Distillery Hill

Date Built: 2004

Architect: Denton Corker Marshall

The Distillery, The Quarry, Jones Street Townhouses, Refinery Apartments. Two 18-storey towers, 20 townhouses. Site of CSR distillery.

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Distillery Hill

Overview

Distillery Distillery and Knox on Bowman (l to r) Distillery and Quarry (l to r) Carbon dioxide purifiers and compressors, 1946 Distillery and molasses tanks View to Glebe Island and White Bay from the distillery Vats Distillery vats on Jones Street 1961 Distillery

Ultimo and its deer park occupied most of the peninsula into the 1840s, so Aboriginal people may have lived here after Pyrmont (the north-eastern corner) was turned over to industry. Quarrying began in the 1850s however: residents in The Quarry overlook the closest of the three major Saunders quarries – Paradise – and the Quarry itself stands on land reclaimed from early excavation.

Distillery Hill was completely transformed by Australian federation. The Commonwealth demanded that sugar be grown by white labour, and implied that industrial spirits and rum from CSR’s Nausori distillery in Fiji might be subject to tariffs. Management promptly closed the Nausori operation and built a much larger distillery here.

The ‘Distillery Hill’ complex centred on distilling around the present Distillery, but secondary activities occupied most of the land from there to the present Antias: much of this was covered by tanks in which molasses was fermented to create alcohol. A carbon dioxide plant followed in 1905, and a char plant in 1910.

Over time alcohol fed into many industrial processes, and prompted CSR to expand from sugar into building materials: the Cane-ite factory that occupied the present Waterfront Park used megass (sugar cane after the sugar is extracted) as well as industrial spirit.