Gresham Hotel | NSW Environment, Energy and Science

Culture and heritage


Gresham Hotel

Item details

Name of item: Gresham Hotel
Other name/s: Hong Kong House
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Commercial
Category: Hotel
Location: Lat: -33.8726147388 Long: 151.2062548020
Primary address: 147-149 York Street, Sydney, NSW 2000
Parish: St Andrew
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
LOT1 DP60727
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
147-149 York StreetSydneySydneySt AndrewCumberlandPrimary Address
80 Druitt StreetSydneySydneySt AndrewCumberlandAlternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
The Financial Secretary IncorporatedGeneral 

Statement of significance:

Hong Kong House, formerly the Gresham Hotel and Central Hotel, is situated on a prominent site on the corner of York and Druitt Streets forming part of the Town Hall streetscape. It is a five storey building of Victorian Free Classical Style. The erection of this building as a prestigious hotel in the early 1890s is historically significant in understanding the impact that the building of Centennial Hall and the Queen Victoria Building had on creating a focus for civic pride in Victorian Sydney. It is an important building in the professional career of architect Ambrose Thornley. The building has aesthetic significance as a rare intact original exterior of high quality with outstanding potential due to its successive restorations to continue in its restored state. It is particularly noted for its use of ornate stone decoration. The building is significant for its contribution as a component of the Town Hall Precinct Streetscape. (from SHI record of Hong Kong House)
Date significance updated: 03 Mar 05
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.


Historical notes: n 1888 the Excelsior Land, Building and Investment Co and Bank Ltd held a competition for the design of a hotel and banking premises on this corner of York and Druitt Streets. Twenty-six designs were submitted and the competition was won by architect Ambrose Thornley. His final drawings are dated June 1890 and labelled "Central Hotel". In September 1890 the Australasian Builder and Contractors' News carried an illustration of Thornley's design and a description of the building which was then in course of erection. The magazine explained that the materials used in the building were double-pressed red bricks, with freestone dressings. The central feature of the design was the entrance to the hotel at the corner, "divided up by red granite columns with bronze foliated caps and bases", with massive consoles springing from these "supporting a balconette with balustrades in panels". The hotel was designed to occupy the whole of the Druitt St frontage and the upper part of the York Street front. The banking premises were to consist of a ground floor banking chamber and a board room above, fronting York Street. The York Street fa├žade incorporated different architectural elements to denote the presence of the banking chamber without making any material alteration in the general front. The Australasian Builder and Contractors' News thought that the new hotel was located on a site which was "fast growing into one of the best positions in the city" and that it would be when completed "one of the best hotels in the city." The second stage of the Sydney Town Hall, called the Centennial Hall, was under construction when the Excelsior land and Building Company held its design competition and plans to re-build the City Council's Queen Victoria Markets were already being considered. (from SHI record of Hong Kong House)

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
57(2)Exemption to allow workHeritage Act

Order Under Section 57(2) to exempt the following activities from Section 57(1):
*change of use;
* maintenance of any item (building, works, relics or places) on the site, where maintenance means the continuous protective care of existing fabric.
*Minor repairs where minor repair means the repair of materials and includes replacement of minor components such as individual bricks, where these have been damaged beyond reasonable repair or are missing. Replacements should be of the same materials, colour, texture, form and design as the original it replaces.
*alterations to the interior of a building which are of a minor nature and will not adversely affect the significance of the building as an item of the environmental heritage.
Apr 6 1990
21(1)(b)Conservation Plan submitted for endorsementHong Kong House CMP, prepared by Tanner Architects for Hyder Consulting & HK Economic & Trade Office, dated November 2003 CMP endorsed by Heritage Council 6 December 2004 for a period of five years, expires 6 december 2009. Dec 6 2004
57(2)Exemption to allow workStandard Exemptions SCHEDULE OF STANDARD EXEMPTIONS
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.

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

PDF Standard exemptions for works requiring Heritage Council approval


Heritage ListingListing TitleListing NumberGazette DateGazette NumberGazette Page
Heritage Act - State Heritage Register 0029102 Apr 99 271546
Heritage Act - Permanent Conservation Order - former 0029113 Jul 84 1103662
Register of the National Estate  21 Mar 78   

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
Management Plan (HC endorsed)Tanner Architects2004Hong Kong House 147-149 York Street, Sydney : Conservation management plan

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

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Data source

The information for this entry comes from the following source:
Name: Heritage Office
Database number: 5045069
File number: EF14/5427; S90/5457, HC32763

Every effort has been made to ensure that information contained in the State Heritage Inventory is correct. If you find any errors or omissions please send your comments to the Database Manager.

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