Sydney Morning Herald
April 22, 2021
By Megan Gorrey
The spindly television tower that has spiked the skyline of Sydney’s lower north shore for nearly six decades is not long for this world, with an intricate operation to dismantle it to begin within days.
The demolition of Willoughby’s 233-metre TX Tower is another sign of progress in Sydney: the site, which symbolised a new era of technology when it was built in 1965, will be replaced by hundreds of apartments.
Work to dismantle the 233-metre TX Tower, built on Nine Entertainment Co’s former headquarters at Willoughby in 1965, will start in May.
“It’s been one of the iconic landmarks of the area,” said Willoughby mayor Gail Giles-Gidney.
The structure, erected on the site of Nine Entertainment Co’s long-time Artarmon Road headquarters, was one of three built in the area in the 1950s and 60s to broadcast television.
It marked the cluster of buildings and studios, often referred to as the “home of television”, where Nine – the owner of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age – broadcast for 60 years.
The tower has since been decommissioned and Nine’s move to North Sydney cleared the path for a residential development – the height and density of which has been the subject of debate among residents.
In 2020, property developer Mirvac bought the 3.2 hectare site for $249 million, with plans to remove the tower, raze the existing buildings, and replace them with 460 units in 10 blocks up to nine storeys, alongside 6000 square metres of public space.
Mirvac also sought, and was granted, permission to remove the tower.
Clancy Sprouster, a senior development manager with Mirvac, said the company had gathered a team of specialist engineers and contractors who had spent the past year planning the task of disassembling the tower.
“Beginning in May, the tower, equal in height to a 77-storey building, will be carefully dismantled, an operation likely to take about nine months,” Mr Sprouster said.
First, a crane nearly 200 metres tall will be erected on-site over two months, with cables stretching to the ground attached to the surrounding bedrock.
Once the crane has been installed, specialist crews will gradually take the tower apart in sections. The narrower top half will be removed over two months. A second heavy-duty crane will then be used to remove the wider lower half in larger sections over three months.
The demolition of the tower is expected to be completed in early 2022. Its removal will “significantly [improve] the skyline in the local area”, according to Mirvac’s website for the redevelopment.
Cr Giles-Gidney said the former Nine site was significant because it abutted the low-density Artarmon heritage conservation area and nearby residents had “worked very hard at making sure it was a reasonable development”.
She said the tower “absolutely” divided local opinion. “I think while the tower’s an iconic landmark, it’s also one where if you can return the site to its natural state, people are supportive of that. It’s pretty exciting.”
The “lattice”-style tower, formerly known as the TCN-9 Tower, was the tallest structure in Sydney until the Sydney Tower was completed in 1981.
A Nine News report about the tower’s completion in 1965 had declared: “This might look like the Eiffel Tower, but it’s not”, while The Australian Women’s Weekly described the growing tower in 1964 under the headline: “Quite an Eiffel!”
The magazine article said the partially completed tower was “already punctuating Sydney’s cosmopolitan skyline north of the [harbour] as it rears its elegant head”.
Mr Sprouster said the new residential precinct, expected to be similar to Mirvac’s Harold Park project in the inner west, would be “a place that remembers its rich history, but looking forward to the future”.