Friday, February 10, 2012

Darlinghurst Blog: Past and Present: Corner of William Street and Kirketon Road

The corner of Kirketon Road and William Street is a rather bland, nondescript junction these days, not conducive to lingering. 
But back in the 1950s it was a bustling corner and home to the original Bar Coluzzi:

This photograph, from the City of Sydney Archives, was taken in 1957 and shows Luigi Coluzzi standing in front of his eponymous cafe. Inside the darkened doorway sits Eleni Coluzzi. 
I still find it hard to believe it is the same location in the contemporary photograph, but according to the archives, the photographer is standing on the corner Kirketon Road, looking down to Rosebank Street. 
I again pulled out the old City Building Surveyor's maps to see what the corner once looked like from a geographical perspective, but the building must have been demolished prior to the building survey, as there is no trace of this row of shops, which also includes a laundrette, a bird shop and chemist. 


And here's a glimpse of Bar Coluzzi as it is today:

Bar Coluzzi
322 Victoria Street
Darlinghurst NSW 2010
02 9380 5420


Anonymous said...

I have recently joined myDarlinghurst bog.
The position of bar colluzzi was not on the Present corner of Kirkton Road.
It was wayout in the middle of the area of the kings cross tunnel.
If you draw a straight line on a map of William street from Chards Square up to Victoria Street
Then a straight line from the building alignment of Kirkton Road where they intersect is the sport for the café.


Violet Tingle said...

Thanks for your comment, Jamieson. Yes, I see now. The City Building Surveyor's map extract gives an idea of how the street would have once run (in line from Grenville House directly east).
I'm told the row was demolished, and the street realigned, in the late 1960s/early 70s when the William Street "freeway" and overpass was built.
Urban designers and architects call it an "intrusive intervention", which damaged the fabric of the original streetscape, creating a "non-place" with poorly aligned buildings.
The challenge, I'm told, is how to "heal" it, and the planter boxes/daleks have gone some way to address that.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if you have seen 'Faces in the Street' by Max Kelly. It has an amazing set of photographs of the southern side of William Street taken in 1916 before the widening of the road from 60 feet to 100 feet. Scores of shops, houses, workshops, pubs, etc, were demolished in one go. As 'City of Shadows' is to criminals, 'Faces in the Street' is to architecture.

J Scanlon
now of Katoomba but old Darlo

Violet Tingle said...

Yes, J Scanlon, I have seen it - Kings Cross Library has a copy. Fascinating photographs of lost streetscapes. I think it was also where I learned that William Street, dating right back, was home to car dealers, as it is to this day - although many have shut down and moved on recently.