In addition to the tv transmission towers of the Artarmon Triangle, there are many more Eiffel Towers to be found in Sydney.
Some details of Sydney’s history lurk close to the surface and are often repeated. Closely coupled with the AWA Tower is the fact that it used to be the tallest building in Sydney. The AWA is defined by what it once was, the decades between 1939 and 1962 when its radio mast topped the city skyline. In part it is because it seems so unlikely as a city’s tallest building now that the city has grown up around and above it.
The AWA mast is Sydney’s best known Eiffel Tower; the design was based on the Paris original. The mast allowed the AWA to exceed the 150 foot limit for city buildings that applied until the late 1950s, as it was not considered part of the overall height. The building’s caretaker would take groups of people up to the viewing platform on the mast to look out over the city. This was until the day in the 1970s when a sightseeing group were stuck in the lift between floors for four hours before anyone noticed they were missing.
Eiffel Towers have spread throughout the Sydney suburbs. They are transmission towers and church spires, they are found in paintings on the walls of cafes, on signs for bakeries and shoe shops. On Canterbury Road, across from the run-down and shuttered-up old shopping strip, an Eiffel rises from the roof of a digital camera store. The building once housed a radio manufacturer which was a subsidiary of AWA, making the Canterbury tower is a smaller, suburban relative to the city Eiffel.
At Lidcombe another Eiffel rises from the public weighbridge and perspex dealer on Parramatta Road. The perspex place is a weird combination of breezeblock walls, shipping containers and faded signs with six digit phone numbers. The Eiffel only adds to its mystery.
Then there are the Eiffels that exist for one night only, in suburban gardens.
Do you know any suburban Eiffels? Look out for them – there are more out there than you’d think.