Queen Victoria Building, Sydney

4.5 out of 5 stars 52 Reviews

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    Qeeen victoria Building

    by mallyak Written Apr 30, 2008

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    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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  • wabat's Profile Photo

    Queen Victoria – Transported from Ireland

    by wabat Updated Jul 20, 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 more, but I should get 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 Queen Victoria 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 been 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.

    My next July 2015 Sydney review: Sydney’s Last Victorian Pissoir

    Queen Victoria
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    QVB

    by martin_nl Updated Nov 4, 2004

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    The Queen Victoria Building, or QVB as referred to by the locals, takes up an entire city block and is completely filled with about 190 shops. All sorts of shops like clothing, jewellery, shoes, art, hairdresser etc. are presented. There are also loads of places where you can have a classy - read expensive - sandwich. However the lower ground level of the QVB is connected to the Myer department store and there you will find a superb foodcourt with cheap food of all sorts.

    When you visit the QVB make sure you go to the top level where you can find Peter Lik's Gallery. You'll be amazed by his photography. Prices are quite steep, but if you want to have a souvenir like this, this is the best place to go.

    The QVB
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    Kiss the Blarney Stone - In Sydney?

    by wabat Updated Jul 20, 2015

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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 less risky method is now 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.

    My next July 2015 Sydney review: Did that dog just talk to me?

    A stone from Blarney Castle, Ireland
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  • wabat's Profile Photo

    Did that dog just talk to me?

    by wabat Updated Jul 20, 2015

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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 now, in his familiar sitting up mode begs 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!

    My next July 2015 Sydney review: Queen Victoria – Transported from Ireland

    Islay - Talking for the deaf and blind Islay Statue Parisian Pissoir ? Fashionable Sydney
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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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  • cjg1's Profile Photo

    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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  • LadyRVG's Profile Photo

    Too Beautiful for a Shopping Mall

    by LadyRVG Updated Jul 28, 2009

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    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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    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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  • Sweetberry1's Profile Photo

    Queen Victoria Building

    by Sweetberry1 Updated Aug 25, 2003

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    This outstanding building occupies an entire city block. It was built in 1898 to replace the original Sydney Markets.
    Later, it accommodated a concert hall, which eventually became the City Library.
    In 1984 it was completely refurbished as a shopping centre, with more than 200 shops.
    The renovations were done by the Malaysian company Ipoh Garden Berhad.
    The turn of the century charm of this building was successfully retained.

    Open Daily

    Queen Victoria Building..
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  • kooka3's Profile Photo

    Go if you're looking for high priced shopping

    by kooka3 Updated Jan 25, 2005

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    This building -- called the QVB by Sydneysiders -- is beautiful. If you're into nice buildings, go check it out. The shops, however, are very high priced - so if you're thinking about buying anything, be prepared for the pricetag!!

    Information Desks are located near the centre dome on both Ground Level and Level Two, where you can get centre directions, general information and a city map to assist you around town.

    The QVB also provides a guided walking tour through the QVB with a member of the Information Staff who are IATG certified Tourist guides. On the tour you will be provided with historical facts and figures on one of Sydney's most famous buildings. Tours run twice daily and leave from the Information Desk. Book through the info desk (or call the number below).

    The basement does have restaurants and a stop of a train station.

    The lower, mezzanine level (basement) provides one of the city’s busiest pedestrian concourses connecting Town Hall railway station to the Pitt Street Mall.

    At ground level, the gradual rise in George Street has been cleverly absorbed into the design with shops steadily rising in height along the length of the block.

    The QVB is open: M-W & F-S 9am - 6pm; Th: 9am - 9pm; Sun. & public holidays I I am - 5pm. Some stores, cafes, & restaurants open longer.

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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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    Queen Victoria Building

    by Canadienne Updated Mar 31, 2003

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    Today, the QVB is a mall ~ filled with fairly upscale shops and boutiques. I don't recommend it for that reason, but for the beautiful exterior architecture. There are over 20 copper domes topping the building. . .a peek inside is worthwhile as well, as the glass-sectioned ceiling lets in light.

    The building takes up a full city block and it was originally a produce market. A great deal of money was spent on saving the building in the early 1980s and it re-opened as a shopping centre later in that decade.

    Sydney's outdoors are so beautiful ~ be careful not to get sucked into shopping. . .a quick detour through the building is all that is necessary.

    Queen Victoria Building, Sydney
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    Queen Victoria Statue

    by Canadienne Updated Mar 31, 2003

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    While you're admiring the Queen Victoria Building, you'll notice this statue at one end (Southern, I think). The statue originally stood in front of the Irish Parliament, but was removed in 1947. . .it disappeared and was eventually located in a small Irish town in the early 80's.

    Queen Victoria Statue
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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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