The Garden Palace was a large purpose-built exhibition building constructed to house the Sydney International Exhibition in 1879 in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It was designed by James Barnet and constructed by John Young, despite the architect's reservations ([dead link]), at a cost of 191,800 Pounds in only eight months - largely due to the special importation from England of electric lighting which enabled work to be carried out around the clock.
A reworking of London's Crystal Palace, the building's plan was similar to that of a large cathedral, having a long hall with lower aisle on either side, like a nave, and a transept of similar form, each terminating in towers and meeting beneath a central dome. The dome was 100 feet (30.4 metres) in diameter and 210 feet (65.5 metres) in height. The building was similar in many respects to the later Royal Exhibition Building in Melbourne. Sydney's first hydraulic lift was contained in the north tower. The Garden Palace was sited at what is today the southwestern end of the Royal Botanic Gardens (although at the time it was built it occupied land that was outside the Gardens). It was constructed primarily from timber, which was to assure its complete destruction when engulfed by fire in the early morning of September 22, 1882.
The Garden Palace at that time was used by a number of Government Departments and many significant records were destroyed in the fire, notably records of squatting occupation in New South Wales.
The only extant remains of the Garden Palace are its carved Sydney sandstone gateposts and wrought iron gates, located on the Macquarie Street entrance to the Royal Botanical Gardens. A 1940s-era sunken garden and fountain featuring a statue of Cupid marks the former location of the Palace's dome. Few artifacts from the International Exhibition survived the fire, one of which is a carved graphite statue of an elephant, from Ceylon, now in the collection of the Powerhouse Museum.
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- Royal Exhibition Building - Melbourne's exhibition building.