Macquarie Street

Macquarie street in Sydney would have to be one of the most impressive streets in Sydney. Reflecting not only Sydney's past but its appreciation and respect for its changing architecture. Located in the easternmost street of Sydney's CBD (Central Business District) the street ends a short distance from Australia's greatest icon, the Sydney Opera House . It can be said that the street remains Sydney's main centre of ceremony, society and culture. It was in 1792 that Governor Phillip proclaimed Macquarie Street and the open spaces of Hyde Park, Botanic Gardens and Domain for Government use. The street was officially proclaimed by Governor Macquarie in 1810.

In the early years the street extended from Hyde Park to Bent Street but was later extended in both directions - north to Bennelong Point (Opera House) and south through Hyde Park to Surry Hills. However in 1851 the Hyde Park section was once again closed. The street was named in honour of Lachlan Macquarie the governor of New South Wales (1810-1821) who was responsible for the construction of Sydney's first public buildings and was responsible for setting the boundaries of Sydney's grid of streets.

The Mint

The Mint, Macquarie Street, SydneyThe Mint is Sydney's oldest surviving public building. Originally built as a hospital by convicts between 1811-1816. The Mint building is one of two surviving wings of the early General Hospital building. The other "bookend" wing, which is found further down the street, is the Parliament House. Built in 1816 the Mint building became known as the 'Rum Hospital' due to a negotiation Governor Macquarie made with three shrewd businessmen to build the hospital, in exchange for a three years exclusive rum deal. Though the architect is unknown the building reflects a typical barrack style and was presumably designed by military engineers. The building features colonnaded timber verandah, Georgian panelled doors and shingled roof.

Sydney Hospital

Sydney Hospital, Macquarie Street, SydneyThe first hospital in Sydney was located at The Rocks and was little more than a tent and mud hut. Many female convicts were recruited as nurses to help with the sick. Governor Macquarie saw the urgent need for a suitable hospital and chose this current site. The original hospital (also known as the Rum Hospital) included three building of which only the two wings (The Mint Building and Parliament House) survived. The central building of the hospital was demolished in 1879 (due to poor foundations) and replaced in 1894 by the present building. The Victorian Classical Revival building was designed by Thomas Rowe.

St Stephens Church

St Stephens Church, Macquarie Street, SydneyDwarfed between the high rises of Sydney is St Stephen's Church. The Church was designed by architects Messrs John Reid and Finlay Munro Jr and constructed in 1935.

The location of the first St Stephen's church (which was an iron prefabricated church) was located where the new wing of the State Library now stands.

An interesting point of note is the floodlights that light up the facade at night were donated in memory of aspiring actress Marcia Hathaway who was killed by a shark in Middle Harbour in 1963.

Parliament House

Parliament House, Macquarie Street, SydneyThe New South Wales Parliament House was once the northern wing of the former "Rum Hospital". Built between 1811-16, the building was constructed by three businessmen in exchange for an exclusive rum deal, organised by Governor Macquarie. Today it stands as one of the oldest public buildings in Sydney. Historically the building is important for holding the two of the most important conventions in Australian political history, which dealt with the issues of Federation and the drafting of the Australian Constitution.

Wyoming Building

The Wyoming building was one of the first 'high rises' of Macquarie Street. The brick and sandstone building was constructed in 1909 and was designed by W.Burcham Clamp. The building was specifically designed to provide professional medical suites for the growing number of practitioners associated with the Sydney Hospital. By the late 1920's there were no less than 260 doctors and 100 dentists operating along Macquarie Street.

State Library

The Garden Palace

In 1879 architect James Barnet was given the job of designing and building a structure for the Sydney International Exhibitions. Ten months later Sydney would marvel at the Garden Palace, the grandest building in Australia. Three years later the people of Sydney would watch on helplessly as the palace was engulfed by fire. All that remains of the Garden Palace today are the carved sandstone pillars and wrought iron gates at the entrance to the Royal Botanical Gardens which were also designed by James Barnet in 1888. Click for more about the Garden Palace.

British Medical Association House

British Medical Association building, Macquarie Street, SydneyLooking like something out of Gotham City, the British Medical Association building is one of the most unique structures on Macquarie Street.

Built in 1929 the gothic and art deco building was designed by architects Joseph Fowell and Kenneth McConnel and features medical symbols on its facade. It is the only building in Sydney featuring Koala sculptures, but you have to look up really high to spot them.

History House

Hiding back a little from Macquarie Street this former gentlemen's residence was designed by George Mansfield. This typical Italianate town house became a boarding house and then homes and rooms for medical practitioners until 1969 when it was acquired by the Royal Australian Historical Society.

Chief Secretary's Building

The Chief Secretary's Building was constructed between 1881 - 1896 and was the location of the Chief Secretary and Public Works Department. Designed by architect James Barnet, the building was associated with some of the most prominent figures in the political arena including Henry Parkes, John Robertson and Charles Cowper. The extensions to the building were designed by Walter Liberty Vernon. The original building was constructed between 1873 and 1881 in Victorian Free Classical Style. Built from sandstone, the mansard and copper clad dome were added in 1894.

Treasury Building