Today we had a quick browse of Shirley Fitzgerald and Hilart Golder’s book Pyrmont & Ultimo Under Siege, and we were reminded of this building:
It used to be the Benevolent Society’s Thomas Street Asylum, Ultimo, and now has a rather ungainly tower sitting atop it (housing the Citygate Hotel), though the Asylum building has been preserved, as it is a heritage building. During the Depression, the poorer folk of Ultimo used to walk to the Benevolent Society for hand outs of bread, jam, tea and sometimes food coupons etc. It was apparently seen as a humiliating journey. This building housed the Benevolent Society’s offices, hospital for children, and home for the destitute. This photograph was is from Fitzgerald and Golder’s book - they probably chose it to open the text, because it clearly encapsulates the dramatic changes in Ultimo’s short history.
Special thanks to Penultimo reader Rishi for reminding us about the Benevolent Society.
We trawled commercial sites on the web to find some other images of the building, but most are decidedly twee: