Yes, yes, as you know, Penultimo is dormant in 2013, but we’ve recently made a Penultimo-worthy discovery and we’d love to share it with you.
Ever wanted to go back in time on Google maps? Like, see an aerial view of your house, 70 years ago?
Well, if you’re in NSW, now you can.
It looks like there was a 1943 aerial survey that has been stitched together marvellously well.
This nifty maps tool enables you to swing between 1943 and approx 2012. It’s called SIX Maps, “an online mapping tool for NSW developed by LPI”.
Honestly, it’s the best thing in the world since super crunchy peanut butter. Unfortunately the only year you can go back in time with is 1943, but who said a Tardis was a reliable machine anyhow?
Here are some examples of Ultimo in 1943. Not too many trees, and plenty of wool stores and factory buildings. The tram lines are still in working order. Darling Harbour Goods Yard is busy shunting goods from the harbour into Haymarket and down the railways…. the Government Printing Office site is vacant, and half of Wentworth Park is being used for the war effort.
Check out Pyrmont too:
Anonymous said: Hello, I am a student journalist on assignment from UTS. I would like to explore recent community issues in Ultimo. Would Penultimo hint a few local issues which I could touch on or do some basic research on? Thank you.
We don’t want to do your homework for you! Also, we don’t live in Ultimo any more and so we cannot claim to have a good solid knowledge of “recent community issues” any more. Have a read of this blog, and other local media. Take a walk around Ultimo. Ask locals and shopkeepers what they’re concerned about.
Sometimes we ought to keep our aesthetic opinions to ourselves. Other times, we like to share them with the few people who read page 79 of the Sun Herald. But the the SMH Online went and republished this opinion piece on March 1, 2013, and added a comments section, which is now full of all kinds of weird and wonderful rants about buildings in Sydney: the good, the bad, and the hideous. It’s great to see such passion about buildings.
We would like to add one of the sentences we put in the copy but it was cut:
"Seeing this building being preserved and reworked is a subtle and more preferable vision, compared to the proposed fate of the Darling Harbour Convention Centre.”
We also did note the name of the NSW Govt. Architect at the time - Ted Farmer - but that was cut from the copy too.
Anonymous said: Any idea what is going to be built at the back of the Old Government Printing Office (aka Global Switch HQ)? Lots of digging with one shallow area alongside the main excavation and possibly half of the block to remain untouched.
It’s the extension to Global Switch. It will be another data centre entirely: 34,000 sq m of it. They’re calling it “Sydney 2”. Here is the link to an old press release about it. It’s an old Part 3A approval … we weren’t sure what was going to happen with the change of government, but it looks as though things are still going as planned for Global Switch, at least.
The Sydney Morning Herald has this little opinion piece today:
Penultimo carrying on about pedestrian / cycling linkages in the proposed revamp of Darling Harbour.
Oh my! Penultimo DIDN’T cover the UTS crane accident? What is the world coming to?
Well, firslty, EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING was covering the crane accident, and we didn’t feel the need to add to the saturation.
So, instead, we’ve nicked this photo from the Australian and put it up here. We liked this image because it was the one of the few that shows the UTS sign (bottom left): 10 Reasons to Choose UTS. Oh yes.
Now … since this blog is in “dormant” form, and we don’t live in Ultimo any more, we make no claim to thoroughly follow the affairs of this suburb, at present. That said, from time to time we like to make little contributions, here and there.
And here’s one:
Remember the lovely TAFE Building U? Well … with TAFE shrinking of late (sad face), and with UTS expanding of late, UTS will be acquiring Tafe’s remarkable Building U. We love Building U for all the wrong reasons. It’s a gorgeous pink modern atrocity. It’s just brilliant. Of course, with UTS acquiring it, this will probably mean it will be demolished or substantially renovated, and before they do that, we promise a thorough photo essay.
UTS will be closing their Kuring-gai campus at Lindfield (in 2015), and shifting everything to Ultimo / Haymarket. The Lindfield site will be acquired by the government, to be turned into a high school, or something like that.
Here’s an old post from Penultimo on Building U.
The 2011 Census data is out, and that means we can finally discuss Ultimo without referring back to 2006 figures.
The population of Ultimo has grown by an estimated 1561 people since 2006. We imagine these figures are provisional because not everyone in Ultimo would have filled out a Census form. Apartment living makes these things a little tricky.
Total population in 2011: 7111 (2787 of those were Australian citizens)
Total population in 2006: 5550 (2055 of those were Australian citizens)
Median age in 2011: 27
Median age in 2006: 28
Average number of motor vehicles per dwelling in 2011: 0.5
Average number of motor vehicles per dwelling in 2006: 0.5
Number of households with 0 motor vehicles in 2011: 1388 (53.7%)
Number of households with 0 motor vehicles in 2006: 987 (not sure %)
Birth Country & Ancestry:
Born in Australia (2011 Census): 1602 (22% of total Ultimo population)
Born in Australia (2006 Census): 1183 (21.3% … )
Born in China (2011 Census): 1250 (17.6% … )
Born in China (2006 Census): 692 (12.5% … )
Both parents born overseas (2011 Census): 4421 (78.8%)
Both parents born overseas (2011 Census): 3111 (not sure %)
Separate house (2011 Census): 23 (0.9% of total Ultimo population)
Semi-detached / terrace (2011 Census): 363 (14.1% … )
Flat / Unit (2011 Census): 2183 (84.5% … )
Compare this to 2006 (we actually thought there would have been a higher increase than this):
Separate house (2006 Census): 0
Semi-detached / terrace (2006 Census): 358 (12.1%)
Flat / Unit (2006 Census): 2595 (87.9%)
Rent & Mortgages
Median weekly rent (2011 Census): $460
Median weekly rent (2006 Census): $335
Median monthly mortgage repayments (2011 Census): $2280
Median monthly loan repayments (2006 Census):$1904
Here’s a striking figure:
In 2011 in Ultimo, 55.4% of people were attending an educational institution. Of these, 2.8% were in primary school, 3.1% in secondary school and 51.7% in a tertiary or technical institution.
We don’t have the ABS percentages at hand to compare this to 2006, though it appears that the number of Ultimo residents who were engaged in some kind of education in 2006 was also high (3436 persons, which makes that around 61% of total population, roughly).
Travel to work
The 2011 Travel to Work figures will be released in October. Bummer, that was one of the stats we were most interested in.
Want to find out more? Download the NSW Postcode 2007 ABS Community Profile
The Ultimo Community Garden is having a Winter Warmer afternoon tea event on 7 July 2012, 2pm at McKee St Reserve in Ultimo. View the Facebook event invite here.
Everyone is welcome, and there will be tea and cake, and a colouring competition (kids only, sorry folks - we would’ve been pretty keen on that one). As the poster says, there will be vintage farm machinery on display (watch out Powerhouse - you’ve got some serious competition) and even lucky door prizes, sans the door.
This is also an opportunity to find out how to become involved with the Ultimo Community Garden, and find out what delights the garden has to offer, too.
Here are two new residential developments to watch out for in Ultimo. One is an application currently on exhibition, and another one is undergoing planning assessment, neither are approved, as yet.
Image from Google Maps of the site at the moment (we can’t walk down there at the moment, stupid leg.)
Student housing company URBANEST is proposing to demolish the 1 storey Motor-Body work building on in the Blackwattle lowlands of Ultimo, and redevelop the site into 5 residential buildings for student housing, with heights varying from 4 to 8 storeys. This site is opposite some TAFE buildings and the end of MaryAnn Street. It backs onto Blackwattle Lane.
This development is directly adjacent to the Briscoe Building, an architecturally significant brick warehouse on Wattle Street (see below)
The $32mill project is designed to house 665 students in 430 rooms (oooo … that means shared rooms), and include things like a fitness centre, bicycle storage and external courtyards. It will not have a big parking garage.
Here are some architectural renderings of the Urbanest proposal:
The Development Application is currently on exhibition, and this closes on the 29th of June. This area already features high-rise residences, and these look to be lower level - but across a fairly broad site.
A less dramatic project, no longer on exhibition (currently under assessment with City of Sydney):
This application is to partially demolish the existing (very ugly) commercial building on Bulwara Road, and replace it with an 8-storey residential tower with 123 units and space for 35 cars. Overshadowing is not so much of an issue because this building already overshadows nearby terraces on the south side, and next door to it is Meriton’s monstrosity “Casa Mia”.
Well, life in Redfern is going very well, but we feel a little guilty for not checking in with our Penultimo followers for such a long time.
It’s been great to see that the comments haven’t stopped, and the Tumblr reblogs continue too. Admittedly this can probably be explained by Spambots, and a few confused lost people who have stumbled onto the blog, only to rant at us from the comments field in a wacky, out-of-context diatribe.
But to the meat of the matter. This area is changing fast, and we can scarcely keep up. We might need amend our list to, ahem…
5 places to watch in Ultimo (and surrounds)
So maybe we touch on a bit of Pyrmont and Haymarket… everything happens on the fringe…
1 - Of cliffs and relics:
The transformation of the Edwin Davey Flour Mill
Now known as the “Harbour Mill”, the old Edwin Davey Flour Mill is transforming into a $90 million mixed use development at the end of Jones Street (technically Pyrmont). The developer is Ceerose. Here’s an old post by Penultimo with a little more detail. Right now there’s some impressive graf on the outside of the building, visible from the freeway. This “boutique” heritage refurb won’t be finished until 2014. They probably couldn’t have changed the area more radically: in a few years it’ll transform from an area that frequented by Sydney’s homeless (and graf artists), to a 10-level luxury development. The facade of the mill will be retained.
Probably the best thing to come of all this is that Ceerose will be working with the City of Sydney to improve Pedestrian access between the Wentworth Park lightrail stop, and the flour mill area above. It used to be a no-go, a cliff, but opening up this access-way will greatly improve pedestrian amenity & connectedness in Ultimo.
2 - From markets to studentville to luxury city living:
"The Quay" on Ultimo Road & Quay Street.
Another heritage facade will have a fancy lookin’ mixed-use development tower looming over it. Are we sensing a pattern here?
The Quay was the site of the old Poultry Market in Haymarket (well, it had a number of uses before then, see the archaeological report here). The delightful facade of the Poultry Market will be retained, but by the look of the renderings the towers above it will have little relationship to the facade. Still this is a part of Sydney that can cope with a bit of high-rise (and already has a fair bit).
The Quay will consist of two towers, designed by WMK Architecture, Smart Design Studio and CHADA, 18 levels, including 2 levels of retail (presumably on the ground floors). It may have some kind of podium garden thing going on…
Images: CBRE / The Quay
3 - Fast paced progress for Sydney’s Gehry:
The Dr Chau Chak Wing at UTS
Also on Ultimo Road, the UTS Business School will soon have a new building, and as everybody knows, it’s a Frank Gehry creation. Highly controversial, at least this building gets everyone talking about architecture in Ultimo, which is nice to see. Glass and sandstone-like light stone, depending on which side you’re looking at.
The excavation should be complete rather soon (they say mid-2012), and the building is set to be ready for the business faculty by 2014. One of the most interesting things about this building is how it might spur change for the much-ignored surrounding areas - Omnibus Lane, and the old railway tracks (soon to be the extended Ultimo Pedestrian Network? More on that in a moment).
4 - Penultimo’s favourite horse to thrash:
The future of the Ultimo Pedestrian Network (UPN)
It’s really happening! We’re so excited. Maybe it’s not a very nice acronym, but the UPN has a LOT of potential for making this part of the city more connected, dynamic and pedestrian friendly. It also has a lot of potential for improving the viability of retail in the area, and improving the urban amenity of Ultimo for workers and residents alike. Connectivity! Intersections! Urban dynamism! So many buzz words, so much blather. It’s not just us: many people see the potential of the UPN, and are working hard to turn it into something workable … but there are a huge number of complications with a project like this, not the least of which is the large number of stakeholders with sometimes conflicting interests. (Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority are the principal stakeholders.)
Alright, for those of you still going, the UP-what? - What is it?
The Ultimo Pedestrian Network, right now, is only in Stage 1. Stage 1 was recently completed — it’s that pedestrian walkway down the back of the ABC and the UTS student residences. This zone connects the Devonshire Tunnel & Railway Square down to Ultimo Road. We’ve gotta say, it’s not the most exciting urban space to crop up recently, but one thing is does have going for it: benches. Lots of them. And a hell of a lot of foot traffic.
But here’s the exciting bit. Stage 2 of the UPN is in motion — this it will make use of the old railway bridge over Ultimo Road, extend past the Dr Chau Chak Wing, and down to the back of the Powerhouse. It’ll be like the High Line in NYC! Only daggier. Probably. And cheaper. Australia doesn’t have the philanthropists to imagine something as ambitious as the High Line, but the UPN has the potential to be much more useful.
The Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority have selected Aspect Studios to design the linear elevated pedestrian walkway & cycleway. Consultations are happening this month, and they anticipate completion by the end of 2013 (that sounds a bit ambitious, but we’ll see…). Aspect designed Darling Quarter, among other things.
There are plenty of options for going further than this too (like… taking the UPN down towards Chinatown and Darling Harbour), but of course, these will take time and money…
Perhaps Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority might like to run a competition to rename the zone? UPN is dreadful, though the SHFA have their own acronym-related problems.
Images: 1) Jesse Adams Stein; 2) Aspect Studios
5 - Can’t see the forest for the trees:
The Powerhouse Museum forecourt
Things are going full steam ahead (so many cliches in this post!) with the revitalisation of the Powerhouse Museum and its forecourt. The ground foundations for the forecourt have been fixed up (and it’s much more open now - think steps not walls). But it looks like the Powerhouse Museum might be in a bit of a bind financially; they’ve really got the hat out, hoping for supporters to fund their ambitious Toland / Shigeru-Ban cardboard tree forecourt design. Go on, buy them a tree branch, it’s only $100.
Image: Powerhouse Musem & Toland / Shigeru-Ban
Born in Ultimo, 1922.