Art Deco and More - Sydney CBD Walking Tour

When we think of Sydney, the first things that spring to mind are often the magnificent harbour, our unique Opera House and the mighty Harbour Bridge. But often unnoticed is its wealth of beautiful Art Deco buildings preserved through all the changes of the past 70-odd years. Explore some architectural marvels from the late 1920s and 30s. Our walk entails some standing and includes a coffee break (cost not included) so moderate fitness is recommended. Meet at the Eastern Entrance - (Circular Quay Side) of the Museum of Contemporary Art 10 minutes before the tour starts so it can commence on time.

This walk will go ahead whatever the weather, except where the guide deems there to be a threat to health and safety. In this situation you will be contacted with an alternative date. Please ensure your mobile phone number is up-to-date with WEA before enrolling and ensure that you have it with you on the day in case the tutor needs to contact you.


  • Face-to-Face


  • Roy Lumby A Spirit of Progress – Art Deco in Australia (Thames & Hudson, Sydney 1997)
  • Grahame Jahn Sydney Architecture Watermark (Balmain 1997)
  • Tim Benton et al Art Deco 1910-1939 V&A Publications (London 2003)


The tour will start at the Museum of Contemporary Art, and wind its way to Wynard Station. Some of the buildings the tour will visit:

  • Circular Quay train station
  • Sydney Harbour Bridge
  • Museum of Contemporary Art (former MSB Building)
  • Kyle House
  • Railway House
  • AWA House
  • Grace Building
  • Feltex House
  • MLC Building
  • Commonwealth Bank building, Martin Place
  • City Mutual Life Building
  • British Medical Association Building
  • David Jones


By the end of this course, students should be able to:

  1. Identify the main features of Australian 1930s commercial architecture in its many forms, such as streamline moderne, neoclassical and late gothic revival.
  2. Discuss the ideas and motivations behind Art Deco architecture, and place them in context with wider forces shaping Australia in the 1930s.
  3. Recognise and describe a number of key Sydney CBD buildings from the 1920s and ‘30s.

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