Kings Cross, Double Bay, Woolloomooloo hotels
What the largest wooden building in the world, the 25200 square metre “Cathedral of Commerce” Finger Wharf Building, could not do for the eastern Sydney inner-city suburb of Woolloomooloo, Oscar-winning actor Russell Crowe and his $14 million dollar penthouse could: transform it into one of the most famous and desirable addresses in Australia.
Woolloomooloo began its existence in the 1840s when the farmland around small and heavily wooded Garden Island off Sydney’s Harbour’s eastern shore was subdivided. Wealthy Sydneysiders built some very impressive garden estates on it, taking advantage of the site’s proximity to both Sydney and the Government House complex.
But Wooloomooloo fell on hard times as Sydney continued to expand eastward, into and beyond Elisabeth Bay, and by the 1900s was in need of a reason to exist. It got a very big one when the Finger Wharf opened for business in 1915, and for seven decades kept busy exporting the wool from Australia’s millions of sheep.
Woolloomooloo, thanks to the presence of the wharf, soon became home to hundreds of dockworking families and remained one of Sydney’s rougher low-income working-class neighborhoods, but as the gentrification of Sydney’s inner city areas spread, the value of Finger Wharf as a potential residential property soared.
Today Woolloomooloo has been transformed with an apartment building--and Russell Crowe’s penthouse--on its northern end, and a promenade along its western edge leading to exclusive restaurants and shops, with the boutique Blue hotel at its southern end.
For those who find the exclusive restaurants a bit too pricey, there’s the Woolloomollo landmark Harry’s Café de Wheels, a once moveable food van now permanently ensconced opposite the Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel and serving basic fare, like pies and mashed peas. It has given sustenance to such visitors as Frank Sinatra, Colonel Sanders, and Marlene Dietrich.
Visitors to Sydney who wan to get a taste of the new Woolloomooloo can do it from the inside, by staying at the Blue on Finger Wharf. The Blue has been designed to create intimate spaces from the vast dimension of the Wharf Building, and its floor-to-ceiling windows offer unparalleled views of Sydney Harbour!
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