8th - 20th June 2021
Sydney Solstice

House Talks: From 'Rum' Hospital to Parliament

ATDW Physical Address
NSW Parliament House, 6 Macquarie Street, Sydney
NSW Parliament House at night
Food and Wine, Workshop

The ‘Rum Hospital’ in Macquarie Street was opened in 1816. It was one of Governor Lachlan Macquarie’s first building projects on coming to the new colony.

ATDW Communications

With no provision of funds from the distant British Government, Macquarie managed to build Sydney’s first permanent hospital, completed in 1816. To fund the construction, he allowed the building contractors to import and sell 60,000 gallons of rum. As a result, the hospital was known as the ‘Rum Hospital’.

Its two remaining wings, now NSW Parliament House and the Mint Building, started to deteriorate even before the project was finished yet they have outlasted most of their contemporaries and are now a treasured part of Sydney’s heritage.

Paul Brunton OAM is Emeritus Curator, State Library of New South Wales. He was Senior Curator, Mitchell Library from 2002 to 2012 and Curator of Manuscripts from 1986 to 2000.

Paul will lead participants through an entertaining history of the ‘Rum Hospital’ and its endurance over two centuries.

Attendees will have the opportunity to toast the ‘Rum Hospital’ with a hot buttered rum and a 19th-century-inspired food item at the close of the evening.


Getting there

Transport Options
Light Rail

Sydney has an excellent public transport network and you can get to all of the Sydney Solstice precincts by bus, train, light rail or ferry. Parking will be limited at most festival venues, so we recommend you travel by public transport rather than driving. Check out our Transport section for more information.