View from the Top

Paddington Aug. 1970

by Robert Brand

I have started to scan many old slides and of course found some old ones. Nothing great, but several should be interesting. The first few are the oldest so far and simply the result of the weekly roof inspections. Yes, the ITMC was responsible for checking all was well with the roof. Of interest was the fact that it was Paddington and it was the 70’s. A very liberated time. No photos of that, but I remember that 14 was the highest number of naked or semi naked people that we counted sun baking within easy view of the roof. The building was located at 363 Oxford St Paddington and still stands.

The photos are simply 4 pictures taken from the roof top looking around the building. Not a full sweep, but fairly comprehensive. It is also easy to see why it later made for a good spot to have the OTC Amateur Radio Club repeater (VK2ROT) on 147.075MHz. It was a natural highpoint with little in the way. The repeater still exists, but since OTC’s demise, it is not looked after by my good friends at the Waverley Amateur Radio Club.

The most striking thing is that the there are few tall buildings anywhere, including the city.

The above photo is looking to the south. The large structures mid field on the left are in the old Sydney showground, now Fox Studios. The Sydney Cricket Ground would probably be centre of the picture. The three large building are located in Redfern and built by the Housing Commission. In the distance to the left is Sydney Airport and Botany Bay. The greenery to the right is Moore Park and my old school, Sydney High School. Parking was only a problem at Easter when the Royal Easter Show was on at the showground. With the SCG, Parking is a regular problem. The odd outdoor rock concert was also an issue.

The above photo is looking west to the city. Below is Oxford St and the tall structure to the left is a nearby apartment block, one of the few high rise developments in Paddington other than the OTC building. The smoke is from some light industry still happening in the inner city around  the1970s. The Sydney Harbour Bridge can be seen at centre on the horizon and at this stage it was not even 40 years old. There are no tall buildings in the North Sydney area or anywhere on the north shore. There are few tall buildings and no really tall buildings in Sydney city. The Kings Cross precinct was not yet developed and is basically flat in this photo. A tiny glimpse of the harbour can be seen. This photo was taken late in the day in winter and the buildings are all in shadow.

The above photo is looking at Rushcutters Bay on the harbour. It is looking to the north east across the heart of Paddington. The boat is moored in front of the zoo. Growing up in Paddington with a view of the zoo, about 1am when the city was very still and the wind just right, you could hear the roars of the large cats at the zoo. The noise levels would drown that out now. The green area to the right was Trumper Park and the land above a sandstone Quarry. The Hardie Rubber Factory had just clsed and moved, but light industry remained around Trumper Park. The Large land in the distance on the right drops suddenly  – you can just make that out – it is North Head and the entrance to Sydney Harbour. The tall buildings in the centre are at Darling Point and are all residential and of course expensive.

This photo is looking east. The tall building is 21 stories high and in the heart of Woollahra. The brightly lit buildings in the centre are along Elizabeth St in Paddington. I grew up in one of the Paddington terrace houses in the centre left of the picture. Again there are few high rise buildings in the picture. The roughly 8 story brown and white building is were CDR (Dave Reynolds) lived.

I wonder if anyone that still has access to the Paddington building would be so kind as to take some photos in the same directions as these just to see the changes over the last 42 years. In fact the Harbour Bridge has more than doubled its age since these pictures were taken.

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