Stanley James Hammond – Master Sculptor

A nod to Sydney’s tradition as a city at the forefront of design and art, Primus Hotel Sydney is a monument to some of the greatest Australian architects and artists such as sculptor Stanley James Hammond.

By Benjamen Judd

Should you stand at the Pitt Street entrance of Primus Hotel Sydney and look up you will notice one of the building’s most moving details: three bas relief panels in brass by acclaimed Australian sculptor Stanley James Hammond. 

The triptych, called “Pure Water is the Best of Gifts that Man to Man may Bring” depict the history of the water industry, its progression in the age technology and it’s relationship with mankind and Australia’s other prime industries such as agriculture. Set into the terra cotta tiling, it is hard not to be impressed by the detail in the work.


Inspired by industrialism and crafted in the art deco style of the period, the panels have been named as some of the most significant works of Sydney’s landscape. 

These magnificent works were the end result of a public competition, which was announced in December 1938. For his hard work, Hammond was given the grand sum of £50 and was six months to complete them. 

Born in 1913 in Victoria, Born in Victoria in 1913, Hammond studied in Melbourne before travelling travels overseas in the late 1960s. Hammond was known for his inter-war Art Deco style and assisted Paul Montford in creating Melbourne’s Shrine of Remembrance as well as designing the Australian memorial at Mont St Quentin in France. 

In 1974, Hammond was awarded an MBE for services to sculpture and the arts and his work is represented in the Australian National Gallery and the Australian War Memorial. He passed away in 2000.

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