Hordern House Rare Books
Hordern House Rare Books exudes grandeur. It’s an internationally renowned specialist in antique books from Australia’s colonial era, with a focus on voyage and travel throughout the Pacific region. As such, it also deals in historical maps, manuscripts and paintings – think botanical illustrations, scientific journals and portraiture.
For both the scale and pristine condition of its incredible archive, Hordern House is truly a bookshop like nothing else in Sydney, or perhaps the world, suggests co-founder Derek McDonnell. As for how all these books came to be here, that’s best left to the specialists (“We have networks,” McDonnell offers mysteriously).
Hordern House occupies the entire second floor of a converted Surry Hills warehouse, and just getting off the elevator feels like stepping back in time. One end of the sunlit space is purely devoted to reference titles not for the general public. The other is a reading room ripped from a booklover’s wildest dreams, complete with magnifying glass, Persian carpets and leather-bound chairs. It’s the ideal setting to pore over centuries-old titles, such as “Giff and Stiff in the High Seas.” By appointment only.