Sydney during the 1960s and 1970s experienced a colossal development boom, which saw much of central Sydneyâ??s Victorian-era buildings demolished and replaced by commercial high-rise. Under the leadership of NSW Premier Bob Askin, himself known to personally negotiate the credit on behalf of his local development interests, no existing building in downtown Sydney was safe from the wreckersâ?? ball.

I went in search of the sounds of some of Sydney’s lost places. Here is some of what I found..

“I’ll take any bid…” This sound piece deals with the demolition of one of the Sydney icons from this period – The Hotel Australia.

The Pyrmont Incinerator: Demolished in 1994 to make way for the Meriton Apartments.

Tall Buildings

The building boom saw modernismâ??s International Style transform Sydney through speculative high rise construction. The dramatic impact of these tall buildings couldn’t be clearer than in the image below. It features the headquarters of the insurance company, the Australian Mutual Provident (AMP) Society in 1964.

AMP Building, 1964. Alfred St Circular Quay. City of Sydney archives.
AMP Building, 1964. Alfred St Circular Quay. City of Sydney archives.

Completed in 1961, the AMP building was the CBDâ??s first skyscraper, a 22-story gargantuan edifice dwarfing all others. Prior to its construction, building heights in Sydney were limited to a ceiling of 150 ft, or 45m, by legislation under Height of Buildings Act of 1912. The legislation reflected the City of Sydneyâ??s initial revulsion toward the American skyscraper. In 1957 the Act was amended, setting off a speculative property boom and fierce competition to dominate the city skyline for the next decade.