The Astor letter box on loan

Published on Monday 6th of November 2023

Our latest Caroline Simpson Library display celebrates the centenary of The Astor on Macquarie Street, Sydney, Australia’s first company title apartment block.

We’ve been working with the Board of The Astor to borrow several objects from their archive for the display – the most impressive of which is the timber letter box which stands in the foyer of the building. Made for resident’s outgoing mail, the letter box is symbolic of the many modern conveniences provided for early residents of the building in 1923, including a series of dumb waiter lifts which delivered hot food directly into each apartment kitchen from the basemen restaurant.

Collections and Loans Officer Meg Driver oversaw the moving of the letter box from The Astor to the Caroline Simpson Library, a short trip up Macquarie Street to the Mint, where it will be on display for the next few months.

Views of Sydney, Macquarie Street, 10 August 1936
Past exhibition

Celebrating the centenary of The Astor, 1923–2023

An exploration of the concept, design and construction of this iconic Sydney landmark

Mel Flyte

Mel Flyte

Collections Discovery Assistant, Caroline Simpson Library

Growing up in rural NSW, Mel’s childhood was spent undertaking her own archaeological excavations in the creek bed on her family’s property. Old bottles, cow bones, and the occasional piece of rusty farm equipment were all considered exciting discoveries. School holidays were punctuated with long car trips with her mum to see blockbuster exhibitions in Canberra and Sydney, so galleries and museums always felt familiar. Studies in archaeology and art history have inspired a passion for objects and their ability to elicit emotions and tell stories. Mel curated the exhibtion On The Move and relishes the opportunity to get hands-on with the treasures in our collections.