Historic Marrickville cottages with towering sewer vent on the market
Two adjacent unremarkable heritage-listed worker’s cottages have come onto the market in Premier Street, Marrickville, but it’s the structure in between them that will leave a lasting impression.
Also heritage-listed is a tall brick sewer vent, resembling a chimney, which is impossible to miss.
While the houses are within metres of the heritage stack, it is separated by a fence and a narrow strip of land on both sides, and remains the property of Sydney Water.
Built in 1898, the vent sits above the junction of three sewer mains, which originally led to a sewage farm at Rockdale. Editions of both The Daily Telegraph and the Sydney Morning Herald make reference to its planned construction in 1897, with the tower to be 90 feet (27.4 metres) high and expected to cost around ??600 at the time.
It was built by the Public Works Department for the Western Suburbs Sewerage Scheme and put into service between 1898 and 1900, with the adjoining cottages intended as accommodation for employees – although Sydney Water records state “in the recent decades they were leased through independent property management agencies and were not tenanted exclusively by Sydney Water employees”.
“They’re original homes … one has the old stove in it. The kitchen has been updated at some point,” said agent Spiro Deligiannis, from Ray White Marrickville. “There’s tunnels beneath the stink pipes that the workers used to go under.”
Mr Deligiannis noted that while they were selling both, the properties were on offer individually with a price guide of $1.1 million each.
And the vent itself has been well looked-after, he said. “It’s been refurbished – they have been working on it for months and months. They’ve used some of the bricks from the walls from the properties. It’s solid.” Related: The perfect Saturday in MarrickvilleRelated: Mosman home with WW2 bomb shelterRelated: How Sydney looked 40 years ago
The stack was refurbished in 2000 but is no longer in operation, with the vent shaft reduced in height earlier this year.
Mr Deligiannis said the stack had its own entrance at the front, so owners would not need to worry about workers potentially needing access via the property’s yards.
The Marrickville Sewer Vent is not the only one in Sydney – another, similar tower built in the same year can be found at the corner of Falcon Street and the Warringah Freeway in North Sydney. Sydney Water records note that Lewisham,Stanmore,Glebe and Bellevue Hill also house these unique, heritage-listed structures.
A property at 125 Corunna Road, Stanmore, which had a heritage listed stack in the front yard, was sold at auction earlier in 2017 by the Sydney Water Corporation for $1,405,000.
Heritage records for the Stanmore stack note that it and the vent on Premier Street in Marrickville “appear to be the only ventilation shafts ever built in NSW that feature associated accommodation facilities”.