Face masks mandatory until 12.01 am, Monday 17 May 2021. Please read our special conditions of entry before visiting us.
What goes up must come down
The Queen Victoria Building (affectionately known as the QVB) was designed by George McRae and completed in 1898. A magnificent shopping complex, built in a grand Victorian style, it was saved from demolition in 1982 - unlike many Sydney buildings.
These photographs record Sydney as she appeared to earlier generations, her important landmarks, simple dwellings and small businesses, all sacrificed to meet the changing tastes and needs of an emerging and modern metropolis.
Along with city buildings, Sydney streets have also come and gone. Sydney's oldest street, George Street, is one that has survived. Originally named the 'High' Street, even earlier this major thoroughfare was known as 'Sergeant-Major's Row'. In 1810 it was renamed 'George' Street in honour of the ruling monarch, King George the Third.
Take a look at some of Sydney's demolished landmarks and wander through the city's changing streetscapes of the past 160 years.
The city of Sydney has some exceptional open spaces. Over 130 hectares of parks, gardens and plazas are set aside within the city.
Open spaces provide sanctuary from the hubbub of urban life and allow public access to the natural beauty of Sydney's harbour setting.
Sydney's first officially planned open space was the Governor's Domain, set aside by Governor Phillip in 1788. Originally extending down to Circular Quay, the Domain was opened to the general public in the 1830s. Since then it has been a gathering place for concerts, picnics, official celebrations, political meetings and sporting activities.
From moments of quiet reflection to loud and angry protest, see how anything can happen in the parks and open spaces located within Sydney, one of the world's most beautiful cities.
Parks and plazas
This view of Hyde Park from the spire of St James' Church can be dated from the construction of the temporary ball room (on the right) designed for the visit of Prince Alfred in January 1868. Before the ball, the Prince had been treated to a demonstration of a mongoose being let loose into a cage of snakes at the then National Musuem (in the centre). The Royal visit was less than a success, culminating in an attempted assassination at Clontarf.
>See the Library's story on Felons, including Henry James O’Farrell – attempted assassin