Queen Victoria Building, Sydney

4.5 out of 5 stars 50 Reviews

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  • Queen Victoria Building
    by wise23girl
  • Queen Victoria Building
    by globetrott
  • Queen Victoria Building
    by globetrott
  • sirgaw's Profile Photo

    - in a word: MAGNIFICENT

    by sirgaw Written Oct 30, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    I had heard of the magnificence of the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) and wanted to explore the building so dear to the hearts of Sydneysiders.

    We caught the train from near our hotel and alighted at the Town Hall station. We followed the signs and suddenly we found ourselves in the lower ground floor of the huge structure. In a way it was a pity that we arrived that way, as it would have been better for “first look” to walk towards the building from ground level and see the vastness of the building that fills an entire city block.

    Over a couple of hours we walked most of the interior building and window shopped - and there is an amazing array of shops from the chain stores like Country Road and Esprit that can be seen in almost any shopping centre in Australia, to the quirky arty crafty shops and many in between. The QVB is also home to the ABC Shop where many fine books; CD’s, DVD’s and lots more await your pleasure. There are up market cafes and coffee shops and a few grab and go eateries and all surrounded by late 19th century grandeur.

    What sets the QVB apart from the many shopping centers is the opulence of the building itself. From the cast iron balconies and magnificent stairwells to the stained glass windows, the dome and the multi faced clocks that are such a distinctive feature of the building.

    Once outside there is a small public area containing a large statue of Queen Victoria. In Melbourne I like to tell the yarn about that explains that during the renovation of the building, the owners wanted a statue of Q Vic, so they travelled to Melbourne and offered to buy OUR statue that overlooks the city of Melbourne from the banks of the Yarra River - no deal they were told. So they hunted the world looking for a cheap statue and found the one that now graces the entrance to the QVB in the Republic of Ireland where statues of the late queen are considered passé

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  • LadyRVG's Profile Photo

    Too Beautiful for a Shopping Mall

    by LadyRVG Updated Jul 28, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Queen Victoria Building is simply too beautful to be a shopping mall. The building which was built in 1898 is beautiful in it's Byzantine architecture. This is a massive structure that takes up an entire city block. It was first used as a replacement to the Sydney Markets, then a concert hall, a library and then retail space. There are over 200 shops inside the QV B.

    The building has some incredible stained glass windows and beautiful wood work. There are two clocks in the building: one displays Bristish Queen and Kings of History and the other
    has examples of Australian highlights. Ther is also a central exhibit with replicas of the British crown jewels at the time of Queen Victoria's reign as well as a full scale coach.

    Even if you aren't in the mood to shop you must come to see this beautiful piece of architecture for yourself.

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    casual hangout

    by octoberry Written Apr 15, 2009

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    With its convenient passageway to Town Hall Station, Queen Victoria Building or QVB was the meeting point for my friend and I. apart from shopping the designers' products, you can also simply enjoy its Victorian architecture.

    i had a very nice time there just hanging out and watching people. Queens Cafe on Level 1 of the building is my recommendation.

    QVB Queens Cafe Queens Cafe

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  • Kakapo2's Profile Photo

    Australia's most spectacular Christmas Tree

    by Kakapo2 Updated Dec 7, 2008

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you happen to be in Sydney around Christmas time, do not miss to have a look at the spectacular Christmas tree in the Queen Victoria Building (QVB). It is Australia's largest indoor tree - and surely one of the world's most expensive Christmas trees. (Do not know what the sheiks do... ;-)

    On the VT Forum the question came up how they get this 24 metre high tree into the building, as the tree extends through three floors.

    The solution is easy if you know the secret... ;-)

    The tree is not a one piece tree you would cut in the forest. It is made up of many single parts.

    It is 24 metres high and extends through three floors but only the bottom part of the trunk is a real tree trunk. On top of that they put a conic steel construction. They put about 1700 branches into that steel cone. Every branch is decorated before being attached to the cone.

    They attach about 15,000 Swarovski crystals to the tree. Each crystal costs AU$ 100, so the value of the crystals only adds up to AU$1.5 million. The decoration is complete with 40,000 lights, 8,000 baubles and 400 bows.

    30 people work on the branches alone for three nights, and in total they - plus eight riggers and two electricians - need nearly two weeks to put everything together. They are guarded by security staff during the installation, as you can imagine. You will find out that you will not reach the crystals by leaning over the banisters of the stairwell...

    The tree is on display from 25 October to 6 January.

    See more photos of the tree in the travelogue at the bottom of this page.

    VT member wallywombat has provided a good link to a page with more information:


    What I absolutely do not understand is why they do not post any information about the Christmas tree on the QVB website (www.qvb.com.au).

    Just a thought while writing this tip a second time...

    What I really love about VT is that if I do not write a tip in a Word .doc and do not save it before uploading a photo, you can be sure the upload process breaks down and everything is lost. It is nearly as magic as Christmas.

    15,000 crystals, 400 bows...
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  • mallyak's Profile Photo

    Qeeen victoria Building

    by mallyak Written Apr 30, 2008

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Queen Victoria Building has been described by Pierre Cardin as "the most beautiful shopping centre in the world". This outstanding example of Byzantine architecture, which occupies an entire city block, was built in 1898 to replace the original Sydney Markets. Later, it accommodated a concert hall, which eventually became the City Library. The building was remodelled in the 1930s and used for different purposes, including municipal offices. In 1984 it was completely refurbished as a shopping centre, with more than 200 shops. The renovations, by the Malaysian company Ipoh Garden Berhad, were highly imaginative and thoughtful. Most important, they retained the turn-of-the-century charm of the building.

    The building has a series of domes and domelets with exquisite stained glass windows and extensive wood panelling throughout.

    There is a marvellous hanging clock that displays a series of mechanically moving tableaux of British kings and queens every hour on the hour. This "exhibition" is heralded by loud trumpeters and ends with the beheading of Charles I. Permanent and temporary exhibitions have a home at different points on each level and include replicas of the British crown jewels and a highly ornamental, full-scale oriental coach. The building accomodates a series of royal paintings.

    The building is a major attraction for both visitors and residents and is open every day. Shops with Old-Worlde shopfronts are located on three levels and here you will find some of the most interesting shopping in Sydney, shops such as New Guinea Arts, which has a remarkable array of native artefacts from New Guinea.

    If you are interested in Shopping while enjoying the old world charm of the surrounds, then you will also enjoy visiting The Strand.

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  • stevemt's Profile Photo

    A Must Visit

    by stevemt Updated Jul 31, 2007

    The building was completed in 1898 and named the Queen Victoria Building as a monument to the long-reigning monarch.

    It was in 1959 threatened with demolition, but was saved and restored thank god.

    Evferyone should come and visit this treasure

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  • lisha74's Profile Photo


    by lisha74 Written Oct 21, 2006

    Sydney had several shopping arcades, but the QVB was the most well known and for good reason. The inside of the building is several levels and absolutely beautiful. As true with most of Sydney, stores closed in the late afternoon, but the interior was open later to walk through. We also found a cafe/restaurant inside that stayed open after all the shops closed..

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  • leffe3's Profile Photo

    The QVB

    by leffe3 Written Aug 26, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Completed in 1898, the QVB is a monumental exercise in celebrating the reign of Queen Victoria. Foreward thinking, the government of the day built this concert hall (the original use) during a time of recession and in such a grand manner to purposefully employ many out-of-work skilled and semi-skilled workers (as well as labourers etc). In time, changes have been made and for a time it was the city library and the headquarters of the City of Sydney Council. Amazingly, it was slated for demolition as recent as 1959.

    Nowadays, it's one of the places to shop, occupying one huge central city block and attracting all the international retailers of repute (and expense...:)). It's more a place to browse than buy (plenty of places cheaper) but certainly worth your time - and check out the toilets on the first (American 2nd) floor.

    as reflected in the Hilton Hotel facing

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  • The Queen Victoria Building - Part II

    by mke1963 Written May 2, 2006

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    The whole building is full of interesting details, some of them not so small: there are several of the world's most spectacular clocks. The Royal Clock, made in 1986, shows episodes from English history and at the other end of the building, the bigger Royal Australian Clock, made in 2000, shows episodes in Australian history.

    It would be trite to say that they just don'tmake buildings like this anymore - they do. This building was largely 'remade' by the current owners and it is a god example of how commercial and retail buildings can become civc monuments and part of the very real heritage of a city.

    There is actually a lot more to see, including a royal wishing well, statues, the stained glass, a disaply on the Victoria Cross medal, and there are two daily tours of the building, at 11.30 and 2.30. These would be an excellent way to discover more about one of Sydney's most graceful buildings.

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  • The Queen Victoria Building - Part I

    by mke1963 Updated May 2, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Most go there to shop; some go to eat; a few got to the Queen Victoria Building to admire the wonderful architecture, the stained glass and the genteel atmosphere of this extremely graceful building in central Sydney. The rich red sandstone facade stretches along the slope of George Street, with bright red flags fluttering in the breeze.

    Inside, the polished mosaic floors and wrought iron detailing on the three floors make it a classy place, like one of those crutsy old imperial hotels. A number of restaurants and cafes make use of the wide walkways, and there is no finer place to have a bite to eat than in the dappled sunlight streaming in through the rooflights.

    The Queen Victoria Building was constructed at a time of recession in Australia, so we are lucky that the building exists at all. It seems that the market and municipal officials peresevered to replace the old markets that stood here, and the George McRae gave Sydney people something to be proud of, even if they were hungry. Originally the building housed a concert hall - later a library - and the showrooms of many local tradesmen. However, it was not long before there were calls for it to be demolished and Sydney is even more fortunate that the QVB survived; similar buildings in many cities have not. It may be a bit of an irritant to many Australians that it was a Malaysian company that actually undertook the restoration and renovation.

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  • imstress's Profile Photo

    Queen Victoria Building (QVB)

    by imstress Updated Apr 26, 2006

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Queen Victoria Building was constructed in 1893 as a fresh produce market and was named Queen Victoria Markets then.

    This Victorian style building was designed by architect George McRae and is located in the heart of Sydney's CBD.

    Both the interior and exterior provides very good photography opportunities.

    Outside Queen Victoria Building
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    • Historical Travel
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  • globetrotter06's Profile Photo

    Queen Victoria Building

    by globetrotter06 Updated Apr 19, 2006

    2 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The Queen Victoria Building was completed in 1898, replacing the original Sydney markets on the site. Originally, a concert hall, coffee shops, offices, showrooms, warehouses and a wide variety of tradespeople were accommodated. Today the building still hosts several shops, boutiques and coffee shops.

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  • JeffandMerliis's Profile Photo

    Expensive shopping - don't buy... just go look.

    by JeffandMerliis Written Sep 17, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This place is (technically) a shopping center but I view it to be more of a work of art. Ornate displays including a model of a jade carriage, a very beautiful clock, and art work that shows the founding of Australia. As far as the shopping aspect goes, there are many stores including souvenir shops as well as clothing, jewelry, and the other stores you would expect to see at any mall anywhere.

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  • kooka3's Profile Photo

    The Great Australian Clock

    by kooka3 Written Jul 27, 2005

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    This clock was put into the QVB about 5 years ago in mid-2000, and is pretty impressive. It's suspended from the Centre Dome of the building, and is the world's larges hanging animated turret clock. It weights 4 tonnes and is 10 metres tall. There are 32 clocks, 12 of which show international times.There are 33 paintings, and 138 hand carved figurines.

    It tells the story of Australia from both Aborigianal and European perspectives. One of the key features of the clock is a symbolic Aboriginal figure that circles continuously around an upper level of the clock, representing the passage of time. It is based on a elder from Australia's Treeless Plains. As it pses by the scenes, some of them light up or become animated. To see this figure, it's best to go to the highest level.

    QVB clock
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  • yellowbell's Profile Photo

    Shopping Mall and Museum rolled into one

    by yellowbell Updated Jul 20, 2005

    The 1890's Byzantine inspired architecture became a concert hall, municipal offices and now a shopping mall. This is really the most exquisite shopping mall I've ever seen with it's stained glass windows, domes and wood panelling.

    Take time to look at the hanging clock which features moving tableaux of British kings and queens every hour, on the hour.

    It's a mini museum for me since the upper floor showcases permanent exhibition of replicas of British crown jewels and personal effects of Queen Victoria.

    Pictures of old QVB lined walls of the staircase.

    Queen Victoria Building
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    • Architecture

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