cbd6-012-05.jpg (41914 bytes) Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

Former Supreme Court and Registry Office


Alexander Dawson, Colonial Architect James Barnet  


Elizabeth Street.




Victorian Tudor, additions Old Colonial Georgian to Federation Free Classical


Austere symmetry with Tudor detailing.


  See also St James
  The rear view of the Supreme Court and St James in 1842, and below from today.
  The oldest section strongly harmonises with Greenway's St. James Church. (1822).
  Image from the book "Sydney in 1848" Curiously plain without the balcony and parapet.
  The other sections are from 1875 and 1886 (the latter showing a common bracket for supporting tramlines).
  The last section, showing strong Federation Free Classical detailing, is from 1895.
This lovely building was purpose designed for the newly created office of Registrar. The duties of the office were originally concerned with the important job of the registration of land titles. To this was added the registration of births, marriages and deaths.
Before this became the responsibility of the Registrar all such records had been kept only by the churches. These records are now eagerly searched by people tracing their family histories.
The Sydney Supreme Court House (Old Registry Office) located at the corner of Elizabeth Street and St James Road has historic significance as part of the Supreme Court complex. The building has aesthetic significance as a design of the Colonial Architect Alexander Dawson and is one of only two Government buildings which were designed in the Gothic style, the other is the Lands Titles Office in Prince Albert Road. Externally the Old Registry office is a fine, rare, largely intact, if modified, example of the style as used in a Government building. The building makes an important contribution to the character of the immediate area with its small scale and simple façade treatment. The building has historic and social significance as part of the Government administrative and legal systems. The site is significance as neighbouring macquarie's Civic Town Square with church and courthouse. (peddle Thorp & Walker Pty Ltd, January 1998)

This building which now forms part of the Supreme Court House Group is symmetrically designed in the Victorian Tudor style. Typical stylistic features include banded chimneys, narrow grouped windows set under projecting gable bays, a castellated parapet at the roofline and quoin detailing. There were two later SE wing additions constructed in brick and staircase. The later wing is of lesser architectural merit though sympatheticin design.
The original building is constructed in smooth dressed sandstone blocks with a slate hipped and gabled roof. The boundary iron palisade fence sits on a stone plinth.
Exterior: Sandstone, Brick, Slate

This building which now forms part of the Supreme Court House was originally designed by the Colonial Architect A Dawson in 1859 for use as a Registry Office. It was occupied in 1860 by the Registrar General. J Barnet, the following Colonial Architect designed two additions in 1875 and 1886 including a matching wing on the SE corner.

Special thanks to http://www.heritage.nsw.gov.au/