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Location: 455 George Street, City
The Queen Victoria Building or known simply as the QVB is perhaps one of the most beautiful shopping centre in Sydney. In 1950, the Sydney Country Council formerly known as the Electricity Department set out to introduce plans for a new building. Since then the building has survived two major demolition proposal, one in 1959 and 1965.
Fortunately for the people of Sydney the building became a heritage building in 1974 by the National Trust. The Council held a competition to design the layout for the building in 1977. In all 55 entries were received but only 5 chosen. One year later all proposals by the five finalists were rejected due to the Town Clerk's visionary to create a grand shopping mall for the public.
In 1980, in an effort to find funding to the buildings, the council puts its proposal in a world wide bid. In that same year, Malaysian businessman, Yap Lim Sen oversaw the submission to restore the building. Six years later, the Queen Victoria Building opened to the public as a beautiful and fully restored building with retail shopping centres on four levels.
The QVB is known for its Byzantine influenced statues and works from 19th century master craftsmen, stonemasons, plasters and stained glass artist. If you walk towards one of the entrance of the building, you will find the tall and gloomy statue of Queen Victoria herself. (see right) The statue was a gift from the people of Ireland after it was banished from Ireland due to political changes. The statue shows the queen on the morning of her coronation on the 28th June 1838. Close by is the Royal Wishing Well where the queen's dog Islay is portrayed in a begging fashion. All money donated in the well will be given to the 'New South Wales Institute for Deaf and Blind Children.'
A permanent display, the 'Imperial Bridal Jade Carriage', (see left) the only one of its kind outside of China was created by more than 100 artists on more than 300 ton of raw jade and is a must for all visitors to the building. There is also the Victoria Cross Memorial dedicated to 96 Australians who had been awarded the Victoria Cross. Watch out for the classical paintings at the top most level of the building. There is also a display of Queen Elizabeth II's crow jewels, replicas of course, which can be found on the top most gallery level.
TIP: The Royal Automata Clock within the heart of QVB draws people every hour to its side. It chimes on the hour between 9am to 9pm daily and it is worth watching the clock. Following the Westminister chime you can expect to see a moving pageant from the pages of history. Images include King John signing the Magna Carta, King Henry VIII with his wives, Sir Francis Drake being knighted by Queen Elizabeth I and the execution of King Charles I.
For more information about Queen Victoria Building visit the Queen Victoria Building Homepage.
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