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National Art School site joins the State Heritage Register

Published: 12 February 2021
Released by: Minister of State

The former Darlinghurst Gaol, now the site of the National Art School, has been listed on the State Heritage Register. The listing protects an important part of NSW’s historical and cultural history.

One of the oldest surviving gaol complexes in Australia, the site retains surrounding walls constructed in the early 1820s and many largely intact original sandstone buildings from the 1830s onwards.

Minister for the Arts Don Harwin said the State Heritage Listing was a significant move to preserve and conserve the site for future generations. 

“With the National Art School celebrating its centenary on this site next year, this listing ensures the site’s rich history will continue for generations to come. 

“As the leading fine art school in the country, this centre of artistic excellence has produced many distinguished alumni, including Max Dupain, John Olsen, Margaret Olley and Tim Storrier, who along with many others have influenced and shaped arts and culture in Australia as artists, teachers, visionaries and administrators,” Mr Harwin said.

“This listing preserves the history and stories of people associated with the site through the ages, including the original convict quarriers and builders, inmates, wardens, and many other prominent people of the 19th and early 20th century,” Mr Harwin said.

In addition to the listing, the $18 million facelift announced last year by the Minister for essential maintenance and stonework remediation, will bolster the unique heritage space for future generations and strengthen its reputation as a vibrant arts and education precinct. 

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