The Gunnery Transformation

Heritage Impact Statement
Schedule of Conservation works
Heritage Interpretation Plan
Photographic Archival Recording

DunnHillam Architecture + Urban Designs
Create NSW

Woolloomooloo, NSW
Gadigal Country

It looked like a forbidding fortress, a dark cubist castle clinging to some old disused wharves and, as in much urban myth, fairies, elves, ghouls and witches were attracted to it as a perfect hide-out…It was called the gunnery and it was a squat.[i]

The $19.2 million Gunnery Transformation project is the first major upgrade of the State Heritage Register listed building in Woolloomooloo since the 1990s. Working with DunnHillam Architecture + Urban Designs on behalf of Create NSW, GML has been providing heritage advice to the project team, including preparing a Heritage Impact Statement, Schedule of Conservation works, a Heritage Interpretation Plan and conducting Photographic Archival Recording.

The three-storey brick warehouse building was originally built in 1906 by the Fairfax family as a bulk storage facility for the Sydney Morning Herald. It was acquired and adapted in the 1940s by the Royal Australian Navy, becoming the Gunnery Instructional Centre, hence the building’s current name.

During the 1970s the building was a prominent artist squat, and since the 1990s has been the home of leading non-profit contemporary art organisation, Artspace.​

In 2020, the NSW Government announced funding to revitalise The Gunnery into a state-of-the-art facility with expanded exhibition spaces, increased artist-in-residence studios, greatly improved accessibility and a strong connection to the local neighbourhood and harbour foreshore.

We are delighted that Artspace in The Gunnery has re-opened to the public refreshed and revitalised. GML’s long-standing collaboration with DunnHillam on the building has led to an outcome we are very proud of.


Header image: Exterior of Artspace in The Gunnery, featuring new commission by Dennis Golding, Colouring Memoring, 2023. Photo: Katherine Lu


The Gunnery Squats, 1986. Source: Facebook

Installation view, Jonathan Jones, untitled (transcriptions of country), Artspace 2023. Photo: Katherine Lu

Installation view, Jonathan Jones, untitled (transcriptions of country), Artspace 2023. Photo: Katherine Lu