Sydney Architecture Images- Central Business District

New South Wales Club Adyar House Lowy Institute for International Policy

architect

William Wardell  

location

25-31 Bligh Street

date

1884

style

Victorian Academic Classical

construction

A correct ashlar design reminiscent of Charles Barry’s Reform Club in London.

type

Club
Gentlemen's clubs were a regular feature of life in the city in the 19th Century. The New South Wales Club was founded by business men, and like all such other institutions exclude ladies. Liveried employees served members in modest-sized but elegant premises in Bligh Street. Sir Samuel Hordern was a long serving President of the Club, for 36 years.
 
  Bligh Street; Metropolitan Life Assurance, Elliott's & Australian Drug Co, Adyar House, Savoy Theatre, etc
 
  Nineteenth Century images- State Library of New South Wales.
 
 
 
 
 
  Click below images for larger versions.
 
 
 
   
NSW Club House
31 Bligh St

Adyar House, The New South Wales Club;  25-31 Bligh Street

The New South Wales Club House, located at 25 - 31 Bligh Street, is a fine example of the Victorian Academic Classical style and was built in 1884. Located in the heart of the Sydney CBD, this building once housed the New South Wales Club and its design is reminiscent of Charles Barry’s Reform Club in London.

The exterior of 31 Bligh Street is suggestive of an Italian Renaissance Palazzo and is the only Victorian-era clubhouse remaining in Sydney. Designed by English architect William Wardell, the elegant interior and furnishings are still evocative of a late 19th century gentleman’s club. The property is built around a central courtyard with the main rooms opening off this architectural element. The stair hall is a beautiful feature with its iron balustrade staircase and the striking painted ceiling of red, ochre and gold. Part of the interior has been sympathetically converted into offices.

William Wardell was an ecclesiastical architect from England. Arriving in Melbourne in 1858, he became one of the city’s most prominent and significant designers. He launched his own private practice whilst working as the appointed Chief Architect for the colonial government of Victoria. An exponent of the Gothic Revival movement, his churches include St Patrick's Cathedral and St Ignatius Church in Richmond in Melbourne, and St Mary's Cathedral in Sydney. He also designed Melbourne's Government House and Venetian-styled banking chambers for the ES&A bank. Wardell moved to Sydney after Melbourne’s infamous ‘Black Wednesday’ when Victorian Premier Sir Graham Berry denounced much of the public service in 1877.

Gentlemen's clubs were a regular feature of life in the city in the 19th Century. The New South Wales Club was founded by business men, and, like all similar institutions, excluded women. Liveried employees served members in modest-sized but elegant premises in Bligh Street. Sir Samuel Hordern, merchant and stockbreeder, served as President of the Club for 36 years.

This building was leased to the National Trust in 1973 for a period of 80 years; the Trust in turn sublet the property back to entrepreneur Gordon Barton and his company. Barton, the well-known businessman, entrepreneur and founder of the IPEC Transport Group, conducted his business affairs from 31 Bligh Street during the 1960s-70s. In addition to his work, Barton is remembered as a liberal reformer and founder of The Australian Party; a reform movement that strongly opposed the Vietnam War.

The Royal Australian Institute of Architects honours William Wardell by presenting an eponymous annual prize for institutional architecture in his name.
 
The building is classified by the National Trust and listed for permanent conservation under the 1976 Heritage Act - one of the first buildings to be saved from demolition under the Act. It is the finest Italian Palazzo façade surviving from the Victorian period in Australia. It is a classic sandstone building built of Pyrmont brick joinery with a slate roof and fine Victorian interiors.

Since 2005 the building at 31 Bligh Street has been home to the Lowy Institute for International Policy. The Institute is an independent Australian think tank that provides the highest quality, leading edge interrogations of the current and future key issues shaping the Asia Pacific region and Australia’s role within it. The Institute energises public debate with fresh perspectives and advises governments and business networks in their policy making and international business relations.

 

www.sydneyarchitecture.com 

links

http://www.nsw.nationaltrust.org.au/properties/blighst/default.asp
With special thanks to www.lowyinstitute.org