Forty-four years on, this Sydney icon is getting recognised – Sydney Morning Herald

February 18, 2024

By Mary Ward

Haymarket’s Chinatown ceremonial gates are set to be restored and heritage listed, after a public consultation process overwhelmingly supported plans to preserve the monuments.

The gates, which stand at the northern and southern ends of the Dixon Street precinct, were built in 1980 using donations from the local community.

The listing is part of a $44 million plan by City of Sydney Council to revitalise Chinatown and neighbouring Thai Town.

The heritage process began in 2020, as the council considered ways to support the local business community after patronage dwindled during the COVID-19 pandemic. A heritage assessment concluded the gates had local significance and were suitable for listing.

Plans to list the gates, which will also include retiling and adding lighting to the gates, were placed on public exhibition late last year, with 13 of 14 submissions supporting the proposal.

Council staff have recommended councillors endorse the listing at their meeting on Monday, due to the positive heritage assessment and overwhelming public support, which centred on the gates’ historical and cultural significance, as well as their role as an entrance into Sydney’s Chinatown.

The ceremonial gates were an initiative of the Dixon Street Chinese Committee, established by the council in the 1970s.

Inspired by Chinese “damen” (arches), they were designed by local architect and Labor politician Henry Tsang, who worked for free on the project, which was funded by donations from local businesses.

When completed, the gates were opened by then-lord mayor of Sydney Nelson Meers, and the area – home to Sydney’s Chinese community since the 1930s – was formally named Chinatown.

If these gates are not here, there is really no identifiable Chinatown. It is an important and significant marker, just like what the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge are to Sydney,” said Vincent Lim, president of the Haymarket Chamber of Commerce.

However, the even more important reason why they should be heritage listed is to protect them and to gift them to our future generations.”

You can read the full SMH story by Mary Ward here:  Sydney Chinatown gates get heritage listing (

Photo credit: Christopher Pearce