Woollahra Gallery at Redleaf

Heritage transformation of harbour mansion to public gallery

Project Details

Sandrick were commissioned by Woollahra Municipal Council to project manage the adaptive refurbishment of the 1897 St Brigid’s property located adjacent Redleaf which houses the Council Chambers.

St Brigid’s is one of Sydney’s few surviving mid-nineteenth century harbour foreshore grand mansions which is uniquely positioned overlooking Blackburn Gardens, Redleaf and Sydney Harbour.

It was built in 1897 for Captain Arthur Lassetter as his family home and since then has been home to local families, the headquarters for the Royal Commission on Espionage and a community gathering place known as the Woollahra Arts Centre. It was most recently the Woollahra Library, before its’ relocation to Kiaora Place. The 127-year-old house overlooking Blackburn Gardens at Redleaf is a two-storey brick building with timber floors, tiled roof and rendered exterior. Although the building was allegedly structurally sound, it was dilapidated in condition and therefore required refurbishment as part of Council’s repurposing of the building into a community centre and art gallery.

Sandrick were engaged as project managers to plan and execute the refurbishment of St Brigid’s which involved making the building DDA compliant allowing for wheelchair accessibility, creating an open plan, multi-use space on the first floor for both art and Council exhibitions and Council and public event spaces on the ground floor for futures lessees. Detailed heritage restoration of the building, removal of contaminated materials, structural and climate control improvements were all added along with an external glass lift to provide equitable access for patrons. New public amenities were also added by excavating and piling under existing structures and under existing retaining walls supporting the adjacent New South Head Road.

The revitalised St Brigid’s houses four high calibre exhibition spaces while keeping all of the original details including mouldings, arched windows and original wooden flooring. Spread across two levels, the gallery also provides spaces for community activity and for digital and new media art practice, including a podcast room.

The downstairs cultural hub situated below the gallery creates a new home for the established Woollahra Artist in Residence Program. The program provides rent-free, non-residential unfurnished studios for artists to work in.

The Gallery was awarded the Leo Kelly OAM Arts and Culture Award as part of the 2022 NSW Local Government Week Awards.

Sandrick successfully managed the procurement, construction and commissioning stages of this technically complex and challenging project which has restored a unique 127 year old historical building to create a successful and vibrant destination gallery and artists workspace to enrich the local and broader community.



Back to Projects