Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

Mint Museum and Parliament House Historic Houses Trust

architect

unknown

location

10 Macquarie Street

date

1811-14

style

Old Colonial Georgian

construction

brick and timber

type

Government (former hospital and mint)
 
 
 
 
 

 

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The Mint 
The Mint was constructed between 1811–1816 as the southern wing of the Sydney Hospital. Known as the Rum Hospital it was built by private contractors in exchange for an exclusive license to import rum. 
In 1854 a branch of the Royal Mint – the first outside England – was established on the site as a result of the discovery of gold in New South Wales. The former hospital wing was converted to offices for Mint staff and as a residence for the Deputy Mint Master. At the rear of the building the coining factory was constructed, using locally quarried sandstone and prefabricated cast iron columns, girders and roofing components imported from England. Many of these unique buildings survive on the site today. 
The Mint operated until 1926 when the new Commonwealth Mint was established in Canberra. The buildings then accommodated numerous government departments and various law courts. 
The Mint was transferred to the Historic Houses Trust in 1998 and the Macquarie Street building is open to the public containing a small display on the history of the site, a cafe, meeting rooms and facilities for the Members of the Historic Houses Trust. 
Following a major redevelopment, the Coining Factory now houses the Trust's head office and the important Caroline Simpson Library & Research Collection. 

The Mint
10 Macquarie Street
Sydney NSW 2000
t. 02 8239 2288
f. 02 8239 2299
e. info[at]hht.net.au 

Opening Hours
Monday to Friday 9am – 5pm
Admission: free
Please note The Mint is NOT a coin museum.

With thanks to http://www.hht.net.au/home 
Of the two wings which survive from the Rum Hospital, the northern wing was requisitioned and converted to accommodate the first NSW Parliament House in 1829, it being the largest building available in Sydney at the time. The parliamentary chamber for Legislative Members was soon added (attached at the northern end), while the Legislative Council Chamber (attached at the southern end) was assembled in 1856.

This second chamber is actually a prefabricated cast-iron building, initially shipped to Victoria from Glasgow, Scotland. Destined to be a church, it was diverted to Sydney during shipment where it was erected as one of the two parliamentary chambers. It is still the seat of government in NSW today.

Information appearing in this section is reproduced from Sydney Architecture, with the kind permission of the author, Graham Jahn, a well known Sydney architect and former City of Sydney Councillor. Sydney Architecture, rrp $35.00, is available from all good book stores or from the publisher, Watermark Press, Telephone: 02 9818 5677.

Sydney Hospital & Eye Hospital

Macquarie Street, Sydney
1880-94 Thomas Rowe, John Kirkpatrick
1994-96 New buildings by State projects Rod Militech and McConnel Smith & Johnson - Alan Rintoul (Director in Charge)

Originally named the Sydney infirmary, this building was designed to replace the deteriorated centre wing of Governor Macquarie’s ‘Rum Hospital’. Three sandstone buildings and two gatehouses along Macquarie Street emerged from an architectural competition held in 1880 and won by Thomas Rowe (1829-1899). The brief was rewritten.

Rowe was heavily criticised by his peers for the practice of under quoting building costs in order to win a competition, and the Sydney Infirmary and this project were his causes célébres. Work halted for some years after partial construction, awaiting the approval of additional funds from the New South Wales parliament.

Recent work includes the relocation of the Sydney Eye Hospital to the site, the construction of an eight level car park, ground floor emergency with eye hospital outpatients, two levels of wards and an operating theatre on the top floor. The new work enabled the demolition of the Travers building, long considered an eyesore, thereby allowing the campus to be opened up to The Domain.

Parliament House is of exceptional historical and social value. It has played a key role in the history of Australia from an early symbol of colonial government and civil improvement to its long tenure as the first NSW Parliament House and association with the Federation of the Australian colonies.

The Parliament House and the Mint Museum are the two surviving wings of the triple wing General Hospital, which was commenced in 1811. Built just 20 years after first settlement, the hospital waspart of Macquarie's sweeping building campaign which included schools, barracks, orphanages, churches and storehouses. As Governor Macquarie had been refused funding by London, he entered into an agreement with three businessmen who proposed to build the hospital for three years' exclusive rights to the importation of rum and the hospital became known as The Rum Hospital.

The north wing was requisitioned and converted to accommodate the first NSW Parliament House in 1829 because it was the largest public building in New South Wales at that time. Housing the Colonial Representative Government it was the first Parliament in Australia. Aside from its significance as the legislative arm of government in New South Wales, Parliament House has played a key role in the history of Australia as two important conventions were held to look at the issues of Federation of the colonies and the drafting of the Australian Constitution. Parliament House is significant for its association with important social and political figures of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries

The Parliamentary precincts comprise the original old colonial georgian building known as the Rum Hospital, which was finished in 1816 as well as later additions and extensions to the Parliament buildings. A new chamber was constructed at the northern end of the building in 1842 to accommodate the partly elected and partly nominee Council which was established with the new constitution of 1842. The Legislative Council is a pre-fabricated cast-iron building, initially shipped to Melbourne from Glasgow, Scotland, before being sent to Sydney as one of the two parliamentary chambers and is still a seat of government in NSW today. The centre wing, which was erected on poor foundations, was demolished in 1879 and the replacement building, the Sydney Hospital, was finished in 1894.
History of Parliament House (with thanks to http://www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/index.html )

The Parliament occupies part of what was once the nation’s first permanent hospital. The colonnaded central part of Parliament House, facing Macquarie Street was completed in 1816 as part of Governor Macquarie’s “Rum Hospital”. Upon his arrival in the colony of New South Wales in 1810, Macquarie discovered that the town’s hospital was an affair of tents and temporary buildings established along what is now George Street in The Rocks area when the First Fleet arrived in 1788.

Macquarie set aside land on the eastern edge of the Government domain for a new Hospital and created a new road – Macquarie Street – to provide access to it. Plans were drawn up but the British Government refused to provide funds to build the hospital. Consequently, Macquarie entered into a contract with a consortium of businessmen – Messrs Blaxcell, Riley and Wentworth – to erect the new hospital. The contract was signed on 6 November 1810. Under the terms of the contract they were to receive convict labour and supplies and a monopoly on rum-imports from which they expected to recoup the cost of the building and gain considerable profits.

The new hospital had a large central building, which was the main hospital, and two smaller wings which were quarters for the Surgeons. The central building was replaced in 1894 by the present Macquarie Street Hospital, but the smaller wings remain. The former Mint, next to the Hyde Park Barracks, was originally the quarters for the Assistant Surgeon as well as a storage facility, and the northern wing, built for the Principal Surgeon, remains today as the colonnaded facade of Parliament House.

Two rooms in the Principal Surgeon’s quarters were not used by the surgeon and were used by the Judge of the Supreme Court until he transferred to the Georgian School House in Castlereagh Street in May 1824. Early in 1828 (with the exception of one room retained by the Principal Surgeon till 1843) the residence was vacated in order to provide for the reception of patients up till then in the Benevolent Asylum, but the premises were never actually used for that purpose, and the following year they were appropriated to the use of the Executive and the Legislative Council. Minor alterations were carried out about June of that year to the building and on Friday 21 August 1829 the second session of the Legislative Council in that year was held in the building which, with additions, has housed the Legislature ever since.

By 1824 the British Government had set up a Legislative Council consisting of five appointed members for New South Wales. The members met at Government House and in other locations, however, by 1829 it had increased to fourteen members and a permanent meeting room was established for it in the northern downstairs room of the Surgeon’s Quarters. Council meetings were opened to the public from 1838.

When the Legislative Council moved into its small Chamber in 1829, some other parts of the building were also taken over for offices, including part of the central ground floor rooms. Now known as the Sir Henry Parkes Room.

The year 1832 marked the time when the Press of the Colony was first permitted to peruse and to report upon the proceedings of Parliament. However, the proprietors of several newspapers pointed out in 1840 that the little accommodation available for their reporters was trespassed on by members of the public who attended the Council meetings. In consequence of this, a small gallery was constructed round the walls of the Council room, of which portion was set apart for the Press. This was the first major alteration to the building.

In 1842, when the new Constitution was passed, it became necessary to provide suitable accommodation for the partly elective and partly nominee Council. A new Chamber was thereupon constructed at the northern end of the old building. The Chamber served the Council up to the inauguration of Responsible Government in 1856, when the bi-cameral system came into operation, and accommodation had to be provided for the new nominee Legislative Council. This Chamber has continued to be used up to the present day as the home of the Legislative Assembly.

On 23 February 1856 the Governor and Executive Council approved of the purchase of an iron building, then in Melbourne, for 1,760 (delivered in Sydney Harbour) or 1,835 if delivered within one mile from a public wharf. This building was supposed to have been originally intended for Church purposes in Bendigo, but at the time of the gold rush portion of the material was hastily put up in Melbourne to cope with the great demand for accommodation. The material was brought from Melbourne by the Ship Callender which left there on 13 March 1856. On 17 April 1856, the Governor approved of the tender of Mr Thomas Spence to erect the building, together with adjacent rooms and offices, and to provide internal fittings for the sum of ?4,475. The building was erected at the southern end of the old Principal Surgeon’s residence.

The rooms that were part of the original building were mainly used for administrative purposes from 1829 until 1850, housing the Clerk of the Executive and Legislative Councils and other public servants. For one period, from 1831 to 1836, the Clerk, Edward Deas Thomson, had the added responsibility of being curator of a small natural history museum. Thomson delegated this responsibility to his messenger, William Galvin, and later also had the assistance of an assigned prisoner, John Roach, who had worked in London as a taxidermist. In 1836 the collection of stuffed birds and animals, botanical specimens and other curiosities moved out to become the nucleus of the Australian Museum in College Street, Sydney.

The Parliamentary Library was established in 1840 and in 1850 moved to the old Council Chamber next to the now Legislative Assembly Chamber. The growing Library expanded into other rooms including the central ground floor rooms. Following the death in 1867 of the first Parliamentary Librarian, Walter McEvilly, a successor was not formally appointed until 1879. In the intervening 11 years, the Assistant Librarian in charge was the famous artist, Conrad Martens, who had settled in Sydney after arriving on HMS Beagle, on which he had been official artist for naturalist and theorist of evolution, Charles Darwin.

In 1906 a purpose-built main reading room was completed for the growing library (the Jubilee Room) and the old central rooms continued as the Librarian’s rooms and “Front Reading Room” of the Library. In 1980 the new block facing the domain was completed, at which time the entire Library moved to levels 5 and 6 of the new building.

The 1860 proposal for new Houses of Parliament and major alterations to the buildings

In 1860 competitive designs for new Houses of Parliament were invited and the winning design was said to be the work of R.H. Lynn, of Dublin. In the year 1888 Sir Henry Parkes laid the foundation stone of new Houses of Parliament on the site now occupied by the Mitchell Library. The project was never proceeded with and the stone was removed at the time the library was built.

No important alterations to the building took place until 1897, when the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works recommended extensive alterations and additions at a cost of ?15,000 – in preference to the expenditure of ?533,484 on entirely new buildings.

Under this scheme a fire-proof central Library on the site of the old Refreshment Room was built, together with accommodation for Hansard, Government Supporters and Ministers and at the same time the Opposition Room and Speaker’s quarters were enlarged and the Press and Record Rooms constructed.

Further alterations were carried out between 1904 and 1906, when the old stables and coach-house were demolished and the Committee Rooms, Premier’s cottage and the residence at the rear of the premises were erected. This was originally intended as a residence for the Premier of that time, but the Carruthers’ Government went out of office before it was completed and it was then converted into two residences to house the Librarian and the Steward. Alterations were also made to the building in 1915 and between 1934-36.

Between 1974 and 1983 these back building were demolished and a new building constructed behind the restored Chambers, lobbies and central block. By 1984, restoration of the old Rum Hospital building was complete. Together with its “twin” the former Mint, it remains the oldest building in Macquarie Street and the oldest public building in the City of Sydney.

 

Robert Hunt photographed many of Sydney's well known buildings such as the, Government Post Office, the Free Public Library, and St. Mary's Cathedral after the fire of 1865. As a well respected member of Sydney society Hunt also had access to some of the less photographed areas of Sydney. This allowed him to photograph the naval installations at South Head as well as interiors at the Royal Prince Alfred Hospital and the Sydney Branch of the Royal Mint. Hunt photographic excursions also took him to more remote areas of Sydney. Because of this Hunt's photographs include rare early documents of places like the Newport Hotel, the Great Western Hotel at Katoomba, St. Augustine's Church, the construction of Cave House at Jenolan Caves and Little Manly Baths. Hunt's also took many landscape photographs of the Blue Mountains.


The Sydney Mint


The Sydney Mint,
from Macquarie St., Sydney
c1885, Robert Hunt
Albumen print, Macleay Museum, 81106041

From the roof of the Royal Mint
Sydney
c1885, Robert Hunt
Albumen print, Macleay Museum, 81106026

Queens Square (without the statue) ,
from the Sydney Mint, Macquarie St., Sydney
c1885, Robert Hunt
Albumen print, Macleay Museum, 81106047

The Sydney Mint,
from Macquarie St., Sydney
c1885, Robert Hunt
Albumen print, Macleay Museum, 81106048


Melting House Chimney
The Sydney Mint,
August 1884, Robert Hunt
Albumen print, Macleay Museum, 81106086


Melting House Chimney
The Sydney Mint,
August 1884, Robert Hunt
Albumen print, Macleay Museum, 81106085


Machinery
The Sydney Mint (interior),
7 March 1892, Robert Hunt
Albumen print, Macleay Museum, 890190074


Machinery
The Sydney Mint (interior),
21 March 1892, Robert Hunt
Albumen print, Macleay Museum, 890190075

Machinery
The Sydney Mint (interior),
21 March 1892, Robert Hunt
Albumen print, Macleay Museum, 890190077

Machinery
The Sydney Mint (interior),
21 March 1892, Robert Hunt
Albumen print, Macleay Museum, 890190080

Machinery
The Sydney Mint (interior),
14 March 1892, Robert Hunt
Albumen print, Macleay Museum, 890190083

Machinery
The Sydney Mint (interior),
14 March 1892, Robert Hunt
Albumen print, Macleay Museum, 890190074

thanks to http://www.usyd.edu.au/su/macleay/welcome.htm 

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