The Garden Palace – The End Of An Era

Palace Gardens Sydney Front

This  postcard brings us to the end of a year (as the card says, Happy New Year!), and the end of the Garden Palace, but also to the start of a new year and a new era for the Garden Palace site. The exhibition had gone ahead, despite serious challenges, and the building which housed it was spectacular, but it was short lived and its destruction was just as dramatic as the Garden Palace itself.

Following the exhibition the enormous building had to find a new purpose and over the next few years it was used as office space for Government departments, storage for items ranging from census details to exhibition items and the occasional large event. This all came to an abrupt and dramatic end in September 1882 though, only a few years after the building was completed, when the Garden Palace was engulfed in flame. The beautiful building was destroyed and the collections it housed were lost. Arson was suspected, but nobody was ever charged

People mourned the loss of the Garden Palace, but many also saw the positive side – the people of Sydney now had a large area of their public land returned to them. The site, which had once been part of the public Domain, was added to the Botanic Gardens and named ‘The Palace Gardens’. The original gates to the Garden Palace remain as the entrance into the gardens from Macquarie Street.

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