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5 Architectural Gems in Australia You Probably Didn’t Know

When iconic Australian landmarks are mentioned, the Sydney Opera House has captured the global spotlight. However, Australia’s architectural gems go beyond that. This vast country is home to diverse architectural wonders. Some of these beauties may not receive the same level of attention as their famous counterpart in Sydney. Let’s take a closer look at the secret architectural treasures that add to the charm of Australia’s scenery.

1. Australian War Memorial, Canberra

John Crust’s design was the only to come in under the budget amongst 69 entries. He was then asked to submit a joint design with Emil Sodersten, an Architect in Sydney. Situated in the heart of Canberra, this hallowed institution pays tribute to the valor and dedication of those who served during conflicts.

Australian War Memorial, Canberra
Australian War Memorial, Canberra,

2. Federation Square, Melbourne

By integrating a wide spectrum of civic, cultural, and commercial activities, Federation Square has become a vibrant hub that mirrors daily life. Designed by Lab Architecture Studio and Bates Smart, Federation Square’s success as a public space is largely attributed to an interactive approach that welcomes people from all walks of life, shifting from the closed and controlled district.

Federation Square, Melbourne
Federation Square, Melbourne,

3. Town Plans of Sydney

Sydney was going through a significant urban transformation and expansion during the early 50’s. Florence Taylor, despite facing discrimination in a predominantly male profession, strived to break-through the gender barriers by helping shape the town plans of Sydney. Her legacy extended from Australian homes to innovative proposals for enhancing urban transportation by advocating harbor tunnel crossing, eastern suburbs distributor freeway, and the construction of “double-decker streets”. The town plans were designed to be sustainable and livable urban environments by integrating green spaces and efficient transportation systems into city planning whilst also preserving its historical and cultural heritage. 

Town Plans Sydney, 1959,

4. Brisbane City Hall, Brisbane

The 92-meter clock tower of Brisbane City Hall gained fame for its role in enhancing aviation safety, employing a distinctive red beacon to indicate its position and assist pilots in avoiding its spire, ensuring secure flight paths through the city’s airspace. This structure was a collaborative effort of the talented architects Bruce Dellit, Peter Kaad, Emil Sodersten, and Noel Wilson from New South Wales.

Brisbane City Hall, Brisbane
Brisbane City Hall,

5. Budj Bim, Victoria

Budj Bim is an Aboriginal cultural and historical site located in Victoria, Australia. This significant site is known for its ancient aquaculture systems, which are some of the oldest in the world, dating back 30,000 years ago. The Gunditjmara people, who were the original owners of the land, developed an intricate system of channels, weirs, and stone traps to harvest eels from Lake Condah and surrounding wetlands of this site.

Budj Bim in Australia
Budj Bim, Victoria, Tyson Lovett-Murray

These not-so-known gems only show the nation’s rich and diverse history, culture, and natural beauty. While the Sydney Opera House rightfully claims its place in the spotlight, these lesser-known wonders invite us to explore, appreciate, and celebrate the multifaceted tapestry of architectural marvels that define this incredible land down under.

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with Aya Shlachter

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