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a statue of a stone building

That’s right! Sydney has its very own Egyptian Sphinx. It was carved by WWI veteran William Shirley, “The Sphinx” can be found near the entrance to Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park at Bobbin Head Road and forms the centerpiece of a WWI war memorial.

Private Shirley carved this piece while a patient at the nearby Convalescent Hospital for returned WWI soldiers. He had served in France during 1917 but had to return home early. There are some stories that suggest he was either gassed during the battle of Bullecourt or had contracted tuberculosis.

Inspiration for the model could have been after seeing the Great Sphinx while training in Egypt during his service. Private Shirley spent 2 years slowly carving out this imposing piece. What is remarkable was he was only able to work a maximum of 2 hours a day due to his health. He completed the sphinx in 1926 but sadly he was unable to witness it’s unveiling to the public in 1931 having died two years earlier.

IMAGE CREDIT: History of Sydney