Intercontinental Hotel former Treasury Building | NSW Environment & Heritage

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Heritage

Intercontinental Hotel former Treasury Building

Item details

Name of item: Intercontinental Hotel former Treasury Building
Other name/s: Colonial Treasury, The Old Treasury, Treasury Building
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Government and Administration
Category: Other - Government & Administration
Location: Lat: -33.8629516672 Long: 151.2124395890
Primary address: 117-119 Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Parish: St James
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT40 DP41315
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
117-119 Macquarie StreetSydneySydneySt JamesCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Bistrita Pty LtdPrivate 

Statement of significance:

The former Treasury Buildings group (within the Intercontinental Hotel complex) is an outstanding example of the state's 19th- early 20th century public buildings and forms part of what is arguably the finest group of these sandstone buildings in NSW. The architectural forms and detailing of the group, with its strong links to Victorian "Neo-Classical" traditions, make it an extremely fine exemplar of this style and reflect important contemporary links with English architectural practice. The facade of Lewis's original building in particular is a premier example in NSW of 19th century "Italian Palazzo" style based closely on a London model. The bold but sympathetically related Vernon additions fronting Macquarie Street are impressively proportioned and detailed and represent an excellent and perhaps unique example of late Victorian eclectic architecture in NSW. The site's contribution to the significant streetscapes of Macquarie and Bridge Streets is both large and indisputable, with the siting, form, materials and detailing enhancing the adjacent precincts of early buildings. Historically the building group is significant because of its long association with the NSW Treasury and the state treasurer's and premier's offices. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
Date significance updated: 24 Sep 01
Note: There are incomplete details for a number of items listed in NSW. The Heritage Division intends to develop or upgrade statements of significance and other information for these items as resources become available.

Description

Designer/Maker: Mortimer Lewis, W.l. Vernon
Construction years: 1849-
Physical description: The former Treasury building has fine Georgian elevations of exceptional scale, proportion and detailing. It occupies an important location in central Sydney. It contributes greatly to the sandstone townscape aesthetic of the Government precinct as well as being an excellent example of the craft work of its period. (Branch Managers Report to the Heritage Council 25/9/1984)

Sandstone; timber joinery; iron & stone palisade fence Sandstone; timber joinery; face brick with stone dressings to external walls & colonnade to cortile. (Sydney City Heritage Inventory)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Refer to Sydney City Archaeological Zoning Plan.
Date condition updated:24 Sep 01
Current use: Hotel
Former use: Treasury Building

History

Historical notes: In 1849, just before the gold rush, a new building for the Colonial Treasurer and Auditor was commissioned from the Colonial Architect, Mortimer Lewis. The building, in the former garden of First Government House, was finished in 1851, with two frontages, one to Bridge Street for the Audit Office, the other to Macquarie Street for the Treasury. Its design owed a great deal to the Travellers’ Club of 1829 in London’s Pall Mall. The two separate offices were demarcated by an interior dividing wall. Lewis’s successor, Edmund Blacket, added a coach-house and stables to the north by 1853.

The party wall was breached in 1873 when the Treasury took over the Audit Office’s area, as well as erecting temporary buildings between the main offices and the stables. The Government Architect, Walter Vernon, added a large fire-proof Strong Room for the safety of documents in 1896-8 to the north of the stables and in 1898-1900 he provided a Link Building, connecting the Strong Room to the Lewis building along Macquarie Street. This demolished the eastern part of Blacket’s stables (and most of the western end went in 1967), leaving archaeological remains of significance. The present Macquarie Street portico dates to these Vernon works of 1898-1900. The Bridge Street wing was altered and extended for the Premier’s Department in 1916-9, to the design, as modified, of the then Government Architect George McRae. The Premier’s Department continued to be there until 1967, when the State Office Block was erected.

Thereafter from 1967 until 1982, the Police Department occupied the Bridge Street space created by Lewis and McRae, while the Ministry of Transport had the Macquarie Street sector, where the Strong Room space had already been filled in during the 1940s. An auditorium for the Conservatorium of Music was constructed on the upper level of Lewis’s building in 1977. Under Police and Transport, the buildings deteriorated, with undesirable changes to the fabric, until they were vacated in 1981. To accommodate a 31-storey hotel on the western part of the site, largely beyond the area protected by the PCO in 1985, conservation works were undertaken between 1981 and 1985. During 1983 archaeological work uncovered evidence of the 1850s Blacket stable block. (Sydney City Heritage Inventory)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Historically the building group is significant because of its long association with the NSW Treasury and the state treasurer's and premier's offices. It also provides an interesting historical account of the work of a number of the state's Colonial Architects from the mid 19th to the early 20th century. The site is also an important representative of the conservation and adaptation policies and pressures of 1980s Sydney reflecting a major achievement in contemporary philosophical and practical heritage conservation within the heart of Sydney's CBD. Has historic significance at a State level. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The former Treasury Buildings group (within the Intercontinental Hotel complex) is an outstanding example of the state's 19th- early 20th century public buildings and forms part of what is arguably the finest group of these sandstone buildings in NSW. The architectural forms and detailing of the group, with its strong links to Victorian "Neo-Classical" traditions, make it an extremely fine exemplar of this style and reflect important contemporary links with English architectural practice. The facade of Lewis's original building in particular is a premier example in NSW of 19th century "Italian Palazzo" style based closely on a London model. The bold but sympathetically related Vernon additions fronting Macquarie Street are impressively proportioned and detailed and represent an excellent and perhaps unique example of late Victorian eclectic architecture in NSW. The site's contribution to the significant streetscapes of Macquarie and Bridge Streets is both large and indisputable, with the siting, form, materials and detailing enhancing the adjacent precincts of early buildings. Has aesthetic significance at a State level. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The site and its group of early stone buildings remains associated in the popular imagination - by name and historical links - with its early Treasury and state government functions. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
During 1983 archaeological work uncovered evidence of an 1850s stable block. The site has in the past shown important archaeological resources and both building and site have the potential to provide further information on site use and building development sequences and techniques. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The facade of Lewis's original building in particular is a premier example in NSW of 19th century "Italian Palazzo" style based closely on a London model. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The former Treasury Buildings group (within the Intercontinental Hotel complex) is an outstanding representative example of the state's 19th- early 20th century public buildings and forms part of what is arguably the finest group of these sandstone buildings. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0035502 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0035507 Feb 85 0370589

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Intercontinental Hotel former Treasury Building View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Intercontinental Hotel former Treasury Building View detail

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5044997
File number: S90/04483 & HC 32431


Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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