Intercontinental Hotel former Treasury Building | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

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Intercontinental Hotel former Treasury Building

Item details

Name of item: Intercontinental Hotel former Treasury Building
Other name/s: Colonial Treasury, The Old Treasury, Treasury Building
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Government and Administration
Category: Other - Government & Administration
Location: Lat: -33.8629516672 Long: 151.2124395890
Primary address: 117-119 Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Parish: St James
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT40 DP41315
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
117-119 Macquarie StreetSydneySydneySt JamesCumberlandPrimary Address

Owner/s

Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Bistrita Pty LtdPrivate 

Statement of significance:

The former Treasury Buildings group (within the Intercontinental Hotel complex) is an outstanding example of the state's 19th- early 20th century public buildings and forms part of what is arguably the finest group of these sandstone buildings in NSW. The architectural forms and detailing of the group, with its strong links to Victorian "Neo-Classical" traditions, make it an extremely fine exemplar of this style and reflect important contemporary links with English architectural practice. The facade of Lewis's original building in particular is a premier example in NSW of 19th century "Italian Palazzo" style based closely on a London model. The bold but sympathetically related Vernon additions fronting Macquarie Street are impressively proportioned and detailed and represent an excellent and perhaps unique example of late Victorian eclectic architecture in NSW. The site's contribution to the significant streetscapes of Macquarie and Bridge Streets is both large and indisputable, with the siting, form, materials and detailing enhancing the adjacent precincts of early buildings. Historically the building group is significant because of its long association with the NSW Treasury and the state treasurer's and premier's offices. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
Date significance updated: 24 Sep 01
Note: The State Heritage Inventory provides information about heritage items listed by local and State government agencies. The State Heritage Inventory is continually being updated by local and State agencies as new information becomes available. Read the OEH copyright and disclaimer.

Description

Designer/Maker: Mortimer Lewis, Walter Liberty Vernon
Construction years: 1849-
Physical description: The former Treasury building has fine Georgian elevations of exceptional scale, proportion and detailing. It occupies an important location in central Sydney. It contributes greatly to the sandstone townscape aesthetic of the Government precinct as well as being an excellent example of the craft work of its period. (Branch Managers Report to the Heritage Council 25/9/1984)

Sandstone; timber joinery; iron & stone palisade fence Sandstone; timber joinery; face brick with stone dressings to external walls & colonnade to cortile. (Sydney City Heritage Inventory)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Refer to Sydney City Archaeological Zoning Plan.
Date condition updated:24 Sep 01
Current use: Hotel
Former use: Aboriginal land, town lot, State Treasury Building

History

Historical notes: In 1849, just before the gold rush, a new building for the Colonial Treasurer and Auditor was commissioned from the Colonial Architect, Mortimer Lewis. The building, in the former garden of First Government House, was finished in 1851, with two frontages, one to Bridge Street for the Audit Office, the other to Macquarie Street for the Treasury. Its design owed a great deal to the Travellers' Club of 1829 in London's Pall Mall. The two separate offices were demarcated by an interior dividing wall. Lewis's successor, Edmund Blacket, added a coach-house and stables to the north by 1853.

The party wall was breached in 1873 when the Treasury took over the Audit Office's area, as well as erecting temporary buildings between the main offices and the stables. The Government Architect, Walter Vernon, added a large fire-proof Strong Room for the safety of documents in 1896-8 to the north of the stables and in 1898-1900 he provided a Link Building, connecting the Strong Room to the Lewis building along Macquarie Street. This demolished the eastern part of Blacket's stables (and most of the western end went in 1967), leaving archaeological remains of significance. The present Macquarie Street portico dates to these Vernon works of 1898-1900.

Walter Liberty Vernon (1846-1914) was both architect and soldier. Born in England, he ran successful practices in Hastings and London and had estimable connections in artistic and architectural circles. In 1883 he had a recurrence of bronchitic asthma and was advised to leave the damp of England. He and his wife sailed to New South Wales. Before leaving, he gained a commission to build new premesis for Merrrs David Jones and Co., in Sydney's George Street. In 1890 he was appointed Government Architect - the first to hold that title - in the newly reorganised branch of the Public Works Department. He saw his role as building 'monuments to art'. His major buildings, such as the Art Gallery of New South Wales (1904-6) are large in scale, finely wrought in sandstone, and maintaining the classical tradition. Among others are the Mitchell Wing of the State Library, Fisher Library at the University of Sydney and Central Railway Station. He also added to a number of buildings designed by his predecessors, including Customs House, the GPO and Chief Secretary's Building - with changes which did not meet with the approval of his immediate precedessor, James Barnet who, nine years after his resignation, denounced Vernon's additions in an essay and documentation of his own works. In England, Vernon had delighted his clients with buildings in the fashionable Queen Anne style. In NSW, a number of British trained architects whow were proponents of hte Arts and Crafts style joined his office and under their influence, Vernon changed his approach to suburban projects. Buildings such as the Darlinghurst First Station (Federation Free style, 1910) took on the sacale and character of their surroundings. Under Vernon's leadership, an impressive array of buildings was produced which were distinguished by interesting brickwork and careful climatic considerations, by shady verandahs, sheltered courtyards and provision for cross-flow ventilation. Examples are courthouses in Parkes (1904), Wellington (1912) and Bourke, Lands Offices in Dubbo (1897) and Orange (1904) and the Post Office in Wellington (1904)(Le Sueur, 2016, 7).

The Bridge Street wing was altered and extended for the Premier's Department in 1916-9, to the design, as modified, of the then Government Architect George McRae. The Premier's Department continued to be there until 1967, when the State Office Block was erected.

Thereafter from 1967 until 1982, the Police Department occupied the Bridge Street space created by Lewis and McRae, while the Ministry of Transport had the Macquarie Street sector, where the Strong Room space had already been filled in during the 1940s. An auditorium for the Conservatorium of Music was constructed on the upper level of Lewis's building in 1977. Under Police and Transport, the buildings deteriorated, with undesirable changes to the fabric, until they were vacated in 1981. To accommodate a 31-storey hotel on the western part of the site, largely beyond the area protected by the PCO in 1985, conservation works were undertaken between 1981 and 1985. During 1983 archaeological work uncovered evidence of the 1850s Blacket stable block. (Sydney City Heritage Inventory)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Cultural - Coasts and coastal features supporting human activities-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Modification of terrain-
1. Environment-Tracing the evolution of a continent's special environments Environment - naturally evolved-Activities associated with the physical surroundings that support human life and influence or shape human cultures. Changing the environment-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Sydney and Australian Landmark-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Developing local, regional and national economies-National Theme 3
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Creating environments evocative of the 'old country'-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Environment - cultural landscape-Activities associated with the interactions between humans, human societies and the shaping of their physical surroundings Landscapes of urban amenity-
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Events-Activities and processes that mark the consequences of natural and cultural occurences Developing local landmarks-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Building settlements, towns and cities-National Theme 4
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Accommodation-Activities associated with the provision of accommodation, and particular types of accommodation – does not include architectural styles – use the theme of Creative Endeavour for such activities. Victorian era offices-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from suburban to urban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Changing land uses - from suburban to urban-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Townships-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Administering and alienating Crown lands-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Land tenure-Activities and processes for identifying forms of ownership and occupancy of land and water, both Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal Resuming private lands for public purposes-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 20th century Suburban Developments-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages 19th Century Infrastructure-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing government towns-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Shaping coastal settlement-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Shaping inland settlements-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing ports-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Suburban Consolidation-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing suburbia-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Beautifying towns and villages-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Beautifying towns and villages-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Creating landmark structures and places in urban settings-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Urban landscapes inspiring creative responses-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Planning relationships between key structures and town plans-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Towns, suburbs and villages-Activities associated with creating, planning and managing urban functions, landscapes and lifestyles in towns, suburbs and villages Developing towns in response to topography-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in offices-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in the public service-
5. Working-Working Labour-Activities associated with work practises and organised and unorganised labour Working in an Inn, Public House, Hotel etc.-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Colonial government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. State government-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Providing public offices and buildings-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Suburban Consolidation-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - administration of land-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Public works-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - building and operating public infrastructure-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Administrative Centre, 1839-62-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - conserving cultural and natural heritage-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Creating and displaying Coats of Arms and official emblems and symbols-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Direct vice-regal governance (pre 1856)-
7. Governing-Governing Government and Administration-Activities associated with the governance of local areas, regions, the State and the nation, and the administration of public programs - includes both principled and corrupt activities. Developing roles for government - public land administration-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing in an exemplary architectural style-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing structures to emphasise their important roles-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Interior design styles and periods - Victorian-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Designing making and using coats of arms and heraldry-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian Georgian Revival-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Adaptation of overseas design for local use-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - late 20th Century Late Modern-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. work of stonemasons-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Georgian revival-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Creative endeavour-Activities associated with the production and performance of literary, artistic, architectural and other imaginative, interpretive or inventive works; and/or associated with the production and expression of cultural phenomena; and/or environments that have inspired such creative activities. Architectural styles and periods - Victorian (early)-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation musical gatherings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Visiting heritage places-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Tourism-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to a bar-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Going to a restaurant-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Activities associated with relaxation and recreation-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Gathering at landmark places to socialise-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Leisure-Activities associated with recreation and relaxation Leisure-Includes tourism, resorts.
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Places of informal community gatherings-
8. Culture-Developing cultural institutions and ways of life Social institutions-Activities and organisational arrangements for the provision of social activities Developing local clubs and meeting places-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Mortimer Lewis, Colonial Architect, 1796-1879-
9. Phases of Life-Marking the phases of life Persons-Activities of, and associations with, identifiable individuals, families and communal groups Associations with Walter Liberty Vernon, Government Architect 1890-1911, private architect-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
Historically the building group is significant because of its long association with the NSW Treasury and the state treasurer's and premier's offices. It also provides an interesting historical account of the work of a number of the state's Colonial Architects from the mid 19th to the early 20th century. The site is also an important representative of the conservation and adaptation policies and pressures of 1980s Sydney reflecting a major achievement in contemporary philosophical and practical heritage conservation within the heart of Sydney's CBD. Has historic significance at a State level. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The former Treasury Buildings group (within the Intercontinental Hotel complex) is an outstanding example of the state's 19th- early 20th century public buildings and forms part of what is arguably the finest group of these sandstone buildings in NSW. The architectural forms and detailing of the group, with its strong links to Victorian "Neo-Classical" traditions, make it an extremely fine exemplar of this style and reflect important contemporary links with English architectural practice. The facade of Lewis's original building in particular is a premier example in NSW of 19th century "Italian Palazzo" style based closely on a London model. The bold but sympathetically related Vernon additions fronting Macquarie Street are impressively proportioned and detailed and represent an excellent and perhaps unique example of late Victorian eclectic architecture in NSW. The site's contribution to the significant streetscapes of Macquarie and Bridge Streets is both large and indisputable, with the siting, form, materials and detailing enhancing the adjacent precincts of early buildings. Has aesthetic significance at a State level. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The site and its group of early stone buildings remains associated in the popular imagination - by name and historical links - with its early Treasury and state government functions. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
During 1983 archaeological work uncovered evidence of an 1850s stable block. The site has in the past shown important archaeological resources and both building and site have the potential to provide further information on site use and building development sequences and techniques. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
SHR Criteria f)
[Rarity]
The facade of Lewis's original building in particular is a premier example in NSW of 19th century "Italian Palazzo" style based closely on a London model. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
SHR Criteria g)
[Representativeness]
The former Treasury Buildings group (within the Intercontinental Hotel complex) is an outstanding representative example of the state's 19th- early 20th century public buildings and forms part of what is arguably the finest group of these sandstone buildings. (Sydney City Council Heritage Inventory)
Assessment criteria: Items are assessed against the PDF State Heritage Register (SHR) Criteria to determine the level of significance. Refer to the Listings below for the level of statutory protection.

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
HERITAGE ACT 1977
Notice of Order Under Section 57 (2) of the Heritage Act 1977

I, the Minister for Planning, pursuant to subsection 57(2) of the Heritage Act 1977, on the recommendation of the Heritage Council of New South Wales, do by this Order:

1. revoke the Schedule of Exemptions to subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act made under subsection 57(2) and published in the Government Gazette on 22 February 2008; and

2. grant standard exemptions from subsection 57(1) of the Heritage Act 1977, described in the Schedule attached.

FRANK SARTOR
Minister for Planning
Sydney, 11 July 2008

To view the schedule click on the Standard Exemptions for Works Requiring Heritage Council Approval link below.
Sep 5 2008
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementConservation Management Plan - Former Treasury Buidings (Intercontinental Hotel) - 115 -119 Macquarie Street - Sydney NSW 2000 - Report Number: Draft 3 16 Jan 2017 CMP submitted 26 May 2017 for endorsement - checklist returned with detailed comments 19 December 2017. CMP not endorsed Dec 19 2017
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementConservation Management - Plan Former Treasury Buildings Report Number 04 - 30 Oct 2019 Revised CMP submitted 6 November 2019 for endorsement - currently under assessment May 11 2020

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval

Listings

Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0035502 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0035507 Feb 85 0370589

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Tourism 2007Intercontinental Hotel former Treasury Building View detail
TourismAttraction Homepage2007Intercontinental Hotel former Treasury Building View detail
WrittenLe Sueur, Angela2016Government Architects - part 2

Note: internet links may be to web pages, documents or images.

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(Click on thumbnail for full size image and image details)

Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5044997
File number: S90/04483 & HC 32431


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