History Beyond Blu

Did you know, our building has gone through two world wars? When you step into our lobby, you might not think about the historic past of the modern hotel you’ve entered. The property dates all the way back to 1856, when it was originally built. Prior to it being a hotel and even a bank, it was home to Fairfax & Sons, the publishers of Australia’s oldest surviving newspaper, The Sydney Morning Herald; a divergent memory from the 5 star hotel that now encompasses the building.

Herald Building on Hunter and Pitt Street, Sydney, ca. 1920s, 2 [picture]. [nla.pic-vn6342172]

Sydney Morning Herald – the beginning

The original Sydney Morning Herald building was constructed in 1856, however the building which still stands was not built until 1922 when the newspaper had outgrown the original property. After John Fairfax had died, his son, James decided to demolish and rebuild a new structure to accommodate future success. The newspaper empire remained at this address until The Bank of New South Wales occupied the building in 1956 and the Fairfax’s saw a move to Broadway necessary for further expansion.

The Bank of New South Wales era

The Bank of New South Wales, the first bank in Australia, saw many changes occur to the building to make room for banking services and safes, with the bank occupying the ground and basement floors during this time, with commercial tenants occupying the above floors. The bank remained on site until 1999 when it was announced that the Radisson Blu Hotel Sydney was to be opened in 2000.

The iconic building today

During the Interwar Renaissance period, the building was classified as the largest building in the Southern hemisphere, with twelve floors and sub-basements. A far cry from architectural feats today, the building however has had some renovations done to accommodate the five star hotel which now stands; with 14 floors plus 4 basement floors. Each floor has historical prints, to allow guests to get a glimpse of the past. Our building may have a lot of history, but it only continues to grow; as many more guests each day experience memorable moments they will cherish forever.

(By Emma Hedges)

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