Image: Museum Building, College St

Museum Building, College St

View of the Australian Museum from Hyde Park overlooking College Street, Sydney.

Stuart Humphreys
© Australian Museum


Statement of Significance:

The Australian Museum buildings house the first public museum inaugurated in Australia, one of Australia's oldest scientific and cultural institutions. Conceived and developed initially along the contemporary European model of an encyclopaedic warehouse of cultural and natural history, the Museum buildings evolved as the institution evolved, partly in response to its visiting public, to pursue and expand knowledge of the natural history of Australia and the nearby Pacific region.

The Museum continues to occupy the site provided, and the building constructed, as its first permanent home, commenced in 1846 and opened to the public in 1857. The extended and enlarged complex of buildings which now provide its principal exhibition, administrative and research accommodation reflect the growth of the institution and its prestige, as well as the evolving attitudes of Australian Government and society to science and research.

Throughout its development, the Museum complex has assumed a prominent stature in the townscape of Sydney. With its frontages to William and College Street, the Museum commands the eastern reaches of Hyde Park and forms an extension of the principal civic and religious precincts adjoining the northern boundaries of the Park in Macquarie and College Streets.

From 'The Australian Museum A Conservation Analysis of the Complex and its Site with a Statement of its Significance' prepared by Helen Proudfoot and Otto Cserhalmi & Associates 1984.

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