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Sydney: A City of Iconic Landmarks

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by Gypsy Rose (subscribe)
I love travelling, discovering hidden gems & food. Experience the journey on Instragram! @gypsy_compass. Owner of do check it out for grazing platters and more :)
Published April 12th 2021
Check out this list of Sydney's enviable & iconic landmarks
Please feel free to add more to the list

Sydney is Australia's oldest and largest city and the most populous city in Australia and around the world. It is home to some of the most enviable and iconic landmarks in the world!

It was established as a penal settlement on 26 January 1788 in King George III's name by Captain Arthur Phillip, for prisoners to transported from Britain.

Before European Settlement, Indigenous Australians inhabited the Sydney area for at least 30,000 years. Thousands of engravings remain throughout the region, making it one of Australia's richest (in terms of Aboriginal archaeological sites).

Today, Sydney is home to an array of Iconic Landmarks that have shaped Sydney's architectural history and helped form the city into an enviable city tourism destination.

The list features Iconic Landmarks, including historical to modern-day architecture:

Sydney Opera House:

Completed in 1973, the Sydney Opera House is one of the most distinctive architectural works of the 20th century and one of the most visited landmarks in Australia and worldwide. The construction was plagued by setbacks, taking an additional ten years to complete and costing more than 14 times its original budget!

Sydney Opera House is home to more than 3,000 shows a year and contains several performance spaces, several theatres, a concert hall and an outdoor forecourt.

Click here for the website.

The famous Opera House during sunset

Queen Victoria Building:

This Romanesque Revival Heritage-listed late 19th-century building was designed by the architect George McRae and was constructed between 1893 and 1898 and is an impressive 30 metres wide and 190 metres long.

The domes were built by Ritchie Brothers, a steel and metal company that also built trains, trams, and farm equipment.

Queen Victoria Building was designed as a marketplace and was used for a variety of other purposes. Today, this stunning building is home to upper market designer stores, restaurants, cafes, bars, and History Tours.

Click here for the website.

The stunning Romanesque Revival Heritage-listed Queen Victoria Building

Anzac Memorial:

Standing on Gadigal Land, the Art Deco Heritage-listed Anzac Memorial is a war memorial, Museum, and monument located in the scenic Hyde Park.

It was designed by C. Bruce Dellit and built from 1932 to 1934. In 2010, this state-owned property was added to the New South Wales State Heritage Register.

The Memorial is the focus of commemoration ceremonies on Anzac Day, Remembrance Day and other important occasions. It was built as a memorial to the Australian Imperial Force of WWI, and in 2018, refurbishments and major expansion were completed and was reopened by Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex.

The Memorial features Hall of Silence, Hall of Service, Hall of Memory, Sacrifice Sculpture, The Exhibition Space, The Assembly Hall, and The Pool of Reflection.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Anzac Memorial Facebook

St Mary's Cathedral:

St Mary's Cathedral is Australia's largest Cathedral building, and is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Sydney, and is dedicated to the "Immaculate Mother of God, Help of Christians", Patroness of Australia and holds the title and dignity of a minor basilica, bestowed upon it by Pope Pius XI on 4 August 1932.

This English-style Gothic Revival of the 19th-century Cathedral is unusual among large cathedrals due to its size, the city's plan around it and the fall of the land. It is oriented in a north-south direction rather than the usual east-west.

It took close to 100 years to finally complete the Cathedral with the first stage constructed between 1866 and 1900, and stage two between 1912 and 1928; however, the original Wardell design was only finally completed in June 2000 when metal frames of the imposing Southern Spires were lowered into place by a helicopter and then sheathed in Gosford Sandstone.

Today, despite the city's high-rise development, St Mary's Cathedral's imposing structure and twin spires make it a landmark from every direction.

Click here for the website.

St Andrew's Cathedral:

With the foundation stone being laid with an entire ceremony on 31 August 1819, before the plan was abandoned and later moved, St Andrew's Cathedral (aka St Andrew's Anglican Cathedral) is a cathedral church the Anglican Diocese of Sydney in the Anglican Church of Australia.

This Landmark showcases one of Sydney's finest examples of Gothic Revival architecture. The Cathedral was built from 1837 to 1868 and was ready for services consecrated in 1868, making it the oldest Cathedral in Australia.

Click here for the website.

Sydney Town Hall:

The late 19th-century Heritage-listed Sydney Town Hall is the largest and most ornate civic Building in Australia. It houses the Lord Mayor of Sydney's chambers, council offices, and venues for meetings and functions.

It was designed by John H. Wilson, Edward Bell, Albert Bond, Thomas Sapsford, John Hennessy and George McRae and built from 1869 to 1889. It was built within the former Old Sydney Burial Ground (Sydney's first permanent cemetery with at least 2,000 burials made between 1792 and 1820), making it the colony's most daring, technologically innovative and controversial building. It dominated the city's skyline for almost a century!

Sydney Town Hall is renowned for its stunning and high Victorian interiors and rich decoration. It was built from local Sydney sandstone in the grand Victorian Second Empire style and inspired by the French Second Empire Hotel de Ville in Paris.

This lavish ornamented Building features Reception Rooms, the Centennial Hall, a Grand Organ (the world's largest pipe organ with tubular pneumatic action built-in 1886), Main Hall, The Grand Staircase, Lower Town Hall, Council Chamber, Clock Tower, and ancillary spaces.

There are also Guided Tours.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from City of Sydney Facebook

Sydney Harbour Bridge:

The heritage-listed Sydney Harbour Bridge is a steel through arch bridge that sits across the stunning Sydney Harbour.

Nicknamed the "Coathanger" by Sydneysiders, the Harbour Bridge is the 7th longest spanning-arch Bridge in the world and the tallest steel arch bridge, measuring 134 metres from tip to water level, and 48.8 metres wide, making it the world's widest long-span bridge, until the construction of the new Port Mann Bridge in Vancouver was completed in 2012.

This iconic Landmark was opened in 1932. It took eight years to build using 53,000 tonnes of steel and six million hand-driven rivets. During construction, the two steel halves of the towering arch met in the middle of the span on 19 August 1930 at 10 pm.

It is also home to the Pylon Lookout, which offers breathtaking panoramic views across Sydney and beyond.

There a Bridge Climb Tours with opportunities to climb the iconic bridge.

Click here for the website.

The Cenotaph (aka Sydney Cenotaph, Martin Place Memorial):

This Heritage-listed monument is one of the oldest WWI monuments in central Sydney and is located in Martin Place.

It was built from 1927 to 1929 and added to the New South Wales Heritage Register in 2009. The Cenotaph takes the form of a monolithic stone block in a sepulchral shape and features two shorter ends that stand two bronze statues, a soldier and a sailor guarding the Cenotaph. The words "To Our Glorious Dead" are engraved on the southern side (facing the General Post Office), and on the northern side (facing Challis House), the worlds "Lest We Forget" are engraved.

Remembrance events are held at the Cenotaph as well as Anzac and Armistice Day dawn service ceremonies.

Click here for the website.

Reserve Bank of Australia Building:

The Heritage-listed Reserve Bank of Australia Building is a fine example of Post War International style and features a 22-storey high-rise tower with a three-level basement.

It was constructed in 1961 and completed at the end of 1964; the Building reached 80 metres above the street. The Reserve Bank of Australia Building features an impressive 20 stories, a mezzanine, three basement levels, bronzed railed grey and black granite terrace, and a four-storey podium.

Today, the Building features a Museum and tells a story of Australia's banknotes, the background of the nation's economic and social development, from before Federation through to the present. The Exploring Australian Banknotes is a permanent exhibit and temporary exhibits.

Click here for the website.

Image Courtesy from Reserve Bank of Australia Facebook

The General Post Office:

Opening in 1874, The General Post Office was inspired by the Palazzi Comunali of late Medieval and Renaissance Italy. It is a fine example of the Victorian Italian Renaissance-style in New South Wales.

After opening, the Post Office was described by the Postmaster General as a building that will not be surpassed by another similar structure in the Southern Hemisphere. It was built on a grand scale with considerable expense and it dominated the streetscape and skyline for decades.

The General Post Office was a symbol for Sydneysiders in the same way the Houses of Parliament symbolises London and the Eiffel Tower, Paris. It remained its most well-known landmark until the Sydney Harbour Bridge in 1932 was built and the Sydney Opera House in 1971 stole the limelight.

Today, the Building is a heritage-listed landmark and stretches 114 metres along Martin Place, making it one of Sydney's largest sandstone buildings.

Click here for the website.

Sydney Tower (aka Centrepoint Tower, Sydney Tower Eye, AMP Tower):

The Sydney Tower is the tallest structure and the second tallest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere. It stands at an impressive 309 metres above Sydney's CBD, sits above Westfield Sydney, and is visible from several vantage points throughout the city and adjoining suburbs.

In 1968, Sydney Tower was unveiled and the construction of the office building commenced in 1970 and tower construction in 1975. Before constructing the tower, Sydney's height limit was set at 279 metres to allow harbour flying boats.

Public access to the tower began in 1981 and the addition of a lightning rod to the top of the spire extended the tower's overall height from 305 metres to 309 metres, which is 327 metres above sea level.

Today, Sydney Tower is home to a shopping centre, an array of eateries, including the famous Sydney Tower Buffet (located 82 floors above the city), which offers 360-degree roving views, attractions including Skywalk & Observation Deck viewing.

Click here for the website.

Hyde Park Barracks:

This heritage-listed former barracks, hospital, convict accommodation, mint and courthouse, is now a museum and features a cafe.

It was initially built from 1811 to 1819 as a brick building and compound to house convict men and boys. It was also known as the Mint Building and Hyde Park Barracks Group and Rum Hospital, Royal Mint-Sydney Branch, Sydney Infirmary and Dispensary, Queen's Square Courts Queens Square.

The museum is an immersive experience that uses audio technology, making you feel like you have stepped back in time.

Click here for the website.

International Towers:

Located in the newest Sydney city section, Barangaroo the International Towers is Australia's latest financial and commercial hub for the entire Asia-Pacific region. The buildings have been dubbed one of the world's best office precincts and house approximately 23,000 office workers.

The towers were designed as three sibling buildings, each with a separate identity.

Click here for the website.
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Why? Discover Sydney's landmarks
When: All year round
Where: Sydney City
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