As part of its ongoing conservation of this State significant building, the Royal Australian Historical Society is planning exciting new facilities at its home, History House, to ensure it remains part of our rich and diverse living heritage. Our building extensions will provide increased space to members, visitors and staff, improved disability access, provide for the urgent and necessary replacement of the building’s lift, and include space for digital media initiatives. As the refurbishment will take place at the rear of History House, it will not alter the magnificent visage of the front of our beautiful heritage building.
It is anticipated we will commence building works at the end of 2016 subject to Development Application approvals. During this period we will continue to deliver publications, online lectures, digital media resources, research services and excursions, as our staff will work from the ground floor.
We would like to thank all our members and friends for their continuing generous donations to support this initiative that is critical for the ongoing viability of the Society and its core goal – to promote Australian history and help people develop the skills required to produce quality history projects.
Please click on the drop down menu below to learn more about the History House Project
- Project Vision and Objectives
History House will continue to be the headquarters of the Royal Australian Historical Society, which utilises the building’s unique resources for members, affiliates and the broader community through the provision of spaces and services that fulfil the objectives of the Society of research and education on Australian history, delivered in ways that are ethically, legally and financially sustainable, and by being innovative in adapting to evolving circumstances.
History House will remain a living place of State Heritage significance through continuous conservation and stewardship in ways that are engaging and respect its heritage values, are environmentally sustainable, and fulfil the Society’s objectives.
In order to achieve this vision, the project has a number of key objectives and outputs that it will deliver. Click here to view and download the History House Project Objectives.
- Project Updates
January 2017 – Development Application Approved
- City of Sydney approved the Development Application on 3 January 2017 so we will be moving forward in earnest with our project plans, including additional fundraising, in 2017. Click here to view the History House Development Application on the City of Sydney website.
June 2016 – Awaiting Development Approval
- The Society submitted a Development Application (DA) in June 2016, after pre-DA meetings with the City of Sydney in May 2016. Heritage architects, Design 5, co-ordinated the application in consultation with the RAHS History House Project team and a number of consultants, who prepared reports on core aspects of the project. The architects Design 5 have extensive experience on working on upgrades to heritage buildings that help to meet the needs of their clients, whilst respecting heritage values. The architects have a long connection with the RAHS, providing honorary advice and also working on repair and refurbishment projects. This intimate knowledge of the building has helped in defining the project and working with the constraints of the eastern half of the building designed and built in the 1870s.
- The fundraising component of the project is also in progress. Donations have been increasing as the project gains traction. In 2015 donations were $565,000, more than double the $216,000 received in 2014. The RAHS has also been fortunate to receive bequests from members. The Society is now in a position to seek support from grant bodies as it has detailed designs and cost plans, and has demonstrated community support for this initiative.
- The RAHS has sourced a supplier for the replacement lift. Accessibility and disability design consultants have reviewed the proposed tender and ensured that the project goals of improved accessibility are met.
- Project Consultation
A critical component of the History House project concept and design phases was an extensive consultation period with affiliated historical societies, individual members and other organisations that use the building for events, educational programs and to research and deliver history projects.
This community consultation resulted in heritage architects Design 5 changing the original design plans, which were further reviewed by building services and accessibility experts, to better meet the project's overall objectives.
Click below to download the History House Conservation Management Plan (May 2016) and Heritage Impact Statement (June 2016), both prepared by Design 5 Architects. The History House Conservation Management Plan was funded by a 2015 Heritage Report Grant from the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage.
- Support Our Project - Donations and Fundraising Events
In 2015 our members and friends generously donated $565,000 towards our building project, including $7,500 for our Champagne Supper Fundraiser Event - we are extremely grateful to all who have donated to the History House Project so far. Click on an image below for information on how to make a donation and fundraising events. Donations over $2.00 are tax deductible.
- About History House
The RAHS delivers a program of events at History House that is open to anyone with an interest in Australian history. History House is also a base for the RAHS to co-ordinate regional seminars and an annual conference that provide opportunities for regional and city based members to network and develop skills that support the production of quality history and heritage projects statewide. Staff and volunteers work on publications and digital initiatives at History House that promote Australian history throughout the broader community. Its library and archives are a culturally significant research resource that can be used by members for free, or by the general public for a small fee. The History House Project is critical for the ongoing usability of the building so it remains part of our rich and diverse living heritage, and will ensure that people with mobility-related disabilities can participate in the cultural activities at History House.
History House at 133 Macquarie Street, Sydney, has a unique and fascinating history. The building was designed in 1871 by the architect George Allen Mansfield for his uncle George Oakes, a well known pastoralist and politician. The house was the last in the row of quality Victorian town houses to be built on the west side of Macquarie Street, between Bridge Street and Bent Street.
Click on an image below to explore the history of History House, notable people who are significant to the building's history, and plans for further resources to be produced by the Society.
- Further Information
The Royal Australian Historical Society welcomes enquiries concerning History House and the History House Project. Click here for information on how to get in touch with us. We look forward to hearing from you.