Sydney’s Lost Palace
The Garden Palace was located just south of the present-day Conservatorium of Music (in the southwestern end of the Royal Botanic Gardens). It was constructed for the Sydney International Exhibition which opened its doors on 17 September 1879. It was designed by James Barnet and constructed in just eight months, an achievement at the time
The design was cruciform with nave and transepts with a large central dome. Under the central dome stood a large, bronze statue of Queen Victoria. Built of iron, glass and wood with brick foundations, it was said to have cost £192,000.
After the exhibition closed on 20 April 1880 the Palace was used as an auditorium and gallery and to house the first mining and technological museum. It also provided much needed office space for a number of government departments, and the basement was used to house official records. These, and along with priceless indigenous artifacts, were lost in the fire. This broke out at about 5:40am on 22 September 1882 totally consuming the building in about 40 minutes.
Had the palace survived Sydney would have been very different, and so the Garden Palace may be seen as an aspect of Sydney as it might have been. #yougottalovesydney
IMAGE CREDIT: Sydney Living Museum