A row of townhouses along Macquarie Street circa 1870, including History House.
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About History House

History House has been the home of the Royal Australian Historical Society since 1970. However, the building has a long and fascinating history dating back to 1871.

History House is located at 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney, New South Wales. It is situated opposite the Royal Botanic Gardens, within easy walking distance from Wynyard, Circular Quay, Martin Place and St. James railway stations.

Built to be a Parramatta politician’s home, the last 150 years have seen the building change owners, names and uses. Below are some insights into the building’s evolution, which will be incorporated into the heritage interpretation of the site.

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Architect and Client

Portrait of George Mansfield.Read how architect George Allen Mansfield was commissioned by his politician uncle George Oakes to design ‘a first-class residence’ on Macquarie Street. Read more.

A Place almost lost to Sydney

Newspaper headline: Incendiarism extraordinary. A Macquarie Street sensation. 37 fires in one house. Extinguished by brigades. Women in danger. Narrow escapes. An occupant arrested.In 1889, when the building was a boarding house, it was almost lost to flames. The unsuccessful arsonist was tried and received a sentence of seven years of penal servitude. Read more.

A Place for Politics

The Gentlemen's Club plaque, located on Macquarie Street in Sydney.Discover how a largely forgotten 1889 political corruption scandal was brought to light as part of the research to support a National Heritage List nomination for Macquarie Street. Read more.

A Place for History

Pencil sketch of History House alongside a black and white photograph of History House.Finding a place for history has always been important for the RAHS. The Women’s Auxiliary played a key role in securing the RAHS’s first home in 1941. The RAHS Council’s canny negotiations with a large financial services company helped secure a better second home in 1969. Read more.

The 1970s were a time of immense change for Sydney’s heritage. Learn about the RAHS’s acquisition of History House on the cusp of these turbulent times. Read more.