Considering that it's the namesake of one of the largest train stations in Sydney, and its steps are a frequent meeting place for Sydneysiders, very few people have actually taken the time to explore Sydney's landmark Town Hall. Facing the Queen Victoria Building and situated alongside St Andrew's Cathedral, the Town Hall was built from Sydney sandstone in the 1880s on the site of The Old Sydney Burial Ground.
The Centennial Hall is the most frequently used space within the Town Hall, and is used for musical performances, political party meetings, civic receptions, Christmas concerts, and even graduations and speech nights. The Vestibule of Town Hall is one of the most beautiful Victorian interiors in Australia, with incredibly detailed plasterwork featuring over forty different colours decorating the walls and ceiling, as well as a large crystal chandelier illuminated by over 160 light globes.
Town Hall also boasts an amazing collection of items that are of cultural and historical significance to Sydney. The walls of Town Hall feature plaques and memorials which record the various historical events which have influenced Sydney's culture.
Many of these plaques actually hide time capsules, and although these can't be viewed, the tradition continues to this very day. Furthermore, even though the idea of a civic gallery has risen and fallen in public popularity, various works of art can be viewed gracing the walls of Town Hall, which document and reflect not only Sydney's fast-changing landscape, but also the changing tastes and fashions of the populace.
However, one of the most famous sights within Town Hall is the Grand Organ, the largest in the world at the time it was installed. The Organ famously broke down in 1971 and took almost ten years to clean out the 9000 dirt-clogged pipes, with another ten years passing before restoration was complete! The Organ pipes are due for another clean this year, and it is well worth dropping by for a listen when this is complete - the Organ is played regularly throughout the year for a number of special events.
Tours can be arranged through the Friends of the Town Hall on 4285 5685, and are generally conducted after each organ concert, beginning at 10.30am. A donation of $5 per person is required, which goes toward the conservation of Town Hall's historical items or the acquisition of works of art.