A NSW Government website

Building NSW

From the earliest colonial dwellings, to government buildings erected in Sydney, to fledgling communities in NSW, each new building has contributed to the unique character of our cities and towns.

Architectural styles in NSW have evolved over time, reflecting changes in taste and trends, advancements in engineering, and the unique challenges posed by climate and geography.

The Blue Plaques program recognises the achievements of architects, engineers and entrepreneurs who have influenced construction in NSW, their unique partnerships, and their contributions to remarkable and enduring public and private buildings.

A formally posed photograph of David Lennox during his time as superintendent of bridges, taken around 1841 onwards. Photographer unknown.
David Lennox, Superintendent of Bridges, c. 1841. Image Courtesy of State Archives and Records Authority of New South Wales, Government Printing Office

David Lennox

David Lennox was a renowned bridge-builder and master stonemason who designed and oversaw the construction of the iconic sandstone Lennox Bridge in Parramatta in the late 1830s.

Spanning the Parramatta River, one of Sydney’s great inland waterways, its simple stone arch is 24 metres long and 12 metres wide. Named Lennox Bridge in 1867 in honour of its creator, it remains one of the city’s finest landmarks.

A man of great vision and technical skill, David also spearheaded countless other well-known bridges and public works projects.

Read more about David Lennox

A photograph of the front façade of Bishop’s Lodge during its construction between 1889 and 1890. Pallets of construction material lie in front of the house and a workman stands atop a ladder.
Bishop’s Lodge Under Construction c. 1889 - 1890. Image courtesy of Bishop’s Lodge Historic House Collection

John Sulman and Bishop Sydney Linton

The architect Sir John Sulman and the Riverina’s first Anglican Bishop, Sydney Linton, designed a simple yet elegant building in the Riverina town of Hay in 1888.

For the two Englishmen, both freshly arrived in Australia, the scorching heat of Riverina summers and the ever-present threat of flood posed many challenges.

Their solution – a stately bishop’s residence shaded by wide verandas and clad in corrugated iron – has stood the test of time.

Constructed over two years, the building’s survival attests to their ingenuity in what remains a defining architectural collaboration.

Read more about Bishop's Lodge

A formal portrait of Betro Abicare wearing a dark suit and bowtie taken around 1902
Portrait of Betro Abicare, c. 1902. Image courtesy of Mark Abicare

Betro Abicare

Betro Abicare (sometimes spelt Abikhair) was a Lebanese immigrant, builder and entrepreneur who made a major contribution to the development of Albury’s commercial centre. He came to Australia in 1889, during a wave of migration from Lebanon that started in the 1870s.

Betro began by hawking goods between farms but by 1898 had settled in Albury, where he established a successful draper’s business. In 1912, he erected a building known both as ‘The Big Store’ and ‘The Australian Building’. In 1927, he built the magnificent Regent Theatre on the opposite corner. Both buildings remain as notable Albury landmarks to this day.

Read more about Betro Abicare

A formal portrait of Walter Liberty Vernon taken by the Government Printing Office. He wears a dark suit and polka-dot tie. 
Walter Liberty Vernon c 1901. Government Printing Office. Image courtesy of New South Wales State Archives

Walter Liberty Vernon

Walter Liberty Vernon is one of Australia’s most important architects, responsible for some of Sydney’s enduring buildings. As the NSW Government’s head architect between 1890 and 1911, he designed structures as diverse as the stately Registrar General’s Building, the original David Jones department store, Long Bay Prison and Mitchell Library on Macquarie Street. He also built numerous suburban post offices and fire stations.

Often characterised by a love of yellow sandstone, his works envisioned and helped shape how Sydney looks today.

Read more about Walter Liberty Vernon