Sydney sketching : sketching Sydney – postcode 2042, King Street Auto

June 22, 2011

Second in an occasional series of sketches of Sydney suburbia, urban sketching with an eye to distinctive architecture.

426 King Street (South), Newtown NSW 2042

An Inter-War Spanish Mission-style petrol service station in Sydney (now an auto electrical business) in nearby St Peters recalls this building, not too far away in the next suburb, Newtown, as well as another petrol service station (demolished shortly after 2008) further down the road at Tempe. On Sydney’s main road running south down the coast to Wollongong, this example in Newtown is one of the few remaining buildings facing King Street which is not either a retail high-street shop, a hotel, a church or a terrace house.  

The architectural style dates from 1915/1925 to 1939 and Wikipedia (entry: “Newtown”) records that in the mid-1980s the building was used as a location for scenes in the Ray Lawrence film, “Bliss” which was based on the novel by Peter Carey. In the film, the service station was used as the childhood home of Harry Joy’s wife Bettina, played by Lynette Curran.

Like the St Peters service station, this one is in deep shade in the morning – these sketches done 11am in Winter. Of particular note is the twisted pylons, plus the treatment of the windows, complete with red geraniums in the window box. The current colour scheme for the painting of woodwork and finials is a Brunswick Green, that most common of heritage paint colours, contrasting with a sand yellow, all on white. At least the paintwork is up to scratch (if somewhat “loud”, unlike the nearby Sandringham Hotel, with its strongly-stated Art Deco facade but with paint peeling badly. The green and yellow-cream paint is repeated in the calico awnings on either side of the main vehicle entrance. The common wall to the right (with shops of a more everyday architectural style, currently tenanted by Caramba and Etalage) has been treated in the same identical Spanish Mission style, happily creating the sense of a courtyard. The sandy brick residential area to the back of the business premises is in the conventional 1920s style, complete with covered-in protruding balcony. Like several other petrol service stations in the area, this one is on a corner block, ideal for vehicle ingress/egress.

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