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Bondi's Boot Factory Is Being Transformed Into a Community Hub with a Cafe and Leafy Courtyard

Work on the 129-year-old three-storey building has already begun, and will include major renovations to the adjacent Mill Hill Community Centre.
By Ben Hansen
April 20, 2021
By Ben Hansen
April 20, 2021

A 129-year-old boot factory in Sydney's eastern suburbs is being given a huge revamp by the Waverley Council, creating a meeting place for the community and for innovators in the area. Initially built in 1892, the three-level factory will be restored and upgraded, turning it into a civic innovation hub. The transformed space is being created with the intention of supporting and encouraging collaboration between industry, universities, government and members of the community in Bondi Junction and the surrounding eastern suburbs.

"Our restoration and upgrade project, which showcases our commitment to repurposing old buildings, will breathe new life into this important precinct in Bondi Junction and bring this heritage building into the 21st century to be used by generations to come," said Mayor of Waverley Paul Masselos.

Located at 27–33 Spring Street, at the rear of Norman Lee Place, the factory was originally built for the shoe manufacturer William Sidaway and Son, who produced Sally Smart footwear for David Jones. After also serving as the base for the Inventors Association of Australia and other community organisations in the 60s and 70s, the building was acquired by Waverley Council in 1984 for its heritage value — it's one of the last remaining Victorian industrial buildings in the area. It's been vacant since 2007.

The Boot Factory circa 1911

The restoration will include work on the factory's roof and masonry perimeter walls, new floors and an interior fitout. Following this, flexible community spaces will be created, as will a new cafe, and the Norman Lee Place courtyard will be beautified. As part of the restoration project, the adjacent Mill Hill Community Centre is also being renovated, with the two buildings set to be connected and share facilities such as lifts and accessible amenities.

The council has enlisted construction company Lloyd Group to complete the restorations and renovations. Work on the factory has already begun, and the full restoration and upgrade is expected to be complete in March 2022.

The Boot Factory is located at the rear of Norman Lee Place at 27–33 Spring Street, Bondi Junction. For further information about the site's revamp, head to the Waverley Council website.

Top image: artist impression of the civic innovation hub.

Published on April 20, 2021 by Ben Hansen


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