City of Sydney acquired the historic Customs House

Australia’s oldest surviving customs building, the Customs House, was bought by City of Sydney from Commonwealth Department of Finance for an undisclosed sum.

The 174-year old Circular Quay property has been one of Sydney’s iconic landmark and was home to Australian Customs between 1845 and 1990. It acted as gateway to Australia, welcoming goods and people through its doors.

The building has since become a mixed-use commercial property leased to retailers and office tenants as well as housing a library and exhibition space. It holds a net lettable 6,900 sq m and has hosted Olympic live sites and Vivid light displays. The building is also close to one of Sydney’s busiest public transport hubs making it a popular meeting place.

“The role of customs, powerfully symbolised by Customs House at Circular Quay, has always been a dual role of revenue raising through taxing trade, and protecting society from socially unacceptable goods, products, ideas and diseases,” said Dr. Lisa Murray, City Historian.

“As late as 1924, customs tax still contributed more than 70 per cent of the nation's revenue, meaning Customs House played an enormous role in funding Australia during the early years of federation.”

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