Conservatorium of Music
A magic castle sits on the hill overlooking the Royal Botanic Gardens and Government House.
Why go there
A magic castle sits on the hill overlooking the Royal Botanic Gardens and Government House. The building was commissioned by Governor Macquarie in 1817 as a stables, store for carriages and accommodation for staff. It is a Sydney icon with its battlements providing a visible link back to a very young colony. It became a conservatorium of music almost 100 years after commissioning and is now part of Sydney University.
A guided tour of the conservatorium learning about its heritage as a stables,
Learn about some Aboriginal history in the area,
Access for all
The Conservatorium or The Con offers access to all levels including the Café. Accessible unisex toilets are also available and well signed.
The Con's formal entry is level, to a modern building next to the original sandstone one, through glass doors which are hinged and open outwards. Accessible way finding is provided by clear signage and lift to all floors. The lifts don’t have an audio description component. Unisex accessible toilets are clearly signed on the three levels of the building.
Audio induction loops are installed in the two recital halls that are connected to a speaker’s lectern, but they don’t function for a concert. There is no audio assistance in the main hall.
Volunteer guides, Friends of the Con, lead tours Monday through Friday. Each tour lasts approximately 45 minutes and take visitors through a discovery of the history of the early Governor’s horse stables and their conversion into the establishment of The Sydney Conservatorium in 1915 and then, through the state-of-the-art music learning facility which was opened in 2000. There is a limited tactile component to the tours. Tours often include a free lunchtime concert in the unique Verbrugghen Hall. Note: Bookings are essential, call the Con Friends Office on (02) 9351 1382.
At the time of writing, the Con is looking to increase its tactile component to tours and develop an Audio or Auslan interpreted tour.
Eating and shopping
The Conservatorium Café is accessed on two levels; from the entry forecourt or by the internal lift. Jazz concerts are often held here, check the website for details. No gift shop.
How to get there
The best method of transport is train, ferry or bus arriving at Circular Quay where there is a short but steep grade up to the Conservatorium. A lift at the east end of Circular Quay takes pedestrians up to a footpath alongside the Cahill Expressway. The path leads down to Macquarie St, then it’s a block to the Conservatorium.
There is no accessible onsite parking or drop off area. The nearest commercial car spaces are expensive alternatives, the closest is The Opera House car park.
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Interactive map; http://maps.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au/accessibility-map/