One of my favourite places to visit around Sydney (at present) is the abandoned Tooth and Co. Brewery known as the Mittagong Maltings, approximately an hours drive south of Sydney.
The building was owned by Tooth and Co. which was one of New South Wales major beer brewers from the mid 1930's till mid 1980's. They had their fingers in a lot of pies the Tooths family, owning such known brands as Kent Brewery, the NSW chain of Hungry Jacks and even for a while Penfolds, as well as many other.
They acquired the maltings in 1905 and it was used to supply malt to their breweries. In 1942 two of the building were severally damaged by fire but were eventually repaired and rebuilt and were used up until 1981 when they closed their doors, and the buildings never saw the light of day again.
More then 30 years have passed and the buildings have taken a beating from the elements, but thats what makes them all the more charming. The site of the maltings is large, with two main buildings to explore, and one tiny house that is in a bad way and probably by the time you read this, will be nothing more then a pile of bricks and rubble.
The building at the top (further away from the train line) is in a further state of decay compared to the other one, but it's still stunning and stable to explore. The bottom floor and top floor have large rooms filled with metal support beams running from roof to ceiling, and when the light streams in, gives off some amazing light. There's minimal graffiti in here (very rare for something as private and large as this, and thats been sitting there unused for 30 years!) and there's one section with some nice brick arches and well placed graffiti. You can get to the second floor, you just have to take your time and be careful climbing the non existent stair case, but it is possible, and once up there the floor is solid concrete, so no chance of falling through.
Walking from the top building to the bottom building, take the time to turn around and get a full view of the impressive building, and get a shot of the Tooth and Co. logo still standing proud on the wall. It's a lovely building and the varying levels of decay can be seen easily with the patchiness of the roof.
Between the buildings there's a little hut near one of the bridges, a mosquito infested creek and then the frame of a small burnt out building, worth a few shots, but save you time for the second building, cause its amazing!
The bottom building is huge, and could nearly be classed as two as one section is semidetached, and I'll* start there. Its the smallest of all, but is still amazing to check out. As well as malt, it seems the Tooth's boys did some wood working in their day as well, as inside this building is hundreds of window frames, and a few large scale wood working machines standing there gathering dust. There's the normal rubble as well of course, no graffiti and painted on an old door in good condition is a Tooths & Co stencil painted. If you're brave you can ascend the stairs to the walkway high above the ground and get a birds eye view of the warehouse. We did it, and it seemed stable and safe (as long as you don't fall over the edge).
Enter the other part of the building, and the treasures just get better. Inside you'll find some huge industrial air fans/vents, large machinery chains, huge conveyor belt track things, more rubble and then some sort of conveyor belt machine thing as well. A semi rickety, skinny but safe enough staircase takes you up to an attic style platform (watch the holes) and gives you a view back down to the ground, or out one of the windows onto what could be mistaken as a rooftop tennis court, where you'll see your first sign of decent graffiti.
Back down on the ground floor, get on your knees and peek down into the roman bath like basement area, with rows of metal supports and arched roofing, and if its not like a bath (which it has been both times I have been there) get some good snaps there.
To get into the other end of the building you'll need to head outside again. Go to the side nearest the train tracks and you'll stumbled across a little weight bridge and scales, before climbing across some wooden beams and into the heart of the main building.
Downstairs is filled with rubble; chairs, carpets, furniture and all other sorts of funk. Make you way up stairs though and check out the upper floors.
The staircase up is still fine, except its missing parts to get to the top floor, but its very easily negotiated. For a building that hasn't been maintained in over 30 years, its still in great shape.
Each floor has spatterings of graffiti, some nice, and some just plain shit. Try not to take advice from some of it, as it will result in you jumping out a window or stepping into a hole or on a lose board. The structure and architecture of the old building is lovely, and this building is still in great shape inside! Windows looking out to the other buildings, old doors, power boards, fire boxes, fixings and some random bits and bobs all add to the interest factor of this place.
As you can see from this monster write up, the place is pretty cool and has a lot to see there. No matter what time of day you go, its amazing! Sunrise or sunset would give lovely light, middle of the day you get substantial light coming into those dark rooms, and night time would be cool, but creepy as! Sitting on the top floor watching the sun set with a cold beer would be a treat, but i wouldn't be having too many before navigating your way safely back down.
WHAT: An abandoned brewery formally owned by Tooths and Co. Has been disused and abandoned for over 30 years now.
ACCESS - EASY: It's pretty damn easy to find and its just as easy to get into. You can drive you car around the gate and right up the the bottom building, or you can park in Southey Street and climb through the fence that consists of a single piece of wire.
SECURITY - LOW: People walk their dogs through here, and they don't seem to care much for camera wielding explorers. If you were breaking shit and tagging up the place, it might be a different story. Have seen other explorers here and even a photoshoot.
INTEREST - 9/10: It's one of the coolest place I have been in Australia. It's big, easy to access, relatively safe and has a lot of cool, different stuff to see and shoot. It's easy to spend hours here.
ALONE OR WITH A FRIEND: Don't go alone. if you fall through a floor or hurt yourself, no one will hear your screams. It's on a large vacant lot and visitors are few and far between, so for safety take a mate or two. Or for a romantic outing take your better half to the top floor with a few beers or wine and watch the sun set through one of the windows. Don't get hammered up there unless you want to stay up there the night.
DANGERS: The main one is to watch your step. Majority of the place is sound and stable, but there are some soggy spots, so just watch your footing before you go running around everywhere. In saying that, 90% of the floors are solid. Staircase in the lower building it pretty sturdy, but the one in the top building was being held up by a piece of 4x2 wood. The usual debris is around as well, not as much glass as would expect, but a higher number rusty nails are present, so maybe opt for some footwear other then your double-pluggers. For a place 30 years unoccupied though, its in pretty good nick!
(These pics are taken about 12 months apart, and as you can see there isn't much difference between them, it isn't a hot graffiti and explorer hot spot due to its location far from Sydney)
Disclaimer – The person referred to as “I” in this post is not necessarily me, nor does “I” refer to anyone in particular, likewise with the word 'we'. I will not be held responsible it anyone ventures to these locations and gets in trouble or injured. These words may be a ramble of useless information and the photos found on a lost usb picked up in the gutter? Who knows?