Hyde Park Obelisk, Sydney

Hyde Park Obelisk, Sydney

The Hyde Park Obelisk is a 22 meter high pillar located at the corner of Elizabeth and Bathurst Streets in Sydney. Unlike most monuments, it served a unique purpose. It was a sewage vent that eliminated noxious gases above street level to protect pedestrians below.

The Hyde Park Obelisk was constructed to look like the Cleopatra’s Needle, the obelisk on the banks of the River Thames in London. It stands on a 6.5 meter high square sandstone pedestal. It was commissioned by the then Mayor of Sydney, George Thornton as a monumental disguise for a mundane necessity. The obelisk is surrounded by weather worn sandstone sphinxes and serpents. The location was chosen because it was the point where the sewage system was at its highest and because it was a place frequented by pedestrian traffic.

The Hyde Park Obelisk was inaugurated by Mayor Thornton in 1857. The sewage fumes were expelled through a filigreed bronze pyramid at the top of the obelisk. Sydneysiders jokingly refer to the structure as Thornton’s Scent Bottle. It was at one time the smelliest obelisk in Sydney and perhaps, the world. Today, it is no longer used as a sewage vent to avoid the risk of contamination.

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour of Sydney, Australia within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Hyde Park Obelisk on Map

Sight Name: Hyde Park Obelisk
Sight Location: Sydney, Australia
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) containing this sight: Landmarks Walking Tour in Sydney  

Walking Tours in Sydney, Australia

Create Your Own Walk in Sydney

Create Your Own Walk in Sydney

Creating your own self-guided walk in Sydney is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Sydney for Kids

Sydney for Kids

Sydney is the most beautiful city of the undiscovered continent of Australia. Its flora and fauna is of great interest for adults and kids, as well as its history. You'll find here a lot of attractions meant for children. Check out the most interesting destinations for your entire family in this self-guided tour of Sydney.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
City Orientation Walking Tour II

City Orientation Walking Tour II

Sydney is the largest city in Australia, and is the state capital of New South Wales. It is one of the most cosmopolitan and multicultural cities in the world, and each of its localities possesses its own unique character. Sydney is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it won't take long for you to discover this for yourself. Take the following tour to explore the...  view more

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Best Shopping Spots in Sydney

Best Shopping Spots in Sydney

Sydney is not only the capital of New South Wales but is also the continent’s most attractive shopping center. The city features a wide variety of stores, markets, and specialty shops. This is a list of shopping spots and areas that are popular among tourists as well as Sydneysiders.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

It would be a pity to leave Sydney without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Sydney, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
Most Popular Sydney’s Art Galleries

Most Popular Sydney’s Art Galleries

Sydney is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the world and the cultural center of Australia, so it is no wonder that so many talented people are inspired by this wonderful place. The city boasts more than 70 art galleries which reveal Australia's history, culture, and development. Take this walking tour to visit Sydney’s most popular art galleries.

Tour Duration: 1 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.2 km
City Orientation Walking Tour I

City Orientation Walking Tour I

Australia's largest metropolis and capital of New South Wales, Sydney is deservedly reputed as one of the most cosmopolitan and multicultural destinations on Earth. The unique character of Sydney adds much to its appeal, as you will certainly discover yourself while taking this self-guided walk around the most popular and prominent attractions of Sydney.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 km

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


Top 15 Aussie Souvenirs to Bring Home from Sydney

Top 15 Aussie Souvenirs to Bring Home from Sydney

"You haven't been anywhere if you haven't been to Australia," they say, and you'd definitely want something tangible in hand to remind you of the g'days spent Down Under. In Sydney, you will find tonnes of distinctly Oz products that would serve this purpose...