Rich in history and architecturally stunning, the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) occupies an entire block on Sydney’s George Street and has more than 180 of Sydney’s finest fashion boutiques, blingy jewellery shops, cafes, and yummy restaurants.
If you are unfamiliar with the building then I am sure you have noticed how beautiful it is, but there is a lot more then meets the eye. In this post, I will take you inside the building and show you why this is one of Sydney’s most popular buildings.
Built in the 1890s and it was erected as a Municipal Market on the scale of a Cathedral. The QVB was beautifully restored and re-opened in 1986, and quickly became Sydney’s most popular and prestigious shopping center.
The building was designed by George McRae a Scottish architect who immigrated to Sydney. Dedicated to Queen Victoria, the building has had somewhat of a challenging history beginning with its construction in the middle of an early Sydney recession in 1893.
The Queen Victoria Building was opened in 1898 and contained a large marketplace, a concert hall (with room for 500 people) and a residential hotel called Coffee Palace.
The building that you see now is the result of several million dollars worth of renovations.
For loads of more information on the building, you could join a guided tour. They tell you an in-depth history of the building and gives you lots of interesting information. The tours are only $15 per person and they run on Tuesdays, Thursday, and Saturdays at 11:30 am for about 45 minutes. Just report at the concierge service on site and that you want to join the tour.
The whole building is just grande. From the moment you walk in you notice stunning flooring, design work everywhere and beautiful stained glass windows.
There are two clocks in the Queen Victoria Building, each of which has remarkable details missed by many visitors to the center. Keep an eye out for the Royal Clock (which goes on the hour) and shows six English royalty scenes, paired with the trumpet voluntary of Jeremiah Clarke. Then there’s the Great Australian Clock, which shows 33 scenes from Australian history, as seen from both Aboriginal and European perspectives. You’ll notice the Aboriginal hunter circling the outside all the time, to represent the passage of time.
The Great Australian Clock weighs four tonnes and is ten meters tall. It is a biggy.
An interesting fact: On the top level of the QVB, near the dome, there is a display containing a letter written by Queen Elizabeth II in 1986. It is to be opened in 2085 and read to the people of Sydney by the city’s mayor, but nobody knows what the letter contains – Oooooooo, hopefully, some juicy secrets about Queen Victoria 😉
If you’re looking to do some architecture photography, you’ll never run out of things to photograph here. It can get crowded on the weekends though. But it’s still definitely worth a look around.
If you love afternoon/high tea go to The Team Room, one of the best places I have been. Make sure to book in advance and check out the different types of high tea available.
The building is located slap BANG in the CBD. Located on George Street near Darling Harbour. So getting to it is not that difficult. Since it is in the city center it is probably a good idea to take the public transport but there is a carpark nearby if you wish to travel on your own accord.
Train | Town Hall train station is the closest to QVB and is accessible from the Lower Ground Floor of the building.
Bus | The QVB bus station is located behind the center on York Street.
Car | 700 space car park accessible via York Street, includes valet parking, car wash and, park assist services.
Phone number | 61 2 9265 6800
Email for inquiries | firstname.lastname@example.org
Opening hours | Mon-Sat 9am-6pm; Sun 11am-5pm
Website| Queen Victoria Building
CHECK OUT SOME MORE TRAVEL TIPS HERE:
- Sydney city guide
- Sydney by night
- Mini guide to Bondi beach
- Bondi to Coogee Coastal Walk
- Taronga Zoo
- Palm Beach and Barrenjoey Lighthouse
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