The AWA White Tower - Amalgamated Wireless Australasia

 

Very high and white against the Sydney blue sky, the AWA Building tower was the highest structure in the City of Sydney until the 1960s. The AWA or the Amalgamated Wireless Australasia Ltd. Company was very well known in the 1930s to the 50s as a broadcaster and manufacturer of electronic equipment such as record players and radios.

 

Built in 1939, the AWA Building and communications tower became the talk of the town during its hay day and was considered a progressive and radical structure at the time. Built to emulate the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France and the Funkturm Tower in Berlin, Germany, the AWA Building and tower is a fine example of the Art Deco style with a twist.

 

Designed by Robertson, Marks and McCredie in association with DT Morrow and Gorden, the building was steel-framed and faced in brick with polished trachyte at the ground floor. The supports of the tower were built into the structure of the building.

 

Some interesting facts about the AWA Building:

  • Pegasus, the winged horse of ancient Greek mythology, was used as a symbol for Australia’s endeavor to conquer the wireless world. The symbol was chosen by Sir Ernest Fisk.

  • A mosaic in the shape of Pegasus is on the floor of the building’s main entrance.

  • The interior of the AWA incorporates mythological themes in its reliefs such as the
    AWA logo surrounded by symbols of the Zodiac at the main entrance of the building.

  • Neon lights were used on the company logo in the 1960s.

The AWA white tower

     

  • The top of the tower was once used as a viewing area since it had a height of 97 meters. This was when it was the highest building in Sydney.
    It is now closed to the public.
  • The AWA Building is now a Heritage listed site.

Today, the AWA Building is leased to various small companies but most of it is inaccessible. The tower is no longer used for communication purposes.

The owners are also pushing for the removal of the famous logo that is found on all four sides of the building because they claim the neon lights are too expensive to maintain. They also claim that the signages on all four sides of the tower are unsafe to the public as these are severely dilapidated.

 

Although the AWA is a heritage listed site, the company itself no longer exists. Therefore, the owners argue, the logo no longer serves its original purpose which was to advertise the company’s identity.