479-481 Collins Street

A photograph of 479-481 Collins Street.
Record Chambers Building
479-481 Collins Street
Floors (above-ground)
Architect / architectural firm
J. A. B. Koch
Construction firm
G. B. Leith
Construction start date
Construction end date
Architectural style
Victorian Mannerism
Current Tenant(s):
Past Tenant(s):
  • McCarron, Bird & Co. (Publisher).

The Record Chambers Building was designed by J. A. B. Koch and built by G. B. Leith in 1887 for printing and publishing firm McCarron, Bird & Co. Among the firm's publications was the Australasian Insurance and Banking Record, from which the building took its name. The building was constructed during the building boom of the 1880s, which transformed this part of the city from one of small warehouses in close proximity to the wharves, to one of commercial and mercantile activity. The printing works incorporated lithography, engraving and bookbinding. The ground floor served as a retail stationary shop. The building was threatened with demolition in the late 1960s, but as a consequence of heritage legislation, the façade was retained in the 1984 redevelopment. This façade - all that is left of the original building - currently serves as the entrance to 477 Collins Street.

The Collins Street façade of what was originally the Record Chambers Building retains the original ground floor arrangement of two entrances (one pedestrian, one vehicular) flanking a large shop window, although the window has been replaced by an entrance lobby. The iron gate, which gave access to the laneway leading to the rear, is now fixed in an open position. The façade is an expression of free classicism. It is arranged as four bays, the central two projecting slightly towards the street. Engaged columns and pilasters define each bay. A caryatid terminus (half-female figure on a pedestal) takes the place of the central column on the second storey. The four large arched windows to the first and second storeys contrast to the eight smaller windows on the third storey. A prominent cornice and a segmental pediment crown the second storey. The top of the building is decorated with a bracketed cornice, with balustraded parapet and four urns. The words "Record Chambers" are inscribed in the centre balustrade. Internally, the building has a depth of approximately eleven metres, which is all that survives following redevelopment at the rear. Exposed timber roof trusses and a tongue and grooved lining board ceiling survive in the top floor, though the ceiling linings are concealed behind modern finishes.

Building manager / body corporate / owner's corporation