Final restorations for Sydney Town Hall

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The final stage of a historic conservation project will see Sydney Town Hall completely cleaned and restored for future generations.

Scaffolding and printed screen wraps will conceal the southern and western façades of Town Hall as the final stage of a once-in-a-lifetime conservation project gets underway.

The building façade will be polished, repaired and replaced with local Sydney sandstone in the two-year project. Conservation work will also begin on the historic building’s stained glass windows.

Sydney Town Hall is one of the finest examples of high Victorian, French second empire style architecture in Australia.

The City of Sydney began extensive conservation works to the 140-year-old building in 2012, starting with the clock tower and the eastern and northern facades.

Stonemasons carved and lifted sandstone blocks weighing up to 2 tonnes and crafted intricate designs to sit atop the columns of the 55m tall clock tower.

Yellow block sandstone sourced locally from excavated construction sites in the city centre like 200 George Street will be used in the upcoming restoration works.

“Sydney Town Hall is a landmark that has not only served our city as a civic centre, but also a meeting place and stage for many public events,” Lord Mayor Clover Moore said.

“It is the largest and most ornate late 19th century civic building in Australia. This project will preserve the exceptional heritage features of this building so that it will be enjoyed for future generations to come.

“This project will also create positions for apprentices, creating jobs and skilling up the next generation of stonemasons who will continue to protect our important buildings.

“The construction work will not restrict access to Town Hall when it re-opens to the public as Covid-19 restrictions ease.”

City Historian Dr Lisa Murray said it is critical for conservation works to be undertaken on outstanding heritage buildings like Sydney Town Hall to ensure the City’s history is protected and preserved.

“The building’s exterior and interiors exhibit the highest level of craftsmanship and quality materials, showcasing the artistic talents of Sydney’s past architects, builders, artisans and decorators,” Dr Murray said.

“This is a splendid and exuberant civic building that we are fortunate to have retained in the city.

“The building was originally designed by J H Willson in 1868 and it was built in two main stages, overseen by a series of architects. When completed in 1889, it was the colony’s most daring, technological, and innovative building and it dominated Sydney’s skyline.

“The building is special for its continuing use as the offices of the Council of the City of Sydney and as the city's civic and cultural centre. The hall is built on former site of Sydney’s first official European cemetery.

“There are so many layers of people, decoration, occasion and celebration connected with this site that together tell the unique history of the City of Sydney.”

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