Mitchell Library Reading Room, State Library of NSW

The refurbishment of the Mitchell Library Reading Room, which was opened in 1910, involved the complete restoration of all heritage features to their classic lines. Restoration work included the complete renewal of leaking skylights; replacement of the copper cladding on the roof; restoration of brass fitting and fixtures; replacement of worn carpet with a similar linoleum to the original flooring; and removal of partitions installed in more recent times.

A complete BCA upgrade to the facility was also included in the scope of works. The project involved St Hilliers sourcing and managing a network of subcontractors skilled in traditional trades. They included contractors who installed all the copper cladding on the roof by traditional method.

Soft copper was imported from Finland in flat sheets, which was formed on site by hammering and bending into the necessary shape required. A marble artisan was also employed to make good some of the original marble and completed the work of filling holes and matching the veins of the marble using the “scagliola” process. The rolled brass sections of the balustrades leading to the gallery level of the Reading Room were also restored in keeping with the original Florentine bronze.


Contract Value

  • Location

    Macquarie Street, Sydney, NSW

  • Contract Type

    Lump Sum

  • Client

    State Library of NSW

  • Architect

    Noel Bell Ridley Smith

  • Completion

    April 2001

  • Project Value

    $2 Million


  • Winner

    2001 MBA of NSW Award for Construction Excellence – Public Buildings.

  • Project Value

    $? Million

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