What are Australia’s oldest remaining buildings, what they were used for, and how they’re being used now?.

While it can be difficult to accurately determine the oldest building in some cases, these are the buildings most likely to be the oldest – or if not, some of the oldest buildings in Australia.

What is the oldest building in Australia?

Elizabeth Farm Outside in Rosehill
Image credit: Australian Travel

It is widely believed that the oldest building in Sydney and Australia’s oldest building is Elizabeth Farm in the Sydney suburb of Rosehill. Built in 1793 by John Macarthur, it originally served as a property for Marcarthur and his family, making it the oldest house in Australia. Still in use today, the historic home is now open to the public as a museum, open from Wednesday – Sunday each week.  

The oldest building in each capital city


St James’ Old Cathedral MelbourneImage credit: Peter Maltezos, Urban Melbourne

The oldest building in Melbourne is St James’ Old Cathedral, which was completed in 1839. The foundation was laid by Charles La Trobe, superintendent of the District of Port Philip. The oldest church building in Australia, it still functions as an Anglican church.


The Old Windmill in Observatory Park Brisbane
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons

Brisbane’s oldest building is The Old Windmill in Observatory Park, built by convicts in 1828. The building was originally used to process wheat and corn crops for the Moreton Bay penal settlement, and had a treadmill that could be used when there was no wind, as well as a technique to punish the convicts. Today, the windmill serves as a tourist attraction.


Holy Trinity Church Outside AdelaideImage credit: Trinity Church Adelaide

It is difficult to verify the oldest building in Adelaide, but most signs point to Holy Trinity Church, which was constructed in 1838. The church opened in August of that year, within two years of the settlement of Adelaide. Made mostly of bricks, it quickly became a landmark due to its “peaked cap” top tower design and Vulliamy clock. It still operates as a church today.


Old Court House PerthImage credit: Wikipedia

The oldest building in Perth is Old Court House, completed in 1836. When it was first built, it stood close to the original shoreline of the Swan River. Today it stands next to the Supreme Court, and has lost its shoreline position. It no longer operates as a court, but is open to visit on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.


Government House Outside Perth
Image credit: Absolutely Australia

Government House is the oldest building in Darwin. Built between 1870 and 1871, it is the office and official residence of the administrator of the Northern Territory. It is an example of mid-Victorian Gothic architecture, adapted for the local climate by the addition of shaded verandahs and porches. It is still used for its original purpose today.


Blundells Cottage Outside CanberraImage credit: the-riotact.com

Canberra’s oldest building is Blundells Cottage, a six-room stone cottage on the northern shore of Lake Burley Griffin. The cottage was built by George P. Campbell in about 1858 for his ploughman William Ginn. The building is significant, as it is one of the few stone buildings of its type to have survived in ACT. It currently serves as a public museum.


Ingle Hall Outside Hobart
Image credit: Auckland Art Fair

Ingle Hall is believed to be the oldest surviving building in Hobart. It is unknown exactly when it was built as it predates Tasmania’s government records, which started in 1822. It is named after John Ingle, who is presumed to have been one of its first inhabitants. The building was most recently used as The Mercury Print Museum.

What is the oldest building in the world?

The Cairn of Barnenez in Brittany, FranceImage credit: Wikipedia

The world’s oldest remaining building is said to be The Cairn of Barnenez in Brittany, France. It can be traced to the early Neolithic period, around 4800BC. It is well-known for its megalithic art, and serves as a tourist destination today.