Customs House, Sydney – Fact sheet 23
There has been a customs house in Sydney since 1800 when Governor King first established that revenue from imported goods should be collected. However, it was not until 1885 that the building we know today as Customs House, Sydney was built. It opened in 1887 to commence over 100 years of service as the head office of the Collector of Customs in New South Wales.
When the Commonwealth Government took over the function of customs in 1901, Customs House, Sydney, continued to operate as the head office of New South Wales operations until 1988. It was finally closed down on 15 June 1990.
The changing face of Customs House
The National Archives office in Sydney holds a number of photographs, plans, and albums of newspaper cuttings which document the changes in Customs House and its place in the growth of Sydney in general.
Photographs, plans and newspaper cuttings
Documenting Customs House
Correspondence files relating to Customs House are also held. The information in these files documents the transfer of Customs House from State to Commonwealth ownership, work on the building, and the different uses to which the building was put. During its years of service a number of departments occupied Customs House, including the Department of Taxation and the Royal Australian Air Force.
|Title or description of record||Date range||Series number|
|Specifications, Director of Works||1895–1950||SP155/1|
|Specifications for interior alterations||1908||SP155/1, NSW1192 MISC|
|Specifications for demolition and removal of air aid shelters||1946||Sp155/1, MISC19566H|
|Correspondence – acquisition and sale of land and property by Commonwealth in NSW||1901–48||SP394/1|
|Customs House, Sydney – construction||1901–02||SP394/1, 1902/16972|
|Customs House, Sydney – ownership||1905||SP394/1, 1905/00168|
|Customs House, Sydney – accommodation for departments||1902–07||SP394/1, B1907/685|
|Customs House – accommodation for departments||1903–09||SP394/1, B1909/2296|
|Customs House – accommodation for departments||1910–12||SP394/1, NL1912/2899|
|Correspondence Files of the Chief Property Officer||1920–57||SP228/1|
|NSW Customs House accommodation||1915–59||SP228/1, CL10526|
|Correspondence re General Departmental Property||1924–59||SP857/10|
|Rearrangement of accommodation||1940–42||SP857/10, PR/41/303|
|Eastern Area RAAF Map Section accommodation: 4th floor Customs House||1942||SP857/10, PR/42/675|
|Proposed accommodation, Newspaper and Paper Control Section of Division of Import Procurement||1944||SP857/10, PR/44/1186|
|Customs House: parking on square||1944–59||SP857/10, PR/44/1229|
|Specifications, Director of works||1947–53||SP277/1|
|Installation of electric light and power||1953||SP277/1, MISC22265/16|
|Compressed air and vacuum services in laboratories||1953||SP277/1,MISC22292/16|
|Heating and ventilation systems in laboratories||1953||SP277/1,MISC22301/16|
|Files created by the Australian Customs Service||1920–91||C4359|
|Customs House – proposals for future use||1960–73||C4359, N73/14435|