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90/586 Architectural models (23), King Street Sydney streetscape, c 1880, plywood/cardboard/fabric/celluloid, Australian Broadcasting Commission, Sydney, Australia, 1956-1977. Click to enlarge.

Architectural models of King Street made by Jack Montgomery

This is a group of 23 architectural models representing King Street, Sydney, in the 1880s. This streetscape reveals a lost city of trades, shops and entertainment, in buildings of a human scale. King Street was a magnet at night for and by day a retail mecca.

Yet Sydney was also taking on its modern form as a business and professional centre, with architecture to match. This lost city catches Sydney at a cross roads in its history. A bustling variety of people and activities began to make way …


Object No.


Object Statement

Architectural models (23), King Street Sydney streetscape, c 1880, plywood/cardboard/fabric/celluloid, Australian Broadcasting Commission, Sydney, Australia, 1956-1977

Physical Description

Collection of architectural models of commercial buildings on King Street Sydney, dating from 1860-1890.

The following is a listing of the models compared with the street numbers of those listed in Sands Directory for 1880:

King Street South side:

George Street
Royal Exchange hotel
77-79 - Vale of Clwydd coal company
? Miss Louisa Harris ?

-22: 81 - Builder's Exchange hotel [Sydney Arcade facade].
83 - William Alexander, clothier
85 - James Eve, tobacconist
87 - James Murray, boot and shoemaker

? 89-95 - models missing.

-18: 97 - Abraham Marks, tailor
99 - Carr and Buck, auctioneers
101 - John T Gorus, photographer
101 - Henry Buist, tobacconist
103 - Emanuel Cantor, mercer and glover

-20: 105 - John Myers, tobacconist
Liverpool Arms Hotel
Pitt Street

-19: Australian Mutual Fire Insurance [Sands 1880 lists AMFI at 184 Pitt Street, at King Street corner.]

-21: 107 - D J Humphries, tailor
109 - John Mannix, tailor
?: ? Surrey Arms Hotel?
111 - Geo. Wallace, bookseller and stationer
113? - John Moore, hairdresser
115? - W G Hibble, signwriter

? 117-119?

-17: 121-125 - Quong Tart tea rooms [Shroeder's hotel in Sands]
127 - William Mitchell, chemist and druggist
129 - David Wilson, coal agent (up)
129 - Francis Fahey, land agent
131-133 - residence

-16: 135 - Joseph Guiliani, tobacconist
137 - George Taylor, fruiterer
Prince Imperial hotel
Colonnade hotel

-15: Castlereagh street
Metropolitan hotel
141 - Palmer and Weekes, decorators and signwriters

-14: ? Madame Wegel's dress patterns.
149? Barthel, jeweller
151? Knox etc solicitors.
151? Curtis, Want, Ryan, O'Ryan, solicitors.
Elizabeth Street

North Side:

-13: 410 George Street - Orient Dining Room
Coles book arcade
Accident, Fire and Life Assurance Co etc

-12: 80-82 Bank Court Chambers
Henry Webb - draper and milliner
Excelsior portraits
Bowenfells copper and coal company
William Brennan, solicitor.
84 - William Felmingham, chemist and druggist
86 - William Renwick, draper.

-11: 90 - J. Hunter, boot and shoe warehouse.
92-94 - Johnston and Kingsbury, drapers and silk mercers.

-10: 96 - Conway and son, watchmakers and jewellers
98 - Eliezer Davis, fancy goods and toy bazaar.

-9: 100 - Crawshaw, McLelland and Varley, drapers and silk merchants.
102 - Leader and Stark, drapers and silk mercers.
104 - E J Hollingdale, watchmaker and jeweller.

-8: - Punch's Hotel
Pitt Street.

-7: Pitt Street
International Hotel.

-6: 108? - tobacconist
? - Dawsons?
110? - Jackson and Morton, tailors and men's mercers.

-5: Laneway
Star and Garter Hotel
106 - Joel Hart, auctioneer?
108 [116] - Lebarbe, pork butcher
110 - 112 [120] - ? , baker and confectioner

-4: 114 [122] - James Brown, art dealer and framer.
116 - [124] - Isaac Rose, tobacconist
118 - [126] - Nicholson, Habits and robes
120 [128] - Harper? Fruiterer?
122? [128-132] - Henry Woodward? - oyster cafe
124 Canadian Rubber Stamp company.

-3: Theatre Royal
American Exchange Hotel
Pringle, property agent
National hotel
134 - Quinn, barber
Continental hotel
Castlereagh Street

-2: Commercial hotel
146 - George Binder, hairworker and jeweller
148 - William Weedon, engraver and printer
150 - Richard Callaway - fruit and vegetables
152 - William Dymock -books

-1: ? Vaughan's Chambers
Temple Court, solicitors chambers.
Elizabeth Street

[Models 4, 5 , 6, 21 have some variations in street numbers and detail from Sands, 1880.]


see parts



Made by Jack Montgomery of the ABC for a TV documentary about King Street.

City of Sydney Archives give construction date of 1956 although this seems unlikely given that television transmission only began in 1956. There is also an Archives record confirming that the models were in the possession of Sydney City Council in 1977.



Used in an ABC TV documentary. Acquired by Sydney City Council about 1977, the models were displayed at the City Library and other Council properties.

In 2005 the models were the centrepiece of the exhibition Lost City at the Museum of City. A draft of the exhibition labels follows:


No. 13: Coles Book Arcade

h. 440 mm
w.570 mm
d. 500 mm

Booksellers were a feature of Sydney in the late 1800s. The majority were located in the streets crossing George Street between the Town Hall and Hunter Street. Coles Book Arcade was a retail outlet for EW Cole, an entrepreneur and great promoter of literature and reading in Australia.

In 1879 Cole published Cole's Funny Picture Book, which is featured in this window. Compiled from verse, jokes, pictures, puzzles and propaganda aimed at children and their parents, the Funny Picture Book provides a fascinating glimpse into Victorian humour, attitudes and issues.

No. 12 Silk merchants and drapers

h. 490 mm
740 mm
590 mm

Clothes shopping and retailing changed radically in the late 1800s. Many draper, milliner's and tailor's shops expanded into large department stores, selling a wide range of clothing and other household goods. Palatial stores such as Horderns, Grace Bros, David Jones and Lasseters sprang up.

Meanwhile women gained easier access to international fashion styles through the introduction of mass produced patterns pioneered by Butterick, and later the firms of Worth and Madame Weigel. With sewing machines widely available, sophisticated forms of dressmaking spread to the home.

No. 11 Boots and shoes

h. 430mm
w. 525 mm
d. 590 mm

With five shops in the centre of Sydney, John Hunter and his shoe and boot emporiums was a readily identifiable retailing giant of the late 1800s. Hunter was described by an English journal as the "Boot King of Australia" for his franchising and for his agents in Paris, Vienna and other continental cities, employed to catch the latest trends and send samples to Australia.

One of Hunter's signature boots was the celebrated "Kangaratta" brand featured here. The public greeted this boot with great enthusiasm on account of Hunter's marketing campaign, designed to prove that the boots were absolutely watertight. For several days these boots were set in trays of water and then inspected by the public, who found them to be as dry inside as the advertising predicted.

Boots and shoes

"The fittings glistened with varnish, mirrors and brass rods reflected the light at every angle, and the building was packed from roof to floor with boots. The shelves were loaded with white cardboard boxes containing the better sort of boot. But there was not enough room on the shelves, and boots and shoes hung from the ceiling like bunches of fruit; they clung to the brass rods like swarming bees. The strong peculiar odour of leather clogged the air. The shopmen stood about, whispering to one another, or changing the position of boots as they waited for the customers."
Louis Stone, Jonah, 1911.

No.9 Silk merchants and drapers

h. 500 mm
w. 700 mm
d. 580 mm

Drapers specialised in dress materials but they also sold many finished garments such as skirts, blouses, white work, hosiery, cloaks, and accessories such as gloves, umbrellas and haberdashery items.


Credit Line

Gift of the Council of the City of Sydney, 1990

Acquisition Date

25 June 1990

Cite this Object


Architectural models of King Street made by Jack Montgomery 2023, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 5 June 2023, <>


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