I remember Feltex as a rather dingy, grey floor covering that only poor people had in the 1950s. Mind you, my family only had linoleum and mats!

Apparently Feltex did come in other colours. The following advertisement was published  in the Australian Women’s Weekly in 1952.

The company Felt & Textiles  was registered in 1921 by Brussells born businessman  Henri  Van de Velde  (1878-1947) (often spelled Vanderveld).

 Feltex company owner Henri Van de Velde

Source – Melbourne Age, June 10 1947

Henri had begun his working life in Australia as a wool classer. He made a lot of money supplying woollen blankets to the Australian army during the first World War.  He  later owned the fabulous Everglades estate  at Leura in the Blue Mountains.

The headquarters of the company was an art deco style, three storey building in Sydney’s  George Street. Ahead of its time, there were sound proof windows and hanging plants.  As an indication of Van de Velde’s prominence it was opened by Sydney’s Lord Mayor SirNorman Nock  on July 7 1939.




Feltex House George Street Sydney 1953

Feltex House 1950s

The building also had  a formal roof top garden designed by the landscaper Paul Sorenson. The main feature  of the space was a very striking gazing globe. Here is a pre-construction  model of the building. The arrow indicates the future  garden space.

Model of Feltex House

Source – Periodical Construction Feb, 2 1939.

There is a lawn bordered by flower beds and shrubberies, At one end is a pond and fountain, and at the opposite end the board-room leads off from the garden. Poplar trees have been planted at the four corners.’ (Sydney Morning Herald, July 7 1939)


The completed garden (1940), by photographer Alan Evans.

Note the mature poplar in the left background of another shot by Alan Evans in 1940.


Feltex House paved walkway

Paved walkway.

Entry to the garden was from the glass sliding doors of the  boardroom.


From Sydney’s Sunday Herald,  May 17 1953. Look at the growth.


Note that the above caption mentions the rarity of rooftop gardens in the city centre. Ironically, they were to become even rarer. In 1961  Feltex House was revamped, with an  additional nine floors being added,  It was a sympathetic extension, but sadly this meant that the iconic  rooftop garden was demolished.

For the story of Henri Van de Velde’s home Everglades House, CLICK HERE.




















  1. Just visited Everglades House yesterday, so interested in your Feltex story. The photo you conclude with, labelled the Telford Trust Building, is NOT correct – The building with its sympathetic 6 storey addition to the original Feltex House remains on corner of George and Jamison Sts.

    • Pauline

      Thanks so much Michael. You had good weather for your visit to Everglades.

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