Sydney Sights – Paddington Reservoir


The Eastern Suburbs of Sydney are home to a number of landmarks that harken back to surprising events in the city’s history. One such feature initially appears as a mere hole in the ground that lies across the road from the town hall. Unlike other such features that normally serve as a site for yet another high rise building this particular opening has been re-purposed as a public space that can be enjoyed by all.

The Paddington Reservoir has been a part of the Sydney since the establishment of the city itself in the mid 19th Century and has gone through a number of uses. Initially serving as a water storage facility for the surrounding area it became a underground car park when the public needs surpassed the capabilities of the facility. Never one to let space go to waste, the above ground section was opened to the public as a reserve.

Part of the roof collapsed in 1990 as a result of corrosion in the underlying steel supports, which were installed when the reservoir was first reconfigured as a car park. Due to the instability of the overall structure and the risk of further collapse the reservoir was closed to the public.

In 2009 the reservoir was reopened as a public gardens. Embracing the remnants of the now stable roof structure it now appears as a cross between the hanging gardens of Babylon and Ancient Roman Baths. The utilitarian arches now serving to frame certain aspects of the the space.

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