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Sydney Town Hall
The Sydney Town Hall is a landmark sandstone building located in the heart of Sydneymarker. It stands opposite the Queen Victoria Buildingmarker and alongside St Andrew's Cathedralmarker. Sitting above the busy Town Hall stationmarker and between the cinema strip on George Street and the Central Business District, the steps of the Town Hall are a popular meeting place.

History and description

Town Hall was built in the 1880s -- on the site of an old cemetery -- from local Sydney sandstone in the grand Victorian Second Empire style, and has been described as having "lavishly ornamented composition with focal tower and fanciful roofs." It remains the only non-religious city building from the era to retain its original function and interior. The building houses the Sydney City Councilmarker Chamber, reception rooms, the Centennial Hall and offices for the Lord Mayor and elected councillors. The Centennial Hall (main hall) contains the world's largest entirely mechanical pipe organ, built from 1886 to 1889 and installed in 1890 by the English firm of William Hill & Son, which possesses one of only two full-length 64′ organ stops in the world (the Contra-Trombone in the pedal). Before the opening of the Sydney Opera Housemarker and its Concert Hall, the Town Hall was Sydney's premier concert hall, and many notable performances took place there.

The Town Hall steps are a popular meeting place. Town Hall management has recently deployed measures such as stopping people from congregating on the Town Hall Steps during the day time and the presence of security guards on the Town Hall steps at night. The alleged reason for the deployment of additional security outside Town Hall is said to be increased incidents of assaults and graffiti.

In the later years, it has been discovered that Town Hall lies on top of part of a cemetery complex. Currently renovations have been put to a stop, as the government is still deciding whether or not to continue or make it an heritage listing. The Town Hall is listed on the Register of the National Estate and is part of the important Town Hall group of heritage-listed buildings, which also includes the Queen Victoria Buildingmarker, St Andrews Cathedral, the Gresham Hotel and the former Bank of New South Wales.



Image:Sydney Town Hall interior.jpg|The Centennial Hall with the grand organImage:Sydney Town Hall Domed Ceiling.jpg|The domed ceilingImage:Sydney Town Hall Roof Detail.jpg|Detail on one of the roofsImage:Sydney_Town_Hall_-_Panorama.jpg|South side of building

References

  1. A Pictorial Guide to Identifying Australian Architecture, Apperley (Angus and Robertson) 1994, p.68
  2. City of Sydney , Old Sydney Burial Ground - City of Sydney, February, 2008.
  3. The Heritage of Australia, Macmillan Company, 1981, p.2/100


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