Sydney Times





The transformation of Sydney’s historic Macquarie Street will soon be underway with $119 million to be included in the 2021-22 NSW Budget to kick-start work on revitalising one of Sydney’s historic precincts into a lively cultural hub.


The funding will be used to finalise a strategic business case to reactivate Macquarie Street East as a cultural and social destination, with the initial focus on creating an iconic public plaza between the CBD and The Domain.

Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said this will include repurposing the State heritage-listed Registrar General’s Building including exploring options for it to be used as a museum.


“Macquarie Street is part of the very foundations of modern Sydney and these historical spaces should be celebrated and enjoyed not locked away and hidden from view,” Mr Perrottet said.


“The revamped precinct will create a vibrant destination for people to enjoy during the day and well into the evening at the southern end of Macquarie Street, allowing the city to showcase some of its historic treasures such as The Mint, Hyde Park Barracks and The Domain.

“As part of this revitalisation, we will make good the original heritage integrity of the Registrar General’s Building by removing the more modern annex, built in the 1960s, and creating a new open public space that will form a gateway to The Domain.”


A NSW Government-commissioned precinct review of Macquarie Street East last year, led by former Prime Minister Paul Keating and former Greater Sydney Commission Chief Commissioner, Lucy Turnbull, made a number of recommendations for the heritage buildings and spaces in Macquarie Street East, including the Registrar General’s Building, to showcase the city’s cultural and social history.

“This announcement puts into the action a true plan to revitalise the historic heart of Sydney, particularly the historic Registrar General’s Building, which Lucy Turnbull and I recommended be used as a new cultural institution displaying decorative and applied art to consolidate the historic triangle between the Art Gallery of NSW, the former Registrar General’s Building and the State Library,” Mr Keating said.

“This funding is a great step forward to begin the work of breathing new life and energy in to one our city’s most precious historic and architecturally significant precincts,” Mrs Turnbull said.


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Minister for Water, Property and Housing Melinda Pavey said the Registrar General’s Building was one of the State’s most important heritage assets.


“The adaptive reuse of the Registrar General’s Building from its current administrative function will deliver cultural, social and economic benefits to NSW,” Mrs Pavey said.


“The preservation and enhancement of its heritage significance will be central to any decision regarding its future use.”


Mrs Pavey said government agencies and other entities currently occupying the building will be joined by arts and cultural organisations on short-term leases during the project’s planning stages.


Work on the adaptive reuse of the Registrar General’s Building and the creation of the new public open space is expected to start by the end of 2022, following completion of a final business case.


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