Local Street History: Belmont Street, Alexandria

November 17th, 2023 - by Brad Gillespie

Situated a block back from Mitchell Road, Belmont Street stretches from Fountain Street to Huntley Street.

It’s a hugely popular residential neighbourhood, every bit as coveted as its parallel neighbour, Lawrence Street.

The name

According to the City of Sydney, Belmont Street was originally called Jesson Street in honour of Councillor and Mayor Charles Jesson, who served on the City of Sydney Council from 1880 to 1886. Funnily enough, his occupation is listed as “House and Land Agent”, and he was responsible for erecting “a number of better class cottages”.

According to a Heritage Impact Statement, Jesson Street had been created by 1885, with many of the households along the street allied to building trades (including plumbers).

In the early 1900s, Jesson Street was renamed Belmont Street (we’re not sure why).

The turn of the 20th Century: A hard life on Belmont Street

Life wasn’t always easy on Jesson Street. Several entries in newspapers in the late 1800s are for bankruptcies, including butchers Thomas Doody in 1890, and Frederick Ferdinand Sievert in 1894.

Stephen Hartley Watson, a “carter” from Jesson Street, was also declared bankrupt in 1897.

In 1890, Ernest Banner, a “carriage builder” from Jesson Street, followed the street’s namesake and ran for local Council.

In 1901, a letter published in the Evening News complained about the local streets being in a “state of disgrace”. It was singled out by the author, Geo Matthews, not only for the disrepair of its footpaths but also for having “four loaded carts stuck fast in Belmont Street opposite Mr Riley’s residence”.

Belmont Street in the 1930s

Wise’s Post Office Directory from 1930 gives us a glimpse into Belmont Street’s unique mix of residential and commercial premises during an era overshadowed by the Great Depression.

At 60-70 was Dyne’s Ltd, engineers. Number 162-166 was Acton & Co Ltd, who dealt in “granite & slates”. At number 71 were Morris & Co engineers and Baird & Sons marble
merchants. There was a Congregational Church on the street, and number 117-133 was an Oxygen Supply Company. The Status Shoe Factory stood at number 137, and at 151-157 were the “cardboard box makers & printers”, Bartlett & Co. Mrs A Abbott ran a mixed business at number 205. Number 251 was a fish shop; a bootmaker stood at 255; a butcher at 257; and a grocer at 261.

During this time of incredible economic hardship, the local “Unemployed League Relief Committee” established a relief depot and soup kitchen on Belmont Street, Alexandria. The kitchen provided food for over 5,000 needy families in its first two months.

In 1935, an article in The Sun told the sad story of a widow with seven children living on Belmont Street in an attempt to raise funds to help support the family:

“In a little cottage, in a terrace in Belmont Street, Alexandria, a sick widow tries to tell her young children that Daddy has gone away." She is Mrs. Hobson, whose husband, Leslie Archibald Hobson, was killed at Newtown on Monday night. Only one of her seven children, Leslie, aged 16, really understands what it means. At an age when most boys are just thinking of setting out on life's great adventure, and are capable of earning no more than their own keep, Les, a slightly-built lad, has determined to carry on his father's fruit run and provide the family bread.”

Belmont Street today: A residential hotspot

Life is very different today on Belmont Street. While it retains many of the original homes, many have been renovated, updated and extended. Most of the residents are now professionals working city jobs.

Much of the housing is still Victorian terraces, with federation cottages and semi-detached single-storey homes. Newer, sympathetically built terrace-style buildings and some low-rise apartments complete the housing mix.

It might be just moments from the hustle and bustle of the city, but one reason for Belmont Street’s popularity is that the street is broken into several cul-de-sacs by little pocket parks. These seating areas not only provide public recreation space; they also mean the street is relatively traffic-free, creating a peaceful neighbourhood.

In fact, Belmont Street has gradually shed its industrial past and become almost exclusively residential. Recently sold as a DA-approved luxury development site, 59-99 Belmont Street is set to become another iconic warehouse conversion of boutique townhouses and oversized apartments, reflecting the area’s move from industrial to residential. The site was previously home to DS McCulla and Son, founded in 1957 as a "one-stop shop" for circular steel tubing and pipes.

Properties on Belmont Street

In October 2023, we sold 140 Belmont Street, an innovatively designed four-bedroom home with rear lane access.

286 Belmont Street, a charming two-bedroom house, also sold in October 2023 for $1,980,000. And 360 Belmont Street, a three-bedroom, two-bathroom semi, sold prior to auction in September 2023 for $2,370,000.

We currently have 130 Belmont Street on the market.

This brand-new architect-designed family home with four bedrooms, four bathrooms and lock up garage stands out for its striking design. With a price guide of $2.8 million, its flexible floorplan and unique, luxe fit-out will appeal to many looking to upsize in this popular area.

If you want to make Belmont Street your home, contact us today.