Potts Point is a small and densely populated area in inner-city Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.
- Area:0.62 km2
- Elevation:39 m
- Local Government Area:City of Sydney
Potts Point is a small and densely populated area in inner-city Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. Potts Point is located 2 kilometres east of the Sydney central business district and is part of the local government area of the City of Sydney.
Potts Point sits on a ridge immediately east of Woolloomooloo, west of Elizabeth Bay and Rushcutters Bay and north of Darlinghurst. The suburb has a roughly trapezoidal shape, and at its greatest extent is no more than one kilometre long by 200 metres wide. The suburb's boundaries include Macleay Street to the east, Darlinghurst Road to the southeast, William Street to the south, Brougham Street and part of Cowper Wharf Road to the west.
Potts Point is named for Joseph Hyde Potts, who was employed by the Bank of New South Wales. He purchased six-and-a-half acres of harbourside land in an area then known as Woolloomooloo Hill – which he renamed Potts Point.
Much of the area that today comprises Potts Point and the adjacent suburb of Elizabeth Bay, originally constituted part of a land grant to Alexander Macleay, who was the New South Wales Colonial Secretary from 1826–37, and for whom Macleay Street is named. NSW Judge Advocate, John Wylde (for whom Wylde Street is named) was another 19th-century public servant who owned land in the area. Potts Point is mentioned in the poem William Street by notable Australian poet Henry Lawson.
## 19th century
The area was further subdivided after Macleay's time, and a number of grand Georgian mansions were built along the high point of the suburb's ridge line. Several of these survive (albeit much hemmed in by later buildings), including 'Rockwall' and 'Tusculum'. Rockwall, located in Rockwall Crescent, is a two-storey (plus cellar) sandstone villa with five bays and a verandah that encircles the house. It was one of the earlier homes designed by architect John Verge and was built from 1831-37. It is the only one of these which has a garden and is in private ownership.Tusculum, located in Manning Street, is a two-storey Regency mansion that was also designed by John Verge. His client was the merchant A. B. Spark, for whom the house was built in 1831–35. It was a twin to Rockwell House and was enlarged in the 1870s by the addition of verandahs on three sides. The first tenant was Bishop William Broughton.Kenilworth, was built on land that was originally part of the 1831 grant to Thomas Barker and was once a neighbour Barker's house, Rosyln Hall.The Roslyn Hall estate was subdivided into seven lots in 1860 and Roslyn Street was created. Around 1869, Kenilworth was built for Henry Williams. It remained in the hands of its original family until 1944 when it was sold to St Luke's Hospital.Manar, in Macleay Street, is a complex of three blocks of flats which dates back from the original house c.1880 through to the Inter-war Free Classical style buildings of the 1920s. They are two to three stories in height with cement rendered masonry walls and terracotta tiles roofs. The 1920s wings were designed by the architectural practice of Ernest A Scott and Green (1911–1932), later known as Scott Green and Scott (1932–1947). Residents of Manar have included William Parker who served as Master in Lunacy in the Supreme Court of New South Wales, Sir Mungo William MacCallum, Sydney Ure Smith, Sir Garfield Barwick, Senator John Ignatius Armstrong, Mary McEwen, widow of Sir John McEwen, and Mary Bailey-Tart, the only daughter of Sir Earle PageOther heritage buildings in the area include the Mansions Terrace in Bayswater Road; the terrace and townhouse group extending from 13–29 Challis Avenue; the group of Late Victorian terraces from 1–13 Kellett Street; the gazebo in HMAS Kuttabul; and Bomera and Tarana on the corner of Wylde Street and Cowper Wharf Roadway. These buildings are all listed on the Register of the National Estate.In 1871, Edmund Blacket built Stramshall in Macleay Street for the Hordern family of merchants. Thomas Rowe made further additions in 1877. The house was later known as Jenner House and was taken over by the Department of Defence, who sold it to the horse breeder Tony Peterson in 1998. Peterson sold the house for $15 million in 2009. The house was listed by the National Trust in 1967.Most of the other mansions, such as Orwell, have survived only as street names. The area also boasts many fine Victorian-era terraces. These are chiefly located along Victoria Street, which bisects Potts Point from north to south, and is widely known for its impressive canopy of plane trees.
## 20th century
Potts Point was the site of some of Australia's earliest blocks of flats, and from the 1920s through to World War II the area was intensively developed along those lines. As a result, it boasts the highest concentration of Art Deco architecture in Australia. Amongst the most notable examples are the "Macleay Regis", "Cahors" and "Franconia" residential buildings in Macleay Street and "Carinthia" and "Carisbrooke" in Springfield Avenue.
Two notable Streamline Moderne buildings in Australia: the Minerva (or Metro) Theatre and the Minerva Building are in Orwell Street. The Metro Theatre (as it was then known) was designed by Bruce Dellit and built in 1940. It was the site of the first Australian production of the musical Hair in 1970, and is heritage-listed.During the Vietnam War, the Darlinghurst Road precinct (commonly known as Kings Cross), which straddles Potts Point and Elizabeth Bay, became a popular destination for US military personnel on R&R – due chiefly to its proximity to a major naval facility. Partially as a result of this, the area attracted organised crime syndicates and developed an unsavoury reputation as Australia's drugs and prostitution capital. Dozens of hotels constructed at the time ensured that "The Cross" remained a tourism mecca well into the 1990s.
In 1964, the Rev. Ted Noffs started the Wayside Chapel, an unorthodox Methodist ministry to the Kings Cross area. It began as a small drop-in centre in a block of flats at 29 Hughes Street, and grew into a complex that occupies two blocks of flats. It is a major welfare and community centre in the area.
## 21st century
At the turn of the 21st century, almost all of Potts Point's hotels were acquired by developers attracted by the area's proximity to transportation and amenities. By 2004 most tourist hotels had been converted or rebuilt as expensive unit developments, resulting in a rapid wider gentrification of the area – and increasingly large numbers of gay residents that make up a significant portion of affluent same-sex couples in Australia– although the continued presence of a number of large and small backpacker hostels in Victoria Street and surrounding streets and dozens of pubs, nightclubs, restaurants and similar venues have confirmed the suburb's role as one of Sydney's leading entertainment precincts.
In 2003-4 Sydney City Council undertook a major streetscape upgrade centred on Darlinghurst Road and the southern part of Macleay Street, involving footpath-widening, roadside tree-plantings and the installation of new paving, street furniture and lighting. Plans to force the replacement of historic neon shopfront and awning signage on strip clubs and other adult commercial premises in the area with generic signage proved more controversial and have not been implemented.
# Things to do