I don’t know why but I have always found it rather disconcerting that a war memorial be placed in a location more renowned for depravity and debauchery than commemoration of battles in distant lands. Placed in the centre of Kings Cross (affectionately referred to simply as The Cross), Sydney’s notorious red light district, it is hardly surprising that this memorial has become known locally as the elephant douche.
Be that as it is and indeed leaving that aside, this memorial to the Australian Imperial Forces 9th Division and commemoration of the Battles of El Alamein in World War II has become an icon of not only Kings Cross but also Sydney. Interestingly, unlike most war memorials this is not a memorial to those who died but rather an exuberant celebration of life, vitality and victory. The two battles of El Alamein helped turn the course of WWII in favour of the Allied forces.
The modernist dandelion shaped fountain with its 211 wands and water cascading to three lower pools was designed by Bob Woodward, himself a World War II veteran. It first burst forth in The Cross in 1961 and the design has been copied across the world many times since. Not many people know this, but the Tupperware vector logo is based on this fountain. Woodward went on to make his name on the world stage as a fountain designer.
The fountain was totally refurbished in 2012 and when I last visited in early 2016 the old lady of flower of The Cross, if I may call it that, was looking fresh and delectable – more than can be said for many of the much younger ‘ladies’ who frequent The Cross later of an evening.
At night the fountain is illuminated and looks especially alluring.
The fountain is located in Fitzroy Gardens which in itself contains a nice array of trees and shrubs in a ‘brick tiled’ garden – much loved by visitors and itinerant vagabond alike – so,while far from dangerous, do keep an eye on your possessions.
Address: Intersection of Darlinghurst Rd and Macleay St
Directions: Kings Cross
This is my last SYDNEY – CITY – POTTS POINT (KINGS CROSS) – ELIZABETH BAY review.
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