The hall was built in 1913 and has since been used as an exhibition hall and events space, as the home of the Royal Easter Show, as an ice rink, and as a hospital and morgue. In the 80s it was refurbished by Peddle Thorp and Walker.
The hall was initially designed as an exhibition hall and public entertainment centre. “Architecturally it is a well-conceived and functional building with impressive façades to all four elevations that make it a defining element in the streetscape of Driver Avenue and a picturesque element in the landscape of Moore Park,” was the description stated in the 2007 NSW Government Architect’s Office masterplan for the project.
In 2018 it was announced that the building would become a hub for the Sydney Swans AFL club and the Swifts netball club, with $20 million in funding set aside for the redevelopment of the hall and the renovation of the neighbouring Hordern pavilion.
The Royal Hall of Industries’ central hall will be retained and used as a multipurpose space that will host a variety of different sporting events. Skylights will be inserted into the roof to draw in natural light, while the actual roof and façade will be mostly untouched.
A mezzanine will be constructed around the central span of the building, holding two new internal floors. Administration facilities and high-performance sports facilities for the Sydney Swans would be located in the building in addition to dedicated spaces for the Clontarf and GO Foundations, and homes for a number of public institutions including a Red Cross blood donor centre, and an 80-seat public auditorium.
The proposal also includes the construction of a new that contains a netball court and administration bases. Dubbed the Swifts Building, the design calls will use a material palette that references the Federation style of the Royal Hall of Industries building.
A laneway will sit between the two building and will form part of the landscape design for the site by Arcadia. It will include two terraces for use by the Swans and the Swifts.