We went by a certain corner near Circular Quay in Sydney several times. Suzi mentioned the interesting angles of the buildings, almost like architects were trying to outdo each other. It is what Dr. Arnie Flaten, my architecture prof at St. Olaf called “Eclectic Clutter.” He was a disciple of Louis Sullivan and the Chicago School, “Form Follows Function.” While I like the clean lines I sometimes am quite taken with some of the more interesting “clutter.” I never took the effort to identify the buildings but they are interesting. I thought one had a waterfall inside its atrium, but it turns out to be a huge TV screen.
We also noticed a fountain and group of related sculptures in the same area so decided to walk back from the last stop and explore. We found ourselves in Herald Square. The fountain and sculptures were donated by John Fairfax and Sons for the “Pleasure and Enjoyment of Citizens and Visitors” in 1981, on the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Sydney Morning Herald. It is forty two years later and I wondered if the Sydney Herald was still around or had suffered the same fate as the New York Herald Tribune, for which Herald Square in New York is named. Happily, the paper is still publishing after 192 years and moving into the digital era with an active online presence. It is considered the “Paper of Record” for Australia and is the main competitor to Rupert Murdoch’s newspaper, The Australian. The Herald takes a centrist position editorially.
Appropriately for a journalistic institution, the plaque labeling Herald Square is used as an ashtray with extinguished cigarette butts sitting in a little depression filled with water. The fountain commemorates “Tank Stream” a freshwater stream running across limestone. Early settlers carved out “tanks” in the limestone to hold the fresh water as the town developed. Around the fountain are sculpted platypuses, crabs, lizards and other creatures from the area. I particularly liked the detail on the sculptures, right down to tie insects.