A number of articles and comments on the Unhurried Traveller website refer to the Colonnade, Bridge Street, Sydney. The partial chronology given below is intended to co-ordinate some of the information relating to the Colonnade. Also included are some biographical details concerning people associated with the Colonnade, and some details concerning developments in the general vicinity.
Grateful acknowledgement is made of information contributed by a number of readers in comments; see in particular ‘The Colonnade, Bridge-street’ and comments there. It is hoped that further chronological details can be added from time to time.
c. 1820s – 1830s. Lumber yard on southern corner of George and Bridge Streets.
1827. Land known as the Orphan Grant (or Orphan House Ground), bordered on the west by George Street and on the south by Bridge Street, subdivided into six lots and sold.
1828. August. John Edye Manning (in England) appointed registrar of the Supreme Court of New South Wales.
1828. 27 December. John Verge, previously and later architect, now farmer, arrived in Sydney ‘with his son, a shepherd, a flock of Hampshire sheep, various supplies and agricultural equipment’; settled at 70 Pitt Street; received land grants; ‘Most of his architectural work in Sydney appears to have been done between 1830 and 1837, when he retired to Lyndhurst Vale and later to Austral Eden’; ‘his time of maximum activity, 1830-34’; ‘His domestic buildings were the colony’s high-water mark of the Regency style, in its austere stucco vernacular, and in this context he was one of the earliest and most important practitioners of the Greek Revival in Australia’; ‘The pre-eminent early nineteenth century country house in Australia, and Verge’s masterpiece, is Camden Park, Camden, designed for John Macarthur in 1831-32 and built in 1832-35’; ‘One of the richest and most spatially dramatic interiors in early Australian colonial architecture is seen in the hall at the massive Elizabeth Bay House … designed in 1833, and built in 1835-37’; ‘The important terraces, shops and bazaars designed for such businessmen of Sydney as Samuel Lyons and John Edye Manning, father and son, have all disappeared. The only surviving Verge terrace house is the pair designed and built for the Sydney tradesman Frederick Peterson in 1834-36, 39 and 41 Lower Fort Street, which remains as an example of Verge’s many routine commissions for city frontages’ (ADB).
1829. May. Manning arrived in Sydney with his wife and five children.
1830. Thomas Brett established a wine and spirit warehouse, known as (or including?) St. John’s Tavern, on the northern corner of George and Bridge Streets.
1831. February. Verge bought land on the site of 346 Sussex Street, and built his house there.
1831. November. Manning received two land allotments at Rushcutters Bay. Eventually, ‘His large land holdings included houses and stores in Queen Street, Sydney, land at Brisbane Water, Melbourne, Carcoar, Goulburn and Wollongong, and a lease of Vermont near Camden’ (Australian Dictionary of Biography).
1831. 5 December. An ‘illumination’ (display of lights) for the newly arrived governor General Richard Bourke; St. John’s Tavern participated.
1832. 18 June. Supreme Court: Thomas Brett, of St. John’s Tavern, was sued successfully by Rebecca Miller for breach of promise.
1833. 29 July. Sydney Herald, p. 2: William Jones, printer, and Mrs. Mary Jones and Lucilla Jones, arrived from London.
1833. August. A piece of land was purchased from Thomas Collins by John Edye Manning; he commissioned John Verge, architect, to design for the property a terrace of seven houses and shops, called the Colonnade.
1834. 7 October. Sydney Gazette: shops include those of Mrs. Boatwright (seminary for young ladies) and Mr Metcalfe; some shops yet to be let.
1834. (Details from a number of newspapers of various dates.) Colonnade, no. 1: Commercial Banking Company of Sydney (newly established). 2: Joseph Pritchard (selling assorted goods). 3: H.J. Sloman, Boot and Shoe Depot; and Spyer Brothers (selling various goods); and later in the year Mr. Grace, solicitor. 4?: Mrs. Metcalfe (selling bonnets). 6: Mrs. Boatwright, School for Young Ladies. 7: Mr. G.W. Evans (bookseller and stationer; formerly surveyor and explorer).
1836. 9 January. Sydney Gazette advertises the whole of the Colonnade for sale (via auctioneer Samuel Lyons).
1836. 22 January. Australian: Colonnade, no. 1: purchased by Mr. A. O’Reilly (Anthony O’Reilly, currier, established a leather and grindery warehouse at the Colonnade). 2: Mr. Joseph Pritchard. 3: Messrs. Spyer Brothers. 4: Mr. W. Moffitt. 5: Mr. W. Jones.
1840s. Colonnade, no. 17: Thomas Revel Johnson operated from no. 17 a newspaper, Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Reviewer (1845-1860; subsequently entitled Bell’s Life in Sydney and Sporting Chronicle, 1860-1870).
1841. Manning ‘became a victim of the depression, for his property and stock were heavily mortgaged and his shares worthless’ (ADB).
1841. 5 July. ‘Directory of the Public Institutions and Government Offices in Sydney’, Sydney Herald: the office of the Australian newspaper is in Bridge Street, in the ‘lowest house in the Colonade’.
1846. 5 August. Sydney Morning Herald, p. 1: William Walker a new occupant at the Colonnade.
1846. 7 September. Sydney Morning Herald, p. 2: Colonnade, no. 17, known as the Dolphin Hotel, ‘together with the premises adjoining’, advertised for sale by William Jones, proprietor; used as a printing office; ‘The situation is first-rate … being the principal entrance from George-street to the Circular Wharf, Customs House, and all the public Government Offices…’
R.J.M. Newton, ‘Manning, John Edye (1783–1870)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 2, 1967; and online. Harley Preston, ‘Verge, John (1782–1861)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 2, 1967; and online.