About Macquarie Street East
The NSW Government is transforming one of Sydney’s iconic historical and culturally significant heritage precincts, Macquarie Street East (MSE), into a vibrant, connected and people-friendly arts, cultural and civic destination.
This area has been home to the Gadigal people for tens of thousands of years and is a place of historical and cultural significance for Aboriginal people.
Located within the national heritage-listed Governor’s Domain and Civic Precinct, MSE today forms the crossroads of Sydney’s cultural and civic spine.
The precinct situated between Sydney’s CBD and The Domain contains a collection of some of Australia’s most significant institutions and heritage buildings:
- Registrar General’s Building
- Chief Secretary’s Building
- State Library of NSW
- Parliament of NSW
- The Mint
- Hospital Road Courthouse
- Sydney Hospital and Sydney Eye Hospital
- the World Heritage-Listed Hyde Park Barracks
- The Australian Museum
What’s happening now?
- In March 2023, a master plan (PDF, 19101.55 KB) was published which sets a 30-year vision for the Macquarie Street East precinct.
- An early works program is currently underway at the Registrar General’s Building (RGB) which includes the removal of later additions to the building, heritage conservation works, the restoration of curtilage to the World Heritage-listed Hyde Park Barracks, and the creation of new public open space - providing a pedestrian link between the CBD and The Domain. This program will continue until late 2024.
- Planning for the design and delivery of the new public open space is progressing separately. As announced in September 2022 by Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the NSW and Australian governments are committed to the creation of this space, which will be located on the northern side of the RGB. This space will be named Queen Elizabeth II Place (QEII) in commemoration of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
- In October 2023, the government unveiled a Blue Plaque at the RGB, commemorating former NSW Government architect, Walter Liberty Vernon, who designed the building in 1908. The building was completed in 1913.
- Early activation of spaces with temporary events and public art installations, bringing entertainment and life into the heart of the city.
A precinct review of Macquarie Street East, led by former Prime Minister Paul Keating and former Greater Sydney Commission Chief Commissioner, Lucy Turnbull, made recommendations for the heritage buildings and spaces in Macquarie Street East, including the Registrar General’s Building, to showcase the city’s cultural and social history.
The review found the precinct currently has unrealised potential and is not welcoming to either visitors or Sydneysiders. It lacks vibrancy and connectivity and is difficult to navigate.
In April 2022, funding was approved to kick-off the first phase of permanent precinct transformation.