on May 25, 2010
The Queen Victoria Building, now generally known as the QVB, was completed in 1898, replacing the original Sydney markets which were on this site. Built as a monument to the long reigning British 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.Over many decades, change saw the concert hall become the city library, offices proliferate and more tenants move in, including piano tuners, palmists and clairvoyants. Drastic 'remodelling' occurred during the austere 1930s and the main occupant was the Sydney City Council. As recently as 1959 the Queen Victoria Building was threatened with demolition. A massive restoration project was given the green light in 1982, and Ipoh Garden was awarded the restoration project and a 99-year lease. A major refurbishment in 2009 restored her even further. Today the QVB stands in all her glory, testimony to the original vision for the building and the superb craftsmanship of the artisans who put it all back together again. The QVB fills an entire city block bound by George, Market, York and Druitt Streets. The 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. As befits such a building, many shops are way ‘up-market’ and there are many things available well outside my price range. But not everything is like that. The basement houses a ‘discount store’ and some of the cafes have reasonable prices. To me the building is so interesting that the shops become almost incidental.Access is easy. Parking is accessible from York Street and features undercover parking for 700 cars, valet parking, a car wash and 'Park Assist'. Town Hall Station is the nearest train station and is accessible via the Lower Ground Floor. The QVB bus station is located directly opposite the centre on York Street. The Galleries of Victoria Monorail station is located one block from the QVB The ground floor of the building operates from 9am until 6pm on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. On Thursday it is 9am to 9pm and Sunday 11am until 5pm. The upper floors open one hour later Monday to Saturday. Some cafes and restaurants trade outside these hours.
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