Treasures of the Past

Eugene Crick Claux, National Art School, c.1947, ink and watercolour, National Art School Collection, gift of Claux, Finey and Clifford families, 2017 © the artist


The National Art School (NAS) has been located on the site of the former Darlinghurst Gaol since 1922. In 2022, NAS will commemorate two important milestones in its history: the 100-year anniversary of our location in Darlinghurst as well as the 200-year anniversary of construction starting on the Darlinghurst Gaol walls (1822), which can still be seen today with their original convict markings.

To celebrate this significant moment in time, NAS is keen to find new objects and archival material, and to hear as yet untold stories about the gaol, the art school (formerly part of East Sydney Technical College), and this special site. We are seeking to broaden the information available in our archives and collection.

Are you a former student, or family member of someone who has studied or taught at the National Art School or East Sydney Technical College? Do you know someone who was incarcerated in Darlinghurst Gaol, or who worked on the transformation from gaol to art school? Do you have archival material that relates specifically to any part of our history, such as the buildings, or events that took place here? If so, we would be very interested to hear from you.

In this difficult period, as COVID19 restrictions have given us more time at home, this is an ideal opportunity to sort through artworks and documents and contact old friends to uncover anything relating to the school, and to record personal recollections.

We are not requesting original items to be submitted at this stage, but for images or copies of any historical objects or documents relating to the school and the site, including photos, artworks, diplomas, class lists, handbooks and gaol documents and artefacts, as well as typed stories of your memories of experiences or events connected to the school at any point in its history.

Items will be considered for inclusion in a major commemorative exhibition in 2022.

Please send contributions to:

Deborah Beck
Lecturer, Archivist and Collections Manager
+61 2 9339 8674
[email protected]

Sonia Legge 
Curator, Collections
+61 2 9339 8796
[email protected]

For more about the NAS Archive and Collection see

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