Paddington Town Hall Heritage Version

CLIENT: City of Sydney Council

Paddington Town Hall Heritage VersionProject Case Study: Paddington Town Hall –Heritage Restoration, Roof Upgrade, Mechanical Upgrade & Clock Tower Works

Project No: 1066

Paddington Town Hall was built in 1891 and is situated prominently on Oxford Street on land adjacent to Victoria Barracks. The Town Hall is heritage listed on the state heritage register and has significant cultural, historical, social and architectural significance to the local community.


The outline of the scope of works included:

  • Re-Roof Chauvel Cinema 1 & 2, Stapleton Hall (Heritage)
  • Raise roof pitch over Chauvel Cinema 1
  • Up Grade Mechanical Services including raised platforms.
  • Provide Walkways and safe access for on-going maintenance
  • Desalination works to facade (Heritage)
  • Preparation & painting works of facade and internal roof parapets. (Heritage)
  • Roof Plumbing, Hydraulics and water harvesting (Heritage)
  • Repair Slate Roof (Heritage)
  • Waterproofing works
  • Clean out ceilings
  • Render repair works (Heritage)
  • Carpentry Works to External Roof Areas, Gables, etc. (Heritage)
  • Clock Work Tower facade works & strengthening of tower (Heritage)


Paddington Town Hall is located on a high profile, busy part of Oxford Street with heavy pedestrian and road traffic. Many residences are close by and needed to be undisturbed by the work.

Inside the Town Hall building is the public library, a radio station, a film production company and two cinemas that all needed to remain operational.

All work was to be completed while the building and its community services remained open to the public.


Scaffolding the Town Hall and Clock Tower

The desalination, rendering and painting works required safe access. The adjacent pavements and public building access ways required protection from the work happening overhead. A Class B hoarding was used to protect the pavements and allow the Town Hall entrances to remain unobstructed. Scaffolding was erected around Oxford St and Oatley Road to allow access to the walls of the building and to the clock tower.

Paddington Town Hall Heritage Version

Desalination and rendering work

Salt content of walls was reduced to tolerable levels by applying a cocoon poultice to the affected regions. The cocoon poultice was applied in 2 coats and tested after each application; specialist heritage renderers applied a high-quality finish to the areas that required repair. This enabled a flawless surface for the application of the new painting finish.

Air conditioning and Mechanical Works

5 new Mechanical units were installed to the rooftop of Paddington Town hall with the new units being mounted onto a new structural steel platform. The new and old units were lifted from Victoria barracks, Murphy’s had to install temporary air to still service the active building. New AC duct was also installed to the roof top of Paddington Town Hall.

Structural Seismic Strengthening Works to the Clock Tower

The clock tower structure was strengthened using steel supports. The strength of the clock tower was increased using steel beams installed from the inside of the clock tower. The work was performed with sensitivity allowing the heritage characteristics of the Clock Tower to be preserved.

Height Safety Roof Access System Installation

Height safety access system designed and fitted to allow maintenance of roof assets. Walkways were installed on the roof of the Town Hall using steel platform components including safety handrails. The complete height safety system was designed, fitted & installed by Murphy’s employees. A restriction Murphy’s had to overcome with the installation of the height safety was keeping as much of the system out of the view from street level to keep the heritage visual façade undisturbed from the street.


All Town Hall walls including clock tower were repainted using the specified colours to restore the heritage fabric to its former lustre. Difficult areas to gain access to or set up scaffolding were painted by abseilers. Paint waste and scrapings where cleaned up daily so as to not affect the surrounding environment and clutter the job site.

Paddington Town Hall Heritage VersionPaddington Town Hall Heritage Version

Restoration of Clock Works and Features

Restoration of the clock face, hands & mechanical features were done by qualified Heritage clock restoration contractors employed by Murphy’s. They cleaned the clock face glass, repaired rust to the clock faces frame and installed a new clock mechanism to restore the clock tower. Once the repair work was finished they painted the clock face to repair it to its heritage identity.

Metal Re-roofing

Metal roofs to both cinemas and office/caretakers roofs were restored using galvanised steel roof sheets, flashings and cappings. One of the major constraints to re-roofing the Paddington Town Hall was the operational status of the working cinemas. Murphy’s managed this innovatively and worked around this issue by having an allocation of 2 hours a day to re-roof the cinemas, other times were arranged to re-roof the cinemas, with consultation of cinema management and Councils Project Manager.

Paddington Town Hall Heritage Version

Hydraulic System Works

Installation of new box guttering was completed to all roofs that had been reinstated with new roof sheets. This too came with the complications of the cinemas still being operational. Murphy’s used innovated by using the 2 hours a day at our disposal to install the box guttering as well.

Lead Work and Slate repairs

Replacement of selected slates of the roof to Stapleton Hall was carried out by trade qualified slaters with heritage building experience. Heritage lead workers installed lead flashings to the roof of hall to keep the heritage look of the slate roof. Lead works was also installed to the clock tower, parapets, corbels and pediments on Oatley St and Oxford St.

Paddington Town Hall Heritage Version


A Project Specific Safety Management Plan was created for the works based on the heritage significance and a risk assessment of the project methodology. All site activities were executed after a Safe Work Method Statement was developed and reviewed by Murphy’s, the relevant contractor and the City of Sydney.

The site was inspected weekly and audited regularly during the programmed work.

Paddington Town Hall Heritage Version


An accredited acoustic engineer was consulted and a Construction Noise Management Plan (CNMP) developed and followed. The scope of works was analysed and noise levels of activities assessed. Noise controls included timing of works, regular maintenance of plant, tools and equipment. Selection of delivery routes to site and selection of work methods, tools and equipment.


Murphy’s project team created an Environmental Management Plan and implemented the controls including the management of waste and control of sediment and erosion. Waste Management Plan devised to segregate waste types for recycling or appropriate disposal as required under the NSW Government Waste Reduction and Purchasing Policy.


Inspection and Test Plans were created for each aspect of the scope of works as required. The project engineers inspected key milestones during the work to ensure workmanship requirements were met. These hold points were managed within the framework of Murphy’s ISO 9001 accredited Quality Management System.

Examples of hold points included:-

  • Desalination – salt testing of walls and paint preparation
  • Hydraulic system, guttering downpipes and drainage
  • Air conditioning / mechanical
  • Painting and rendering work
  • Clock works

Benefits offered to Client during Project Works;

  • Building occupants including cinemas, the public library, the film production company and radio station remained open and undisturbed by the works
  • Weekly project meetings with client for excellent communication and progress updates
  • Security of building maintained during the works
  • Major complaints not received by client through good management and implementation of controls by Murphy’s.
  • Approximately 22% additional cost and works incorporated within the original time frame.
Our Contact Details
Murphys Group Services

Head Office
60 Cope Street
Redfern NSW 2016

Postal Address
PO Box 3136
Redfern NSW 2016