The Queen Victoria building was constructed in 1898 in celebration of the golden jubilee as a market place. As with many historical buildings, it fell into ruin and almost ended up being torn down but was saved in the nick of time! After a tremendous reconstruction project it re-opened in 1986 with the red stone exterior radiating strength of character and determination once again!
The building has two wings that are four levels each spreading beyond a central domed entry. Look up at the beautiful stained glass dome that is surrounded by carved wood ornamentation. Directly in front of you is a wood staircase that connects the floors resting on the mosaic tiled entry. There are also escalators to your right or left.
To your right (if entering from George St.) you will see the most amazing clock suspended from the glass ceiling in that wing. It was designed by the Queens clock maker to resemble a small Balmoral castle, but it is far greater than just that! The clock has all kinds of moving things! Around the top are important periods of past Australian history. Look here to see Capt. Cook and the beginnings of settlement in Sydney. A native man travels within the minute around each panel causing them to light up as fabulous centerpieces. Around the bottom there is a moving record of the days, months, and years with an old masted sailing ship in rotation.
The shops here are very specialized places interspersed by little cafes. I liked, but did not price, the designer Liz Davenports Clothing shop. There are several Australian Opal companies, but I can't figure out why the prices are so high? Perhaps it is sticker shock, because they did have people making purchases in them. Lovely items....nice to look at and admire! In a Cashmere shop I looked for an item that guide Samepenny mentioned to me months ago. I petted the soft sweater for her and admired it's beautiful color. There is a lovely bridal shop if any of you girls are in the market for a wedding.
One of the floors had a full sized, intricately carved jade Chinese bridal cart. It looked like museum material to me! That sure was a lot of jade! Two figures inside of the glass container were dressed in antique Chinese wedding attire in silk.
If you want to go on a walking tour, there are several ones offered from the information desk on the lower level. I read that one even allows you to climb outside the dome where there are some full sized statues made out of Italian marble.