Duplex in The Astor

by AF

801, The Astor, Sydney

A two-floor residence in The Astor was listed for sale recently at an undisclosed price.

The Astor was built in 1922 – 1923 as a luxuriously appointed residential tower. It was developed by grazier John O’Brien, who had previously developed Wyoming further along Macquarie Street. Mr. O’Brien had purchased the site which contained several houses and flats in 1920 for 11,900 pounds.

Architects Donald Thomas Esplin and Stuart Mill Mould designed the 12-storey building in an Interwar Free Classical style. When completed, it was said to have been the highest reinforced concrete building in Australia. With the exception of the glass in the windows, the building materials were all sourced from within Australia.

Each floor contained four flats, the largest being four bedrooms and two sitting rooms, and the smallest having two bedrooms and two sitting rooms.

The estimated construction cost was 130,000 pounds, and the 52 apartments were sold for between 2,700 to 4,000 pounds each. It was possibly the first co-operative housing project in Australia, as flats were historically owned by one landlord and not individual owners.

The Astor in 1923 – State Library of NSW.

The building was fitted with all of the modern conveniences of its time. It was also said to have a professional kitchen in the basement that sent food to each floor via a dumbwaiter. Other services included a resident florist, live-in caretaker, lift attendant and maids on-call. It attracted some of Sydney’s most wealthy and well-to-do residents, including the daughter of the founder of the Grace Bros. department store. In the 1950s, sales of flats in this building were often at record-setting prices.

There is a communal rooftop and loggia which formed part of the original design. This was used as an observation post during the war.

The building retains many of its original features in the lobby as well as its original lift cars. Any original floorboards, skirting, cornicing or doors that are replaced by apartment owners are given to the building management for future use.

The Astor has been heritage listed since 1989.

It is located opposite the Royal Botanic Gardens and next to the Chief Secretary’s Building.

The Astor in the 1930s

Apartment 801

Apartment 801 is a 5-bedroom duplex-style apartment spread over two levels, with living areas on the lower level and bedrooms upstairs. It has views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour.

There are no price indications, but apartments in The Astor with Opera House views can command a premium price. Other apartments currently for sale in The Astor include:

  • – #1101 (2 Bed) $3.35 million. (Opera House views)
  • – #1004 (2 Bed) $925,000 (no Opera House views)
  • – #702 (3 Bed) $1.95 million (Harbour views)


123-125 Macquarie Street, Sydney

Listing information and photo via Realestate.com.au

NSW Government Environment & Heritage