Heritage Council of NSW gave notice of its intention to consider listing the MLC Building in the State Heritage Register

The Heritage Council of NSW resolved, at its meeting of 1 September 2020, to give notice of its intention to consider listing MLC Building, North Sydney on the State Heritage Register in acknowledgment of its heritage significance to the people of New South Wales. This advice is in accordance with section 33(1)(a) of the Heritage Act 1977 (NSW).

Any members of the community, owners, managers, organisations or other interested parties are invited to make a written submission regarding the proposed listing and significance of MLC Building, North Sydney. Submissions should be posted or emailed to the Heritage Council of NSW at the following address during the public submission period commencing on 9 September 2020 and closing on 8 October 2020.


Heritage Council of NSW
Locked Bag 5020


Please note that the Heritage Council is unable to accept submissions received after the above closing date.

The former MLC Building, North Sydney is likely to be of state heritage significance as Australia’s first post-war office block in respect of its design, materials & mode of construction. Completed in 1957 it was the first high rise office block in North Sydney and the largest for a number of years after its construction, and is a seminal building associated with the evolution of high-rise design in Sydney and NSW.

It was designed and constructed by architectural firm Bates Smart and McCutcheon (Architect Sir Walter Osbourne McCutcheon, Engineer Harvey H Brown) utilising construction and structural techniques not previously used in Australia. This includes the first use of a curtain wall design, the first use of modular units in Australia, fully rigid steel frame structure combined with ‘light weight’ construction of hollow steel floors resulting in reduced construction loads, cost & time.

The building is representative of the Post-War trends in modern offices with the provision of food (cafeteria, lounge and dining) and recreation (squash, billiards, theatrette, roof top garden) spaces for its 5000 workers. It is a landmark site which signified the transformation of the centre of North Sydney from C19th town to the second CBD of Sydney.

The former MLC Building North Sydney is potentially of state heritage significance for its aesthetic heritage values as it makes use of exceptional modernist building materials such as the curtain wall facade and terracotta glazed bricks that are representative of the Post-War International style of architecture that predominated in early commercial high-rise buildings. McCutcheon’s desire for his buildings to integrate modern art within the fabric of the design is demonstrated by the inclusion of works by significant artists such as Andor Mészáros and Gerald Lewers. As a result, and despite subsequent modifications, the building and its landscape setting are of high aesthetic, technical and representative significance.

The building is also of associative significance as the (then) NSW’s head office of Mutual Life & Citizens Assurance Company Limited (MLC). It is also potentially of state heritage significance as an important work by a significant firm of architects Bates Smart and McCutcheon, and master builders Concrete Constructions.

A copy of the draft curtilage map for this item is enclosed for your reference. Further details on the nominated item, the State Heritage Register, listing criteria, making a submission and the benefits of listing can be viewed on the Heritage NSW website at: