Image: Former National School Building

Former National School Building

This building (on left) housed the former William Street National School and its successors.

Carl Bento
© Australian Museum
William Street, Sydney.


In 1851 a single storey building on this site, comprising two classrooms and a central room, was completed as one of forty-four national schools established between 1848 and 1851. Various alterations to the William Street school were made over time and the northern wing was altered about 1892 to create a second storey and to add the Gothic north end bay containing an entry and stairway. The next major change to the building occurred in 1951 when it was taken over by the Child Welfare Department. The site was released for use by the Australian Museum in 1971 and by 1975 was used to accommodate the anthropological staff and collections. To accommodate this new function extensive modifications were made including the installation of air conditioning, bricking up windows and the construction of a lift. Today some of these modifications have been removed, some original features restored and the Museum continues to use the historic ‘Night Parrot’ (as the building has been named) as a combined function and office space.

Last Updated: