Looking up steps with curved balustrades to ornate sandstone town hall building.

Sydney Town Hall. Photo courtesy of Sydney Town Hall

Sydney Town Hall

Sunday 3 November

483 George Street, Sydney

See on map

Built

1868–89

Architect

Stage 1 Architect - John Henry Willson

Additional architects

Stage 2 Architects

Albert Bond, City Architect (1873–77)

David McBeath, City Architect (1875–81)

John Hennessey, Assistant City Architect (1871–84)

Thomas Sapsford, City Architect (1881–86)

George McRae, City Architect (1886–89)

Awards

1992 AIA (NSW) - Heritage Architecture Award (Conservation)

2001 National Trust - Heritage Award for Conservation, Energy Management

Sydney Town Hall has been the seat of the city’s administration and the Lord Mayor’s office for over 120 years. It is also the public stage for civic celebration and entertainment and a meeting point for the people of Sydney and its visitors.

Built on the site of Sydney’s first European cemetery, Sydney Town Hall is a striking blend Neo-Classical revival and French Second Empire architecture and the Hôtel de Ville in Paris, with its mansard roofs and wrought-iron cresting.

The design is derived from a competition-winning entry by architect John Henry Willson, interpreted and embellished by successive architects and engineers. Willson did not live to see its first stage completed (1880), leaving city architect Albert Bond to be credited with its execution. Despite its name, the main (Centennial) hall wasn't completed until 1889. Mostly the work of architect George McRae, it features the first large Wunderlich (pressed zinc) ceiling in Sydney and the largest pipe organ in the Southern Hemisphere.

Sydney Town Hall is linked to an office building, Town Hall House, which houses City of Sydney staff. Designed by Ancher Mortlock and Woolley, the building opened in 1977. In sharp contrast to the ornamented Town Hall, this modern concrete office building with its striking repetitive angular geometry has been identified as an important local example of Brutalist architecture. As the last project before his death in 2015, architect Ken Woolley provided advice to company Smart Design Studio, who refurbished the public areas of Town Hall House.

On Sunday 3 November


What’s open?

Ground floor and first floor of Sydney Town Hall.


Talks, tours & more


Need
to know

  • Photography restricted
    Photography permitted unless otherwise stated. Tripods are not permitted.

  • Lines expected

  • Toilets available

  • Pram friendly
    Stroller/pram parking is available at the George Street entry (visitors are required to return there at the conclusion of their visit to collect their items). Cloaking is not available and prams are left at the owners own risk.

  • Accessible
    Access via the Druitt Street entry

  • Additional information
    The City of Sydney reserves the right to scan visitors and the bags of all persons who enter or exit the building. Food and drink is not permitted inside Sydney Town Hall.


Opening hours

9am-4pm

Last entry

3.30pm

Address

483 George Street, Sydney

Entry via

Main stairs, 483 George Street, Sydney

Accessible entry

Access via the Druitt Street entry (opposite the Queen Victoria Building)


Acknowledgements

Find out more about Sydney Town Hall.