– Regent Street Gone

The League premises at 64 Regent Street, Chippendale

There would not be too many still involved in Sydney football who would remember the NSWAFL Headquarters at 64 Regent Street, Chippendale.

It was purchased by the League, with the help of loans from the Western Suburbs Licensed Club and a four thousand pounds advance from the Australian Football Council in 1964.

At the time it was a disused shop with residence above and part of a group of five similar adjoined buildings constructed in 1920.  All of these have recently been demolished to be replaced by a residential complex with most probably a series of commercial premises at street level.

The 1964 purchase by the league was a bold move by a body which had seen a series of homes since its disconnection from the NSW Sports Club in George Street, Sydney in about 1960.  The Sports Club had been the league’s home for almost 50 years and it too closed its doors recently.  They had use of a meeting room and minimal storage facilities.

The management committee of the league at the time were very proud of their new acquisition.  This committee was comprised of a number of men most of whom were also involved with various clubs Many of these put their hearts and soul into making something of this old building.

The League Headquarters in Regent Street at the time of purchase

It wasn’t long before a ground floor brick extension was added which took the boundary of the building back to the fence which borders the main Sydney rail line.  The front too had its timber and glass façade removed and replaced with brick surrounding an aluminium framed entry.

A most recent image of 64 Regent Street Chippendale (blue)

Initially it accommodated a fulltime secretary and typist and then over the years became a venue for all facets and committees of the league.

The building was lost to football when a coup in 1978 voted the long serving league president, Bill Hart out of office.  Eventually most of his loyal lieutenants followed and the replacement group forced the sale of the premises in 1981 for $77,500 with the league moving their offices to the Newtown Rules Club at the nearby 303 Cleveland Street, Redfern.  One of the reasons given for the sale was that the building was alive with white ants and yet it stood for another 36 years.  The electric sign you see in the top black and white image protruding over the footpath remained attached to the building for over 20 years after its sale.

Since 1981, the building has changed hands several times with the last sale in 2016 realising $1,300,000.00.

With its demolition goes part of football history in NSW.

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