Sydney Architecture Images- Galleries and Notes.
An Historical Guide to Sydney's Green Plaques
Copyright Royal Australian Historical Society,
133 Macquarie Street, Sydney NSW 2000
Take a walk through history with the compliments of the Royal Australian Historical
Society . In 1988, one hundred and one green plaques were erected around Sydney,
celebrating historic places, people and events. Start walking and experience the Sydney
of yesterday today.
1. Campbell's Bank
Circular Quay West. The Rocks. On this site in 1819
Robert Campbell, Sydney's leading merchant, opened
Australia's first savings bank. He accepted shillings,
dollars, dumps, rupees. And convicts.
2. History House
133 Macquarie Street. Built in 1871 for the
Parramatta politician George Oakes, History House is
now the home of the Royal Australian Historical
Society. They'll help you to find out more about
3. The Lands Department
Bridge St. Between Gresham and Loftus Sts. You can
explore your local history at this treasure house of
property maps, and you can look at the many statues
of Australian explorers in the niches outside.
4. Treasury & Audit Office
Bridge St, cnr. Macquarie St. A most refreshing
historical stop - it's now the Inter-Continental Hotel.
A wonderful combination of old and new, where you
can dine in the Treasury Restaurant, have a drink in
the courtyard or hold a meeting in the Premier's
5. The First Execution
Cnr. Essex & Harrington Sts. In 1788 convict
Thomas Barrett stole butter, pease and pork from
camp provisions. This is as far as he got. A gallows
tree located here between the male and female
convict camps was used for the deed.
6. St James' Church
King St., near Macquarie St. This church is a
beautiful example of Georgian architecture. It was
originally intended to be a court house, but there
must have been a sign from above, for it was
converted into a church at an early stage of
7. Tank Stream
Hunter Street. When the First Fleet landed in Sydney
Cove, it was this 'fine stream of fresh water' which
attracted them. Over the years the Tank Stream
became severely polluted by the people of the new
colony. It now serves as a storm water channel
running underneath the city streets.
8. Mort's Wool Store
Young St., cnr. Albert St. Before Thomas Mort
established specialised wool sales on this site, local
trading was disorganised. Buyers often stopped wool
growers on the road to Sydney and persuaded them to
sell their wool before they could find out the real
9. Legislative Assembly Chamber
Parliament House, Macquarie Street. The home of
Australian democracy actually had its beginnings as
the Surgeon's Quarters of the Rum Hospital.
10. The Supreme Court
Elizabeth St., cnr. King St. This building was the first
permanent seat of justice in New South Wales. In the
early days the wind whistled through the rooms and
the noise of horses and carriages outside made
11. General Post Office
Martin Place. This imposing building is famous for
the richness of its carvings. Look for the carving of a
postman handing a letter to a smiling young woman.
In the 1880s this was considered suggestive and
caused a public outcry. The GPO is now part of the
12. Strand Arcade
Between George and Pitt Sts. The shopping arcades
popular in Sydney in the later 19th Century were
grand examples of high Victorian architecture.
The Strand is the sole survivor. Although damaged
by fire three times - most recently in 1976 - it stands
in all its original charm.
13. City Railway
St. James and Museum Stns. When this, the first
underground railway in Australia, opened in 1926 it
was proclaimed 'one of the most up-to-date products
14. Palace Garden Gates
Entrance to the Botanic Gardens, Macquarie Street.
Large international exhibitions were popular in the
late 19th Century. When Sydney was host in 1879 the
massive Garden Palace Exhibition Building was
built. But it didn't stand for long. The building was
totally destroyed by fire on 22 September 1882.
15. Bridge Street Bridge
Bridge St., cnr. Pitt St. The Tank Stream divided the
first settlement at Sydney into two camps. Convicts
built a wooden bridge, joining the two sides, and later
replaced it with a more permanent structure. At the
time it was just as important as the Sydney Harbour
Bridge is today.
16. The Observatory
Observatory Point. For over 100 years the time ball at
the Observatory dropped at precisely one o'clock p.m.
This allowed ships' captains to set their chronometers
and people in the city to correct their watches.
17. Horbury Terrace
Macquarie St, near Bent St. To live in one of the
eight townhouses here in the 1840s was to reside at
one of the best addresses in the colony. They were
some of earlier residences to have running water.
Today only two townhouses remain, both used as
18. Walsh Bay Wharves
Hickson Road. In 1900 bubonic plague hit Sydney,
especially in the area of The Rocks. Some of the area
was demolished to check the spread of the disease.
This part was later re-built as new harbour facilities.
Redevelopment proposals in the 1990s caused
19. Mortuary Station
Regent St. south of Central. As the city grew it
became obvious that its cemeteries, occupying
valuable real estate, could not be extended. The
Mortuary Station was built for funeral trains to the
grand new cemetery, the Necropolis, at Rookwood.Page 2
20. Marcus Clark's Store
Railway Square, cnr. George & Pitt Sts. Marcus
Clark & Co. were 'universal distributors', a large
retail company with a mail order business. In 1906
their new building, described by them as 'our
mammoth eight-storey building' was the tallest in
Sydney. Today it is occupied by the State Rail
21. Town Hall
George Street. One of Sydney's most familiar
landmarks, the Town Hall is a stunning example of
19th Century architecture. It is located on the site of
an old colonial cemetery and was completed at the
time of the nation's centenary.
22. Marble Bar
Hilton Hotel, between George & Pitt Sts. The bar has
been rebuilt in the Hilton almost exactly as it was
when it opened in Tattersalls Hotel in 1893. It was
one of the most extravagant and elaborate late
23. Sydney Exchange
Bridge St., between Pitt & Gresham Sts. These days a
lot of the exchanging here is social. It has been a
businessman's club since the mid 19th Century, when
merchants, agents and ships' captains met to discuss
business - and have a drop or two.
24. Mark Foy's Store
Castlereagh St. near Liverpool St. Mark Foy's
department store brought Parisian elegance to
Sydney's central shopping scene. But eventually
suburban centres forced many of these grand
'emporia' to close. It now houses the Downing Centre
25. School of Arts
Pitt Street, south of Hilton complex. The Sydney
Mechanics' School of Arts founded in 1833 as part of
a movement for both social and personal
improvement through education, was the forerunner
of technical education in New South Wales.
The library and reading room were important for the
intellectual development of 19th Century Sydney.
See if it rubs off.
26. Hydraulic Pumping Station
Pier St. Private enterprise promoted this most useful
power service which ran, hidden from view, beneath
Sydney's streets. Without this useful source of power
to work lifts, hoists and cranes the height of buildings
in Sydney would have been restricted to the number
of flights of stairs people were prepared to climb, or
carry up goods.
27. Lieutenant Governor's House
George St., cnr. Grosvenor St. The division between
the Governor of New South Wales and his second in
command was symbolised by the location of their
residence. Governor Phillip lived on the east side of
the Tank Stream and the Lieutenant Governor, Major
Robert Ross, on the west side.
28. National Trust Centre
Observatory Hill. It is perhaps appropriate that the
National Trust, an organisation devoted to the
protection of Australia's heritage should itself occupy
a building of such significance. As a military hospital
the building served the garrison stationed in Sydney.
As Fort Street School the building saw some famous
Australians educated there. The Board of National
Education, under which the school was established,
stood for 'equal opportunity of education to all
colonists independent of rank, class or description of
29. Georgian School
Elizabeth St. In its early years the Georgian School
had many uses including use a court house, and as a
temporary church for various denominations. It was
later used as the St James' church school at a time
when education was largely provided by religious
bodies or private academies, for those who could
The last school to occupy the building was Sydney
Girls' High School. It moved to new premises at
Moore Park in the 1920s and the old school was
demolished to make way for a new part of David
30 Trades Hall
Goulburn St., cnr. Dixon St. The first registered
office of the association which was to build the
Trades Hall was at the hotel called 'The Swan with
Two Necks'. All types of unions, from shipwrights to
drapers, bricklayers to saddle harness makers
combined to make premises for meetings, a meeting
room and even a labour bureau for the unemployed.
At the opening of the Trades Hall 9,000 men and 30
brass bands celebrated the event in a parade.
31. Conservatorium of Music
Conservatorium Road. The lavish scale of the
accommodation provided by Governor Macquarie for
his horses prompted much criticism at the time these
stables were built. New accommodation for the
Governor was not provided until much later when
designs for the present Government House were
provided from England by Queen Victoria's architect
32. Judge's House
Kent St. This cottage is a rare colonial survival in the
heart of present day commercial Sydney. The cottage
was built for William Harper a Scottish migrant who
worked as an Assistant Surveyor.
Ill health and eventual blindness caused him to retire
when still young and his home was rented to Mr
Justice James Dowling at an annual rental of 200
pounds. The house once enjoyed 'delightful and
healthful views of Darling Harbour'.
33. New South Wales Club
Bligh St. Gentlemen's clubs were a regular feature of
life in the city in the 19th Century. The New South
Wales Club was founded by business men, and like
all such other institutions exclude ladies. Liveried
employees served members in modest-sized but
elegant premises in Bligh Street. Sir Samuel Hordern
was a long serving President of the Club, for 36
34. Old Sydney Burial Ground
George St. Once an area cultivated by Captain Shea
of the Marines and in which, at his request, he was
buried, in 1789, the Old Sydney Burial Ground was
the first major official cemetery for the town.
It is estimated that some 2,000 burials took place
there until the place became offensive and too close
to human habitation when it was closed. The graves
and their contents were removed when the Town Hall
was built but occasional discoveries have been made
since that date, including vaults found in 1974 and
35. York Street Synagogue
York St. Although there were a few members of the
Jewish faith in the First Fleet there was no real
communal life for Jewish colonists until 1828. The
first permanent synagogue in York Street was
contributed to not only by Jews but also by members
of other faiths, who attended the consecration. The
building was Egyptian in design.
36. St Patrick's Church
Grosvenor St. One of the oldest Catholic Churches in
Sydney, St Patrick's stands on land given for a church
by William Davis and his wife. At a time when
Catholicism was not officially recognised in New
South Wales Davis' home was a centre for Catholic
prayer. The authorities probably closed their eyes to
this breach of the law. They couldn't help but see it
for the old St Philip's church was directly opposite
37. Young Men's Christian Association
Pitt St., cnr. Bathurst St. Founded in England the
YMCA has become a world-wide movement. Non-
political and non-sectarian the movement promotes
the religious, intellectual and physical welfare of
young men. The movement failed to get off the
ground early in Sydney due to the disruption of the
gold rush, but flourished later.
Macquarie St., cnr. Hunter St. This city block of
'professional chambers' is named after the country
property of its original owner, a grazier of old Junee.
Wyoming was one of the earliest of such tall
buildings in the city and commanded lovely views. It
was noted when it was built that all floors would
have constant hot water.
39. Australia Hotel
MLC Centre Castlereagh St. Sydney's premier hotel
for many years, the 'Australia' was one of an
international standard of comfort and service. Sarah
Bernhardt registered as a guest on the first day of
opening. One lady stayed there for 31 years.
Apart from the accommodation for guests, rooms
were also provided for their servants including the
children's nurses who had their own dining room with
40. Tramway Depot
Bridge St., cnr. Phillip St. The steam train route
inaugurated for the opening of the Garden Palace
International Exhibition was only meant to be
temporary, for the duration of the Exhibition. It was
such a success and so popular that it was kept on. The
steam motors and double decker passenger cars came
from the United States.
41. Lord Nelson Hotel
Kent St., cnr. Argyle St. The Rocks area was well
known for its public houses in the 19th Century and
had a reputation for being a rowdy part of town. The
Lord Nelson which was first licensed in 1841 is the
oldest extant hotel which is still trading in the same
building. The first licensee was William Wells who
received a conditional pardon in 1837 having been
transported to New South Wales for life in 1810.
42. Australian Subscription Library
Macquarie St., cnr. Bent St. Culture and learning of
any sort were in short supply in early Sydney and the
means of acquiring such were even harder to find. In
1821 a group of gentlemen combined so that they
could borrow books from each other.
In 1826 a subscription library was founded. For many
years it moved around temporary premises in the
town until a permanent site was acquired on the
corner of Bent and Macquarie Streets. The library ran
into debt and was eventually purchased by the
government becoming the foundation for a free
public library for Sydney.
43. Customs House
Alfred Street. The Customs House stands as a
reminder of the days when Circular Quay was
surrounded by wool stores and warehouses and
overseas shipping berthed in the heart of the city at
Passed from the Federal government to the City
Council, it was refurbished and opened as an arts
centre in 1998. It now houses the City of Sydney
44. Australian Gas Light Company
Jenkins St. The name of Gas Lane off Kent Street is
one of the few surviving reminders of the large gas
works which used to exist at Darling Harbour of
which parts of an office and store are all that now
Private enterprise fostered the foundation and
development of the company many of whose
subscribers were merchants and professional people.
Gas lighting in the streets was inaugurated in 1841 on
24 May, Queen Victoria's birthday.
45. Francis Greenway's House
George St., cnr. Argyle St. Like so many other
aspects of his life, Francis Greenway's occupancy of
a house at the corner of George and Argyle Streets
Greenway claimed that the land had been given to
him by Governor Macquarie but no real proof could
be found in government records. A document
produced by Greenway may have been a forgery. He
had been tempted to such a crime once before when
hard pressed in his business affairs. This led to his
Greenway was evicted but was then allowed to stay
on in the building, to become more and more of an
embarrassment to government. Eventually he left to
join his family in the Hunter Valley, where he died.
46. The Nightingale Wing
Sydney Hospital, Macquarie St. Invited to come to
Sydney to establish nursing along the lines promoted
by the famous Florence Nightingale, Lucy Osburn
encountered hostility, stupidity and prejudice in
attempting to do her job. The condition of the
hospital was deplorable, filthy, badly maintained, ill
Nursing was not thought a suitable profession for
respectable women and Lucy Osburn was constantly
thwarted and harassed by the male Superintendent of
the hospital. Eventually she was vindicated and her
methods adopted, much to the benefit of the patients.
47. AWA Building
York St. AWA, a pioneer in radio, became the largest
manufacturer of electronic equipment in Australia
and New Zealand. Its building and tower were
prominent in the city for many years. Soundproof
windows and specially designed flooring and ceiling
coverings were features of the new building. Even the
light fittings in the entrance were in the shape of
48. The Lumber Yard
Bridge St. This yard accommodated all types of
tradesmen involved in public works in Sydney and
district; carpenters, woodturners, sawyers,
wheelwrights, iron and brass founders, smiths, tool
makers. The wall around the lumber yard was
increased in height to prevent the convict workers
from giving away tools and equipment over the wall
to friends outside.
49. Reading the Riot Act
Macquarie St. The Maritime Strike of 1890 was the
first almost general strike in Australia and involved
transport workers, miners and shearers. It was
essentially a dispute concerning the recognition of
unionism (on the part of the employee) and freedom
of contract (on the part of the employers). The
bitterness of the strike established sympathies of
many families for years to come.
In Sydney a near riot ensued at Circular Quay but
fortunately the crowds were dispersed without any
injury or loss of life.
50. The Lawsons' House
Phillip St. Henry Lawson lived with his mother in
Phillip Street, Sydney and worked in Hudson Bros.
railway carriage works at Clyde. In the evening he
went to night school to improve himself. Famous for
his short stories and ballads, Henry's life was not a
story of personal success or fulfilment and
alcoholism became a problem.
His mother Louisa Lawson was a newspaper
publisher, a feminist and writer. At her newspaper
'The Dawn' she employed female printers. The union,
which would not admit women members, tried to get
her to dismiss them. She was a supporter of women's
suffrage and campaigned to secure the appointment
of women to public office.
51. The Mint
Macquarie St. Prior to the goldrush of the early 1850s
all coinage and currency in New South Wales had
been minted overseas. But with the viability of local
gold it was possible to establish a mint. The mint in
Sydney was the first branch of the Royal Mint to be
established in Australia.
It used as its premises part of the old Rum Hospital.
It was not however very healthy for the patients in the
remainder of the hospital buildings and protests were
made about the noxious fumes from the mint works
which affected the Infirmary patients.
52. 'Banjo' Paterson's Office
Bond St. Brought up in the country, Andrew Paterson
moved to Sydney to continue his secondary education
and was articled as a solicitor with a Sydney firm.
In his bush ballads, many of which were written in
the city, he painted a popular picture of station life
with such ballads as 'The Man from Snowy River'
and 'Clancy of the Overflow'. He signed himself as
'the Banjo' in contributions to The Bulletin magazine,
hence his popular name.
53. Larry Foley's Hotel
George St. Larry Foley, known as the father of
Australian boxing, was an Australian champion in the
days of bare knuckle fighting and unlimited rounds.
After his retirement he was both an hotel landlord
and a boxing trainer and opened his own boxing
Efforts were made by the police to stop boxing
contests at his hotel but largely without success.
Foley made a brief comeback to fighting in 1883 to
fight William 'Professor' Miller, with gloves. The
contest lasted for 40 rounds and was declared a draw.
54. Boston's Windmill
Royal Botanic Gardens. The windmills which were
once prominent features of the Sydney skyline were
an economic necessity to provide flour for all the
food requirements of the colonists.
Boston's mill, on part of the Government Domain,
eventually became the cause of a long legal dispute
when the government wished to remove all private
dwellings on the land. Boston's entrepreneurial skills
were not only limited to milling. He also tried salt
working, brewing, making soap and overseas trade.
He was killed by natives at Tongatapu Island when
on a trading expedition.
55. Governor's Bathing House
Royal Botanic Gardens. Now known largely as an
area for enjoyable walks in the gardens, the shores
around Sydney Cove and Farm Cove used to provide
suitable bathing areas. In an age when running water
in homes was unknown such a bathe was a means of
washing and refreshment as well as enjoying the sea.
The Governor's bathing house was built in a
castellated style to correspond with the fortifications
already built on Bennelong Point called Fort
56. Devonshire Street Cemetery
Elizabeth St. Consecrated on 27 January 1820 by the
Rev. Samuel Marsden the 'Sandhills' cemetery was
Sydney's main burial place for almost 50 years. It is
estimated that approximately 5,000 memorial stones
were erected during that period. Each religious
denomination had its own area of the cemetery. The
fee for a grave digger was 2/6d in 1820.
57. The Carters' Barracks
Pitt St., cnr. Eddy Avenue. These barracks were built
to accommodate 200 male convicts and, in a separate
building, 100 male juvenile offenders. The carters in
government employ, their working horses, bullocks
and carts were housed here.
The boys were kept separate from the men, in the
hope that they would be improved in behaviour and
not corrupted by older felons. But the experiment was
not a particular success.
58. George Allen's House
Elizabeth St. George Allen has the distinction of
being the first colonial trained solicitor, all previous
solicitors having served their articles in Britain or
elsewhere overseas. He was also the founder of the
oldest undivided legal practice in Sydney.
This firm acquired its present name of Allen, Allen
and Hemsley in 1894. Allen moved to a cottage in
Elizabeth Street shortly after his marriage. He later
moved to much grander things in his house at Toxteth
59. The Outbreak of Plague
Lower Fort St., cnr. Ferry Lane. With the appearance
of bubonic plague at Hong Kong in 1894 health
authorities in Australia realised it would only be a
matter of time before the disease spread to other
countries through their ports. It arrived in Australia in
Approximately one third of those who contracted
plague died from it. The disease drew attention to the
appalling state of housing and lack of sanitary
facilities in the Rocks. Many areas of houses were
demolished. Rat catchers went to work and
whitewash was used as disinfectant. One person
complained that even her piano was whitewashed.
60. Semi Circular Quay
Alfred St. Circular Quay, an abbreviation of its real
title 'Semi Circular Quay' was once a main wharfage
area for the town of Sydney. In its natural state with a
tidal inlet to Bridge Street, where it met the Tank
Stream, the wharfage was not however very
The redesign of the area to a semi circular shape was
to provide additional deep water wharfage available
to the public.
Work on construction took several years of convict
labour. The overseer complained that the Royal
Engineers took the best men for their own jobs and
left him with the rest.
61. The Sydney Gazette Office
George St., cnr. Alfred St. A small printing press was
sent out with the First Fleet and early government
orders were printed by George Hughes. George Howe
started Sydney's first newspaper which was 'printed
by authority' that is, it had to receive the Governor's
approval for all matters published.
Pieces of type were found in excavations at the First
Government House site where George Howe, the
government printer, first put together the Sydney
Gazette. Howe also published the first book in
Australia the 'New South Wales General Standing
62. Simeon Lord's House
Macquarie Place. Macquarie Place still retains part of
its original shape (but not all of its size). On the west
side can be discerned where the tidal inlet of Sydney
Cove used to extend to Bridge Street. Simeon Lord's
house and warehouse backed on to the inlet giving
him private access to valuable wharfage - or at least
some access by water at high tide.
Valuable cargoes were often left at Lord's which was
one of the few impressive dwellings in early Sydney.
His trading interests were wide and included
partnerships with other important merchants of the
63. Glover Cottages
Kent St. Thomas Glover, a miner from Somerset was
transported to New South Wales for seven years. In
the colony he worked as a stonemason and later
became the landlord of the Sailor's Return.
Parts of Kent Street were quarried for building stone
and it is likely that the two cottages were made of
local materials. After Glover died his widow
remarried and left the country. The cottages were
claimed for the support of Glover's children, by their
uncle who had helped Glover to build them.
64. Culwulla Chambers
Castlereagh St., cnr. King St. With the advent of tall
buildings in Sydney in the early 20th Century, fears
were expressed about the effect of such buildings on
the city and its inhabitants; the dangers of fire, dark
shadows in the streets, too much traffic and of disease
in congested areas.
While the City Council was in favour of such
development Parliament legislated for a height limit
of 150 feet above street level. Culwulla Chambers
(named after the owner's family home at Jamberoo)
was built with fire proofing in mind, hence its marble
steps and reinforced concrete construction.
65. Fort Phillip (plaque removed)
Observatory Hill. The spacious harbour which
attracted Governor Phillip to Port Jackson as the
place of settlement for the First Fleet also provided
security problems for the young colony. For the
harbour was of easy access and other nations had
colonial ambition, or were even, at times, at war with
In addition some security problems were also
anticipated within the colony with the fear of Irish
republicans rebelling. Fort Phillip was to provide the
answer with a location which commanded not only a
view of the harbour but also of the surrounding areas
near Sydney. But the fort was never used - and never
66. Jack Lang's Birthplace
George Street. Jack Lang was born in Sydney of a
Scottish father and an Irish mother. Known as the
'Big Fella' he was one of the most famous and
controversial Labor politicians.
During his time as Premier there were real fears
amongst some that he would establish a radical and
even revolutionary republic in New South Wales. He
was expelled from the Labor party but readmitted in
1971. He died at the age of 98.
67. St Brigid's Church School
Kent St., cnr. Argyle St. St Brigid's school still
functions as a local school in the heart of The Rocks
just a short distance from the thriving commercial
centre of Sydney's business district. As was originally
intended, the building also serves as a chapel.
St Brigid's is probably the oldest school in Sydney
still operating on its original site in its original
68. Underwood's Shipyard
Underwood St. James Underwood arrived in New
South Wales on the First Fleet having been
transported for 14 years for killing five sheep. His
shipbuilding business was part of a larger trading
enterprise and his ships were engaged in sealing,
whaling and carrying coal. He imported goods from
India and Europe and later engaged in building a
distillery on the South Head Road.
69. Hyde Park Barracks (plaque removed)
Macquarie St. Before these barracks were provided
for their use convicts arriving in Sydney were
surprised to find that they were to find their own
lodgings and were only expected to turn up for work
when summoned, rather than being locked up all the
Such a situation often led to groups of convicts
committing further crimes having had the opportunity
to meet up in their lodgings. Some idea of the
sleeping arrangements in the barracks can be gained
from the display in the top room of the building
which is now a museum.
70. Power House
Mary Ann St. The Ultimo Power House and Tram
Depot was built for the electric tramcar fleet to power
the route from the city to Harris Street, Pyrmont via
The buildings have now been adapted for the use of
the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences.
Technology is the main subject of the Power House
71. First Public Demonstration of Wireless
Elizabeth St. Mr Ernest Fisk gave the first public
display of wireless in 1919 during an illustrated
lecture, when a gramophone played into a wireless
telephone transmitter in Clarence Street could be
heard in Elizabeth Street. Regular radio broadcasting
began in 1923.
72. Sydney Opera House
Bennelong Point. The land on which the Sydney
Opera House stands has seen various phases of the
history of the colony. Used as early as July 1788 for a
small redoubt with guns mounted for the defence of
the harbour, Bennelong Point was also the home of
the Aboriginal Bennelong, befriended by Governor
Taken on a visit to England, Bennelong met King
George III, returning to the colony with Governor
Hunter. His home site was later occupied by Fort
Macquarie, a picturesque but probably ineffective
harbour defence 'the butt and jest of every foreigner
who has visited this part of the world'.
73. Site of the First Gaol
George St., cnr. Essex St. In a colony which was
itself a gaol, thousands of miles from Britain and
with nowhere nearby to escape to, there was no need
for gaols with bars. However for those who continued
in a life of crime after arriving in New South Wales
such was eventually needed.
The first gaol of logs was probably deliberately set on
fire. It was only with difficulty that the prisoners in it,
some of them in irons, were rescued from the flames.
The cost of the second gaol was met by the
inhabitants contributing their labour and also by
levies on spirits and other duties.
74. Theatre Royal
George St. Barnett Levy's Theatre Royal attempted to
bring both entertainment and culture to Sydney.
Shakespeare, opera and many classics of the stage
were attempted by the company.
Tragedies however seem to have shown up the
deficiencies of the acting and the audience was loud
in its discontent. The theatre was popular however -
for whatever reason - and often the audience from the
pit spread on to the stage. A visitor remarked that a
proof of the increasing morality of the colony was
that none of his party had their pockets picked on
entering or leaving the theatre.
75. Queen Victoria Building (Police Office)
Druitt St. Plans for an elegant market house and other
associated buildings in George Street proposed by
Francis Greenway were squashed by Commissioner
Bigge as part of his economies for New South Wales.
Greenway's domed Market House became the Police
Office and served as such for much of the 19th
76. Queen Victoria Building (Markets)
Market St. The market site in George Street, once
part of the Blaxland's stockyard and dairy, had good
access to water transport. Goods including livestock
and grain coming from areas outside the town,
including the farms on the Hawkesbury, were landed
at the Market Wharf in Darling Harbour and brought
up Market Street for sale.
The whole site of the markets and police office was
used for the construction of the Queen Victoria
Markets. This building was not a great success and
was soon subdivided.
After much debate about the future it was eventually
restored and is once again open to the public for
shopping of a rather different sort from the original
77. The First Traffic Lights
Kent St., cnr. Market St. The first imported motor
vehicle arrived in Sydney in 1900 and as the number
of the vehicles in the city increased there were
considerable worries about safety and the number of
In 1921 regulations were passed which required
motorists to signal their intention to stop or turn.
When the first traffic lights were installed
explanations on their use appeared in the newspapers.
Many however virtually ignored them.
78. D'Arcy Wentworth's House
Macquarie St., cnr. Queen's Square. The Irishman
D'Arcy Wentworth was a colourful and lovable
character. Having narrowly escaped transportation on
charges of highway robbery on which he was
acquitted, D'Arcy Wentworth 'volunteered' to go to
Botany Bay as an Assistant Surgeon.
He worked on Norfolk Island from 1791 to 1796 and
then returned to Sydney where he worked as an
Assistant Surgeon and as a public servant, including
office as chief Police Magistrate. The house he had
built at the corner of Macquarie and King Streets was
not used by him for long but was sold to the
government and used as the residence for the
79. Old Registry Office
Elizabeth St., cnr. St. James Road. This lovely
building was purpose designed for the newly created
office of Registrar. The duties of the office were
originally concerned with the important job of the
registration of land titles. To this was added the
registration of births, marriages and deaths.
Before this became the responsibility of the Registrar
all such records had been kept only by the churches.
These records are now eagerly searched by people
tracing their family histories.
80. Sydney Morning Herald
Pitt St., cnr. O'Connell St. The Sydney Morning
Herald, Australia's oldest existing newspaper,
occupied two successive buildings on this site before
moving to offices off Broadway. 'The Herald Corner'
was an area where people gathered for news straight
off the presses.
When foreign news arrived by ship the rival
newspapers used to vie with each other to be the first
with the news. The Herald had a special boat built for
the purpose and kept a crew in readiness day and
night. Reporters often boarded vessels outside the
Heads in order to secure the papers on board.
81. F. Kanematsu's Japanese Warehouse
O'Connell St. Although Japan had for long been a
trading nation and foreigners had established
themselves in Japan, this type of 'settlement trade'
saw the Japanese as purely middlemen in the
exchange of goods.
The decision to establish direct trade with Australia
prompted Fusajiro Kanematsu to come to Sydney and
to open an office of his company in the city. He saw
Australia as a good potential market for the export of
rice from Japan and wool as an import in exchange.
The company is still in business today and is one of
the largest dealers in wool to Japan.
82. Mitchell Wing
Macquarie St. The Mitchell Wing was built to house
the collection of books, manuscripts and other books
on Australian and Pacific history donated to the
people of the state by David Scott Mitchell.
This was one of the most generous gifts there has
ever been to the people of NSW and ranks as one of
the greatest national collections in the world. A
bachelor, David Scott Mitchell was an avid book
collector. As he grew older he lived in increasing
seclusion and collecting became an all absorbing
passion. As a condition of his gift a special building
was constructed for his collection.
83. David Jones' First Shop
George St., cnr. Barrack St. David Jones' parents
hoped that he would enter the church but instead his
career lay in retailing. When his wife and child died
in Wales, David Jones went to work in England and
through connections of his second wife met Charles
Appleton from Hobart.
A brief partnership with Appleton took Jones to
Hobart and Sydney where he then set up in business
on his own. He lived in a 'roomy cottage' at the back
of the shop. Jones was noted for his integrity and also
for his charitable works and benefactions. After
retiring the firm became less successful and Jones
returned to restore its fortunes.
84. The Macquarie Wall
Royal Botanic Gardens. The wall built at the
instigation of Governor Macquarie was to protect not
only the privacy of the Governor and his family but
also the plants and trees of the Domain which were
damaged by trespassers.
The wall however was not meant to exclude
everyone. 'The respectable class of inhabitants' could
resort there for 'innocent recreation' during the day
time. Mrs Macquarie's road provided access around
the Domain and there was a gate and stile entrance at
the east end of Bent Street.
85. The Domain
The Domain is not only an open space for the
residents and workers of Sydney but is a place of free
speech and free assembly. For over a century soap
box orators have been able to propound all types of
ideas and philosophies to whoever will stop to listen
The area has also witnessed amusements,
celebrations, protests, political demonstrations,
parades, sports and also opera and symphony
86. Farm Cove
Royal Botanic Gardens. A major preoccupation for
the members of the First Fleet was survival. In its
earliest years the colony nearly starved. Farm Cove,
which was the site of Australia's first farm, was soon
found to be deficient for farming purposes and
attention turned to Parramatta which was much more
Although of little use for growing grain Farm Cove
was however used for horticultural purposes and as
the Botanic Gardens has played a vital part in the
study of Australian flora.
87. The State Theatre
Market St. The opulent and extravagant style of the
State Theatre provided total escapism for its patrons.
As they entered the theatre they entered a different
world and one which they could never hope to match
in their own ordinary lives. Lounges decorated in
various styles were sumptuous. A gallery of
Australian art provided local culture.
In addition to the luxury of their surroundings patrons
were served by the State Attaché corps - young men
'specially selected for their appearance and physique'.
88. Henry Parkes' Shop
Hunter St. Henry Parkes, a migrant from Britain,
worked in Hunter Street as an ivory turner, producing
fancy goods. As a journalist he launched his own
newspaper The Empire and entering political life rose
to be the Premier of New South Wales.
His personality has been described as 'massive,
durable and imposing'. He was 'one of the largest
figures of the 19th Century Australian politics'.
Although he rose in political circles he found it
difficult to keep his financial affairs under control
and on occasion had to resign office due to debt.
89. The Military Barracks
Wynyard Park. The small square now left as
Wynyard Park is only a remnant of the very large
area once occupied by the military barracks in
Sydney. British troops garrisoned in the colony lived
here. The Parade Ground fronted George Street.
As land in the town became more valuable and as
more of the population consisted of free persons, a
military presence in the centre of the town became
Various alternative sites were considered but
eventually a sandy waste on the South Head Road
was chosen. Here in the suburb which was to become
Paddington the Victoria Barracks was built.
90. Hyde Park
Elizabeth St. Hyde Park was dedicated for public
recreation and amusement in 1810 and has
maintained its original boundaries almost intact since
that date. Two of the most popular national sports
were practised there, horse racing and cricket. Both
found keen supporters amongst the military who were
garrisoned in the town.
The present landscape of the park does not however
owe anything to its early days but to the construction
of the City Railway which was opened in 1926. The
tunnel for the railway was excavated by an open cut
along Hyde Park and the whole area re-planted when
the excavation had been covered in again.
91. Sydney Grammar School
College St. Like many schools in the early days of
the colony Sydney College, founded in 1835 went
through some difficulties. Although the school itself
closed the building survived and was used as the first
home for the University of Sydney.
The inauguration of the University and first
matriculation ceremony took place on the same day.
The University was to be a 'school of liberal and
Its foundation prompted the growth of more and
better secondary schools to provide the education
which would allow young men to enter the
University. find out more
92-94: These three buildings which are all next to
each other, now form the Justice and Police Museum.
92. Water Police Court (plaque missing)
Cnr. Phillip & Alfred Sts. The Water Police were
officially established in 1830. It was their task
amongst other duties, to prevent smuggling and the
escape of convicts by stowing away on ships visiting
In 1851 a site was chosen for a much needed Water
Police Court at the corner of Albert and Phillip
Streets. However when the goldrush broke out in the
same year men flocked to the diggings causing an
acute shortage of labour in the towns and cities.
The building was eventually constructed between
1853-1856. It was designed by Edmund Blacket. The
court remained in use until the 1970s when more
modern accommodation was found elsewhere.
93. Phillip Street Police Station
Cnr. Phillip & Alfred Sts. The Police Station was
designed by Alexander Dawson and constructed in
1858. It was originally used by the Water Police but
later for the regular police force.
The building includes a lock-up, (imposing cells with
high ceilings and heavy iron doors) and intimidating
Charge Room and Sergeant's office.
Police who occupied the building in recent years
thought it a dreadful place to work in, but it was said
to be close-knit, friendly place to work - perhaps a
reaction to the awful environment. The Police Station
closed in 1985 when The Rocks Police Station opened.
94. Police Court
Cnr. Phillip & Alfred Sts. The Court House, located
between the Water Police Court and the Police
Station in Phillip Street was designed by the colonial
architect James Barnet and completed in 1886. In his
design Barnet copied the basic elements of the earlier
Water Police Court design to complement the
buildings already on the site.
The building was used as a Magistrates Court and
later became known as Traffic Court No. 2 (the
Water Police Court being Traffic Court No. 1). In the
museum the court room has been restored to its
original Victorian splendour.
95. The Tivoli Theatre
Castlereagh St., cnr. Hay St. The Tivoli was not only
the home of vaudeville in Sydney but also saw
melodrama, pantomime and grand opera. It opened in
1911 with a performance of The Bad Girl of the
In 1915-16 it was renovated by H. E. White (architect
of the later State Theatre) and could seat nearly 3,000
patrons. More recent patrons remember that the noise
of the trains on the city circle could be heard during
96. A Great Fire in the City
Martin Place. The fire which began in Gibbs,
Shallard & Co's printing works devastated a whole
city block from Moore, Pitt and Castlereagh Streets
to Hosking Place. Warehouses and offices were
completely destroyed in the blaze, which covered an
area of some 2.25 acres.
With the destruction of buildings on the north side of
narrow Moore Street the opportunity was taken to
widen the street as a continuation of the wide street in
front of the GPO, the beginning of the present day
Martin Place which runs from George to Macquarie
97. Holy Trinity School
Argyle Place. Holy Trinity church was begun as an
offshoot of St Philip's parish in what was once a very
densely populated area of the town. As soon as the
parish was established the parishioners petitioned the
government for a grant of land and financial
assistance to start a church school.
Amongst the infants, boys and girls attended equally
but by primary school, the classes were mostly boys,
with girls staying at home doing domestic duties.
98. The Trocadero
George St. 'The Troc' as it was popularly known was
Australia's biggest and many say, best dancing and
banqueting centre. In its heyday it attracted 5000
couples a week. to its public dances and could
accommodate 2000 for banquets.
It was well known for the quality of its dance bands
and as a dance restaurant (not just a 'dance hall'!) was
one of the best establishments of its type.
99. Lyons Terrace
Liverpool St. Lyons Terrace, built for the auctioneer
Samuel Lyons was for many years one of the best
residential addresses in Sydney. The three storey
terraced houses stood on Liverpool Street on the
south side of Hyde Park, with a view over that area.
Sir Alfred Stephen, one of the most eminent judges
and legislators of the 19th Century resided there as
did many other prominent citizens.
In the 20th Century the terrace was demolished in
parts, the first in 1910 to make way for the street
leading to Central Railway.
100. State Bank Centre
Martin Place. State Bank Centre was designed by
Peddle, Thorp and Walker and opened in 1985. It is
regarded as one of the finest office buildings in
Sydney, and many interesting features, including a
36-level glass-curtained tower and a two-storey
atrium that looks down on a marbled banking lobby.
The centre, now the Commonwealth Bank, occupies
the site of the earlier Art Deco Rural Bank, the ram's
head plaques from which are preserved in the new
101. The Female Immigrants' Home
Cnr. Bent & Phillip Sts. The Female Immigrants'
Home was established by Caroline Chisholm in 1841
as part of her work to assist women immigrants
arriving in Sydney.
The story of Caroline Chisholm's life in the
Australian colonies is the story of one woman's battle
against prejudice and indifference - prejudice against
a woman who stepped out of the usual domestic role
not only to work to help others but to influence
government policy to help migrants, and the
indifference of many who did little to help hundreds
of women who quickly found themselves destitute on
arrival in Australia.
Moved by the plight of women who, left homeless
and without help in a new country were often forced
to turn to prostitution to stay alive, Caroline
Chisholm devoted herself to their welfare.