Sydney Australia

The Colonial Chief Secretary’s Building on Phillip and Bridge Streets.
Photo: The Colonial Chief Secretary’s Building on Phillip and Bridge Streets.
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Colonial Chief Secretary’s Building

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The Colonial Secretary’s Building on the corner of Phillip and Bridge Streets is one of the most significant public buildings in Australia. This striking building was built for the use of the Colonial Secretary and Department of Public Works.

Yellow Sandstone

Made from the yellow sandstone that many of the public buildings were made of in the early days of the colony of New South Wales, it was designed by Colonial Architect James Barnet. In the Victorian Free Classical style, it was built in two distinct stages with the first four levels built during 1873 to 1881.

The top floor and the beautiful green patina copper dome were completed in 1896. To service the building’s floors, a wire cage lift was installed, still in use today.

Federation of Australia

Due to the importance the Chief Secretary’s role and the increased politicalisation of his department, it became of the most signicant buildings in the country. Indeed, the meetings that led to the Federation of Australia were held here. The meeting room is open to the public since 2005, with a number of historical displays.

Now called the Chief Secretary’s Building, it houses the Office of the Governor of New South Wales and the state’s Industrial Relations Commission.

Other James Barnet Buildings

James Barnet designed many other NSW buildings, including the Sydney General Post Office and the the iconic Macquarie Lighthouse at Bondi, as well as the building housing Goulburn’s Waterworks Museum.

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Main Photo: The Colonial Chief Secretary’s Building on Phillip and Bridge Streets.

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