Left: “Billesdon”, Strathfield – 1915 (featured in Building Magazine 1915)
Right: Queens Picture Theatre, Crows Nest – 1914

The historical line of the architectural practice began in 1913 with Rupert V. Minnett Architect. It was established on residential projects and some commercial buildings.

The practice formally commenced in Sydney. In 1936 he moved to the North Sydney area, establishing his practice in Crows Nest.

Minnett developed a long-term relationship with North Sydney Council, including enlarging the North Sydney Council building. He also undertook major works for the North Sydney Church of England Grammar School ‘Shore’ and the ANZAC Memorial Hall in North Sydney.

Our office still has architectural linen plans dating to 1925, accounts and progress claim certification books from 1929, Development Approval Consents from 1925 and antique surveying and camera equipment.


Left: Commercial Building, Willoughby Road, Crows Nest – 1938
Right: Sydney Church of England Grammar School, North Sydney – 1939

In 1938, with Grandison Charles Cullis-Hill’s graduation, the partnership Rupert V. Minnett & Cullis-Hill was formed.

The firm grew to larger commercial projects and larger clients with ongoing work. It also maintained small and large residential projects (including housing commission work) and some schools, clubs and recreational buildings.

While a partner in the practice, Cullis-Hill was also a founding member of the Practising Architects Association in NSW (the association which established the Practice Notes), a founding member of the Institute of Arbitrates of Australia and the first Technical Advisor to the NSW RAIA, and served for many years on the NSW Chapter Professional Practice Committee. He has been noted as a “father figure” to many architects in New South Wales.

The practice was also one of the earliest firms to regularly employ women architects. Eleanor Cullis-Hill, recognised as a pioneer amongst Australian female architects and Grandison’s wife, on occasions assisted in the firm whilst running her own sole architectural practice, as did their daughter Caroline.


Left: Kalamazoo House, Blues Point Road, North Sydney – 1958
Right: Industrial Development, Riverview Industrial Estate, Lane Cove – 1980

In 1955 Richard Neil Petersen and Robert Edward Powell joined as partners and the firm became known as Rupert V. Minnett Cullis-Hill Petersen & Powell. Both Petersen and Powell had joined the firm as architectural apprentices at the age of 17 in 1945.

Powell was involved in schools, Public Works projects and residential projects and was a regular judge on architectural award panels. Petersen took charge of commercial projects and helped establish many long standing client relationships, including Shell Australia who was a client for over 40 years.


Left: BP Rozelle – 2000
Right: Multi-Purpose Hall, St Aidan’s, Rooty Hill – 1999

With the resignation of Robert Powell in 1980, the firm became known as Minnett Cullis-Hill Petersen, and became a registered company in 1982.

In 1987 Frank Sciberras joined Petersen as Director of Minnett Cullis-Hill Petersen Pty Ltd. Sciberras joined the company as a Senior Architect in 1979 having worked with three of the past directors and then individually directed the practice as Managing Director, upon the retirement of Petersen.

From the 1950s, the firm had continued to develop its client relationships with large commercial clients, Councils and the Department of Public Works, whilst remaining involved in smaller scale residential projects and community projects.

Over the 50 years the practice developed a reputation for expertise in schools, hospitals, service stations, commercial buildings, shopping centres, clubs, offices, banks, radio stations, ecclesiastical buildings, apartment blocks and individual residences.


In 2001 Minnett Cullis-Hill Petersen Pty Ltd ceased trading and MCHP Architects Pty Ltd was incorporated.

With the new directorship of David Cahill and Chris Jones in 2004, following the retirement of Frank Sciberras, the history of the architectural practice continues.

The firm maintains its philosophy of developing long standing client relationships, liberal thinking and the reputation for well considered designs and expertise across a wide range of projects.