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Forming the easterly boundary of the CBD, Macquarie Street connects Circular Quays/Sydney Opera House with Hyde Park. It is lined with grand public buildings - along this stretch, initiated in the early part oof the 19th century, were the first buildings constructed with any concept of permanence. Thus, early public buildings to survive redevelopment of the city include the Sydney Hospital, State Parliament, Hyde Park Barracks (now a museum), the Sydney Mint, the State Library (although the major part of the Library on Macquarie Street is a modern extension) and The Treasury (now incorporated into the InterContinental Hotel). It's a grand street and invariably will form part of any exploration of central Sydney.
Sydney's greatest concentration of early public buildings are straddled or near to famous Macquarie St. The best for both looks and visitng reasons is the elegant, two-storey Parliament House. You will also find the Sydney Hospital, the Mint Building, the exquisite Hyde Park Barracks, St James Church and the voluminous State Library. You can take tours of both the Parliament House and the Hospital, while the Barracks and Mint Buildings are both museums. Macquarie St runs from Hyde Park to Circular Quay and is on the border of the central business district.
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Macquarie Place – Walter Renny Drinking Fountain
In 1870 Sydney acquired eight of these elaborate cast-iron canopied drinking fountains. The were chosen by Mayor Renny from an illustrated catalogue of Walter Macfarlane & Co, a prominent Scottish iron foundry. In fact, fountain Number 8 – “Price, complete, ready for fitting up, with four water supply taps, and four drinking cups, delivered in Glasgow: - £27 10 0” – picture 2.
Apparently a small number of the fountains still exist in Sydney but this is the only one I know the whereabouts of. Perhaps someone can enlighten me.
On the face of the fountain (which, as you see, lacks the water faucet), in picture 1, is the narration “Keep the Pavement Dry” – was this an admonition for sloppy drinkers? On the other side the drinker is reminded that "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst" (a quote from Jesus recorded in the Gospel of John – Chap 3, verses 13-14).
The Sydney fountains are of the same design as those acquired around the same time, from the same foundry, by Melbourne and Adelaide. You can find out a little more about one in Port Adelaide by looking at my Port Adelaide tip Water for the Port – Formby Memorial Fountain.
- Historical Travel
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