In Victorian Sydney, grandeur and elegance were the theme and architects created monumental works that echoed those of London. These city-centre landmarks have been lovingly restored to their former glory. Sydney Town Hall This grand Victorian building on the corner of George and Druitt streets is the unofficial meeting point for young and old. There is a magnificent wood-lined concert hall with an 8,000-pipe grand organ and exquisitely crafted stained-glass windows; shipped to Australia in 1890 it was largest organ in the world at the time. This magnificent showpiece is the seat of the city government, where meetings of the City of Sydney Council are held. See www.cityofsydney.nsw.gov.au /cs_sydney_town_hall.asp. Queen Victoria Building (right) Built in 1898, despite the fact Sydney was in severe recession, out-of-work craftsmen - stonemasons, plasterers and stained glass window artists - found work constructing this elaborate, Romanesque architectural masterpiece now known as the QVB. Occupying an entire block between Market and Druitt streets, grand arches, mighty pillars, curving balustrades and intricate tiled floors reverberate with the artistry of a bygone era. Glorious stained-glass stretches towards the sky, an original 19th-century staircase sits alongside the dome and works of art hang on the walls. More than 170 stores fill three floors of of the building, which is bound by four streets. A letter from Queen Elizabeth II to the citizens of Sydney is hidden in the dome lantern; it will be opened and read by the lord mayor of Sydney in 2085. See www.qvb.com.au . Strand Arcade The silent walls of this genteel building reverberate with the memories of jazz bands and colourful parties: the Strand Arcade, off George Street, bustled with fashionable and colourful patrons during the roaring 1920s and flamboyant 30s, when the Ambassador nightclub was the place to be seen. Named after London's smart theatre-hotel-shopping street, this charming 1892 three-storey building is a pleasure to walk through and attracts a great deal of foot traffic between the Pitt Street Mall and George Street. See www.strandarcade.com.au . General Post Office When Italian sculptor Tomaso Sani created the faces on panels above the Post Office's Pitt Street colonnade, they created such a stir that one newspaper described the carvings as 'repulsive caricatures of contemporary life, which grin and ogle from the perch on the Post Office'. A sage represents fatherly Europe, while stern-faced Australian women seem to glare at lovers holding hands in the street. The Sydney Westin Hotel now occupies part of the listed redevelopment of the General Post Office, constructed in 1887. The former postmaster's residence is now the Heritage Long Suite and features a four-poster bed, ornate foyer and the original postmaster's writing desk from 1874. See www.westin.com.au/s_index.html . State Theatre (left) This ornate cinema has seen it all. The rich gold and red lobby is lavishly decorated with plaster figurines and carved, gilt patterns; grand stairs lead from the foyer to the galleries, adding to the pomp and occasion associated with a good night out on the town. This gothic building on Market Street is also home to the Sydney Film Festival, and its Koh-I-Nor crystal chandelier, weighing more than four tonnes, is the second largest on Earth. Go to www.statetheatre.com.au . The Glasshouse Centre The sleek, Pitt Street mall Glasshouse Shopping Centre, packed with modern clothes and big-ticket shoe shops, stands on the site of the Loong Shan tearooms. In the 1890s Loong Shan was the largest and most spectacular of the chain of tearooms run by the eccentric Chinese immigrant and self-made entrepreneur Quong Tart. They were quite the rage in Victorian Sydney and lavishly decorated with hand-painted Japanese works of art, Chinese wood carvings, elegant golden mirrors and marble ponds with plump carp. Today, the Sydney Teashop serves Chinese Silver Needles Tea, which, at A$100 (HK$540) for 50 grams, is for the connoisseur. See www.ausemade.com.au/group/s/shop_sydney.htm .