Norm to raise the roof at another Queen’s birthday celebration

Hard to match: Norm Grundy with his model of the Queen Victoria Buiding which he built using 88,666 matches, taking 2234 hours to complete. Picture: Chris Lane
Hard to match: Norm Grundy with his model of the Queen Victoria Buiding which he built using 88,666 matches, taking 2234 hours to complete. Picture: Chris Lane

Miranda’s matchstick man, Norm Grundy has built himself a reputation making models of Sydney landmarks.

He has built intricate scale matchstick models of Sydney Town Hall, the Harbour Bridge, Opera House, St Mary’s Cathedral, St Andrew’s Cathedral and the Queen Victoria Building.

His model of the QVB is made up of 88,666 matchsticks, measures two-metres long by 400mm wide and took 2234 hours to complete.

Return engagement: Norm Grundy with is model of the Queen Victoria Building which will be exhibited during the building's 120th anniversary celebrations next month. Picture: Chris Lane

Return engagement: Norm Grundy with is model of the Queen Victoria Building which will be exhibited during the building's 120th anniversary celebrations next month. Picture: Chris Lane

When it was on display at the QVB two years ago it created a lot of interest from shoppers.

Now his QVB model is making a return appearance and will be on display next month as part of the landmark building’s 120th birthday celebrations.

A retired carpenter, Mr Grundy,  83, has spent years building his own matchstick version of Sydney.

His scale model of the Sydney Harbour Bridge built in 1980 used 75,000 matchsticks and took 1000 hours to build.

His model of the Sydney Town Hall  took 1100 hours and 80,000 matches to complete.

His Sydney Opera House, completed in 2012, used 50,000 matches and took 1100 hours to build, while his model of St Mary's Cathedral, completed in December 2012, used 75,000 matchsticks and took over 1700 hours.

Norm’s biggest work was his model of St Andrew’s Cathedral taking 1891 hours to build using 89,813 matches.

But he saw his scale model of the QVB as the ultimate challenge.

He started building the model in February, 2015 and finished it in March, 2016.

The most difficult part was making the small domes. It took six weeks to make the 20 domes on the QVB rooftop. Each dome used 80 matches and I had to bend each matchstick into shape, glue them together and sand them.

The completed model was on display display at the QVB for several months and has since been stored in his garage.

He recently received an email from the QVB management asking him if he would lend them the model to be displayed during the 120th anniversary celebrations.

“I appreciate them coming back to me,” he said. “It must have made an impression.”

QVB’s Centre Manager Natalie Douglas said, “We’re thrilled to have Mr Grundy’s amazing structure back on display as part of our 120 year anniversary for QVB.

“The matchstick replica, and the painstaking work that went into the model evokes the spirit of our iconic building and will be sure to impress people who visit us during our month-long celebration.

“Mr Grundy has an incredible passion for our city which he has displayed in various iconic art projects. It’s a passion shared by the QVB team, our retailers and our customers as we approach this important milestone.”

Since finishing the QVB, Norm hasn’t made anymore models.

“I’ve run out of space in the garage,” he said.  “My model of Sydney Town Hall has been on display at the Sydney Town Hall for 35 years.

“My model of St Mary’s Cathedral and St Andrew’s Cathedral are on permanent loan to those buildings

“I’ve still got the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Sydney Opera House and Queen Victoria Building in my garage.

“I was thinking of giving them to the Powerhouse Museum but with their move to Parramatta they would have so much stuff to move and they don’t need more.”

Norm said the the QVB would be his last model.

“My age is catching up with me. I’m 83 and these models can take between 1000 to 2000 hours each so it takes up quite a bit of time.

“Besides I’ve got bowling, the gym and my garden to keep my busy.”

Norm’s model is expected to be on display at the QVB from July 12 to August 12.

Comments