Suburb Showcase: Chippendale

October 29th, 2020 - by Brad Gillespie

Delve into the urban chic of Chippendale, a vibrant inner-city creative haven with a gritty industrial past.

The location

Once an industrial slum, today Chippendale is a leafy, lively cultural hub offering a sought-after slice of inner-city living. Sitting at the southern end of Sydney’s CBD, it is bordered by City Road, Broadway, Cleveland Street and to the east, Prince Alfred Park.

It’s handily located between the University of Sydney and Victoria Park to the west and Central Station to the east. It is within walking distance of the city.

Chippendale’s eastern side, adjacent to the CBD, features new high-rise apartments, including Central Park, as well as small offices, warehouses, cafes and pubs. Its western side is predominantly residential, filled with Victorian terraces and converted twentieth-century industrial buildings. Chippendale is home to many tertiary institutions, including the University of Sydney, the University of Technology Sydney, the University of Notre Dame Australia and the Sydney campuses of both Curtin and Boston Universities. The local primary school is Darlington Public School in Golden Grove Street.

From 1835 until its closure in 2005, Chippendale was anchored by the Kent Brewery on Broadway. The brewery site is now home to Central Park, a new development featuring award-winning high-rise apartments, a shopping mall and public green spaces.

In recent years Chippendale has developed a reputation as a culinary hotspot, with Kensington Street the jewel in the crown. An entire street devoted to food and drink, it opened in 2015 following a designer restoration. Whether it’s dinner at the acclaimed Automata, a hawker-style lunch in Spice Alley or a sweet treat from popular dessert bar KOI, Kensington Street has dining options for every occasion. Elsewhere in Chippendale, locals love Brickfields for their freshly baked bread and The House Specialty Coffee is where those in the know go for their caffeine hit. The Rose Hotel, dating back to 1878, has one of the best beer gardens in the area, whilst Freda’s on Regent Street is the place to go for a cocktail and some live music.

You can catch a glimpse of Chippendale’s history at the Mortuary Station on Regent Street, built in 1869. Funeral trains departed from this station, bound for Rookwood Cemetery, until 1938. A few hundred metres away you’ll find the John Storey Memorial Dispensary, built in 1926 and now heritage listed.

Property market update: Chippendale real estate

Chippendale’s star is on the rise. The Kensington Street and Central Park developments have cemented its status as a truly desirable inner-city suburb offering its 10,350 residents both an enviable lifestyle and supreme convenience.

As of September 2020, Chippendale’s median house price is $1,388,500 and its median unit price $745,000, according to When compared with neighbouring suburbs like Darlington, Camperdown, Redfern and Surry Hills, Chippendale represents genuine inner-city value. Based on five years of sales, houses have seen a compound growth rate of 3.7%, whilst units have remained steady.

Given its proximity to numerous universities, it’s no surprise that the median age of Chippendale’s residents is 26 years old. According to the 2016 census, 62% of Chippendale residents attend a university or another tertiary institution and 71% are renters. As well as young singles, the area also attracts couples and downsizers.

Given its high proportion of renters, central location, and reasonably priced property, Chippendale warrants serious consideration from investors. Houses rent for an average of $845 per week, with an annual rental yield of 3.2%. Units rent for $600 per week with a rental yield of 4.2%.

Five fascinating facts about Chippendale

How it got its name

Chippendale is named after an early colonial resident, William Chippendale, who was granted 95 acres of land there in 1819. At that time, the area lay beyond the boundaries of Sydney town and was covered in vegetation, with several creeks that ran into Blackwattle Swamp. Street names such as Wattle, Rose, Pine and Myrtle allude to the commercial nursery Thomas Shepherd operated in the area in the 1820s. The beautiful eucalypts and angophoras that line Chippendale’s streets today are a reminder of the area’s fertile soils that were so prized by the early European settlers, as well as the area’s first inhabitants, the Gadigal people.

Chippendale’s industrial past

By the 1830s, Chippendale was beginning to emerge as an industrial area. In 1825 former convict Robert Cooper built the Brisbane Distillery on Parramatta Street (today’s Broadway). The distillery, which was NSW’s second-oldest, used the freshwater of the Blackwattle creek to make gin, whiskey, rum and cordial.

In 1835 the Kent Brewery was opened on Parramatta Street by John Tooth and Charles Newnham. The brewery operated on the site for 170 years and is arguably Chippendale’s best-known landmark. It was known as Tooth’s brewery until 1983 when it was sold to Carlton and United Brewing Company. It closed in 2005 and the site is now home to Central Park.

By the middle of the century, the brewery had been joined by several industrial neighbours, including a flour mill on Abercrombie Street and several smaller establishments on Parramatta Street.

In the mid-1850s the Brisbane Distillery buildings were taken over by the Colonial Sugar Refinery, known today as CSR. Before long it was demolishing surrounding houses to enlarge its premises. The sugar refinery offered employment for Chippendale residents, but it was dangerous work. The plant was unpopular with the locals due to the odours it emitted, created by the burning of bones to create charcoal for its filtration plant and the accompanying piles of rotting unburnt bones. Following complaints to council and petitions from residents, the refinery moved to Pyrmont in 1879.

During the Depression of the 1930s, many factories closed or reduced their output, and with residents out of work and unable to pay their rent, many were evicted. Chippendale remained a working-class industrial area for decades, with Italians and Greeks joining the Anglo-Celtic population from the 1950s, followed by Lebanese and later Vietnamese migrants.

Central Park

Arguably the single most significant contributor to the revitalisation of Chippendale in recent years is the landmark Central Park development.

After 170 years of operation, brewing Tooths and then Carlton beer and providing employment for generations of Chippendale residents, the Kent Brewery on Broadway closed in 2005.

Frasers Property bought the 5.8-hectare site in 2007 with plans for a major mixed-use urban village, incorporating apartments, offices, shops, restaurants and a public park. Today, the site is home to One Central Park, a 117-metre tall residential tower featuring distinctive vertical gardens, the residential buildings Park Lane and The Mark, the Foster + Partners-designed Central Park Mall, which includes 75,000sqm of office and retail space, and public green spaces Chippendale Green and Balfour Street Park. It has been lauded with numerous sustainability and design awards, and there’s no doubt it has been a major contributor to Chippendale’s urban renewal in the last decade.

The Parks of Chippendale

Peace Park, at 70 – 80 Myrtle Street, is a park with a colourful history. In the 1820s it was part of Thomas Darling’s commercial nursery, growing carrots and potatoes. In the 1870s brick and stone houses and stables were built there, following the subdivision of the area for housing. In 1923 a factory was built on the site, which was occupied by the Commonwealth Film Laboratories and other film companies. In 1974 the factory was demolished. The flats planned for the site were never built, and in 1978 the council acquired the land. It intended to build a childcare centre there but that didn’t eventuate, and in 1985 the site became a park. It was named Peace Park after the strong public sentiment favouring nuclear disarmament at the time. The council is now planning an upgrade of Peace Park, with improvements to the play equipment, open area, seating, plaza area and lighting all on the cards. Work is expected to start in late 2020 or early 2021.

Artistic Chippendale

In recent years Chippendale has reinvented itself as a vibrant creative arts precinct. There are more than a dozen contemporary art galleries in the area, ranging from commercial operations to artist-run collectives. The best known is The White Rabbit Gallery, but there’s also The Japan Foundation, Galerie Pompom, Down / Under, and the Pine Street Creative Arts Centre.

If you’re interested in making this artistic neighbourhood your home, contact us today.