AWA Tower

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AWA Tower
AWA Tower.jpg
The AWA Tower
General information
Architectural style Art Deco
Address Sydney central business district, New South Wales
Country Australia
Coordinates 33°52′01″S 151°12′20″E / 33.86694°S 151.20556°E / -33.86694; 151.20556Coordinates: 33°52′01″S 151°12′20″E / 33.86694°S 151.20556°E / -33.86694; 151.20556
Named for Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Limited (AWA)
Construction started 1937
Completed 1939
Design and construction
Architecture firm Morrow and Gordon
Engineer Robertson, Marks and McCredie
Official name AWA Building and Tower
Criteria a., c., d.
Designated 2 April 1999
Reference no. 00665

The AWA Tower is an heritage-listed[1] office and communications complex in Sydney, in the state of New South Wales, Australia built for Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Limited. The AWA Tower consists of a radio transmission tower atop a 15-storey building. It is located in the Sydney central business district at 45-47 York Street, close to Wynyard Park and Wynyard railway station.

On 2 April 1999 the building was listed on the New South Wales State Heritage Register with the following statement of significance:[1]

AWA Building and Tower is of significance for its important associations with radio and communication technology. It is a simple vertically emphasised skyscraper which represents the epitome of the 1930s desire to integrate architecture with technology. The tower, for a time was the tallest structure in Sydney, and is an integral part of the building and still has a landmark quality.


The AWA Tower was designed by architects Morrow and Gordon from 1937–1939 and became one of the most notable commercial buildings of Sydney. It brought geometric Art Deco design and modernism to the city skyline with polished trachyte facing at ground level intending to signal a progressive and go-ahead firm. The 1939 steel-framed brick building was designed by Robertson, Marks and McCredie. The tower was modelled on Berlin's Funkturm Tower, built a few years earlier, and both took inspiration from the Eiffel Tower in Paris.[2] The communications tower was an integral part of the structure and remained the tallest structure in Sydney (other than the Sydney Harbour Bridge) until the 1960s.[1] The tower is 46 metres (151 ft) high atop a 55-metre (180 ft) high building. The tower was 48 metres (157 ft), and at the 97-metre (318 ft) point of the building there was a viewing platform.

The building is decorated with appropriate symbols of communication, including a winged Pegasus, said to be chosen by Sir Ernest Fisk, the pioneer of wireless technology and a founding director of AWA.[3] For many years, the tower wore the sign "Beam Wireless", a service providing radio contact to commercial shipping on the England–Australia route introduced in 1927.

Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Limited was the first to manufacture televisions in Australia, and in the 1960s large AWA neon logos were attached to the building to symbolise this fact. In later years, the company expanded into a wide range of electronic products, including gaming systems. In 2000, when the company folded, the building was sold to Jupiter's Casino Group.[4] It is covered by a conservation order, and remains known as the AWA building, although the big red AWA signs have been removed.[5] The tower, which was demolished and rebuilt in 1994, remains illuminated at night, but the viewing platform has long been gone.

The tower (featuring the AWA logo) features in the science fiction film The Matrix; when Neo and Trinity rescue Morpheus from the agents, the AWA Tower can be seen below as they make their escape by helicopter.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "AWA Building and Tower". New South Wales State Heritage Register. Office of Environment and Heritage. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  2. ^ AWA Tower at Dictionary of Sydney, 2008.
  3. ^ Goot, Murray (1981). Fisk, Sir Ernest Thomas, 1886–1965. Australian Dictionary of Biography. vol 8. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press. pp. 508–10.
  4. ^ AWA Gaming History at Tabcorp International]
  5. ^ Nicholls, Sean (3 January 2003). "City Tower to lose historic logos \work=The Sydney Morning Herald".


CC-BY-icon-80x15.png Content in this Wikipedia article was based on the AWA Building and Tower, listed on the "New South Wales State Heritage Register", published by the Government of New South Wales under CC-BY 3.0 AU licence (accessed on 13 September 2017).

External links[edit]

This Wikipedia article includes content copied from the essay "AWA Tower" in the Dictionary of Sydney, 2008 and licensed under CC by-sa. Imported on 29 November 2011.