Architecture and Design

The Colonial Architect's Department was responsible for the planning and supervision of the construction and repair of public buildings.

Not digitised

This database is designed to assist users researching the history of public buildings. Most records that are more than 30 years old are open to public access. Those that relate to security buildings are subject to a closed to public access direction, AD 28.

Low-cost housing for working-class people. The original plans for Daceyville reflected an integrated design of family homes, wide boulevard streets and open spaces with trees and gardens. The self-contained suburb would also include its own tram line, school, shops and maternity hospital....

This Guide provides a select list of sources relating to hospital buildings, including sketches, plans and photographs.

Highlighting our collection of Hotel Plans for the Sydney area.

In series NRS-4335 Plans of Public Buildings there are 3,400+ plans and over 430 have been digitised and published to our catalogue, Collection Search. This page displays a sample of the digitised plans and includes gaols; hospitals; lands buildings; pilot stations; post and...

Martin Place, Sydney 1962. Digital ID NRS21573_2_PR004761_c

This series by the Government Architect's office includes but is not limited to: departmental buildings such as the Lands Office Sydney and Government House, court houses, general hospitals, post offices, post and telegraph offices, police stations, police barracks, psychiatric...

Undated sketch of Croydon Pubic School NRS-15051-1-10-[531]-9

This is an undated sketch of Croydon Public School in Sydney. The text underneath reads: "CROYDON represents a 2nd class school of three departments, accommodating between 400 and 600 pupils. This building is constructed of brick with stone dressings. Cost £5,463."

A brief history of the Sydney Harbour Bridge plus a select list of records relating to the design, construction and official opening ceremnony. Also included is a list of records relating to the construction workers employed by the NSW Government.


A brief history of the Sydney Opera House plus a select list of records relating to the design, construction and official opening.

Colonial Mutual Life Building 13429_a126_010543

The Colonial Mutual Life (CML) building is a heritage listed Sydney landmark on the corner of Pitt Street and Martin Place, and sits opposite the GPO. It was designed by well-known Sydney architect John Kirkpatrick and built in 1892-93 in the Victorian Free Classical style.


Sydney Harbour Bridge - view of two halves from, 29 Jul 1930. Digital ID 2685_a007_a00704_8729000194r

On 19 August 1930 at 10pm the two halves of the Sydney Harbour Bridge were joined.

The two half arches were fabricated from steel in workshops before being loaded onto barges and towed into position. The arches were then lifted up by two 580 tonne electrically operated...

Government buildings have shaped where and how we live in NSW. This webinar will explore records that can tell us about these buildings - how they were planned and designed and how they were built.