoted in Kent, Phyllis Shillito 18951980, p. 52.
25 Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, p. 5.
26 Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, p. 39.
27 Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, p. 93.
28 Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, p. 93.
29 Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, p. 92.
30 Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, p. 9.
31 Pickett, The Fibro Frontier, p. 44.
32 From the beginning, fibro was always a little
dclass: Barry Humphries, Introduction to
Pickett, The Fibro Frontier, p. 4.
33 Pickett, The Fibro Frontier, p. 44.
34 Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, p. 26.
Note: the house is the Adnam House, Avalon,
Sydney, constructed in 1950.
35 Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes, p. 27.
36 Shillito, Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes,
pp. 5657.
37 Search for Ideal Australian Home, PIX, 29 August
1953, pp. 1920.
38 Search for Ideal Australian Home, pp. 19.
39 Michael Bogle, Arthur Baldwinson: Regional
Modernism in Sydney 19371969, PhD Thesis,
RMIT, 2008, p. 237.
40 Perrott, Our Houses Have an Accent Now, p. 15.
41 Perrott, Our Houses Have an Accent Now, p. 15.
42 Eva Buhrich, Ferien- und Week-End-Hauser/Text
und Zeichnung von C. M. Buhrich, Sidney [sic],
Das ideale Heim: Eine schweizerische
Monatsschrift fr Haus, Wohnung, Garten, July
1942, pp. 21922.
43 Holiday Home by the Water, Woman, 16 June
1952, p. 43. This later design is in an archive of
Hugh Buhrichs drawings held by the State Library
of New South Wales. It may be by both Hugh and
44 Holiday Home by the Water, p. 43.


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From the beginning, Leisure Space: The Transformation of
Sydney, 19451970 was a collaborative project that relied on the
ongoing commitment of the various members of the Faculty of
Built Environments Urban Typologies Research Cluster at UNSW
Australia. While some members did not contribute chapters to
this book namely Peter Kohane, Catherine de Lorenzo, Katrina
Simon and Anne Warr their contribution to the shaping of the
project overall is gratefully acknowledged.
Critical to the realisation of the book has been the continuing
support of the Dean of the Faculty, Professor Alec Tzannes, the
past Associate Dean of Research, Professor Bill Randolph, his
successor, Professor Robert Freestone, and Research Manager
Toni Hodge.
Professor Philip Goad (University of Melbourne), Professor
Peter Spearritt (University of Queensland), Associate Professor
Richard White (University of Sydney) and Professor Jane
Marceau were early advisers to the project and the authors
gratefully acknowledge their generous input. Anne Warr and Dr

Michael Bogle also undertook critical research for the cluster in

the initial stages of the project.
In terms of the many people who in some way have assisted
in bringing the book to completion, particular mention should
be made of Eric Sierens for his exceptional good will and
generosity in making the wonderful images of Max Dupain
available. Thanks are also due to Janice Latham and Amy
The talent and support of Elspeth Menzies, Uthpala
Gunethilake, Di Quick and Josephine Pajor-Markus at NewSouth
Publishing has been outstanding. Special thanks go to copyeditor
Tricia Dearborn for her constructive advice.
We were also lucky to have on board Michelle Andringa, who
ably and cheerfully took on the hard task of securing the many
images and copyright permissions required for the book.
Last but not least we would like to thank the City of Sydney
for its generous grant to the project, and in particular Dr Lisa
Murray, City Historian.


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All venues, streets and suburbs named in the index
are located in Sydney unless otherwise stated. Page
references in bold type indicate an illustration.
Abbott, Hilda 26, 125, 232n73
Abraham, Walter 147
Accommodation Australia Ltd 74, 75
Adams, Dennis 68
air terminal, international 20, 22
air travel 35
Alexander Kann, Finch & Associates 134
Alitalia Airlines offices 43, 44, 44, 46
American Club see American National Club
American Engineering Corporation 54
American influence on Australian popular culture 14647
American Motel, Bathurst 74, 75, 75
American National Club (formerly American Club) 122,
122, 123, 23238
Americans and hotels 22940
Ampol 172
Ancher Mortlock & Woolley 152
Ancher, Sydney 210, 217, 218, 219, 221, 222, 238n5
Andrews, Andrew 120
Andrews, Gordon 48
coffee shops 110, 118, 120, 122
tourist offices 32, 39, 43, 46
shopping centres 136, 137
Andronicus Brothers 113
Andronicus, John 113
Annand, Douglas 31, 45, 46, 48
annual leave, paid 19
ANTA see Australian National Travel Association
APIA Club 196, 197, 19798, 198, 199, 201, 203
Apperly, Eric 171, 172, 173
Architectural Forum 226n2 (chap. 3)
Architectural Record 72
Architecture and Arts 77, 78, 210
art, public 137
assimilation of ethnic communities 195, 201, 205206
Astor Hotel Motels Ltd (formerly Astor Hotels Pty Ltd) 29
Astor Hotels Pty Ltd (later Astor Hotel Motels Ltd) 29
Astor Motor Hotel 80, 81, 82, 82, 84, 86, 89
Audrey Borkenhagen & Associates 105
Australia Hotel 95
Australian Geographical Society 26
Australian Golf Club 164, 165, 167, 169, 170, 17273
Australian national architecture 210, 212
see also modernism: Australian architecture
Australian National Travel Association (ANTA) 19, 26,
34, 36, 37, 60
Australian popular culture, American influence 14647
Australian pubs, male domination 121
The Australian Ugliness (Boyd) 16, 75

Australian Womens Weekly 117

Home Plans 214, 215, 215, 216
Australias football codes 180
Australia Square tower 9, 89, 94, 102
AW Edwards Pty Ltd 155
Bainbridge, John 35
Baker, Geoffrey 72
Baldwinson, Arthur 221, 222
Balmain Leagues Club 189
Bamboo restaurant 28
Bankstown Square shopping centre 133, 133, 134
Bantry Bay 205
Barassi Line 180
Barassi, Ron 180
Barrett, Lindsay 181, 183, 184
Barwick, Garfield 151
Bass Hill drive-in cinema 160
Bass, Tom 45
Bathurst Leagues Club, Bathurst 189
Bauer, Richard 123
Bauhaus, Germany 217, 218
beaches 17
Beach Houses of Australia and New Zealand (Crafti) 210
Beach Hut Restaurant 96
Beavis, Don 97
Beck, Fred 190
Bedwell, Steve 156
Bel Geddes, Norman 102
Bell, Guilford 72, 228n5
Bendrodt, James 98
Benjamin, Peter 134
Bennett, Richard 140
Best, Marion Hall 26, 123, 125, 126
Beverly Hilton, Los Angeles 9
Bich, Marcel 173
Biltmore Hotel, Coral Gables 9
bistro mondain restaurants 97
Black Dolphin Motel, Merimbula 76, 76, 7779, 79,
Blacktown drive-in cinema 160
Blue Sky Theatres 151
BOAC see British Overseas Airways Corporation
Bob Hope Classic 165
Bodgies and Widgies 110, 112
Boeing jet airliners 35
Bondi Beach outdoor theatre 148
Borkenhagen, Audrey 26, 68, 87, 103, 105, 106, 107
Borkenhagen Forbes & Associates 106
Boyd, Robin 187, 233n8 (chap. 7)
The Australian Ugliness 16, 75
motels 72, 77, 78, 79, 228n5
branding 9, 36, 37, 86, 113

Bray, Alex 75
Breuer, Marcel 218
British Overseas Airways Corporation (BOAC) 39, 40,
Broadhurst, Florence 87
Brown, Nicholas 11112
Bruce, Stanley 34
Brunton, David 227n30
Bryant, JH (Jim) 72, 84
Buckley, Ben 181
Buhrich, Eva 222, 224
Buhrich, Hugh 222, 224
Building: Lighting: Engineering 43, 86, 152, 184
Building the Cold War (Wharton) 60
Bunning & Madden 46
Bunning, Walter 121, 134
Burley Katon Halliday 107
Burwood drive-in cinema, Melbourne 148
Cahill, John Joseph (Joe) 122, 137, 146, 156
Cahill, Reg 113, 120
Cahills 97, 110, 11314, 118, 118, 120, 122
Cahill, Teresa 113, 114, 120, 122
Cairo residential hotel 56
Caldwell, Geoffrey 191
Cammarano, Tania 112
Canberra Rex hotel, Canberra 125
Caprice restaurant 98, 99, 99, 100, 100, 105
Captain Cook (Flanagans Afloat) restaurant 106
Caribe Hilton, San Juan 52, 55, 56, 226n2 (chap. 3)
Caringbah drive-in cinema site 16061, 161
Carlton Rex hotel 125
Carney, Clive 120
car ownership 19, 34, 74, 131, 147, 169, 184
car parks, multi-level 18, 19
Carpenter, Dean 55
cars see car ownership
Cassab, Judy 123
Casula Camp riot 166
Caterers and Restaurant Keepers Association 28
CBD (central business district) 20, 23, 25
central business district (CBD) 20, 23, 25
Chadstone shopping centre, Melbourne 133
Challis House 33
Channel 9 (Sydney) 165, 166
Chatties restaurant 106
Chechik, Ben 150, 151
Chermside shopping centre, Brisbane 132
Chester Ford Pty Ltd 86
Chevron Group of Hotels 29, 58, 227n30
ChevronHilton 5051, 51, 53, 5861, 59, 227n32,
Hilton Bar 126, 127


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Daily Telegraph 15152

Darlinghurst Road 1415
Das ideale Heim 222
David Jones 98, 112
Davidson, Jim 1112

Davison, Graeme 74, 159

De Lasala, RD 237n26
democratisation 19, 95, 97, 147
Deomede, OS 198
Department of Immigration 195
Department of Tourist and Health Resorts (New Zealand)
Design & Crafts Diploma 26, 217, 238n23
Design and Construction Consultants Pty Ltd 25, 87
Devlin, Bruce 173
Dictionary of Sydney 196, 237n10
Disneyland, Anaheim 139
Divola, Harry 72, 120
Donald Crone & Associates 25, 58, 227n30, 227n44
Dressler, Shirley 66
drive-in cinema network, Sydney 158, 158
drive-in cinemas 19, 14461
driving ranges 171
Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme 140
Duncan, Alan 98
DunlopSlazenger 170
Dupain, Max 9, 117, 217
Dural Country Club 203
Dusseldorp, Dick 102
Dutch Australian Neerlandia Society 205, 206
Dykes, Edmund 26
Early Adopters 111
East Brothers see Precision Golf Forging
Eastern Suburbs Leagues Club 191
Eastlake Golf Club 171
East Sydney Technical College 26, 217
economic rationalism 52, 54, 68
economy in house design 217
Edmundson, WL, Jnr 75
Edwards Madigan Torzillo 39, 48
Edwards, Norman 89
Eisenhower, Dwight 165
Elanora Country Club 123
Elliot, Margaret 60
El Rancho drive-in cinema 159
entertainment, privatisation of 159
Ernst, Laszlo 117, 232n42
ES Clementson 152, 155
espresso 112
espresso bars see coffee shops
ethnic clubs 12, 19, 192207
ethnic politics 203, 205, 206
Federal Hotels Ltd 61
fte spciale restaurants 97
Fibro Frontier (Pickett) 75, 221
Fifth Avenue, New York 37

fine dining 98
Finkelstein, Joanne 95
Fink House 208209, 209, 219, 238n5
Fischer Group 25, 87
Fisher, Diana 117
Flying Saucer 173, 174
Foa, Achille 48
football codes, Australia 180
Footbridge Theatre 152
formal restaurants 97
Forster, Clive 19
Forsyth Evans & Associates 98
40-hour week 19, 132
Foster, (Judge) Alfred 132
Fowell, Mansfield & Maclurcan 46
Fox, Frank 152
Frank G OBrien Ltd 26, 113, 114, 231n37
Frank R Fox & Associates 145
Freemasons Arms 94
fringe benefits tax 102, 230n50
Frizell, Helen 187, 190
Fuller, George Gordon 68
Funaro, Bruno 72
Functional Products 122
Gaggia Espresso machines 112
Galbally, Frank 203
Galbally Report 203, 205
Galleria Espresso coffee shop 116, 117, 120
gaming laws 166, 168
gaming machines 166, 168, 181, 188
Garden Court Restaurant and Lounge 65, 68, 103, 105
Gayline drive-in cinema 159
Gazebo Motor Hotel 25, 7071, 71, 8789, 88, 9091,
91, 103, 106
German clubs 195
gesamtkunstwerks see total works of art
Goad, Philip 152
Godbey, Geoffrey 19
going out 110, 111
golf carts, motorised 165
golf clubhouses 175
golf clubs 25, 16277
golf courses 16869
golf driving ranges 171
Gordon, Ralph 181
Gornalls 50 Post War Home Designs (Spence) 214
Grace Bros 98, 100, 133, 137, 140
Grafton, Margaret 68
Grant, Margo 228n72
Greater Union 149, 150, 160
Great Restaurant 98
Greenway, Alan 78, 229n52


pioneering design 25, 52, 64, 69, 126, 227n30

Silver Spade restaurant 60, 61
Chevron Sydney Ltd 61, 227n31
children 140, 156, 203
Chrysler Classic 176
Chullora Twin Drive-In 14445, 145, 146, 152, 155, 156,
157, 158
cinema milk bars 114
cinemas, drive-in 19, 14461
city motels 8091
city trading 130, 131
Clayton, Michael 177
Clementson, Eric 150, 156
clubhouses, golf 175
Club Marconi 200201, 201203, 202, 204, 205, 237n56
clubs 12, 19, 17891, 192207
cocktail bars 11012, 12126
cocktail lounges see cocktail bars
coffee shops 10814, 11721, 126
Cohen, Mary Morley 161
commercialisation 11, 17071
commercial sprawl 131, 233n8 (chap. 7)
commodification of leisure 11
Community: Building Modern Australia 11, 194
community clubs 19496
Concord Golf Club 165
Concordia German Club 195, 237nn89
Consolidated Drive-In Theatres Corporation Pty Ltd 149,
152, 155, 159, 160
convenience restaurants 230n29
Cook, Thomas 32
Cool Rules (Pountain & Robins) 111
Cools 112
cool, 20th-century 11112, 123, 126
Coombs, Anne 121
Corroboree Room cocktail bar 125, 125
corruption, government 148
Cowling, Sid 171
Crafti, Stephen 210
Crick and Furse 231n35
Crone, Donald 227n30
Crooks, Mitchell & Peacock 155
Cumberland, County of 130
Cumberland County Council 149, 155
Curtin, Kevin J 152, 155, 174, 175
customerstaff relationships 39, 43
Czech Sokol club 205


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l e i s u r e s pa c e

Gropius, Walter 218, 222

Gruen, Victor 13132
Gruzman, Neville 55, 227n44
guest houses 33
Hage, Ghassan 196, 205, 207
H and E Sidgreaves 231nn3738
Harbour Bridge 155, 187
Harrop, William 148, 151
Havekes, Gerard 60, 139
Hellenic Club 196, 237n10
Helmuth, Yamasaki & Leinweber 121
Hely, Bell & Horne 133, 134
Henderson, Brian 167
Her Majestys Theatre 152
Herman, Morton 147, 152
Herndon, Marjorie 228n72
Hilton, Conrad 58, 61, 227n38
Hilton Hotels Corporation 52, 55
Hilton Hotels International 55, 58, 226n14 (chap. 3)
Hinder, Margel 137
Hing, Nerilee 184
Hitchcock, Alfred 72
Holiday Business (Davidson & Spearritt) 1112
holiday houses 12, 20824
holidays 12, 19, 34, 110, 220, 221
home and leisure 132
home ownership 132
Home Plans (Australian Womens Weekly) 214, 215, 215,
Hornbeck, James S 132
Hospitality see Hotel and Cafe News
Hospitality Management see Hotel and Cafe News
Hotel and Cafe News (later Hotel, Motel and Restaurant,
Hospitality Management and Hospitality) 26, 28
cocktail bars 125
coffee shops 110, 112, 113
ethnic clubs 196, 198
hotels 55, 56
motels 72, 73, 74
restaurants 98
see also Hotel, Motel and Restaurant
Hotel Astra Bondi 100
Hotel International 5658, 57, 227n25
Hotel Kosciusko, Snowy Mountains 34
Hotel, Motel and Restaurant (formerly Hotel and
Cafe News, later Hospitality Management and
Hospitality) 26, 27, 28
ethnic clubs 198
motels 75, 80, 83, 83, 84
restaurants 97, 98
see also Hotel and Cafe News
Hotel Nikko Sydney 227n44

Hotel Rex 56, 121, 122, 123, 124, 125

Americans and 229n40
international 5069, 226nn1314 (chap. 3)
luxury see hotels: international
vs motels 80
Houser, John W 55
houses, holiday 12, 20824
Howard, Tom 171
Hoyts 114, 149, 150, 151, 160
HP Oser, Fombertaux & Associates 39
H Stossel & Associates 9

Kerr, Vadim 231n21

Kevin J Curtin & Partners 80, 173
Kilderry, David 160
Kings Cross 1415, 15
Kings CrossPotts Point 25, 56
Kingsford Smith Airport 22, 22, 31
Kirkby, Dianne 97
KLM (Royal Dutch Airlines) offices, New York 37
Kolos, Frank 84
Korman, Stanley 25, 58, 227n30
Kornhauser, Eddie 150, 151
Kurzer, Henry 12021

Ikon Apartments 227n44

immigration, Australian 195
Immigration Restriction Act 1901 237n7
Impact of Design (Carney) 120
industrial laws 19
informality in staffcustomer contacts 39, 43
informal spectacular restaurants 97, 98, 106
integrated works of art see total works of art
Intelligence Department (NSW) 33
interaction, staffcustomer 39, 43
Intercontinental Hotels Corporation 66, 228n56
international air terminal 20, 22
international hotels 5069, 226nn1314 (chap. 3)
international passenger shipping terminal 20, 23
international travel 32
International Union of Official Travel Organisations 35
Istanbul Hilton, Istanbul 55, 227n54
ItalianAustralian All Sports Association
see APIA Club
Italian Coffee Shop 113

La Bodega restaurant 196

La Carimali espresso machines 113
Lake, FR 148
Lakes Cup 172
Lakes Golf Club 17177, 174, 17677
Lakes Golf Clubhouse 174, 176
Lalich, Walter 194, 195
Landmark Parkroyal hotel 227n44
Larra, James 94
Latin Quarter coffee shop 119, 119, 120
Laurie & Heath 64, 68
Laurie, William 228n57
leagues clubs 12, 19, 17891
Lebanese Club 19293, 193, 196
leisure 11, 19, 132, 141
leisure boom 3435
leisure-related spaces 913, 19, 25
Lend Lease 102
Les Bordes golf club, Loire Valley 173
Leskovec, Frank 56, 58
Leslie M Perrott & Partners 66
Lewers, Margo 125
drive-in cinemas 14852, 161
liquor 184, 188
licensing laws see liquor laws
Liner House Shipping Chamber 3031, 46
Ling Brothers 56, 58
Lipson & Kaad 116
Lipson, Samuel 116, 232n39
Liquor Act amendments 12122, 225n30
Liquor Amendment Act 1927 232n58
Liquor Amendment Act 1946 232n59
Liquor Amendment Act 1954 225n30
liquor laws 28, 95, 121, 166, 184, 188, 225n30
LJ Hooker 123, 125
the long boom 9, 11, 1429, 3435
long service leave 19
Lord, Margaret 26, 126
Lowy, Frank 233n20

Jacobsen, Arne 66
Jakle, John A 72
John Batman Motor Inn, Melbourne 228n5
John P Tate & Associates 123
Johnston, Donald 26, 64, 86, 87
Johnston, Richard 134
John W Roberts & Associates 152, 155
Jones, Roberta 60
Jubilee Shrine 148
Kaad, Peter 116
Kafka, Paul 61, 86
Kann, Alexander 125
Kelly, CA (Gus) 148, 151, 152
Kelly, John R 19
Kenneth McDonald & Associates 56
Kent Street 18
Kenwood, Hoile & Allen 183


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McConnell, Patricia 117

McDonald, Kenneth 55, 56, 210, 226n13 (chap. 3)
The New Australian Home 210, 211, 211, 212, 222
McFadden, James 150, 156
McGregor, Craig 121
McGurik, Pauline 20
Macleay Street 56
MacLennan, H Alexander 227n32
Maclurcan, Robert 125
McNair, William 156
Maddock, Rodney 16
magazines, corporation 2829
male domination of Australian pubs 121
Manly Beach 17
ManlyWarringah Leagues Club 189
Mann, Beryl 77
Marina Towers, Chicago 89
Mariti, Silvano 64
Mars Espresso coffee shop 111, 111
Massey Park Golf Club 168
Master Hosts International 87
Master Hosts Motor Hotels Pty Ltd 25, 87
Matraville drive-in cinema 159
Matson Line 35, 37, 38, 39, 43, 46
Mayo, Eileen 36
media and the long boom 2629
Melbourne drive-in cinemas 161
Menzies Hotel 23, 6164, 62, 63, 69, 126, 227n49
Menzies, Robert 201
Merchant Builders 229n23
Methodist Conference 123
Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pty Ltd (MGM) 114, 146, 151,
152, 155, 156
metropolitan expansion 20
MGM see Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pty Ltd
Mick Simmons Sports Store 16263
milk bars 110, 114, 115, 116, 117, 121, 126
Missingham, Hal 66
Mistaken Identity: Multiculturalism and the Demise of
Nationalism in Australia 195
Mitchell Valley Motel, Gippsland 77
Mockridge, John 77
modernism 37, 49, 194, 21718, 22022
Australian architecture 210, 214, 224
drive-in cinemas 152
ethnic clubs 184, 187, 188, 191
Moka Espresso coffee shop 113
Molnar, George 54
Monaro Mall, Canberra 137
Monthly Bulletin of Registrations of Motor Vehicles 131
Moore, Andrew 188

Moore, David 125

Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton) 54
Morrisons Milk Bar 114, 115, 115
Morton, Pat 151
Mosman Golf Club 165
Motel Adam, Canberra 228n5
Motel Canberra, Canberra 232n73
Motel Federation of Australia 78
Motel Guide for Australia 78
The Motel in America (Jakle et al.) 72
Motel Kings Cross 87
motels 19, 7091
Motels (G Baker & Funaro) 72
Motels, Hotels, Restaurants and Bars (Architectural
Record) 72
Motels of Australia Ltd 26, 29, 84, 86, 229n52
motels vs hotels 80
Motion Picture Exhibitors Association 148, 149
motor cars see car ownership
motorised golf carts 165
multiculturalism 205, 207
multi-level car parks 18, 19
National Rugby League (NRL) 180
The New Australian Home (McDonald) 210, 211, 211,
212, 222
New South Wales, branding 36
New Zealand Government Tourist Bureau offices 46,
47, 48
Nineveh (Assyrian club) 206, 206, 207
Northfield, James 36
North Ryde Skyline drive-in cinema 152, 155
North Shore 187, 189
North Sydney Leagues Club 186, 18789, 191
North Sydney Travelodge 89
NRL (National Rugby League) 180
NSW Government Tourist Bureau 32, 33, 34, 164
offices 3637, 39, 41, 41, 43, 46, 48, 120
NSW Local Government (Town and Country Planning)
Amendment Act 1945 149
NSW Rugby League 181
Oatlands Golf Course 169
Ocean Room restaurant 100
ODonnell, Gordon P 188
office blocks 23
Olivetti 48
ONeill, Phillip 20
One, Two, Three milk bar 116
On Holidays (R White) 1112, 19
open courts 13334
openness in tourist office design 37, 39
Opera Espresso coffee shop 232n42

Orient Steam Navigation Company 35

outdoor theatres 148
P&O 35
P&O Building 45, 45, 46, 48
Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) 34
paid annual leave 19
Palm Beach 21213
Palmer, Arnold 16263, 165
Pan American Airways 37, 38, 39, 43, 46, 66
parodic restaurants 97
Parramatta Leagues Club 189
passenger shipping terminal, international 20, 23
PATA (Pacific Asia Travel Association) 34
Peddle, Thorp & Walker 61, 89
Pelaco 165
Pelaco Tournament 165, 167
Penrith drive-in cinema 159
Penrith Panthers 191
Perrott, Harry 212, 214, 222
Perry, RR 148
PGF see Precision Golf Forging
Pickett, Charles 75, 214, 221
PierAstor, Byron Bay 80
Pierce, Daphne 111
Pittsburgh Hilton, Pittsburgh 58, 227n32
PIX 221
Player, Maisie 123, 125
poker machines see gaming machines
pokies see gaming machines
politics, ethnic 203, 205, 206
population growth in Sydney 110, 112, 130, 131
posters, tourism 36
Pountain, Dick 111
Powell, Tom 150, 151
Poyntzfield House 220
Precision Golf Forging (PGF) (formerly East Brothers)
Pretzel, Marian 120
Price, Edison 68
Princes restaurant 97, 98
Pringle, John 98
private enterprise 9, 11
private investment in leisure-related spaces 25
privatisation of entertainment 159
Progress Publications 28
Project Development Corporation Ltd 23, 61
Project Interiors 188
Psycho (Hitchcock) 72
public art 137
public dining, democratisation 95, 97
public sector and the long boom 16
pub lounges 121


luxury hotels see international hotels


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Qantas Airways (also Qantas Empire Airways) 23, 58, 64,

66, 80, 227n52
Qantas Booking Hall 42, 42, 43
Qantas Empire Airways see Qantas Airways
Qantas House 24, 80
Queens Club 123
Queen Victoria Building 55

Royal Dutch Airlines (KLM) offices, New York 37

Royal Hotel, Copenhagen 66, 228n57
RSL (Returned and Services League) 189
Rudder & Grout (later Rudder, Littlemore & Rudder) 43,
Rudder, Littlemore & Rudder (formerly Rudder & Grout)
43, 80
rugby league 180
rugby union 180
Rushcutter Bowl 84
Rushcutter Travelodge 83, 83, 8486, 85, 89, 100

Raindrop Fountain 138, 138, 139

Ralph Symonds Ltd 228n60
Randwick District Rugby 189
redevelopment of drive-in cinema sites 16061, 16061
Reeves, Simon 74, 89
Registered Clubs Association of New South Wales 187,
registered clubs, New South Wales 18081
drive-in cinemas 14849, 151, 152, 161
house design 210, 238n5
Reilly, Harold William (Bill) 86
relationships, staffcustomer 39, 43
religious infrastructure 19495
Repin, George 113
Repin, Ivan 113
Repin, Peter 113
Repins Coffee Inns 113, 116, 117, 231n20
restaurants 92107, 230n29
retail sales patterns 13031
Retail Trader 130
retrofitted milk bars 114
Returned and Services League (RSL) 189
revolving restaurants 102
Rex Investments Ltd 56, 123, 125
Rex Motel Chain 80
Ridge, John 229n23, 229n28
Robins, David 111
Rockers 112
Rockwell Gardens apartments 227n44
Rodgers, Jack 228n59
Romanos Restaurant 96, 97
rooftop swimming pools 9
Roselands Shopping Centre 2021, 25, 12829, 129,
130, 133, 134, 13739, 138, 139, 140, 142, 14243,
Rosen, Al 150, 151
Rowlands, Stanley 148
Royal Aquarium and Pleasure Grounds 11
Royal Commission of Inquiry into Liquor Laws 122, 166,

St George Leagues Club 25, 17879, 179, 18185, 182,

183, 185, 186, 187, 189, 191
St Michaels golf club 166
Santry, Michel 66
Saunders, John 233n20
Seidler & Associates 106
Seidler, Harry 72, 102, 209, 210, 218, 222, 238n5
Sellheim, Gert 36
Shaul Group 102
Shaul, Oliver 25, 97, 102, 105, 106, 107
Shaw, Jerry 187, 191
Shaw, JH 131, 233n8 (chap. 7)
Shillito, Phyllis 214, 217
Design & Crafts Diploma 26, 217, 238n23
Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes 211, 211, 212, 214,
217, 218, 218, 219, 221, 222
ships, international travel 35
shopping centres, suburban 12, 19, 20, 12843
Shulman, Louis 37
SIDA see Society of Interior Designers of Australia
Silver Spade restaurant 60, 61
sit-downs 230n29
Sixty Beach and Holiday Homes (Shillito) 211, 211, 212,
214, 217, 218, 218, 219, 221, 222
Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM) 64, 66, 68, 87, 105,
227n54, 228n59, 228n72
Skyline Drive-In cinemas 147, 150, 152, 153, 153, 154,
156, 159, 160
Skyline Restaurant 100
Skyway Restaurant, Katoomba 102
Slazenger 164
Smart Set 110
Smith, Kevin 134
Smith, W Allen 64
Snelling, Douglas 37, 39, 122, 123
Society of Interior Designers of Australia (SIDA) 26,
The Sociology of Leisure (Kelly & Godbey) 19
SOM see Skidmore, Owings & Merrill
Southern Cross Drive 17273
Southern Cross Hotel, Melbourne 66

l e i s u r e s pa c e

pubs 121, 184

Punter, John 106
Purvis, Tom 36

Southland Life Building, Dallas 58

South Sydney Junior Leagues Club 190, 190, 191
spaces, leisure-related 913, 19, 25
Spanish club 196, 237n26
spatial relationships, staffcustomer 39, 43
Spearritt, Peter 1112
Spence, Robert Arthur 214
sport and assimilation 203, 205206
sporting goods stores 170
sprawl, commercial 131, 233n8 (chap. 7)
Squire Inn motel 106
SS Canberra 23, 23
SS Oriana 35
staffcustomer relationships 39, 43
Stanhill Consolidated Ltd 58, 61
state tourist bureaus 3233, 3435
Statler Hotels 28, 55
Stone, Peter 139
style see 20th-century cool
suburbanisation 19, 20, 130, 147, 184, 194, 203
suburban shopping centres 12, 19, 20, 12843
suburbs 12, 19, 20, 13031
Sukiyaki Room restaurant 28
Summit Restaurant 25, 9293, 94, 97, 102, 103, 104
105, 104106, 107
Sunday Herald 172
Sun-Herald 89, 151
Surfies 112
swimming pools 9
Swing Clubs (golf) 165
Australias gateway city 20, 52
branding 36
leisure environment 9, 11, 12
London of the South Seas 95
playground of the South Pacific 54
population growth 110, 112, 130, 131
post-war period 16
visitor numbers 13
Sydney Cove Passenger Terminal 23, 23
Sydney Harbour 102
Sydney Harbour Bridge 155, 187
Sydney Hilton 23, 69, 84
Sydney Morning Herald 80, 166, 190
coffee shops and cocktail bars 112, 117, 121, 123,
drive-in cinemas 151, 152, 155
motels 78, 89
Sydney Opera House 106
Sydney Push 112, 121
Sydney Tower 58
Symons, Michael 94, 95


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see also Top of the Cross restaurant and cocktail

Trevor-Jones, D 74
Trompf, Percy 36
Tudor Hotel 121
Turner, Ian 180
20th-century cool 11112, 123, 126
20th Century Fox 114
Twin Drive-In Theatres 150, 155
types, leisure-related 913, 19, 25
Union Club 227n52
United Nations Conference on International Travel and
Tourism 35
United Nations Statistical Committee 35
urban sophisticates 110
USPGA (US Professional Golf Association) 165
US Professional Golf Association (USPGA) 165
Vadims restaurant 231n21
venues, leisure-related 913, 19, 25
Via Travelodge 86, 87
visitor numbers to Sydney 13
von Hagge, Robert 173, 174, 175, 176, 177
Walford, Leslie 89
Walkabout: Australia and the South Seas see Walkabout
Walkabout (formerly Walkabout: Australia and the South
Seas) 26, 28, 36, 4849
Wardell, William 227n52
WarnerLeeds 52
Warringah Expressway 188
Warringah Mall 134
Waterman House 219
Watkins, George 26, 113, 231n22
weekenders see holiday houses
Welton Becket & Associates 66
The Wentworth (formerly The Wentworth Magazine)
Wentworth Hotel (new) 23, 29, 61, 6468, 65, 67, 69,

cocktail bar 125, 125

restaurant 64, 65, 103, 105
Wentworth Hotel (old) 26, 28, 125, 228n68
The Wentworth Magazine (later The Wentworth) 2829
Wentworthville Leagues Club 189
West End Motel, Ballina 72, 73
Western Times 74
Westfield Group 133, 233n20
Westfield Place shopping centre 133
Wharton, Annabel Jane 60
White Australia policy 237n7
Whitehead & Payne 137
Whitehouse Properties Pty Ltd 227n44
White, Mary 126
White, Richard 1112, 19, 110
Whittlesey, Derwent 160
Whitton, Evan 148
Whitwell, Greg 16
Wilh Wilhemson Agency Pty Ltd 46
Wilson, Dick 173
Wilson Sporting Goods 165
Woman 222, 223, 224
Australian pubs 121
Club Marconi 203, 204
cocktail bars 123, 125
interior designers 126
leagues clubs 187, 188, 191
shopping centres 132, 140
World War II and golf 16465
Worsoe, Erica 97
Worthington Ball Company 165
Wright, Clare 121
Wynyard Centre 61
Wynyard Travelodge 9, 10
Yencken, David 77, 78, 229n23
Yeoman, Peter 134
Zipfinger, FJ 116
Zucker, Paul 131, 132


Tabler, William 68
Taglietti, Enrico 72, 228n5
Taj Mahal see St George Leagues Club
Tasmanian Tourist Association 32
Tate, John P 152
TCN-9 159
Tebbutt, Joyce 126
television introduced in Australia 159
10 pm closing time 28
terminal motels 8091
Terrace Plaza Hotel, Cincinnati 227n54
Theatres and Films Commission 148, 149, 150, 151, 152,
Theatres and Public Halls Act 19081946 148, 149, 151
theme-based design 54, 60, 96, 97
themed restaurants 96, 97
This Week in Sydney 117, 123, 126
Thunderbird Country Club, Palm Springs 165
Top of the Cross restaurant and cocktail bar 86, 87, 89,
100, 101
Top Ryde shopping centre 133, 133, 134, 13537, 135,
136, 140, 233n41
Toro, Ferrer & Torregrosa 52
Total Concept design see total works of art
total environments see total works of art
total works of art 46, 106, 110, 187
tourism 1920, 3237
Tourist Bureau see NSW Government Tourist Bureau
tourist bureaus, state 3233, 3435
tourist offices 3049
tourist resorts 33
tourists 35
Tower Mill Motel, Brisbane 89
Town and Square (Zucker) 131
Town House Motel, Canberra 228n5
Town House Motel, Wagga Wagga 228n5
town squares 131, 133
Townsville outdoor theatre 148
travel 1920, 3237
travel industry 1920, 3237
Travelodge 84, 86
Travelodge Kings Cross 86, 87


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