It was designed by John Smith Murdoch and constructed from 1913-1915, when the planned city of Canberra came into being. It was the first permanent public building in Canberra. It was closed in 1929, but reactivated for periods between 1936 and 1942 and between 1948 and 1957. The Fitters’ Workshop, the second permanent public building, is also in the precinct. The siren and whistle, which signalled times to Government outdoor workers in south Canberra for many years is included in the listing. It is now listed by the ACT Heritage Council.