Queen Victoria Building

Darling Harbour South Steyne Floating Restaurant

 455 George St, Sydney NSW 2000, Australia +61 2 9265 6800 Website 9am – 6pm Sydney Campervan Hire


Draconiancinder (contributor)

The Queen Victoria Building, or QVB as referred to by the locals, takes up an entire city block and is completely filled with about 190 shops. All sorts of shops like clothing, jewellery, shoes, art, hairdresser etc. are presented. There are also loads of places where you can have a classy – read expensive – sandwich. However the lower ground level of the QVB is connected to the Myer department store and there you will find a superb foodcourt with cheap food of all sorts.

When you visit the QVB make sure you go to the top level where you can find Peter Lik’s Gallery. You’ll be amazed by his photography. Prices are quite steep, but if you want to have a souvenir like this, this is the best place to go.

alertfurphy (contributor)

When the adjacent Queen Victoria Building was being restored in the 1980s Malaysian developers, Ipoh Gardens, decided that an exterior sculpture of Queen Victoria would be an appropriate addition.

The hunt for a second-hand statue commenced and in the end Ireland obliged. Having found the requisite statutory something was required to cover an unsightly air vent from an underground car park which sat about 10 metres from where Her Majesty was to be erected.

To complement the Queen’s statue, Sydney sculptor Justin Robson was commissioned to produce a bronze sculpture (based on Victoria’s own 1843 sketch) of her favourite pet dog, a Skye terrier called Islay as the centrepiece for a wishing well. He did a splendid job on the dog though in 2002, dog aside, the Sydney Morning Herald (I feel, not unfairly) described the wishing well/air vent thus “From a distance it looks like a Parisian pissoir, but as you get closer, you realise there is no way to get inside”.

Islay, whenever he saw Queen Victoria would sit up and beg for a biscuit – he now, in his familiar sitting up mode begs for the deaf and blind children of Australia. A plaque on the wishing well features a poem telling the story of Islay (with braille translation) while four proverbs highlighting the morality of giving are also featured in six different languages.

An additional and somewhat peculiar addition to the wishing well is a stone from the battlements of Blarney Castle in Ireland. This is securely fixed to the rim of the well and is the subject of my separate review – “Kiss the Blarney Stone – In Sydney?”

Islay silently went about his business of collecting money for deaf and blind children until 1996 when he received the power of speech in the form of the recorded dulcet tones of local radio shock-jock, John Laws. As you pass by now Islay encourages you to make a wish and cast a coin into the well in aid of the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children.

“Hello, my name is Islay,” announces Islay in a deep voice. “…Because of the many good deeds I’ve done for deaf and blind children, I have been given the power of speech”. The pièce de résistance is Islay’s two barks of thanks at the end of the routine.

The real Islay died on 26th April 1844, aged five, fallowing an altercation with a cat and is buried in Adelaide Cottage, Windsor Castle, UK.

A change of subject, if I may?

Many people have the impression that Australian’s walk around in shorts and thongs (the foot-ware variety!) and lack any sense of fashion. I trust the lady in my final photo helps squash this vile impression forever and proves that fashion is alive and well, in Sydney at least!

My next July 2015 Sydney review: Queen Victoria – Transported from Ireland

Unicornisolate (contributor)

He or she who kisses the Blarney Stone is filled with eloquence and has a way with words or, as many would say, has the gift of the gab or is full of the blarney. Wabat has kissed the Blarney stone, not once, but twice!

“The” Blarney Stone is high up and set into the battlements of Blarney Castle in Ireland and to kiss it used to involve being dangled, by the legs, over the edge of the Castle wall – at some significant distance from the ground. I understand a somewhat less risky method is now employed.

Why am I telling you this in a tip on Sydney? Let me explain.

This is one of those instances where it pays to keep your eyes peeled to your surroundings. One of the best known buildings in Sydney is the Queen Victoria Building and tis somewhat of a tourist magnet. A lesser number of people stop to have a look at a statue of Queen Victoria just outside the building (City Hall side), an even smaller number have a look at a nearby (10 metres) wishing well and few take note of a stone stuck to the lip of the wishing well.

This stone – about 10-15cm square and the subject of this tip – is, as the plaque states a stone from the Battlements of Blarney Castle. It is not, and I repeat, It is not part of the Blarney Stone. Alas, my dear friends, kiss it you may and many do, but if you want the gift of eloquence you really do have to go to Ireland.

Why this stone is Sydney and why it is attached to a wishing well related to Queen Victoria – not the most revered of British monarchs in Ireland – is somewhat of a mystery. The statue, wishing well and stone all went on display in Sydney in 1987.

From the plaque accompanying the stone, one can ascertain that it was a gift to the people of Sydney from the Lord Mayor of Cork, through the courtesy of Sir Richard Colthurst. The Colthurst family own Blarney Castle and Sir Richard, being short of funds like many of the landed gentry in the seventies and the eighties, opened Blarney Castle to the public. Perhaps having a bit of it on display in Sydney was a form of advertising. I really don’t know.

Do have a look but its no substitute for going to Ireland.

My next July 2015 Sydney review: Did that dog just talk to me?

specimentrophy (contributor)

The Queen Victoria building takes up an entire city block. The building is beautiful in its Romaneque revival architecture. The building was deigned by architect George McRae and opened in 1898. The building was named after the ruling Monarch, Queen Victoria of Great Britain.

The building has a central dome of glass and copper which gives the interior a open feel.
Stained glass windows are throughout the interior of the building. One window has the ancient arms of the City of Sydney and is quite beautiful.

Inside the building are two mechanical clocks, each one featuring dioramas and moving figures from moments in Australian history. The first clock is the Royal Clock. The clock was designed by Neil Glasser and made by Thwaites & Reed of Hastings in England. The clock shows scenes of English royalty from King John signing the Magna Carta to the execution of King Charles I. The second clock is The Great Australian Clock. It was designed and made by Chris Cook. There are 33 scenes from Australian history, seen from both Aboriginal and European perspectives. An Aboriginal hunter circles the exterior of the clock continuously, representing the never-ending passage of time.

There are also two large glass cases inside the building. The first case contains an Imperial Chinese Bridal Carriage made entirely of jade and weighing over two tons, the only example found outside China. The second is a life sized figure of Queen Victoria in historical costume on her coronation day. There are replicas of the British crown jewels(during her reign). The figure of the Queen in her regal attire rotates slowly in the case.

The building Has four floors of shopping. There are cafes, jewelry stores, clothing stores and more. It was amazing to walk through this building. We walked the four floors more than once. There was so much decoration and artwork to be seen before we even bothered to look at the shops.

Tagbumpy (contributor)

The Queen Victoria Building is simply too beautful to be a shopping mall. The building which was built in 1898 is beautiful in it’s Byzantine architecture. This is a massive structure that takes up an entire city block. It was first used as a replacement to the Sydney Markets, then a concert hall, a library and then retail space. There are over 200 shops inside the QV B.

The building has some incredible stained glass windows and beautiful wood work. There are two clocks in the building: one displays Bristish Queen and Kings of History and the other
has examples of Australian highlights. Ther is also a central exhibit with replicas of the British crown jewels at the time of Queen Victoria’s reign as well as a full scale coach.

Even if you aren’t in the mood to shop you must come to see this beautiful piece of architecture for yourself.

Laborjerboa (contributor)

This outstanding building occupies an entire city block. It was built in 1898 to replace the original Sydney Markets.
Later, it accommodated a concert hall, which eventually became the City Library.
In 1984 it was completely refurbished as a shopping centre, with more than 200 shops.
The renovations were done by the Malaysian company Ipoh Garden Berhad.
The turn of the century charm of this building was successfully retained.

Chondritethaw (contributor)

This building — called the QVB by Sydneysiders — is beautiful. If you’re into nice buildings, go check it out. The shops, however, are very high priced – so if you’re thinking about buying anything, be prepared for the pricetag!!

Information Desks are located near the centre dome on both Ground Level and Level Two, where you can get centre directions, general information and a city map to assist you around town.

The QVB also provides a guided walking tour through the QVB with a member of the Information Staff who are IATG certified Tourist guides. On the tour you will be provided with historical facts and figures on one of Sydney’s most famous buildings. Tours run twice daily and leave from the Information Desk. Book through the info desk (or call the number below).

The basement does have restaurants and a stop of a train station.

The lower, mezzanine level (basement) provides one of the city’s busiest pedestrian concourses connecting Town Hall railway station to the Pitt Street Mall.

At ground level, the gradual rise in George Street has been cleverly absorbed into the design with shops steadily rising in height along the length of the block.

The QVB is open: M-W & F-S 9am – 6pm; Th: 9am – 9pm; Sun. & public holidays I I am – 5pm. Some stores, cafes, & restaurants open longer.


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