The Origin of "Balmain"
We are often asked where the name “Balmain” originated. The company is named after the harbour side Sydney peninsula (picture above, bottom-centre) of Balmain where founder James Turner resided before moving to London in 1999.
The suburb of Balmain is situated within sight of the famous Sydney Harbour Bridge and is renowned for its village feel.
The cosmopolitan nature of Balmain today belies the peninsular’s working-class origins as one of Sydney’s major maritime docks and industrial centres at the start of the 19th century.
Balmain Facts and Legends
- In the late 1800’s, Balmain reached its peak as one Sydney’s major industrial centres and maritime docks resulting in the suburb having the highest concentration of pubs per square mile of any part of Sydney. Today Balmain retains a relatively high number of pubs including the famous London Hotel where patrons can sit on the balcony and look down Darling Street to admire the view of the city and Sydney Harbour Bridge.
- Balmain is home to the Wests Tigers Rugby League club (Logo: Top Right) which in 1908 as the Balmain Tigers was a founder club of what is now the Australian Rugby League (ARL). West Tiger’s most recent ARL Premiership victory was in 2005 when they defeated the North Queensland Cowboys 30-16, having started the year at odds of 150-1 to win the Premiership
- Famous former residents of Balmain include: Dawn Fraser (pictured right) who won eight Olympic medals, including four gold medals, and six Commonwealth gold medals, became a State politician for Balmain and owned and ran a Balmain Pub, Neville Wran – former Premier of NSW, Sir John Kerr – former Governor General of Australia, Wayne Pearce – former Balmain and NSW rugby league team captain, and more importantly our asset management partner Stuart Lang and our founder James Turner.
- Numerous phrases have been used to describe Balmain and its inhabitants, including "Balmain boys don't cry" (former NSW Premier Neville Wran at the Street Royal Commission); "There are only two types of man in this world: those who were born in Balmain and those who wish they were" (a Police Commissioner of New South Wales).
Former Australian Prime Minister Paul Keating commented on the suburbs gentrification in the 1980’s to 90’s by referring to the new arrivals as the "Basket weavers of Balmain".
- Balmain used to have 55 pubs in its heyday, but still has a respectable 22 that attract people from all over Sydney.