Elizabeth Bay - Bowie's Old Neighbourhood

David Bowie lived in an apartment at Elizabeth Bay, Sydney for approximately 10 years up until 1992.

His Sydney apartment was used as a base for month-long adventures to the outback and far north Queensland rainforests throughout the 1980s.

A view of Elizabeth Bay district from the historic Elizabeth Bay House. Photo by Adam Dean.

The district of Elizabeth Bay is an inner suburb situated 3 kms to the east of the Sydney CBD. Predominantly residential, the area contains numerous apartment towers that have been built in waves since the 1920s.

Although Elizabeth Bay is not quite in the realm of New York or Hong Kong, it does contain the densest suburban population in Australia.

Map courtesy of Google Maps.

Elizabeth Bay House

Rushcutter's Bay. From Wikipedia.

Some quick research also gathers that Elizabeth Bay contains some of the finest old homes in the country including Elizabeth Bay House (1830s, now a museum), Ashton (1875), Tresco (1868) and Boomerang (1927) which has used been as a backdrop for Hollywood movies including Mission Impossible II.

Left: Boomerang - once the suburban estate of music publisher Frank Albert. It was sold in 2005 to Lindsay Fox for $20.7 million. Right: Elizabeth Bay House (foreground). When it was constructed in the 1830s, it was considered "the finest home in the colony". Photos from Wikipedia.

During the 1980s, David Bowie lived in the apartment building known as Kincoppal. Media mogul Rupert Murdoch also lived in the same building.

In 1989, Bowie's abode was a useful base while his band Tin Machine were recording their second album. An excerpt from The Boston Globe:

The water of Elizabeth Bay was serene, its azure surface rippling with mirror-ball flashes of sunlight.

Reeves Gabrels [guitarist] leaned on the railing of an elegant condominium's balcony, daydreaming as he gazed at the yachts and sailboats below......

"I was thinking, if only my father, who died when I was 15, could see this," Reeves says now.

"Here I am in Sydney, Australia, in this amazing place, in a condo owned by David Bowie, and we're about to do our second album together."

He turned toward Bowie to speak. "You know ... " he began.

"I know exactly what you're thinking," the rock star replied in a heartbeat.

"I think the same thing. Probably less frequently than you, after all this time, but you don't even have to say it. I should be a shipping clerk in Brixton. I'm still amazed."

Above: View towards Rushcutter's Bay from Kincoppal. Left and Below: Kincoppal apartment complex.

According to real estate information, Bowie's apartment was decorated in wall-to-wall black slate. He purchased the unit in 1983 and sold the apartment in 1992. Since these times, many of the Kincopal apartments have undergone extensive updates.

Something to keep in mind if you visit the site - don't expect to get any further than the front gates. The address is 93 Elizabeth Bay Road but this is a gated community and is not for general public access.

Having said that, a walk around the Elizabeth Bay is well worth it - especially for the harbour views and for the art deco buildings. The Twentieth Century Heritage Society of NSW have developed this walk (PDF) which starts at Potts Point (not far from the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Sydney Opera House) and finishes up around Kincoppal.

Left to right: Whychberry Hall, Cahors, Birtley Towers. Images courtesy of The Twentieth Century Heritage Society of NSW.


"I would come over for a month or so at a time. It was really, really fabulous. I loved being there. It was just a great place to be."

~ David Bowie.

In 1992, Bowie married Iman and it was around this time he sold the apartment.

"Mainly the reason being that I just wasn't getting there enough and it seems a waste of a really nice apartment".

"I hear young Russell Crowe has a place there now. I bloody sold mine, unfortunately, because Iman and I were getting married, so I thought, 'Oh yeah, we're definitely gonna be running backwards and forwards to Sydney'. It was a great place and I used to love being there. I was there a lot more than you'd imagine."

Above left: Kincoppal apartment building. Above right: A balcony view. Below left: The gates at Kincoppal. Below right: A historic residence on the property.

© Adam Dean, Bowie Downunder, 2010.

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