Chinatown Gates, Haymarket

Heritage Assessment
Condition Assessment
Schedule of Conservation Works

City of Sydney Council

Haymarket, NSW
Gadigal Country

The Chinatown Gates located at the northern and southern ends of the Dixon Street pedestrian precinct are an iconic part of Sydney's Chinatown area in Haymarket.

As part of the City of Sydney Council’s revitalisation strategy for Haymarket and Chinatown, GML was engaged by the Council to prepare a Heritage Assessment for the Chinatown Gates to identify the potential for heritage listing. In addition, a Schedule of Conservation Works was prepared to ensure the gates are conserved for future generations.

The project was undertaken in collaboration with International Conservation Services (ICS) and Henry Tsang OAM, of Tsang & Lee Architects, original architect of the gates. Community consultation included members of the former Dixon Street Beautification Committee.

The Chinatown Gates, constructed in 1979-80, are designed in a traditional Chinese style and mark the entrance of Sydney’s Chinatown. The gates have features commonly found in traditional Chinese paifang, including pagoda style roof with exposed timber rafters, glazed ceramic tiles, symbolic features, engraved gold leaf signs in Chinese script and lion statues at the gates. Inspirational proverbs about friendship and goodwill are inscribed in Chinese characters, with English translations. A comparative analysis of other Chinese gates in Sydney and Australia was undertaken as part of the Heritage Assessment.

The Heritage Assessment determined that the Chinatown Gates met the threshold for listing as a heritage item of local significance on the Sydney LEP.

The Chinatown Gates have historic significance associated with early 20th century Haymarket which developed as the district in Sydney where Chinese communities lived and operated businesses.

The gates are aesthetically distinctive landmark entries into the Chinatown precinct. They are held in high esteem by the local community and local Chinese businesses and communities who supported the original project financially and professionally.

The Chinatown Gates symbolise the establishment of ‘friendship’ between the Chinese and Australian communities, and mark a meeting place for Australian Chinese, Australians and tourists interested in Chinese culture, and for traditional Chinese events.

The Schedule of Conservation Works was prepared with the guidance of Henry Tsang and ICS. This document will inform restoration and repair works to the Chinatown Gates, due to commence in 2024.

GML was also separately engaged by Council to prepare a thematic history of Chinatown to identify the historic themes and heritage significance of the precinct as well as its significant characteristics and places.

Symbolic figures including dragons, lions and chickens feature on the ridge capping of the lower and upper roof.