Last Sunday was the biennial Sydney Open when buildings across the city, old and new, public and private, are open to sticky beaks like me. This year I concentrated on the properties around The Rocks, Millers Point and King Street Wharf.
This simple building is of interest as one of the few remaining residential designs by early Colonial Architect Mortimer Lewis, whose best known works are public buildings such as courthouses and jails. Built as his own residence, the villa had Gothic outline, decorative bargeboards and asymmetric bay windows. Richmond Villa originally stood near Parliament House, facing the Domain, but in 1976 it was carefully dismantled and rebuilt on its present site in Kent Street. Following this move it was officially reopened in February 1978 as the headquarters of the Society of Australian Genealogists and now houses the society’s manuscript collections and educational services.