Sydney is renowned around the world for both its natural beauty and its spectacular icons such as the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Architectural and engineering marvels, their reputations are certainly well-deserved. But did you know that Sydney has some of the oldest streets and buildings in Australia? Classic designs representative of different eras in Sydney’s history are scattered across the city and well worth a visit for anyone interested in history, photography or architecture. Here are some of our favourites to get you started on your journey of architectural discovery in Sydney.
ST JAMES’ CHURCH – KING STREET
St James’ church is an Anglican church consecrated in 1824. The building was designed by architect Francis Greenway who was in fact a transported convicted. Georgian in design, the church took four years to construct with the vestries being added ten years later. The spire of St James’ Church was pictured on the Australian ten-dollar note until 1993 and the church as a whole featured on the Australian fifty cent stamp in 1973.
AUSTRALIAN MUSEUM – WILLIAM STREET
The oldest museum in Australia, Sydney’s Australia Museum was established in 1827 and moved to its current home in 1849. It first opened its doors to the public in 1857. The building was originally designed by Australian colonial architect Mortimer Lewis with later additions designed and overseen by Government architect James Barnet. The neoclassical building is constructed from Sydney sandstone and was earlier known as the Colonial Museum and the Sydney Museum.
GENERAL POST OFFICE – MARTIN PLACE
Sydney’s General Post Office was designed by James Barnet and was opened to the public in 1870. The building, constructed of Sydney sandstone mined in Pyrmont, replaced the earlier post office building that had occupied that site since 1830. The General Post Office was fully renovated in 1999 however still retains its Italian renaissance design and even has some of its original features available for viewing by the public such as the tank stream and exposed pipes.
SYDNEY TOWER – MARKET STREET
The Sydney Tower rises 305 metres above Sydney and sits atop a shopping and office complex. Construction of the tower began in 1975 and public access was granted in 1981. The golden turret took two years to be jacked up to its current position and includes a revolving restaurant and a public viewing deck offering 360 degree views of Sydney. The shaft was constructed from 46 pre-fabricated steel barrels each weighing 27 tonnes.
GOVERNMENT HOUSE – MACQUARIE STREET
Government House was designed by royal architect Edward Blore. Known for his work on both Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, Blore designed the building in Gothic Revival Style as demonstrated in medieval touches such as castellated towers and turrets. The construction of Government House began in 1837 using locally quarried Sydney sandstone and was overseen by colonial architect Mortimer Lewis. Governor George Gipps finally moved into the building in 1845.