The area was first occupied by the Gadigal people of the Dharug Nation. William Chippendale was granted a 95-acre (38 ha) estate in 1819. It stretched to the present day site of Redfern railway station. Chippendale sold the estate to Solomon Levey, emancipist and merchant, in 1821, for 380 pounds. Solomon Levey died while in London, in 1833. Levey's heirs sold over 62 acres (25 ha) to William Hutchinson.
The eastern side of Chippendale, being adjacent to the CBD, includes a greater mix of uses than other parts of the suburb. It includes commercial uses such as offices and warehouses, with higher buildings facing Regent Street and Broadway. Elsewhere in Chippendale there are scattered shops, cafes and pubs. The small suburb depends on Broadway for shopping and services. The historic Regent Street railway station or 'Mortuary Station' is located on the eastern side of the suburb.
The John Storey Memorial Dispensary was built in 1926 as a memorial to John Storey, a former Premier of New South Wales. It is located in Little Regent Street and still functions as a pathology clinic.
Chippendale is notable for being the location of the 168-year-old Carlton & United brewery, although this is now closed. Frasers Property Australia purchased the brewery site from the Foster?s Group on June 29, 2007. In July 2008, Frasers Property lodged a modified concept plan with the NSW Department of Planning proposing a mixed-use development for the 5.8 Hectare site. The development proposal includes approximately 250,000m2 of commercial and residential space, retention of a number of heritage buildings and the development of a large new park for Chippendale.
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