Excelsior Terrace 87-101 George Street Erskineville

Excelcior I Excelcior II

Excelsior Terrace (87 to 101 George Street) is located on the western side of George Street, running south from the corner of Lambert Street. The terrace is comprised of a grocery store and seven residential terraces. The first reference to the row appears in the newspapers in 1885, with a reference to number 4 Excelsior Terrace (93 George Street) :

Excelsior I

Sydney Morning Herald Thursday, 12 March 1885

The first appearance of the terrace is in the 1886 edition of the Sands Directory:

Excelsior Sands 1886

Here is an early sales notice appearing in 1886 for number 7 Excelsior Terrace (99 George Street):

Excelsior II Sydney Morning Herald Saturday, 30 January 1886

Here is the row again in 1887, with the only change being to the grocer’s store:

Excelsior Sands 1887

In 1887 the following notices appeared with reference to 5 Excelsior Terrace (95 George Street):

Excelsior III

Sydney Morning Herald Wednesday, 16 March 1887

Additional advertisements appeared in 1887 in relation to the sale of number 7 Excelsior Terrace:

Excelsior IVSydney Morning Herald Saturday, 16 July 1887

Excelsior VEvening News Saturday, 16 July 1887

By December 1887 number 7 Excelsior Terrace remained for sale – the asking price no longer featured and the deposit had been lowered from £60 to £35

Excelsior ViEvening News Friday, 9 December 1887

Here is one final reference to the Excelsior Terrace, appearing in 1888:

Excelsior Vii

Sydney Morning Herald Saturday, 14 April 1888

Roughly 100 years later we have the following photographs from the 1980s, giving an indication of the appearance of the row with the passing of time:

Excelsior ViiIDated ‘late 1980s’ City of Sydney Archives SRC15851

A group of 2 storey terrace houses of Victorian era. Although not of same colour scheme, & not period, the colours do not clash, but add interest to the buildings & their attractiveness to the streetscape. White colour of No 87 emphasises its overhanging verandah, reminiscent of early Victorian period. If period elements restored, not necessarily period colour scheme, would represent lively aspect of urban form.

Excelsior ix2 July 1986 City of Sydney Archives CRS 422/3/52

This is a wonderful find. Providing some additional insight into the timing of the construction of Excelsior Terrace is this story from a former owner of 87 George Street of the discovery of a newspaper fragment found during ceiling and roof restorations 2011:

We found the fragment of newspaper during ceiling and roof restoration of our terrace house (87 George St Erko) in 2011. It was wrapped around the wires as insulation (electrical – yikes), I’ve heard that was common practice back then. We’d heard our house was owned for a long time by the same family, and was once a butcher’s shop and a corner store. The foundation under the house is the famous Sydney Sandstone, now unable to be found. When we bought it it still had a butchers hook in the window. It used to have a beautiful decorative stained glass window with some sort of brand name on it (like a painted Bushel’s sign) but we were unable to find it through the previous owners. When we bought the house the previous owners had it in storage somewhere but went and sailed around the world and we couldn’t track them down.

The fragment of newspaper found in the roof of 87 George Street tells the tragic story of the suicide of Anne Hall of Cooper Street Redfern, and can dated to mid-November 1884. It is very similar in appearance to this article appearing in the Sydney Morning Herald on Friday 14 November 1884:

Anne Hall Redfern 1884.png

 Sydney Morning Herald Friday, 14 November 1884

The article was reprinted widely, and whilst the one shown here is the closest in appearance it is not identical. In a reprint of the article the following week reference is made to the article’s appearance in the Echo, an afternoon paper published by the Sydney Morning Herald from 1875 to 1893. The fragment might be from the Echo, but at present is not available to view on Trove .

Nevertheless, that a newspaper published in mid-November 1884 was used to wrap the electrical wiring of 87 George Street Erskineville during its installation gives a great insight into the timing of the construction of the building.

This entry was posted in 1880-1889, 1980-1989, George Street and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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