A bronze statue of Apollo stands atop a pink granite pillar in the centre of a fountain. He holds one hand extended to his side, and the other holds a lyre. Two bronze horses' heads decorate the pillar below him. Water pours from their nostrils, and a large fan of water cascades behind Apollo.
A side-on view of the fountain, from behind some benches with people sitting on them, and a large bed of yellow and orange flowers. Most of the fountain is obscured by a fan-shaped spray of water.
A tier of the fountain with a pink granite basin and a bronze fish sculpture. A jet of water arcs out of the fish's mouth, and waterfalls cascade from the basin.

Art Deco fountain honours the association between Australia and France forged in World War 1.

Artwork description

The Archibald Fountain is located in Hyde Park north at the centre of Birubi Circle and at the intersection of the main avenues crossing the park. The fountain, by French sculptor Francois Sicard, commemorates the association between Australia and France in World War 1. It draws its themes from Greek antiquity and is an important example in Sydney of the classical revivalist sculpture of the 1920s and 1930s, known as Art Deco.

The fountain has state heritage significance, is around 18m in diameter and is in the shape of a hexagon. A bronze Apollo, the central raised figure standing around 6m high on a central pedestal, dominates the other mythical figures of Diana, Pan and the Minotaur. Behind Apollo a large arch of fine spray represents the rising sun and accentuates his dominant position. At Apollo’s feet, water sprays from horses’ heads into a series of 3 basins. Tortoises in the large hexagonal basin and dolphins in the middle one direct jets of water towards the centre.

Sicard chose a mythical theme to express his message through the medium of a fountain. Although commissioned to honour the association forged in war, the work was also built to look forward to peace and Sicard allowed this theme to dominate. Central to his design was Apollo giving life to all nature. Apollo was surrounded by 3 groups of figures, the first featuring Diana bringing harmony to the world, the second, Pan, watching over the fields and pastures and the third, Theseus, conquering the Minotaur, symbolic of sacrifice for the common good.


Francois Sicard (1862–1934) was a distinguished artist, renowned in France and beyond. He studied with Louis-Ernest Barrias and Felix Laurent and was best known for work on the adornments of the Louvre. Sicard won the Premier Grand Prix de Rome in 1891 and was awarded a gold medal at the Exposition Universelle of 1900. He became an Officier of the Legion d’Honneur in 1910.

Sicard became an influence for change among young Sydney sculptors of the 1930s, after the erection of the Archibald Fountain, by providing an imposing example of the new Art Deco style in architecture.


Extensive preservation work was carried out by the City of Sydney in 2013 and 2022.

During the remediation and conservation works in 2022 the discovery of a 1963 plan by architect Robert Woodward AM guided the implementation of the historical lighting and water design, upgraded to modern standards while aligning with Woodward’s vision. Structural, hydraulic, electrical and mechanical upgrades also took place, and water-saving measures were introduced.

The conservation works received a Highly Commended in the Built Heritage category as part of The National Trust Heritage Awards recognising excellence in conservation.

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