History in the making for Macquarie Place Obelisk

The City of Sydney is set to approve a major restoration to central Sydney’s historic Macquarie Place Obelisk which is believed to be the earliest surviving European monument in Australia, having stood since 1818.

Lord Mayor, Clover Moore, MP said that the Obelisk, at the corner of Bridge and Loftus Streets, was a vital part of Australia’s history.

“It was designed by Francis Greenway as part of Governor Macquarie’s civic improvements for colonial Sydney and functioned as the zero point for the measurement of early roads in colonial New South Wales.”

“We are the custodians of our heritage. This obelisk is an important historical monument. It’s vital we conserve and protect it for future generations.”

Currently, the form of the obelisk remains complete, however many of its sandstone elements are in poor condition and are actively degrading. The project will completely restore, preserve and protect the sandstone structure.

Minor conservation works have been implemented throughout the last 190 years, starting as early as 1895. The most recent works were carried out in 1994 and consisted of modification of the subsurface drainage and paving joints, together with conduit installation for flood lighting. However the monument continues to deteriorate and conservation work is again required. 

The City of Sydney’s consultants have recommended that the conservation treatment involved consist of in situ conservation work to the Obelisk’s sandstone, wrought iron and subsoil drainage. The thorough treatment is expected to last up to three years ensuring the best possible outcome for this monument that plays such an important part in Sydney’s history.

Council is due to consider the matter at its meeting on 4 August with conservation work scheduled to begin in late 2008.

Media Contact: Duncan Fine – 0410 335 258