21 Harris Street

A modern office complex designed by architects Bates Smart and constructed by Milligan Group, 2018-2020. Site of CSR engineering workshops.

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21 Harris Street


Pyrmont houses c1939 Governor General Lord Gowrie talks to a CSR employee 1940 Governor General Lord Gowrie being shown how 18lb bomb shell cases are made 1940 Governor General Lord Gowrie watching 18lb bomb shell cases being made 1940

CSR managers had expected war for some time before it broke out in 1939. As one of the largest Australian employers of engineers and apprentices, the company was sure to be involved. 21 Harris Street had been appropriated and an engineering annexe ready built, to manufacture arms and ammunition.
Working round the clock, the men and women produced one and a half million shells, thousands of Verey pistols, as well as guns, tanks and bombs. On such a scale, the operation had to be separated from the rest of CSR’s engineering work.
When peace returned, the annexe was reorganised as a light machine shop, working at first on CSR’s own needs, but increasingly doing jobs for other companies and clients. This divided purpose was neither efficient nor cost-effective, and in 1975 the annexe was closed, its staff laid off, its machines sold, and the building itself dismantled.