Globite factory

Globite factory

Strong case for heritage protection

An inner city factory renowned as the home of the classic Globite school case used by legions of Sydney school children has had its important heritage value protected by the City of Sydney.

The Federation warehouse building at 119–127 Kippax Street in Surry Hills was once owned by luggage manufacturer Ford Sherington, which made the famous school cases for more than 50 years. 

The Kippax Street factory dates from 1912, during a key period in the development of Surry Hills when the area evolved from a residential to a manufacturing precinct.

It was designed by prominent Sydney architectural firm Robertson and Marks. An extension was added in 1923 by local architect Gordon Keesing. 

By the mid-1920s the factory employed 400 people making the famous Globite patented fibre luggage as well as sporting goods, including cricket pads, golf bags and footballs, and the gaiters for diggers during World War I.

So emblematic is Globite that at the opening ceremony of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, all 110,000 audience members received a kit that included a yellow Globite case decorated with Sydney 2000 stickers. 

Geoffrey Edgar Sherington (pictured above), an Emeritus Professor at the University of Sydney whose great grandmother founded the Ford Sherington company, said: "This was the site of our creative family business for over 50 years".

"We’re delighted this early federation building is now not just part of our family heritage but Sydney’s heritage too," Professor Sherington said. Ford Sherington occupied the site from 1912 until the mid-1960s when the factory moved to Kingsgrove.

With Council approving a local heritage listing of the site, any future development will need to consider its heritage value and significance.

Lord Mayor Clover Moore said the heritage listing was a significant step that would help preserve part of Sydney’s once booming manufacturing past.

Council agreed to a planning proposal to amend the Sydney Local Environmental Plan 2012 to include the heritage listing of the site.

It was supported by submissions from the Heritage Council of NSW and local residents. The listing covers the external and internal fabric of the building.

Editor's note: An earlier version stated Emeritus Professor Sherington's great uncle had founded the Ford Sherington company. He was in fact a co-director.

Last updated: Monday, 10 August 2015