Sydney's first skyscraper | State Library of New South Wales

Sydney's first skyscraper

Sydney's skyline changed in 1912 when its tallest building to date, Culwulla Chambers, was built on the corner of King Street and Castlereagh Street to a height of 50 metres. Designed by Spain, Cosh and Minnett, the building consisted of 14 floors and cost a record £100,000 to build.

Culwulla Chambers

Although Culwulla Chambers was hailed a skyscraper by the press, because it is a masonry construction rather than a metal frame building, it is, technically, simply a tall building. The construction of Culwulla Chambers resulted in much controversy at the time. People feared Sydney would develop a 'New York style' skyline and the building itself was considered a potential fire hazard, as fire ladders could not reach its maximum height.

As a result of this concern a subsequent amendment was made to building regulations prohibiting the erection of buildings taller than 45 metres. This regulation remained in force until the AMP building was constructed at Circular Quay in 1961.

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