The Mint was constructed between 1811-1816 as the southern wing of the Sydney Hospital. Known as the Rum Hospital it was built by private contractors in exchange for an exclusive license to import rum. In 1854 a branch of the Royal Mint - the first outside England - was established on the site as a result of the discovery of gold in New South Wales. The former hospital wing was converted to offices for Mint staff and as a residence for the Deputy Mint Master. At the rear of the building the coining factory was constructed, using locally quarried sandstone and prefabricated cast iron columns, girders and roofing components imported from England. Many of these unique buildings survive on the site today. The Mint operated until 1926 when the new Commonwealth Mint was established in Canberra. The buildings then accommodated numerous government departments and various law courts. The Mint was transferred to the Historic Houses Trust in 1998 and the Macquarie Street building is open to the public containing a small display on the history of the site, a cafe, meeting rooms. The Mint also houses the Historic Houses Trust Head Office, Members office and cafe and the Carolyn Simpson Library and Research Collection (which is open to the public Monday - Friday).