MSB Stores Complex | NSW Environment & Heritage

Culture and heritage


MSB Stores Complex

Item details

Name of item: MSB Stores Complex
Other name/s: MSB Office and Store; Australian Gas Light Company Stores and Offices
Type of item: Built
Group/Collection: Transport - Water
Category: Warehouse/storage area
Location: Lat: -33.8625214141 Long: 151.2032460150
Primary address: 2-4 Jenkins Street, Millers Point, NSW 2000
Parish: St Philip
County: Cumberland
Local govt. area: Sydney
Local Aboriginal Land Council: Metropolitan
Property description
Lot/Volume CodeLot/Volume NumberSection NumberPlan/Folio CodePlan/Folio Number
PART LOT12 DP1065410
All addresses
Street AddressSuburb/townLGAParishCountyType
2-4 Jenkins StreetMillers PointSydneySt PhilipCumberlandPrimary Address
36-38 Hickson RoadMillers PointSydney  Alternate Address


Organisation NameOwner CategoryDate Ownership Updated
Delmo Pty LtdGeneral 

Statement of significance:

The MSB Stores complex is of historical significance as Sydney's first gas manufacturing plant and gasworks, and illustrates the early development and subsequent growth of the organisation. The complex is of significance for its association with the port facilities and maritime activities of Darling Harbour and its role in the historical, social and physical development of Sydney. It has strong associations with prominent persons and organisations such as the Australian Gas Light Company (AGL), Sydney Harbour Trust, and Maritime Services Board. It contains the oldest remaining above ground structure from Sydney's first gas manufacturing plants (Building 1) and a purpose-built brick structure constructed by the AGL to house specialist equipment (Building 2). It represents the development of AGL and gas technology and provides evidence of the way in which the structures were altered to suit various uses and occupants. (Schwager Brooks & Partners 1996:2089 and 2089A)
Date significance updated: 04 Mar 99
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.


Construction years: 1844-
Physical description: The MSB Stores complex comprising two buildings. Building 1 is a five-storey sandstone building constructed on a cliff presenting a single (top) storey to Jenkins Street and incorporates a former stone cottage built at the same time and a later addition which make up the two storey section of the building to the south. (Refer to SHI:4920063 for more detail on Building 1.) Building 2 is sited below the southern section of Building 1. Building 2 is built of brick with arched windows and doors. The original structure appears to have comprised a single open space about 16 feet high with loft area above. There have been at least two additions to the building and a number of changes to the detailing, eg. the arched windows have been replaced with rectilinear paned windows and the arched openings bricked up. The original flooring has been replaced by a new concrete slab which is supported by the original steel floor beams and ornate cast iron columns which were apparently from another site. Internally, Building 2 has undergone substantial refurbishment to provide amenities and changerooms for MSB employees, with little original features and none of the original equipment remaining . (Schwager Brooks & Partners 1996:2089 and 2089A)
Physical condition and/or
Archaeological potential:
Generally in fair to poor condition (Schwager Brooks & Partners 1996:2089 and 2089A)
Date condition updated:29 Nov 16
Modifications and dates: Building 1:
1851: Addition of timber cantilevered balcony top floor western wall.
1858: Addition of one storey office room.
1868: Extension to link warehouse and cottage, including "false" front wall to cottage, continuation of office/warehouse details and parapet, and other improvements.
1899: Construction of Carburetted Water Gas Plant.
1923: Sydney Harbour Trust removed balcony, south west parapet and interior partitions.
1950s: Amenities and partitioning to top floor.
Recently some stone conservation work undertaken. (Schwager Brooks & Partners 1996:2089)

Building 2:
1950: Addition of wedge shaped single storey room extending to Hickson Road.
1960s: Replacement of slab to mezzanine of original building, addition of cast iron columns; addition of upper storey which cantilevers out beyond the lower floor addition forming loading bay, addition of concrete slab on bondek to upper storey of addition. (Schwager Brooks & Partners 1996:2089A)
Current use: Storage and Offices
Former use: Warehouse/Gas Manufacturing Plant


Historical notes: In July 1839, the Australian Gas Light Company (AGL) purchased land for the Gasworks. Construction commenced soon after with the works including the construction of a retort room, purifying room, forge, wharf and gasboilers. In 1844 AGL decided to build a store and cottage on the site. The buildings were designed by Henry Ginn, and John Morris was the chosen builder. The stone used for the construction of the buildings was quarried on the site by Morris after the quarrymen refused to supply the material. During the construction, an old retaining wall collapsed revealing a ledge of rock approximately 13 feet high and nearly vertical. It was recommended that the east wall of the warehouse be erected on this ledge. The AGL Secretary received the keys to the new building on 5 April 1845. John Morris leased the cottage and one of the floors of the new warehouse building. By the end of 1845, the five storey warehouse building, a workshop (constructed by Morris) and the cottage stood above the Gasworks in Jenkins Street. By the end of 1868 the building existed in its present form (Building 1), incorporating the cottage and infill structure, and a one storey section at the southern end which was later demolished. In Circa 1899-1900, an addition was constructed at Hickson Road level to house the Carburetted Water Gas Plant. The Gasworks continued to operate until September 1921 when the Sydney Harbour Trust took over. The Trust used the Building 1 as a store and renovated the top floor to include offices in 1923 and again in 1950s. There were additions and changes made to Building 2, including the replacement of original flooring with a new slab circa 1966.
Most recently Building 2 has provided amenities and changerooms for MSB employees. Currently, Building 1 is used by MMHC as a storage and warehouse facility. (Schwager Brooks & Partners 1996:2089 and 2089A)

Historic themes

Australian theme (abbrev)New South Wales themeLocal theme
3. Economy-Developing local, regional and national economies Industry-Activities associated with the manufacture, production and distribution of goods (none)-
4. Settlement-Building settlements, towns and cities Utilities-Activities associated with the provision of services, especially on a communal basis (none)-

Assessment of significance

SHR Criteria a)
[Historical significance]
The MSB Stores complex is significant as integral part of Sydney's first gas manufacturing plant and gasworks, illustrating the early development and subsequent growth of Australian Gas Light Company. It is significant for its association with the port facilities and maritime activities of Darling Harbour. It is associated with architects Ginn Hilly & Mansfield, and with organisations such as the Australian Gas Light Company, Sydney Harbour Trust, and Maritime Services Board. Building 1 is the oldest remaining above ground structure from the Sydney's first gas manufacturing plant and gasworks. Building 2 is significant for the part it played in representing the development of AGL, being specifically constructed to house specialist equipment. (Schwager Brooks & Partners 1996:2089 and 2089A)
SHR Criteria c)
[Aesthetic significance]
The MSB Stores complex contains a fine example of warehouse in the Victorian Georgian style, significant for its use of stone quarried on the site (Building 1). (Schwager Brooks & Partners 1996:2089)
The aesthetic significance of Building 2 has been reduced due to the heavily modified facades and interior, and the two storey addition which abuts the western facade. (Schwager Brooks & Partners 1996:2089A)
SHR Criteria d)
[Social significance]
The complex is associated with the supply of gas to the community and later with the port and maritime facilities of Darling Harbour which played an important role in the social and physical development of Sydney. (Schwager Brooks & Partners 1996:2089)
SHR Criteria e)
[Research potential]
Building 1 of the complex is of scientific significance as the oldest remaining above ground structure from Sydney's first gas manufacturing plants. (Schwager Brooks & Partners 1996:2089)
SHR Criteria f)
The complex contains a rare example of a Victorian Georgian style harbourside warehouse of the early Victorian period using traditional construction materials and techniques. (Schwager Brooks & Partners 1996:2089)
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.

Recommended management:


Management CategoryDescriptionDate Updated
Recommended ManagementProduce a Conservation Management Plan (CMP) 
Recommended ManagementPrepare a maintenance schedule or guidelines 
Recommended ManagementCarry out interpretation, promotion and/or education 

Procedures /Exemptions

Section of actDescriptionTitleCommentsAction date
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 0143518 Apr 00   
Heritage Act - s.170 NSW State agency heritage register 4920010   
Local Environmental PlanCSH LEP 4 07 Apr 00   
Heritage study 208927 Feb 96   
National Trust of Australia register   11 Feb 74   
Within a National Trust conservation area West Rocks23 Jul 73   
Register of the National Estate 002161   

Study details

TitleYearNumberAuthorInspected byGuidelines used
Maritime Services Board Heritage and Conservation Register : Sydney Harbour19901040Anglin Associates  No
City of Sydney Heritage Inventory19962089Schwager Brooks and Partners  Yes
Marine Ministerial Holding Corporation S170 Register1999 Heritage Unit, Department of Public works & Services  Yes
Conservation Plan for MSB Stores at 2-4 Jenkins Street, Millers Point1991 Howard, R. in association with Broomham, R., Clark, G., Knox & Associates  No

References, internet links & images

TypeAuthorYearTitleInternet Links
WrittenD.Sheedy1973National Trust of Australia (NSW) Classification

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: 5051375
File number: H00/00410/6

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