Government House, Sydney, by Edward Blore

Government House, Sydney, designed by Edward Blore and built under the supervision of local colonial architect Mortimer Lewis. 1836-45. Warm local sandstone. Royal Botanic Gardens, Macquerie Street, Sydney. Photograph c. 1922-29, from the New York Public Library Digital Gallery (Image ID 462452), with thanks. Caption and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2012. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the source and (2) link your document to this URL or cite the Victorian Web in a print document. Click on the image for a larger picture.]

Bill MacMahon comments that the Gothic Revival style "was taken up in Australia with great gusto" (17), not only for churches but also for domestic architecture. Government House is perhaps the finest example of it in Sydney ("A History"). Standing in a beautiful and prominent situation on the edge of the Royal Botanical Gardens, overlooking Sydney Harbour, this vice-regal residence is certainly both striking and picturesque. According to the New South Wales Government's official "Heritage Listing," it is important for having been only the second purpose-built Governor's residence in New South Wales. As the home of the monarch's representative and the seat of power, it "symbolised British authority in the colony," and its historic significance and associations, and aesthetic value, are enhanced by the fact that both the building and its interiors have remained "substantially intact."

Still, it is not quite as Blore designed it. Because of his work on various royal palaces at home, he was seen in Australia as the royal architect. But for all his experience of working on such buildings in England, he had little idea of the conditions of a place he had never visited. His plan was reversed to suit the location, and various modifications were made later in order to adapt it to Sydney's climate, such as adding a porte-cochere to protect visitors (1873), and an eastern arcade to shelter the State Rooms "from excessive heat and sunlight" (1879; see MacMohan 33; also "A History").


"Government House and Garden." NSW Government: Office of Environment & Heritage. Web. 9 July 2012.

"A History of the House." Government House Guidebook. Web. 9 July 2012.

MacMahon, Bill. The Architecture of East Australia. Stuttgart/ London: Edition Axel Menges, 2001. Print.

Last modified 11 July 2012