Queen Victoria Building, Sydney

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  • Queen Victoria Building, Sydney
    Queen Victoria Building, Sydney
    by antistar
  • Queen Victoria Building, Sydney
    Queen Victoria Building, Sydney
    by antistar
  • Queen Victoria Building
    by wise23girl
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    Queen Victoria Building

    by antistar Written May 21, 2015

    The Queen Victoria Building is a majestic sandstone structure, capped with copper domes. It has a storied interior chiseled out and lit in soft diffuse light that falls from its vaulted glass ceiling. Even though it has been renovated into an upmarket shopping mall, it still possesses a grandeur that must have been present when it was first built, and given the moniker and blessing of Queen Victoria. The central feature of its interior design are two grand mechanical clocks, the Royal Clock and the Great Australian Clock, that pay respects to the old colonial world and the new.

    Queen Victoria Building, Sydney Queen Victoria Building, Sydney Queen Victoria Building, Sydney Queen Victoria Building, Sydney Queen Victoria Building, Sydney

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    Queen Victoria – Transported from Ireland

    by wabat Written May 16, 2015

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    When the owners of one of Sydney’s most beautiful buildings, the Queen Victoria Building, decided to renovate it in the mid 1980s they sought a suitable statue to place at the main entrance. What could fit the bill better than a statue of Queen Victoria herself? Well nothing, so the owners scoured numerous ex British colonies and overseas possessions to see if they could find a suitable statue of the great lady. One was finally located in Ireland, which seemed eager to rid itself of it. And so it was that Sydney secured this statue of Queen Victoria.

    Do indulge me as I tell you a little of the history of this statue. I hope you find it as interesting as I do.

    The 4.5 metre high bronze statue of the Queen, by John Hughes, was first unveiled on 17 February 1908 in front of Leinster House in Dublin. Leinster House was then owned by the Royal Dublin Society.

    It will come as no surprise to those with a knowledge of Irish history that the good Queen’s statue was not to everyone’s liking in Dublin and indeed it was soon christened ‘The Auld ***’, by no less than James Joyce.

    This rechristening of statues and artwork in Dublin continues to this day such that if you wander around the city centre you can encounter ‘The Floozy in the Jacuzzi’, ‘The Prick with the Stick’ (ironically a statue of James Joyce!), the ‘Tart with the Cart’ (Molly Malone), ‘The Stiffy at the Liffey’, ‘The Erection at the Intersection’ and one of my favorites, ‘The Fag on the Crag’ (Oscar Wilde sprawled on a granite mound). There are many more, but back to ‘The Auld ***’.

    Despite the general populaces dislike of it, Victoria’s statue survived the revolutionary years intact but following Irish Independence in 1921 there were regular calls to remove the statue, particularly as Leinster House was now the Parliament of the Irish Free State. The thought of the statue looking down on the nascent Irish legislators was too much to bear for many.

    The Irish Times newspaper reported in August 1929 that discussions to remove the statue were underway “on the basis that its continued presence there is repugnant to national feeling, and that, from an artistic point of view, it disfigures the architectural beauty of the parliamentary buildings”. The Irish Parliament didn’t move to remove it and at the time the official government line was that “The statue in question is not regarded as a valuable or attractive work of art; nevertheless, it is not thought that its effect on popular taste is so debasing as to necessitate the expenditure of public funds on its removal”.

    In 1933 Fianna Fáil, the governing party, declared that it was “inconsistent with the main objects of Fianna Fáil that this relic of imperialism should still disgrace the precincts of our Parliamentary institution.” But again the government did nothing to remove it.

    The statue was finally removed and put into storage in 1947 ostensibly, according to the then Prime Minister, to make way for more car parking space.

    In 1986 the statue left Ireland, on a ‘permanent loan’ basis, on a ship bound for Sydney. The Irish press was quick to remark on how the Auld *** had been transported to Australia like many of Ireland’s miscreants had during the Queen’s reign. The Irish Independent newspaper reported that:

    It took but a moment for the Irish nation to wrench themselves from their beloved statue and transport it (sorry), ship it to our distant cousins in the Antipodes.

    On December 20, 1987 Queen Victoria’s statue was again unveiled in its current location. A plaque on the statue today explains a little of its history:

    At the request of the City of Sydney this statue of Queen Victoria was presented by the Government and people of Ireland in a spirit of goodwill and friendship. Until 1947, it stood in front of Leinster House, Dublin, The Seat of The Irish Parliament. Sculptured by John Hughes, RHA, Dublin 1865-1941. Unveiled on 20th December, 1987 by Sir Eric Neal, Chief Commissioner.

    As it happens, the last royal statue to be erected in Ireland is also the last royal statue to be erected in Australia.

    A few metres away, is a statue of Queen Victoria favourite dog, Islay. See my separate review on Islay here.

    Until I can locate one of my own pictures of the statue I have attached an open source picture by Bjørn Christian Tørrissen courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

    Queen Victoria
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    The Great Australian Clock of QVB

    by globetrott Updated Oct 23, 2014

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    This is the Great Australian Clock that you will find as the second of the unique clocks hanging down from the ceiling of the Queen Victoria Building.
    This clock was designed and made by Chris Cook and when you take a closer look you will see 33 scenes from Australian history, seen from the perspective of the Aboriginals as well as the one of the Europeans.
    It will take some time to dedect some other fine details like an Aboriginal hunter, who goes around the clock in a circle (see it in my 3rd & 4th Picture) and there is also a ship that is going around the clock at another place, see it in my last picture !

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    The "Royal Clock"

    by globetrott Updated Oct 23, 2014

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    "Royal Clock"

    This is the "Royal Clock" that you will find right under the roof of the Queen Victoria Building and when you have been to Balmoral and other places in Scotland you will see various
    details that will remind you a lot of these places in Scotland. You will see this interesting clock from all levels of the Queen Victoria Building, but of course you will have the best view from the top-floor, where you will see as well the fine details of this masterpiece designed by Neil Glasser and manufactured in Great Britain by Thwaites & Reed of Hastings !
    On the clock you will be able to see various scenes of english history like King John signing the Magna Charta, the execution of Charles I and some more !

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    Queen Victoria Building, the QVB

    by globetrott Written Oct 19, 2014

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    The Queen Victoria Building was built in 1898 in the place of a local market and it was restored again in 1984 and it is nowadays not only the most beautiful shoppingcentre in Sydney, but also a place to eat inside some great cafes and restaurants and a place to relax in stylish, beautiful arcades and lots of pieces of art like the famous "Royal Clock" under the Roof.
    No entrancefee to the building, just take a walk and enjoy the scenery there !

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    Explore The Queen Victoria Building

    by wise23girl Updated Jun 19, 2014

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    Well I just love going to Queen Victoria Building and make a point of doing so whenever I visit Sydney, This time staying in Astral Towers of the Star Casino I was in walking distance by just crossing the Pyrmont Bridge across Cockle Bay.
    I walked there in record time so I could enjoy breakfast on the second floor. I was only sorry I could not stay long enough to indulge in what the nearby tea room had to offer...but save that for next time I reckon.
    I just love the old building known as Q V B and it would be a good idea for you to have a look at this link to read the history and see some amazing photographs. I am sure other of our VTers hav stories of QVB on their Sydney pages as well.
    QVB

    As soon as I arrived I spied Jigsaw fashion one of my favourites and sure enough before leaving I had made a purchase there.On Level 3 I think it was there is a shop selling pens and pencils and other exciting things and as usual I came away with some gifts ...just a little different from the usual.

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    Did that dog just talk to me?

    by wabat Written Sep 29, 2013

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    When the adjacent Queen Victoria Building was being restored in the 1980s, Malaysian developers Ipoh Gardens decided that an exterior sculpture of Queen Victoria would be an appropriate addition.

    The hunt for a second -hand statue commenced and in the end Ireland obliged. Having found the requisite statutory something was required to cover an unsightly air vent from an underground car park which sat about 10 metres from where Her Majesty was to be erected.

    To complement the Queen’s statue, Sydney sculptor Justin Robson was commissioned to produce a bronze sculpture (based on Victoria's own 1843 sketch) of her favourite pet dog, a Skye terrier called Islay as the centrepiece for a wishing well. He did a splendid job on the dog though in 2002, dog aside, the Sydney Morning Herald (I feel, not unfairly) described the wishing well/air vent thus “From a distance it looks like a Parisian pissoir, but as you get closer, you realise there is no way to get inside”.

    Islay, whenever he saw Queen Victoria would sit up and beg for a biscuit – he would now, in his familiar sitting up mode beg for the deaf and blind children of Australia. A plaque on the wishing well features a poem telling the story of Islay (with braille translation) while four proverbs highlighting the morality of giving are also featured in six different languages.

    An additional and somewhat peculiar addition to the wishing well is a stone from the battlements of Blarney Castle in Ireland. This is securely fixed to the rim of the well and is the subject of my separate review – “Kiss the Blarney Stone - In Sydney?”

    Islay silently went about his business of collecting money for deaf and blind children until 1996 when he received the power of speech in the form of the recorded dulcet tones of local radio shock-jock, John Laws. As you pass by now Islay encourages you to make a wish and cast a coin into the well in aid of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children.

    "Hello, my name is Islay," announces Islay in a deep voice. "...Because of the many good deeds I've done for deaf and blind children, I have been given the power of speech”. The pièce de résistance is Islay’s two barks of thanks at the end of the routine.

    The real Islay died on 26th April 1844, aged five, fallowing an altercation with a cat and is buried in Adelaide Cottage, Windsor Castle, UK.

    A change of subject, if I may.

    Many people have the impression that Australian’s walk around in shorts and thongs (the foot-ware variety!) and lack any sense of fashion. I trust the lady in my final photo helps squash this vile impression forever and proves that fashion is alive and well, in Sydney at least!

    Islay - Talking for the deaf and blind Islay Statue Parisian Pissoir ? Fashionable Sydney
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    Kiss the Blarney Stone - In Sydney?

    by wabat Written Sep 29, 2013

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    He or she who kisses the Blarney Stone is filled with eloquence and has a way with words or, as many would say, has the gift of the gab or is full of the blarney. Wabat has kissed the Blarney stone, not once, but twice!

    “The” Blarney Stone is high up and set into the battlements of Blarney Castle in Ireland and to kiss it used to involve being dangled, by the legs, over the edge of the Castle wall – at some significant distance from the ground. I understand a somewhat now less risky method is employed.

    Why am I telling you this in a tip on Sydney? Let me explain.

    This is one of those instances where it pays to keep your eyes peeled to your surroundings. One of the best known buildings in Sydney is the Queen Victoria Building and tis somewhat of a tourist magnet. A lesser number of people stop to have a look at a statue of Queen Victoria just outside the building (City Hall side), an even smaller number have a look at a nearby (10 metres) wishing well and few take note of a stone stuck to the lip of the wishing well.

    This stone - about 10-15cm square and the subject of this tip – is, as the plaque states a stone from the Battlements of Blarney Castle. It is not, and I repeat, It is not part of the Blarney Stone. Alas, my dear friends, kiss it you may and many do, but if you want the gift of eloquence you really do have to go to Ireland.

    Why this stone is Sydney and why it is attached to a wishing well related to Queen Victoria – not the most revered of British monarchs in Ireland - is somewhat of a mystery. The statue, wishing well and stone all went on display in Sydney in 1987.

    From the plaque accompanying the stone, one can ascertain that it was a gift to the people of Sydney from the Lord Mayor of Cork, through the courtesy of Sir Richard Colthurst. The Colthurst family own Blarney Castle and Sir Richard, being short of funds like many of the landed gentry in the seventies and the eighties, opened Blarney Castle to the public. Perhaps having a bit of it on display in Sydney was a form of advertising. I really don’t know.

    Do have a look but its no substitute for going to Ireland.

    A stone from Blarney Castle, Ireland
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    VISIT THE QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING

    by DennyP Updated Dec 30, 2011

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    SYDNEY Q.V.B.
    The Queen Victoria Building is just not only for shopping...This fine Victorian building was left to fall into dissrepair until a few years back it was completely refurbished and now is one of the most beautiful old buildings in the city of Sydney. After the huge restoration project on the building it is now a major shopping location.There are over 200 shops here and whatever you like it is here..from fine clothes to to lovely chocolate..from books to ice cream smoothies..This is a place where you can spend a lot of time as there is always something new here..This is also the location of the Town Hall railway station.

    A VIEW OF THE INTERIOR OF THE QVB.. THIS IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CLOCK SOME OF THE MANY SHOPS IN THE Q.V.B. THE LARGE QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING..GEORGE STREET.. ENTRANCE TO THE Q.V.B.  TOWN HALL & QUEEN VICTORIA
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    Queen Victoria Building

    by cjg1 Updated Jul 23, 2010

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    The Queen Victoria building takes up an entire city block. The building is beautiful in its Romaneque revival architecture. The building was deigned by architect George McRae and opened in 1898. The building was named after the ruling Monarch, Queen Victoria of Great Britain.

    The building has a central dome of glass and copper which gives the interior a open feel.
    Stained glass windows are throughout the interior of the building. One window has the ancient arms of the City of Sydney and is quite beautiful.

    Inside the building are two mechanical clocks, each one featuring dioramas and moving figures from moments in Australian history. The first clock is the Royal Clock. The clock was designed by Neil Glasser and made by Thwaites & Reed of Hastings in England. The clock shows scenes of English royalty from King John signing the Magna Carta to the execution of King Charles I. The second clock is The Great Australian Clock. It was designed and made by Chris Cook. There are 33 scenes from Australian history, seen from both Aboriginal and European perspectives. An Aboriginal hunter circles the exterior of the clock continuously, representing the never-ending passage of time.

    There are also two large glass cases inside the building. The first case contains an Imperial Chinese Bridal Carriage made entirely of jade and weighing over two tons, the only example found outside China. The second is a life sized figure of Queen Victoria in historical costume on her coronation day. There are replicas of the British crown jewels(during her reign). The figure of the Queen in her regal attire rotates slowly in the case.

    The building Has four floors of shopping. There are cafes, jewelry stores, clothing stores and more. It was amazing to walk through this building. We walked the four floors more than once. There was so much decoration and artwork to be seen before we even bothered to look at the shops.

    Beautiful Stained Glass The Royal Clock Queen Victoria

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    THE CROWN JEWELS @ QVB

    by balhannah Updated Feb 27, 2010

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    The Crown Jewels is another permanent display. They were crafted from the originals that are housed in the Tower of London. There is a life size statue that shows Queen Victoria on the morning of her coronation, 28 June 1838.

    This is another excellent display, well worth a look at, especially if you are never going to get to London!

    Part of the displayl
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    QUEEN VICTORIA BUILDING

    by balhannah Updated Feb 27, 2010

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    THIS MAGNIFICENT BUILDING IS A MUST SEE IN SYDNEY!

    Known as QVB, this beautiful building was completed in 1898, replacing the original Sydney markets on the site. It was built during a severe recession as a monument to the long reigning monarch, Queen Victoria.

    The elaborate Romanesque architecture was specially planned for the grand building so the Government could employ many out-of-work craftsmen - stonemasons, plasterers, and stained window artists, and excellent idea!
    Originally, there was a concert hall, that is now the City Library. You will find all sorts of stores, from coffee shops, florists, hairdressers to offices and showrooms, I even bought some nice, good quality T shirts from here.

    The dominant feature is the mighty centre dome, consisting of an inner glass dome and an exterior copper- sheathed dome. Stained glass windows and stunning architecture are seen throughout the building and an original 19th century staircase sits alongside the dome. As recently as 1959 the Queen Victoria Building was threatened with demolition, thankgoodness this never happened. Every detail has been faithfully restored, including arches, pillars, balustrades and the intricate tiled floors.

    Please check the website for trading hours. The shops are open every day of the week.

    Of importance, is a Time capsule containing a letter written by Queen Elizabeth II in 1986 to the citizens of Sydney, to be opened and read by the lord Mayor of Sydney, 99 years later in 2085, the year the 99 year lease of the building expires!..........wonder what it will say?

    Location......Level 2

    Queen Victoria Building
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    JADE BRIDAL CARRIAGE @ QVB

    by balhannah Updated Feb 27, 2010

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    A permanent display in the Queen Victoria building is the 'Imperial Bridal Carriage', believed to be the only one of its kind outside of China. This beautiful carriage was created by more than 100 artists on more than 300 ton of raw jade. The finished weight of the carriage is approx two tonnes.

    A MUST SEE!

    LOCATION....Level 2, North End

    Imperial bridal carriage
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    STAINED GLASS WINDOWS @ QVB

    by balhannah Written Feb 27, 2010

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    The stained glass windows here are beautiful. The one in my photo, faces George Street. It is known as a cartwheelwindow. It shows part of the ancient coat of Arms of Sydney.

    Location.. Level One and two where the centre dome area is.

    One of the stained glass windows

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    AUSTRALIAN CLOCK @ QVB

    by balhannah Updated Feb 27, 2010

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    The Great Australia clock is another clock that should not be missed!
    Located on the northern side of the centre dome, it is the world's largest hanging animated turret clock!
    It took 4 years to build at a cost of $1.5million, and was installed in the year 2000.

    The clock chimes hourly and half past the hour.

    This clock tells the story of Australia from the perspectives of the Aboriginal & European settlers. One of the features, is the Aboriginal figure representing the 'passing of time' This figure travels permanently around the clock, representing the continuous passage of time. As he passes the illustrated scenes, many animations are activated.

    If you do not wish to wait for it to begin, ......DO A GOOD DEED
    and put a $2 donation in the Guide Dog named "mitch' who sits infront of the clock. This will activate a two minute animation of the top canopy carousel. The money is then donated to training Guide dogs for the Blind.

    Scenes that you will see are..............
    1. Aborigines before european settlement.
    2. Captain cook landing in 1770.
    3. Second fleet landing 1790.
    4. Crossing the Blue Mountains.
    5. the taking of the children.
    6. Corroboree.
    7. Judgement of Myall Creek massacre
    8. The black line, Tasmania, 1830.
    9. annual blessing Torres Strait islands
    10. Eureka stockade.
    11. Battlefields of 1861
    12. Lords at London
    13. Opening of Parliament 1901
    14. Soldiers return to the outback 1945.
    15. Unity 1999.

    I stood and watched this quite a few times, it is so well done, simply amazing!

    Scenes on the clock The Australian Clock
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