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Whitehall, Sydney, c1959

The land on which the Reserve Bank is built, was in the 19th century occupied on by the first Wesleyan Chapel built in 1821 and subsequently used as a Unitarian Chapel in 1850, a Wesleyan School House also built in 1821 and purchased in 1843 by the Roman Catholic Church to be used as a school (demolished c.1876). There was also a freestanding Georgian house occupied by a solicitor and a Georgian cottage.

By the mid-1870s following the demolition of the church and school a row of three three-storey Italianate terrace houses known as "Lucretia Terrace" was erected (c1876). The Georgian house was demolished and two four-storey late Victorian terrace houses were erected (1891). Around 1875 the Georgian cottage was demolished and the cottage next door and two three-storey terraces were built; one of these was demolished in 1921 and a three-storey brick building known as "Whitehall" was erected on the site (pictured).

Whitehall - used as medical suite housing two practitioners - was purchased by the Municipal Council of Sydney in 1926 along with numerous other sites in Macquarie and Phillip Streets in anticipation of the extension of Martin Place.

In 1957, the Director-General of Works (Dr Lodge) suggested to the Governor of the Commonwealth Bank that the site at the top of Martin Place, owned by the Sydney City Council would be suitable for the construction of the head office of the Reserve Bank.

Whitehall was finally demolished in 1959 for the construction of the Reserve Bank. A photograph of 219-215 Macquarie Street taken shortly before demolition is pictured (black and white). The other image was likely taken in the late 1940s.

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