This is one of the Create NSW properties that are provided to support the arts and cultural sector in NSW.
Location and history
Located in Darlinghurst, in Sydney's inner city, the site was constructed in the 1820s using convict labour. It housed prisoners from 1841 to 1914.
In 1921, the site was adapted for use as the East Sydney Technical College, later developing into an arts school.
The National Art School (NAS) is a centre for academic excellence, research and presentation of multi-disciplinary visual arts for Australian and international artists.
In 2019, NAS signed a 45-year lease to remain on the site and was designated a State Significant Organisation with ongoing funding. In 2021, the former Darlinghurst Gaol and National Art School received a NSW heritage listing as Sydney's oldest surviving gaol complex.
Highlights and amenities
The Old Darlinghurst Gaol site offers a unique and historic setting for arts and cultural events, exhibitions, performances, workshops and education programs.
Some of the many well known features on the site include:
- The Cell Block Theatre - a former women's prison wing that has been transformed into a versatile venue that can accommodate up to 350 people.
- The Rayner Hoff Project Space, a former men's prison wing that showcases contemporary art exhibitions by NAS students, staff and alumni.
- The NAS Gallery, a former chapel that displays curated exhibitions of historical and contemporary art by Australian and international artists.
Availability and Contacts
The Old Darlinghurst Gaol site is available for hire or lease for arts and cultural purposes by external organisations or individuals who share the vision and values of NAS and Create NSW. The site is subject to availability and approval.
To enquire about hiring or leasing the site or any of its venues or spaces, please contact:
Pictured: Above right, National Art School, Photo by Christopher Phillips.