The S.H. Ervin Gallery building dates from 1856, when it was designed by Henry Robertson as additional classroom accommodation for the expanding Fort Street School (which later became Fort Street Girl’s School in 1916). The school operated on the site until the early 1970s.
Around this time, philanthropist and collector, Samuel Henry Ervin offered a bequest for the establishment of a public art gallery committed to the display of Australian art. The National Trust secured the lease of the former Fort Street Girls’ School buildings from the NSW Department of Public Works. Following the restoration of the buildings, the S.H. Ervin Gallery was officially opened in May 1978, by NSW Premier Neville Wran, with an exhibition of works by Conrad Martens.
How to get here
S.H. Ervin Gallery is located on Watson Road, Millers Point (The Rocks)
By public transport: The closest train stations are Wynyard or Circular Quay. It is a scenic ten-minute walk from either station.
From Wynyard: Walk along Kent Street to the Agar Steps, or follow the approach to the Bridge, which will take you past the National Trust Centre on your left. From Circular Quay: Walk to George Street, turn left into Argyle Street and walk under the famous Argyle Cut to climb the stairs opposite the Garrison Church. Turn left at the top of the stairs and follow Watson Road past the Sydney Observatory to the National Trust Centre.
By car: Follow Watson Road past the Sydney Observatory to the National Trust Centre. Free car parking is available on site.
Planning ahead is the best way to get the most out of your visit to S.H. Ervin Gallery. Here, you’ll find answers to some of our most frequently-asked questions about visiting.
When should I visit?
The S.H. Ervin Gallery is a major art attraction in Sydney all year round, with regularly changing exhibitions that focus on contemporary and historical Australian art. To get the most out of your visit, please check the gallery website to see what’s on and what’s coming up. If you’re visiting the nearby historic Rocks area, the gallery is just a short scenic walk away and makes a great day out in Sydney.
Can I purchase artworks?
Yes, you can purchase select artworks at the S.H. Ervin Gallery. Enquire at the front desk for more information. We also sell a variety of prints and cards in the gallery’s shop and our online shop.
Are there guided tours?
Exhibition tours of the S.H. Ervin Gallery run from Tuesday to Friday. Our tours start with an introduction to the gallery, followed by a comprehensive exploration of the gallery’s current exhibition. This one-hour tour is perfect for community groups, adult education groups, interested groups of friends or school groups. Find out more on our Group Visits page.
Can tour groups visit?
Groups are more than welcome at S.H. Ervin Gallery. Find out more and make a booking on our Group Visits page.
Can I bring my pet?
Everyone is welcome at S.H. Ervin Gallery, however we are unable to accommodate pets (excluding assistance pets). Thank you for understanding.
Is the gallery wheelchair accessible?
Yes, S.H. Ervin Gallery has an access ramp to the gallery and café. A courtesy wheelchair is available on request for the duration of your visit, and there are accessible toilets inside the National Trust Centre.