Substation No. 6

Underground Public Convenience

Location: Taylor Square at the intersection of Forbes and Bourke Street, Darlinghurst
Construction: 1904-1907
– The underground men’s public toilet was built in 1907, the Electric Substation in 1904
– Also contains the first female toilet in Talyor Square, built in 1938 in the Substation building

1800 Taylor Square began its colonial suburban life.
– The surrounding suburb has been renamed after two Governors’ wives – firstly ‘Heniretta Town’ (after Mrs Macquarie) and after Eliza Darling wife of Governor Ralph Darling.
– With colonisation and the thefts of Aboriginal land the area was used by colonists as an Aboriginal reserve
– And for flour grain grinding windmills

1830 Darlinghurst a densely populated suburb, it’s streets lined with houses.

1841 Darlinghurst Gaol, known as Woolloomooloo Stockade, was built from sandstone quarried from nearby William Street (1921 it became the East Sydney Technical College).

1842 The Court House next to the gaol, was built (It remains in use today), by this time the area in question had been renamed Taylor Square a busy steam transport interchange.

1883 Public urinals, flimsy ‘pissoirs’ occupied the site.

1896 The Municipal Council of Sydney Electric Lighting Bill was passed by Parliament, leading to the construction of Electricity Substation No. 6 (completed in 1904).

1900 Outbreak of bubonic plague in Sydney sparked a WHS reform, Sydney Municipal Council undertook to build one underground men’s convenience a year from 1901 to 1911 (a total of twelve). Leading to the replacing the public urinals in Taylor Square with Underground Men’s Conveniences (completed in 1907).

1938 After much debate (and petitioning) Council modified the southern end of the existing Substation to accommodate “suitable” women’s conveniences. This was not the first public toilets for women in Sydney (located in Hyde Park) but this was the first in Taylor Square, 55 years after the first male public urinals in Taylor Square.

1988 The women’s conveniences were closed to public access and in 1993 the substation decommissioned.

1998 The Men’s conveniences were closed to public access.

The Public Conveniences and The Electric Substation have since remained somewhat obscure civic monuments, from time to time embellished with street art and residue from the surrounds,

2009 – 2019 The Taylor Square ran a temporary art installation program, an attempt to revitalize unused facilities.

Artist: Louisa Dawson
Artwork: Unravel
Installed: 1st Nov 2009 – 14th Feb 2010
Location: Taylor Square, Campbell Street / Flinders Street / Oxford Street

Artist: Dale Miles
Artwork: Underworld
Installed: 20th Feb 2010 – 30th Aug 2010
Location: Taylor Square, Substation No.6

Artist: Annie Kennedy
Artwork: Camp Stonewall
Installed: 10th Sep 2010 – 31st Mar 2011
Location: Taylor Square, Substation No.6

Artist: David Cross
Artwork: Drift
Installed: 17th Nov 2011 – 18th Dec 2011
Location: Taylor Square, Campbell Street / Flinders Street / Oxford Street

Artist: Magnificant Revoulation Australia
Artwork: Cycle-In Cinema
Installed: 24th Feb 2012 – 26th Feb 2012
Location: Taylor Square, Substation No.6

Artist: Makeshift
Artwork: A Leaf From A Book Of Cities
Installed: 1st March 2012 – 31st March 2019
Location: Taylor Square, Campbell Street / Flinders Street / Oxford Street

Artist: Lynette Wallworth
Artwork: Rekindling Venus: In Plain Sight
Installed: 2012 – 31st May 2019
Location: Taylor Square, Campbell Street / Flinders Street / Oxford Street

Artist: Reko Rennie
Artwork: Always Was Always Will be
Installed: 22nd Sep 2012 – 20th Nov 2017
Location: Taylor Square, Campbell Street / Flinders Street / Oxford Street

Artist: Tim Knowles
Artwork: WindGrid, WindLab, WindWalk
Installed: 14th Oct 2014
Location: Taylor Square, Substation No.6

This artworks don’t exist in this location but the public convenience remain inconveniently locked up.

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