Sydney The National Arts School


Contact point

Picture of Bruce Pettman
Bruce Pettman Director 0407 948 514

The National Arts School (NAS) occupies the historic 1820s Darlinghurst Gaol site.  The site was converted to the East Sydney Technical College in the 1920s and became independent of TAFE in 1999.  The campus is a locally listed heritage item under the City of Sydney’s Local Environmental Plan. It is culturally significant as the largest surviving early gaol complex in Australia and is a fine example of the radial planning layout promoted by the Society for the Improvement of Prison Discipline and the Reformation of Juvenile Offenders in the 1820s.

The National Art School External Facade Maintenance Strategy was commissioned by Property NSW and funded by the Minister’s Stonework Program (MSP) to address safety risks and significant back-log maintenance issues at the NAS site.  The objective of the Strategy was to review the condition of external building fabric of a group of key significant built assets including the convict-built perimeter wall, and develop a program of works.  The intention was to provide a strategic solution to allow Property NSW to maximise the benefits of the capital cost spending in asset maintenance.

Inspection was undertaken by a multidisciplinary team including heritage masons, roofer, conservation architect and structural engineer.  Actions were proposed to reduce further short-term safety liability and to establish a program of essential work.  A forward plan set out the staging of work with budget breakdown, according to condition and significance, for 2018 and beyond.  The first stage of construction work began on three of the largest buildings in 2018, including stone replacement using freshly quarried Yellow Block sandstone from a newly accessed city development site.