A golden past and a bright future

 

Bullion Store, an exciting new orientation and retail space in Sydney’s oldest public building, is named to acknowledge the site’s previous incarnation as a branch of the Royal Mint. 

In 1855, in the midst of the gold rush, the site of the former Rum Hospital in Macquarie Street was adapted to become the Sydney Mint. During the 70 years of the Mint’s operation, more than 1200 tonnes of gold were received and processed here. Clerks located in the bullion office, in the north‑west corner of the building, received gold at a counter where it was carefully weighed, a deposit slip was issued, and amounts were recorded in a ledger. The gold was held in a strongroom in the office. 

The one-time bullion office has now reopened to the public as the new Bullion Store, a multipurpose space for welcoming visitors and introducing Sydney Living Museums’ properties and the story of this highly significant building. The former coining factory, on the rear of the site, is SLM’s head office, and the addition of concierge functions to the Rum Hospital building has substantially improved the welcome experience and wayfinding for general visitors, venue hire clients and head office guests alike. 

A newly minted welcome

Visitors to the Bullion Store can purchase tickets to any of SLM’s museums or events and have their general inquiries answered by members of SLM’s friendly and experienced visitor services team. They can also shop from a selection of books with a focus on architecture and design; a range of candles and homewares from Sydney brand Maison Balzac, including their collaboration with The Mint’s floral artist-in-residence, Dr Lisa Cooper; candles from Southern Wild Co; and Australian-made Robert Gordon ceramics. 

The former strongroom holds a new interpretive display, including sovereigns and half sovereigns produced at the Sydney Mint, items uncovered onsite by archaeologists that were used in the gold-refining process, and a slideshow of historical images. Interpretive displays have also been updated throughout the Mint complex, exploring the various stages of the building’s history. 

From this autumn, visitors will be able to purchase food and drinks from the Bullion Store, including a range of sweet and savoury items from SLM’s hospitality partner Pearl Catering, and dine on the picturesque stone verandah or gravel forecourt – a peaceful location for breakfast, lunch or a coffee meeting in the city. 

Bullion Store at The Mint

Bullion Store. Photos © James Horan for Sydney Living Museums

Restoration and renewal

It takes a lot of time, effort and funding to preserve and interpret our historic places. The design and development of the Bullion Store aimed to create an enhanced visitor experience and more effective wayfinding while preserving the historical integrity of the architecture and its inherent design qualities. Crone Architects was selected through a tender process to provide consultancy services. The intervention was designed to be respectful of the physical location and heritage fabric, and to be low impact and reversible. 

The project included the restoration and renewal of the interior architectural features and finishes in the Bullion Store. The striking yet functional contemporary design and high-quality gold-coloured finishes in the new space make it attractive to venue hire clients seeking a bespoke evening experience. A second stage of the project will see the old reception area in the coining factory building modified for use as a meeting area. 

Members can be sure of a warm welcome and will receive a 10% discount when shopping and dining with us in the Bullion Store. 

Visit

Bullion Store at The Mint 
Monday to Friday, 7.30am–4pm (Coffee and light bites available from 7.30am–3pm)

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About the Author

Portrait of woman standing against stone wall.
Susan Sedgwick
Acting Director, Heritage, Assets & Museums
As Head of the City Museums Portfolio, Susan manages the Hyde Park Barracks Museum, Justice & Police Museum, The Mint, Museum of Sydney and...

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