Bruce Hambrett 

Trustee & Director of SLM Foundation

A Sydney Living Museums trustee for nine years, and now a director of the SLM Foundation, Bruce Hambrett also shows his support for the organisation and its work by generously donating through the Governors’ Circle. 

As a lawyer for more than 40 years, Bruce Hambrett brings extensive experience in business, management and the law to his role on the SLM Foundation. He’s a former partner at Baker McKenzie, one of the world’s largest law firms, and was a member of the firm’s Global Executive Committee, which is responsible for implementing the firm’s strategy across its 78 offices in 47 countries, for four years, ending in 2016. In the same period he was Chair, Asia Pacific, and Chair of the firm’s Global Sustainability Committee, and lived in Singapore. 

Bruce has a passion for history and heritage conservation, and a deep interest in the arts, architecture and design. A lover of music, he’s a director of Fine Music Sydney and a former director of Pacific Opera Pty Limited. 

Q: How did you come to be involved with SLM? 

A: I did some legal work in 2004 for SLM, then known as the Historic Houses Trust of NSW, and was subsequently invited to join its Board of Trustees. I remained on the board until my wife and I relocated to Singapore in 2013. It was a fascinating experience working with a group of very talented trustees from different disciplines, all of whom were passionate about the very important assets under the stewardship of the organisation. 

On my return from Singapore in 2017, I was invited onto the board of the SLM Foundation and I was delighted to accept. I wanted to continue my association with a wonderful group of people who are committed to telling the story of NSW through the lens of a brilliant collection of properties. 

Q: Which is your most cherished SLM house or museum and why? 

A: I have a few favourites from a world-class collection. I love the iconic Francis Greenway–designed Hyde Park Barracks, standing, as it does, in perfect symmetry and harmony with St James’ Church, also designed by Greenway. Meroogal, in Nowra, is fascinating with its family history, as home to four generations of women. And Elizabeth Bay House, with its majestic views, is a gem which I often visit with friends. 

Q: What lies behind your passion for music? 

A: Music is an amazing force. It can inspire. It can entertain. It can provoke reflection. I love learning about music of all kinds, but particularly classical music. My dad passed on his music gene to me and I’m very grateful. Music often features at SLM. For example, in November I attended a wonderful Governors’ Circle event at Vaucluse House to mark the arrival in Australia of Dr Daniel Solander, the Swedish scientist and naturalist. He arrived with Captain Cook in 1770. Swedish folk music was performed by the very talented Marais Project and included pieces from the important SLM sheet music collection. 

Q: What other SLM events have you recently enjoyed? 

A: I attended the opening of the Paradise on Earth exhibition by Zoom in November. Exploring the story of architect and artist Marion Mahony Griffin, the exhibition is an absolute must-see. I often find that SLM exhibitions provide a different perspective on events from the ordinary. They’re always insightful and very thoughtfully curated.

Man in front of wall.

Bruce Hambrett. Photo Kate Sheaffe © Sydney Living Museums