LONG before Kings Cross gained the reputation as Sydney’s number one trouble spot for drunken behaviour, which lead to the controversial lock-out laws, the streets around Wynyard earned a similar status.
Police described Wynyard “one of the most undignified public centres of Sydney” during the war years, and it retained that standing into the late 1940s.
Wynyard Ramp, leading into the underground railway station, gained the reputation as a pick-up centre for servicemen, and after dark the area was the haunt of “street-women” and “teenage irresponsibles”. The ‘ramp’ was located next to the Plaza Hotel, which was one of the best-selling pubs in NSW at the time. The Plaza Hotel would later (in 1963) become the Menzies Hotel.
To combat disturbances and the prevailing outbreaks of hooliganism in Sydney, police resorted to methods used against The Rocks Pushes (gangs) 50 years earlier. Speedy arrests and dispersal of street-corner groups, some by strong-arm methods, proved effective in dispersing trouble-makers.
Wynyard with its many surrounding pubs became notorious for brawling and disturbances, and was one of the most heavily policed public thoroughfares in the city.
A patrol of four to six policemen were stationed there constantly after a huge brawl in October 1946, when 50 police and provosts attempted to arrest drunken servicemen amid a hostile crowd of 2000.
For more history of the Plaza Hotel visit the Time Gents’ story:
- Plaza Hotel, Sydney had the first fully automated glass washing machine in NSW
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