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Surry Hills was once the centre of New South Wales’ ‘rag trade’: a short history of fashion manufacturing in Sydney

By Peter McNeil, Distinguished Professor of Design History, UTS, University of Technology Sydney
Sydney has awoken to the smouldering ruins of its largest city fire in 55 years.

The “abandoned building” in Randle Street, Surry Hills, adjacent to Central Station was once the R.C. Henderson Ladies Hat factory, a six-storey brick structure built in 1912.

Empty for some time, the space was slated to become a boutique hotel. Full of wooden trusses and likely old machinery oil, the building collapsed in a spectacular bonfire.

How did Surry Hills come to be the centre of the fashion manufacturing industry, or “rag trade”, for New South Wales?

Dressing…The Conversation

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