In general, the Sydney Observatory complex is of exceptional significance in terms of European culture and, in particular, includes the following: its dominant location beside and above the port town and, later, city of Sydney, made it the site for a range of changing uses, all of which were important to, and reflected, stages in the development of the colony. Such changes included the activities of milling, defence, communications, astronomy, meteorology and timekeeping; the place has an association with many historical figures-colonial governors Hunter, P.G. King, Bligh, Macquarie and Denison; military officers and engineers-Macarthur, Barrallier, Bellasis and Minchin; architects-Greenway, Lewis, Blacket, Weaver, Dawson and Barnet; signallers-Jones and Moffitt; astronomers-P.P. King, Scott, Smalley, Russell, Cooke and Wood.
The model is the first architectural model produced by the Museum's model maker for the specific purpose of showing the three major buildings on the site, namely the Observatory, the Messenger's Cottage and the Signal Master's Cottage. The model incorporates the signalling apparatus, namely flag and semaphore masts. The artefact is a good example of a contemporary approach to modelling Sydney Observatory and thus has a place in the contemporary record of this very significant site.