Sydney For All
 

Sydney Town Hall

Why go there

As early as 1813 Governor Lachlan Macquarie floated the idea of a town hall for Sydney but it wasn’t for another 40 odd years before it began to take shape. Almost 70 years later in 1889 Sydney Town Hall opened to much fanfare. Constructed of honey-coloured sandstone quarried from nearby Pyrmont, the building is a visually striking mix of French Second Empire (Napoleon III) architecture and ancient Greek and Roman influences. However, the building stands on what was Sydney’s first official cemetery, in use between 1793 and 1820, and this adds a significant layer of interest to tours of the magnificently decorated building.

Don't miss

The Sydney Town Hall contains an incredible history of the colony and development of Sydney as a city. The building comprises a series of rooms which will draw the breath of most visitors:

  • The sheer opulence of The Vestibule,
  • Centennial Hall for its majesty of scale,
  • The grandeur of the Grand Organ,
  • A tour where you’ll learn of the site’s history as a burial ground.

Access tour participants being shown the Vestibule. Features include parquetry flooring, detailed painted carvings around the doors. Colours include olive greens and  gold. The large chandelier is visible at the top of the image.

Photo : Courtesy of City of Sydney, access tour participants in the vestibule.

Access for all

Access Summary

Mobility accessBlindness and low vision accessHearing augmentation

The City of Sydney website access page contains information for the prospective visitor:
http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/sydneytownhall/accessibility.asp

Access tour participants being shown Centennial Hall. Features include the parquetry flooring, magnificent organ, the scale of the hall and the story of the pressed metal ceiling.

Photo : Courtesy of City of Sydney, access tour participants in Centennial Hall.

Access tour participants being shown a tomb stone recovered during excavation work. Participants learn about the owner of the tomb stone.

Photo : Courtesy of City of Sydney, access tour participants learning about the origins of the site as the colony’s first burial ground.

Getting around

Mobility accessBlindness and low vision accessHearing augmentation

The formal entry into the Town Hall is a sandstone stairway from George St. An additional entry to the Lower Town Hall is around the corner in Druitt St. Level access is available into this part of the building. A door bell is located to the right of the door. However, if you have an access need and book a tour, it will commence from this point and the doors will be open. A modern lift equipped with tactile buttons and audio floor announcement conveys visitors between the three levels.

The accessible entry is off Druitt St just around the corner from George St. and can be accessed via the footpath or a short flight of steps, shown in the picture.

Photo : Courtesy of City of Sydney, signage on the corner of George and Druitt Sts., pointing to the accessible entry.

If you come to the Town Hall for a performance or event, you will find the George Street entrance Ticket Booths are fitted with a hearing loop and both The Centennial Hall (including Gallery level) and the Lower Town Hall are fitted with a Hearing loop system. Accessible toilets are located on Ground Floor and Level One.

Any queries regarding access can be directed to 02 9265 9189.

Tours and programs

Public tours are generally held after the free advertised public organ concerts held four times a year and ‘spot’ tours during January and February. Check the website or call the Town Hall for details.

Tours of Sydney Town Hall are also conducted by Friends of the Town Hall on request. These tours commence at 10.30am and last up to two hours depending on the availability of access to rooms. The Town Hall is an historic but still working building where individual rooms can be required at short notice, either council work or hire by the public.

Several on-line virtual tours (still images, audio and video) of the Town Hall are available at:
http://www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/sydneytownhall/explore-building.asp

Two photos showing access tour participants wearing mayoral robes and sitting the mayor’s chair. A participant with a vision  impairment feeling one of the paralympic medals from the year 2000.

Two photos showing access tour participants wearing mayoral robes and sitting the mayor’s chair. A participant with a vision  impairment feeling one of the paralympic medals from the year 2000.

Photos : Courtesy of City of Sydney, access tour participants in the council chamber and feeling commemorative medals from 2000 when Sydney hosted the Olympics and Paralympics.

Eating and shopping

There is no café or gift shop inside the Sydney Town Hall, however directly across Druitt St.,is an array of shops and cafes. However, don’t miss the opportunity of acquiring a book documenting the history and features of the Sydney Town Hall from the Friends!

How to get there

Buses travelling along George St stop outside the Queen Victoria Building (QVB), directly across Druitt St. Town Hall Station lies under Town Hall and QVB with an accessible lift upto George St.

Bike parking facilities are available on both the Druitt Street forecourt and the Sydney Square side of the building. Maps of cycle ways are available on the City of Sydney website:
www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/AboutSydney/ParkingAndTransport/
Cycling/BicycleParking.asp

Parking

There is no specific Town Hall parking. Commercial car parking is available in the underground Queen Victoria Building opposite.

Map

Download the Sydney CBD and Circular Quay access map (PDF, 1.52MB)

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Access Summary

Mobility accessBlindness and low vision accessHearing augmentation

Contact Details

Address:
483 George Street
(Cnr George and Druitt Sts.,)
Sydney NSW 2000

Phone: + 61 2 9265 9189

Website:
www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/
sydneytownhall/guided-tours.asp

Opening hours

Monday to Friday 8am - 6pm

Price

Sydney Town Hall does not have an admission charge. However, if you join one of the Friends tours, they do ask for a donation of $5 which is applied to restoration, maintenance and acquiring artefacts for display in the Town Hall.

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