Queen Victoria Building. Sydney, Australia. George McRae. 1898. The structure, bounded by George, Market, York and Druitt Streets, occupies a whole block. "The Queen Victoria Building . . . [replaced] the original Sydney markets on the site. Built as a monument to the long reigning monarch, construction took place in dire times, as Sydney was in a severe recession. 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 — in a worthwhile project. Originally, a concert hall, coffee shops, offices, showrooms, warehouses and a wide variety of tradespeople, such as tailors, mercers, hairdressers and florists, were accommodated." — www.qvb.com.au

Left: Second storey inner court. Right: View from ground Floor. [Click on images to enlarge them.]

The interior is as impressive as its exterior. Its "dominant feature is the mighty centre dome, consisting of an inner glass dome and an exterior copper-sheathed dome. Glorious stained glass windows and splendid architecture endure throughout the building and an original 19th century staircase sits alongside the dome. Every detail has been faithfully restored, including arches, pillars, balustrades and the intricate tiled floors thus maintaining the integrity of the building." — €”www.qvb.com.au

Detail: the spectacular clock.

Another excerpt from the account explains: "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." — www.qvb.com.au


The QVB site has changed since this account was originally transcribed. There is an informative "History of QVB" there now, with a detailed timeline: https://www.qvb.com.au/centre-info/history-of-qvb. But since this does not include some of the useful information given above, we have retained George Landow's quotations from the original version. — Jacqueline Banerjee

Photographs 2002, and added text, by George P. Landow. You may use these images without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.

Last modified 24 January 2024