Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Hyde Park, The Emerald of Sydney CBD

Hyde Park, named after the same magnificent park in London, is the oldest people Parkland in Sydney. It is a rectangular shaped park spanning from St. James Train Station to Museum Station. The total area of this city centre parkland is 16.2 hectare.

Since the colonial time, this is the communal area for the people of Sydney. It was well-known as sport and recreation area. On 13 October 1810, Governor Macquarie officially named it Hyde Park.

The park is surrounded by St. James Church, Supreme Court of New South Wales and Hyde Park Barracks Museum at the north, St. Mary Cathedral and Australian Museum at the east, Downing Centre to the south, and Sydney CBD to the west.

Hyde Park can be accessed from various directions. From the direction of Pitt Street Mall, turn to Market Street and pass through Westfield and David Jones Building towards Elizabeth Street. Cross the road and taa-daa, there you are!

St. James Station from across the road

Hello Hyde Park!

The first thing to notice when entering Hyde Park from this direction is the Archibald Fountain with the magnificent St. Mary Cathedral at the background. Archibald Fountain was donated by J.F. Archibald in 1932 for Australia's contribution in World War I in France. The designer of this fountain was also a French named Francois-Leon Sicard who completed it in 1926 but never saw it being placed in Sydney.

Archibald Fountain, inspired from the artist's study of Greek and Roman art literature
The Apollo of Archibald Fountain
With that magnificent background, it's just perfect

The present St. Mary Cathedral is a newly built structure after the former building was caught on fire and destroyed. Initially, it was just a simple crucifix shape church facing the barren land (long before Hyde Park was there).

Now, St. Mary Cathedral is one of the longest English gothic Catholic church in Australia. It is of course a mixture of European gothic style architecture and Sydney yellow sandstone. An architect, William Wardell, after his success in designing St. John's College at the University of Sydney, was tasked by the first archbishop of Australia, Polding,  to design the church in any plan, any style, anything that is beautiful and grand.

The foundation stone was laid in 1868, but the construction faced a long period and finally gets completed in the year 2000 when the spires were built as originally proposed by Wardell. During the construction period, the church was still in operation in its temporary building.

The yellow sandstones are kinda shining, aren't they?

The flower bed to enchant the photo

A pose or two is compulsory

At the north of Hyde Park, other two prominent buildings are Hyde Park Barracks Museum and St. James Church. Hyde Park Barracks Museum was built to house male convicts that worked under government employment from 1819 to 1848. Since than, it was used as female immigrants depot, female asylum, law court, and finally a museum. St. James Church is an named after St. James the Great. The church was originally intended to be a courthouse in 1819 but the plan changed in February 1820. It was then constructed between 1820 and 1824, consecrated in 1824 and turned to parish church since 1835.

Hyde Park Barracks Museum

Walking towards the south, you will find Hyde Park offering you the beauty of lush green trees and colourful flower beds along the way. Many benches are provided for the visitors for just sit back or relax. If you are not a bench person, just pull out your picnic blanket to be nearer to the earth, or simply just touch your back to the ground. No one will judge you!

The shady corridor with trees all over

Just keep walking and keep admiring the beauty of this earth

At the end of the first half of Hyde Park, one little garden can be found. It is called a Sandringham Garden. It is a tiered circular garden with a bronze gate that marks the territory. This garden is so called the latest addition to Hyde Park as a combined memorial for both King George V and King George VI. The project was started in 1951 when the royal visit was scheduled but cancelled due to the sudden death of King George VI. The project was completed by Sydney sculptor Lyndon Dadswell and architect Dr. H. Epstein and the gate was unlocked by Queen Elizabeth II on 05 February 1954.

The bronze gate of Sandringham Garden

The tiered garden circling a fountain

The look from the other side

This is literally bed of flowers, who will not be in love???

Let me act cute for once :)

There is place to sit too

Keep walking to the second half of the park and find another monument at the far south, Anzac War Memorial. This is a monument created by the people of New South Wales to reminisce the impact of World War I. The fund raising to make this project come true was started in 1916 and a competition to design the monument was held in 1929. Bruce Dellit was the winner and had the honour to design this historical monument.

The exterior of the monument is made of concrete and pink granite. The interior is marble with gold stars and bronze sculptures. There is a rectangular pond in front of the monument, which is The Lake of Reflection.

Keep walking

View of Sydney Tower Eye from Hyde Park

Lake of Reflection, supposedly built at four sides of the monument but it never happened

The squarish Anzac War Memorial

Entering from Market Street (St. James Station) and exiting from Liverpool Street (Museum Station) means you have walked at least 850m, depending on the route that you choose. So, enjoying life while exercising, why not?

Love is in the air,
Little Feet 

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