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Linda Daniele

A paint scheme for King Street and Enmore Road, Newtown has been highlighted by the heritage and conservation branch of the City of Sydney Council, with the aim of keeping facades as traditional as possible.

Designed to improve the street appearance and retail quality of King Street and Enmore Road, the program is for retailers, councils and residents.

The purpose of the paint scheme is to encourage owners and tenants to improve their buildings as part of a general scheme intended to upgrade the area, using a heritage theme.

Neustein Urban and Rod Howard & Associates prepared colour schemes for the area on behalf of the council, almost twenty years ago, in 1991. The colour schemes are based on the heritage colours that would have been used originally on the historic buildings.

Although repainting is not compulsory, the heritage paint scheme is a guide for potential renovations, and offers various options for owners and tenants to improve their buildings.

The heritage scheme also prevents property owners from mounting signage without council permission, in order to best preserve the original appearance of the buildings.

As part of the study, consultants Neustein Urban and Rod Howard & Associates surveyed every building on King Street and Enmore Road and compiled an inventory. It includes the age, architectural style, present and former uses, whether it appears on any heritage lists, how important it is to the general appearance of the street, and suggested paint scheme.

Where appropriate, conservation action recommendations or suggestions for improving the building’s condition are also included.

All buildings are classified in terms of their importance to the streetscape. There are four categories: significant, contributory, borderline and non-contributory.

In devising colour schemes, three periods appropriate to the style of significant buildings in King Street and Enmore Road were adopted.

The Late Victorian architectural style covers buildings from 1800 to 1900; Federation style buildings are those from 1900 to 1915; and Inter War period style buildings cover those constructed from 1915 to 1940.

Six paint schemes have been prepared for Victorian period buildings and four for Federation style buildings, to give building owners and tenants choices.

“The colour schemes recommended are those used traditionally for the designated building periods, with various colour combinations characteristic of certain periods, and how these colour schemes were applied. In most schemes, certain building features were picked out or highlighted to increase the decorative effect,” the study says.

At the north end of King Street, the majority of the buildings from 113 King Street to 129 King Street have been rejuvenated. Dating from 1889 to around 1905, only two buildings in this stretch have tell tale signs of peeling paint.


The cream and burgundy paint work on a Federation Free Classical style building at 160 King Street was assessed as being acceptable at the time of the study, but likewise needs a revamp.


Burland Hall, an Interwar Stripped Classical style building at 218 to 222 King Street owned by the council, is a shining example of the heritage paint scheme at work. Painted in the colours Stone and Smoke green, with Fire Haze and Burgundy Dash details, it makes a striking contribution to the streetscape.


The 1886 Victorian style building at 223 to 227 King Street, deemed of significant streetscape contribution, is in much better shape than it was at the time of the study, with a muted stone and cream coloured facelift.


Half of another significant building, dating from 1885 in Victorian Free Classical style at 236 to 238 King Street, looks magnificent in recently painted traditional tones.  So too, the cream, burgundy and blue, and adjoining green, burgundy and white tones of the circa 1890s buildings at 304 to 314 King Street heading toward Wilson Street make a significantly improved contribution to the streetscape.   


Newtown Post Office, a Federation Anglo Dutch style brick building from 1892, and the Uniting Church, an 1854 Victorian Academic Gothic building, remain handsome landmarks.

Thankfully, too, Newtown’s  iconic ‘I have a dream’ mural remains.


This article was first published in Precinct magazine, Issue 10/2010.