Sydney sketching : D is for Darlington NSW 2008

September 23, 2011

Onsite, untreated thumbnail sketches, graphite pencil. Chippendale NSW 2008

Last week, it was C for Camperdown. Today, the first day of school holidays and with brilliant sunlight casting crisp shadows, it’s D for Darlington.

Two quick thumbnails, drawn standing up and without a second hand to support the sketchbook (!) just to isolate those salient features which grabbed my attention. Both buildings were coincidentally closed at the time, or certainly appeared so; some passing pedestrian traffic in the middle of the day, mid-week, but not excessive.  I hesitate to paint over these drawings – I can amplify by referring to photos or return another time. The good news is that it’s possible to draw both buildings from across the road, in shade and sitting on a stool out of the way of passing pedestrians.

The Berkeley Hotel, Abercrombie Street.

Darlington is made up largely of two-storey Victorian terraces houses with hotels/public houses at the corners of major intersecting streets. The squares with white crossbands in the facade are the focus; grass and weeds are growing in corners, high up on the facade. There was a nice contrast between the bright blue sky, the ochre painted brick and cream stonework and painted sections. The ground floor is painted in a dull purple.


Art Deco petrol service station, Cleveland Street

My view is outside the Dolphin Square apartment block, adjacent to the busy convenience store. What attracts is the mix of light and dark greens in the facade painting. What is also curious (and thoroughly characteristic of Sydney is the huge eucalyptus gum tree directly behind the building, creating this curious contrast of the built environment and the natural environment. The last thing one thinks of in terms of Darlington is established trees!


I quote here a description of the building from the NSW Government’s heritage webste (, complete with photo of front elevation (minus cars!) in March 2001:

“Hahn Automotive Services – 117-117A Cleveland Street Darlington NSW 2008. A rare example of an inter-war Art Deco style service station, dating from the key period of development of service stations in NSW from 1925 to 1939. The building comprises a dominant porte-cochere in reinforced concrete. It is supported by an 8-sided column which rises to a large rocket-like finial. The rooft extends back over the workshop, hoist and store area. The store area projects beyond the workshop and features chamfered corners and a sill-high steel window with horizontal mullions. The entry has a roller shutter and 2 paired doors.  The existing building was built in 1939 as a motor garage and this use has continued to this day.”

I note with interest a ?book written by Ian Kirk and Meagan Martin in 2000 on Interwar Service Stations in NSW.


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