Queen Victoria Markat (Building) - Belmore Markets
When Colonial Governor Lachlan
Macquarie arrived in New South Wales in 1810, he found the colony's main landing place disturbed by the produce,
livestock and poultry of the daily waterfront market at Kings Wharf. He ordered the market be moved to a more
convenient location in a paddock two kilometres inland and bounded on the east by George Street, on the west by
newly-named York Street, and on the south by the colony's first
Historical records show this site
- which would eventually house the Queen Victoria Building - was first leased by Governor Macquarie to Mr John
Fleming. Later records show it was sold to Messrs John and Gregory Blaxland, who subsequently developed Sydney's
first "large scale" dairy.
Timeline of the
1820 A two-story building is
constructed on the site. The Druitt street end has offices to administer the market. The cross-shaped Greenway's
Market House sells maize, wheat, green forage, vegetables, turkeys, ducks, geese, pigs, drapery and
groceries. Eight years later Greenway's Market House is converted
into Police Offices and a Magistrates Court, which all become the Central Police Court and The Government of the
day issues a general order that the area be set aside as a market square.
1869 The whole market area is
roofed and the street becomes an arcade within the market.
1893 Site work commences with
part of the excavation. George McRae submits four designs for the QVB facades: Gothic, Queen Anne, Renaissance
and Romanesque. The Market's committee chooses the Romanesque design and decides the building should accommodate
the following; the Coffee Palace (a residential hotel) over
several floors at the Druitt street end; a concert hall for
500 people at the Market Street end; shops; warehouses; markets in the
basement served by four hydraulic lifts.
In December of this year the
foundation stone is laid by Major William Manning.
1898 July 21: the official
opening is held by Mayor Alderman Mathew Harris. The ground floor has 58 shops with a variety of tenants,
including:- tailors - mercers - boot importers - hairdressers -
tobacconists - florists - chemists - fruiterers - a tea room.
In 1866, construction started on the first Belmore Markets, on a site bounded by Castlereagh,
Hay, Pitt and Campbell. They open 14th May 1869. In 1893, the second Belmore Markets (Capitol site) open.
Used for theatrical and circus performances on Saturday nights.
In 1910, Council decided that the Tivoli and the Capitol (two theatres) would be erected on the
sites of the old and new Belmore Markets. In 1914, Belmore Markets was dismantled and re-erected in 1916 as
the Hippodrome – home of Wirth’s Circus in Australia. The detail of the market walls were erected 10 metres
In 1928, The Capitol Theatre opened with a 2,999 seat auditorium. It featured an ‘open air’
Florentine garden surrounded by walls and balustrades, statues, tress, doves, shawls and period furniture – all
beneath a ‘blue sky’ which darkened as session time approached.
Produce markets operated in the area from the late 1820s, including the hay and corn markets from
the early 1830s. During the nineteenth century, the site of the Capitol Theatre, then an empty block opposite the
original Belmore Markets, was home to the informal, 'carnivalesque' Paddy's Market. The city council officially
established produce markets on Campbell Street in 1869 on a block to the east of the Capitol Theatre. These markets
were opened by Sir Somerset Lowry-Corry, the Earl of Belmore, the Governor of New South Wales from 1868 to 1872,
and were named in his honour.