Imagine a city: 200 years of public architecture in NSW

harles Pickett, curator of Imagine a city: 200 years of public architecture in NSW


For 200 years New South Wales has been shaped by the ideas of the NSW Government Architect’s office, whose ambition to design for the future set the architectural standard for Sydney and NSW.

On 1 March 1816 convicted forger Francis Greenway was appointed acting Civil Architect on a wage of three shillings a day.

Greenway became the first of 23 NSW government architects whose collective tenure spans two centuries. While their titles and job descriptions have varied, their role has remained essentially the one pioneered by Francis Greenway. Lachlan Macquarie’s ambition was to make a handsome town of Sydney, a goal at odds with London’s insistence that the new colony be managed as a deterrent address offering only the most basic subsistence.

To celebrate 200 years of public architecture in NSW, the State Library of NSW is presenting a major exhibition—Imagine a City: 200 years of public architecture in NSW—featuring rarely seen original drawings, plans, photographs and models.

We grabbed some time with the curator, Charles Pickett to find out more. 



Imagine a City: 200 years of public architecture in NSW  is at the State Library of NSW until 8 May 2016.

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Museums & Galleries of NSW helps small-medium museums, galleries and Aboriginal cultural centres create exciting experiences for visitors and, through this, thriving local NSW communities. We don't run museums, galleries and cultural centres but we care about those who do. We develop their skills, connect them with others in the industry, provide funding, point visitors their way, and give them access to ground-breaking exhibitions.

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