The final stage of a historic conservation project will see the Sydney Town Hall completely restored for future generations.
The Sydney Town Hall is an excellent example of high Victorian, French second empire style architecture in Australia.
The City of Sydney began extensive conservation works to the 140-year-old building in 2012, starting with the clock tower and the eastern and northern facades. In this stage, stonemasons carved and lifted sandstone blocks weighing up to two tonnes and crafted intricate designs to sit atop the columns of the 55m tall clock tower.
The southern and western façades of Town Hall will soon disappear behind printed screen wraps and scaffolding as the final stage of the once-in-a-lifetime conservation project gets underway.
The building façade will be polished, repaired and replaced with local Sydney sandstone in the two-year project. Conservation work will also begin on the historic building’s stained glass windows.
According to the City of Sydney, yellow block sandstone sourced locally from excavated construction sites in the city centre such as the Mirvac development at 200 George Street will be used in the upcoming restoration works.
“Sydney Town Hall is the largest and most ornate late 19th-century civic building in Australia. This project will preserve the exceptional heritage features of this building so that it will be enjoyed for future generations to come,” said Lord Mayor Clover Moore.
“This project will also create positions for apprentices, creating jobs and skilling up the next generation of stonemasons who will continue to protect our important buildings,” the Lord Mayor said.
City Historian Dr Lisa Murray said it is critical for conservation works to be undertaken on outstanding heritage buildings like Sydney Town Hall to ensure the City’s history is protected and preserved.
“The building’s exterior and interiors exhibit the highest level of craftsmanship and quality materials, showcasing the artistic talents of Sydney’s past architects, builders, artisans and decorators,” Dr Murray said.
“This is a splendid and exuberant civic building that we are fortunate to have retained in the city.”
The building was originally designed by J H Willson in 1868 and it was built in two main stages, overseen by a series of architects.
According to Dr Murray, when completed in 1889, the Sydney Town Hall was the colony’s most daring, technological, and innovative building, and it dominated Sydney’s skyline.
“The building is special for its continuing use as the offices of the Council of the City of Sydney and as the city’s civic and cultural centre. The hall is built on former site of Sydney’s first official European cemetery,” she said.
“There are so many layers of people, decoration, occasion and celebration connected with this site that together tell the unique history of the City of Sydney.”