Pictorial History Kings Cross
written by Ann-Maree Whitaker
Kinglsclear Books | ISBN 9780987184054
Member’s price: $31.46
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Once known as Woolloomooloo Hill, Kings Cross was home to Sydney's nineteenth century elite who built grand mansions along the ridge to enjoy sea breezes, a wonderful view and access to the city.
These villas of the rich and famous were sold, abandoned or demolished with the march of time and a number were resumed during the construction of Garden Island in the 1940s. Some became home to the bohemia who were moving to the Cross to enjoy the vivacity and night life.
Anything went and wild girls like Dulcie Deamer and Rosaleen Norton walked the same streets as the crime queens Tillie Devine and Kate Leigh.
The Cross, as it evolved from giant gardens and massive mansions into the gold mine of Art Deco apartments and multi-storyed blocks of flats, attracted lovers of the Parisian lifestyle. Cafes and nightclubs appeared where visitors could get a drink after 6 pm, a Continental meal and stay awake until dawn.
The Cross magnetised artists of all types: writers, cartoonists, painters, sculptors, publishers. Everyone wanted to be there and live it up in all its wonder. Change to the bohemian character came with the US servicemen who docked at Woolloomooloo Wharf and came up the hill to the sparkle and escape.
The Great White Fleet in 1906, World War 2 servicemen with stockings and cigarettes to give away and the R and R soldiers during the Vietnam War.
The Cross's classy nightclubs turned into seedier strip joints, Go-Go clubs, huge brothels and sex shops. Elegance prevailed in Macleay Street which today houses the rich and famous who seek the colour and life of the Cross. It is like no other place in Sydney and people come from far and wide to live it up on the weekend. This self-contained suburb where the mundane falls away is well pictured in this new book on Kings Cross.