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Domain Lodge and Depot Consultation

Consultation period

17 October 2018 - 14 November 2018
To have your say, email us at feedback@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au.

Open Days

Open days will be held at Domain Lodge and Depot during the consultation period and facilitated by our friendly volunteers. This will be your opportunity to see the buildings and area for yourself, and provide input on site via our consultation forms. Please see dates and times below:

Friday 26 and Saturday 27 October
Friday 2 and Saturday 3 November
Friday 9 and Saturday 10 November

10 am - 2 pm

History of the Domain Lodge

The Domain Lodge, at the St Mary’s Gate, is possibly the oldest continually used residence in this part of Sydney until it was converted to office and horticultural depot space in 1991. This stone cottage, with quarry glazed windows and shingle roof, was designed by Mortimer Lewis and built in 1835. Once constructed, the Lodge came under the control of several departments.

The first occupant of the ‘Gatekeeper’s Residence’ was a police constable whose name has not been found. When Mortimer Lewis was appointed Honorary Ranger of the Domain in December 1836 he recommended James Lackey as Bailiff. Lackey lived in the Lodge from 1837 to 1849. Many other people have lived in Domain Lodge.

In 1845, the lodge had extensions constructed to the East & North. By 1856 the Lodge still lacked connection to a water supply and its occupants had to make do with a nearby outdoor source. On 16 December of the same year the windows of the Lodge were smashed by an angry mob as they sought the unfortunate Frenchman Pierre Maigre, who had sought refuge there after his failed (and much publicised) balloon ascent in the Domain. The Lodge was renovated in 2001 and has sat vacant since 2016, underutilised and sadly in decline.


Today, the value of our heritage assets lies not only in their preservation, but in their adaptation. They must be reinvented so visitors and local communities can connect with their urban history.

Architectural adaptive reuse aims to achieve greater social, cultural, environmental and economic objectives from our heritage. The concept behind adaptive reuse is to sustainably transpose the existing buildings, so that they meet high standards for revitalisation, conservation and community engagement.
Here at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney and the Domain we have several architectural buildings of cultural and heritage significance. These include Domain Lodge, Lion Gate Lodge, Rathborne Lodge and Victoria Lodge.
Longer-term, the Domain Lodge and other heritage buildings within the Garden and the Domain will all play a significant role in conserving the history and value of our Garden, the City of Sydney and NSW well into the future.

Adaptive Reuse Concept

The concept is about opening up the Domain Lodge and Depot to the community, enhancing the soft landscaping, adapting the existing buildings and maintaining heritage compliance. 

This concept will secure no net loss of green space, no removal of existing buildings and no new buildings. The timber fencing will be removed revealing the vistas and views and welcoming the public in to enjoy the spaces.

A mixed-use space including an urban farm, a café/restaurant, function space, community space, and even a micro-brewery or distillery is being considered. This concept is similar in ways to the successful adaptive reuse of the Tramsheds in Glebe, and the Grounds of Alexandria – but on a much smaller scale. The adaptive reuse presents the opportunity to reclaim this hidden gem for the public and link it to the Domain precinct for the community to enjoy,
relax and celebrate.


As we reflect on the history of the Domain Lodge and Depot, it’s an appropriate time to consider some initial concepts and invite ideas from local stakeholders, friends and visitors to the Garden and the Domain. Let us know your feedback on the concept to reimagine and transform the Domain Lodge and Depot to protect it for future generations and open the spaces up to the public and community, to enhance visitor experience and use.

Email us at feedback@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au

Consultation period

17 October 2018 - 14 November 2018
Email us at feedback@rbgsyd.nsw.gov.au.