Monthly Archives: November 2010

The pursuit of knowledge under difficulties

Mrs. Boatright and her School for Young Ladies at No. 6, Colonnade, Bridge-street, Sydney, had a decidedly notable neighbour at No. 7. George William Evans, bookseller and stationer, was formerly a surveyor in Government employment and an experienced and successful explorer. His expedition in late 1813 was the first fully to cross the Great Dividing Range, after the partial crossing by Blaxland, Lawson and Wentworth earlier that year.

Born in England in 1780, Evans married in 1798 and emigrated to the Cape of Good Hope. From there he moved to New South Wales in 1802. He worked for a time as an official store-keeper at Parramatta, then in 1803 became acting Surveyor-General and explored the Warragamba River. In 1805 he became a farmer on the Hawkesbury River but suffered in the floods of 1806. In 1809 and following years he was involved in surveying and exploring, with the areas of his responsibilities varying between New South Wales and Tasmania. He surveyed Jervis Bay (1812); explored the Illawarra district in an expedition from Jervis Bay to Appin (1812); surveyed land grants in Van Diemen’s Land (1812); led an expedition across the Great Dividing Range to the Macquarie River on the other side of Bathurst (1813); received as a reward a grant of land near Richmond in Van Diemen’s Land; went to Hobart (1814); returned to Sydney to serve as a guide for an official tour of districts towards Bathurst (1815); explored various areas south of Bathurst (1815); went back to Hobart (1815); returned to Sydney to join John Oxley in exploring the Lachlan River (1817); went back again to Van Diemen’s Land (1817); again returned to Sydney to join Oxley in exploring the Macquarie River (1817-1818); returned to Hobart for land survey work; accompanied an expedition to Macquarie Harbour (1822); resigned (1825) on health grounds, subsequent to controversy over favours dispensed by the former Lieutenant-Governor (William Sorell) and survey officials; received a pension; returned to England; taught art; lost his property in a banking failure (according to the Sydney Morning Herald); obtained a lump sum in lieu of his pension and returned to Sydney (1831); established a business as a bookseller and stationer (1832), first at No. 4 the Colonnade, then No. 7, then in Lower George Street; worked also as drawing master at The King’s School (Parramatta); published a book (A Love Story, by a Bushman) which the Sydney Gazette hailed as apparently ‘the first novel the Australian press has put forth’ (1841); retired from his business as bookseller and stationer (1842); moved to Hobart (1844); and died there in 1852.

This brief survey of events, extending across the first half of the nineteenth century, necessarily gives only the merest outline of a life full of activity and adventure. George William Evans could have been a figure in one of the books he sold to customers, George Craik’s The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties.

His time in Sydney as bookseller and stationer was marred in the end by an accusation of forgery relating to unexplained alterations in a tender document for the supply of stationery to the Government. He was arrested and allowed out on bail, then found not guilty. The case must have taken a toll, he was in his early sixties, and he retired from business soon after and left Sydney, never to return.

The biographical sequence given above is based mainly on details in A.K. Weatherburn, ‘Evans, George William (1780-1852)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 1, 1966, pp. 359-360, and online. Cf. A.K. Weatherburn, George William Evans, Explorer, Sydney, Angus and Robertson, 1966; idem, Australia’s Interior Unveiled: A Biography of George William Evans (1780-1852), Surveyor, Explorer and Artist, Ryde, NSW, A.K. Weatherburn, 1987. No. 4, Colonnade: cf. e.g. Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 4/10/1832, p.4. George Street: cf. e.g. Australasian Chronicle 20/2/1841, p. 3. [William Harvey Christie], A Love Story, by a Bushman, 2 vols., Sydney, G.W. Evans (printed by Kemp and Fairfax), 1841. Court case: cf. e.g. Sydney Herald 29/4/1842, p. 3, 18/7/1842, p. 2. Biographical note: Sydney Morning Herald 2/1/1843, p. 2.

The Colonnade, Bridge-street

Just inside Bridge Street from George Street, Sydney, on the north side of the street, between George and Pitt, was a building containing a series of dwellings of uniform appearance and having at the front a roofed colonnade ‘which answers the double purpose of verandah and balcony.’ The dwellings were mostly used as workplaces and shops. The name was apparently not worked into the building, for otherwise the spelling might have been as uniform as the architecture. One finds either Colonnade or Colonade. The address is usually given as Colonnade (or Colonade) rather than ‘the’ Colonnade or Colonade.  The history of the location offers examples in miniature of many of the interests and pretensions of early colonial Sydney society.

In 1834 we find among the tenants, at No. 1, Colonnade, Bridge-street, the new Commercial Banking Company of Sydney, which was finalising its Deed of Settlement and initial distribution of shares. Joseph Pritchard at No. 2 sold an assortment of goods. At No. 3 was H.J. Sloman’s Boot and Shoe Depot. In England Mr. Sloman had been ‘Bootmaker to His Majesty.’ Also at No. 3 we find the Spyer Brothers, who sold goods including salt, sugar, tea, tobacco, and ‘velvet corks’. In the latter part of the year Mr. Grace, a solicitor, formerly of King-street East, moved into No. 3. Perhaps at No. 4 was Mrs. Metcalfe, who advertised for sale ‘an elegant Assortment of Leghorn, Tuscan, and Straw Bonnets of the newest Fashion and Shapes, which she has brought with her from England.’ She also announced, ‘Two Apprentices to the Straw Business wanted.’ At No. 6 was Mrs. Boatright’s School for Young Ladies. She gives the address as ‘6, Colonnade, Bridge-street (Leading to Government House)’, as if intimating that her pupils could be expected to rise in society and go in the same direction. Mr. G.W. Evans, bookseller, was at No. 7. In March Mr [Ralph] Mansfield, of Hart’s Buildings, announced that he was retiring from bookselling and had transferred to Mr. Evans his stock of publications from the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, including a large supply of the Penny Magazine, ‘commencing with the First Number.’ At the same time Mr Evans placed an advertisement listing the range of titles which he had available. These included various books, the Penny Cyclopedia and the Ladies’ Magazine.

Publications available from Mr. Evans range from Insect Transformation to The Architecture of Birds, and from Paris, and its Historical Scenes to The New Zealanders. One could also purchase The Pursuit of Knowledge under Difficulties, illustrated by Anecdotes, or (under the heading of The Working Man’s Companion) On the Results of Machinery. Under the same heading one finds Cottage Evenings, which seems reminiscent of Vergil’s Georgics, but also The Cholera, striking a rather sinister note, from which one might hardly be relieved by perusing Criminal Trials. There is, however, hope of escapism not only in Vegetable Substances Used for the Food of Man but in Pompeii and Its Antiquities or The Domestic Habits of Birds. Perhaps on the whole the Penny Magazine and the Ladies’ Magazine were safe choices.

Quotation describing the Colonnade: Australian 8/1/1836, p. 1. No. 1: Sydney Herald 20/11/1834, p. 1. No. 2: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 29/11/1834, p. 1. No. 3: Sydney Monitor 17/12/1834, p. 4. No. 4, Mr. Grace: Sydney Monitor 13/12/1834, p. 4. Mrs. Metcalfe: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 26/8/1834, p. 1 (Colonnade number not given; no. 4 let to Mr. Metcalfe according to Australian 8/1/1836, p. 1, but this is not decisive). No. 6: e.g. Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 16/12/1834, p. 1 (frequent advertisements). No. 7: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 4/3/1834, p. 1.

Sydney in 1841: a directory [instalment 8]

The ‘Directory of the Public Institutions and Government Offices in Sydney’ published in the Sydney Herald on 5 July 1841 includes (13) Newspapers. (See the entries of 17/11/2010, 18/11/2010, 19/11/2010, 22/11/201023/11/2010, 24/11/2010 and 25/11/2010 for further details.)

(13) Under the heading of newspapers the Directory lists the offices of eight publications: the Government Gazette, the Sydney Gazette, the Australian, the Sydney Monitor, the Sydney Herald, the Australasian Chronicle, the Temperance Advocate, and the Free Press.

The Government Gazette Printing Office is stated to be at the northern end of Phillip Street, next to the Immigration Office. This is not to be confused with the Sydney Gazette, which has an office at the northern end of George Street, at the northern corner of George Street and Charlotte Place. The Sydney Herald is just along the street, the fourth door from Charlotte Place. The office of the Australian is in Bridge Street, on the northern side, the ‘lowest house in the Colonade’. Also in Bridge Street is the Free Press office, on the south side of the street. The Temperance Advocate is in King Street, on the north side near Castlereagh Street. The Sydney Monitor and the Australasian Chronicle are on the east side of George Street; the former is ‘opposite the south-east corner of the Old Gaol’, while the latter is near King Street.

Some brief and incomplete notes on the publications mentioned:

Copies of the New South Wales Government Gazette for 1836-1851 can be read online via a website entitled Victoria Government Gazette: Online Archive 1836-1997. This website also has copies of the Port Phillip Government Gazette (1843-1851) and the Victoria Government Gazette (1851-1997).

The following five newspapers listed by the Directory (and their successors in two cases) are accessible online via the newspapers section of the National Library of Australia’s search website Trove. They are listed here with their years of publication (in the case of the Sydney Morning Herald, the years covered by that website), from the oldest to the most recent: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser, 1803-1842 [suspended 1807-1808]; Australian, 1824-1848; Sydney Monitor, 1828-1838, then the Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser, 1838-1841; Sydney Herald, 1831-1842, then the Sydney Morning Herald, 1842-1954; Australasian Chronicle, 1839-1843.

The Sydney Gazette – the first newspaper in New South Wales and hence the first in Australia – was founded early in the life of the colony. The Australian and the Monitor were founded in the 1820s, and the Herald (begun by three men from the Sydney Gazette) and the Australasian Chronicle in the 1830s. The 1840s were a time of change. Four of the five newspapers listed closed down: the Sydney Gazette, the Australian, the Monitor (which had become the Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser) and the Australasian Chronicle. The latter, successor to Bent’s News and New South Wales Advertiser (1839) became the Morning Chronicle (1843-1846), followed by the Sydney Chronicle (1846-1848) and finally the Daily News and Evening Chronicle (1848). The Sydney Herald, bought by John Fairfax in 1841, became the Sydney Morning Herald the next year and continues to the present day.

The Temperance Advocate and Australasian Commercial and Agricultural Intelligencer was published from October 1840 to December 1841. The Commercial Journal and Advertiser (1835-1840) became the Free Press and Commercial Journal (1841) and finally the Sydney Free Press (1841-1842). These can be consulted via the Australian Cooperative Digitisation Project’s website Australian Periodical Publications 1840-1845.

A leading figure on the newspaper scene from the end of the 1820s to the early 1850s was the clergyman Ralph Mansfield (1799-1880), who was an editor of the Sydney Gazette (1829-1832), a contributor to the Colonist in the 1830s, and an editor of the Sydney Morning Herald (1842-1854). After his death an article on ‘The Late Rev. Ralph Mansfield’ in the Sydney Morning Herald (3/9/1880, p. 3) included the comment: ‘It would surprise those who are unacquainted with the history of those comparatively early days of the colony to know what a field was then open to a man of talent in connection with the Press, and to learn the number of newspapers in existence at that period.’

Sydney in 1841: a directory [instalment 7]

The ‘Directory of the Public Institutions and Government Offices in Sydney’ published in the Sydney Herald on 5 July 1841 includes (12) Masonic Lodges, &c. (See the entries of 17/11/2010, 18/11/2010, 19/11/2010, 22/11/201023/11/2010 and 24/11/2010 for further details.)

(12) The Directory lists five lodges: the Australian Social Masonic Lodge; the Royal Arch Chapter; the Leinster Marine Lodge of Australia; the Lodge of Australia; and the Australian Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows.

Two lodges meet at St. John’s Tavern, on the northern corner of Bridge and George Streets. The Australian Social Masonic Lodge meets there on the first Monday of each month, and the Royal Arch Chapter meets every three months, on the second Tuesday of January, April, July, and October.

Two lodges meet in the Masonic Hall in York Street, on the western side of that street a few doors from the Barrack Gate. The Leinster Marine Lodge of Australia holds meetings at stated times. The Lodge of Australia meets every month on the Tuesday nearest to the full moon.

The Australian Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows meets in the Lodge Room in King Street, on the northern side of that street between Elizabeth and Phillip Streets. It meets on a weekly basis, every Wednesday.

The name ‘Australian Social Masonic Lodge’ is an informal variant, occurring almost nowhere else, for the Australian Social Lodge, sometimes also called the Masonic Australian Social Lodge or the Australian Masonic Social Lodge, the term ‘Masonic’ being worked in somewhere from time to time to indicate the general category. A news item of 30 June 1821 notes that there are two Masonic bodies in the colony, that of His Majesty’s 48th Regiment (no. 218 Irish Constitution) and the Australian Social Lodge (no. 260 I.C.), the latter recently granted from Ireland by the Duke of Leinster and approved by the Governor of New South Wales. They celebrated, according to ancient custom, the anniversary of John the Baptist (24 June) with a procession and a meeting at the Lodge Room (Smith’s, Hyde Park), where Rev. Ralph Mansfield delivered a sermon on brotherly love and a collection was taken up for the Benevolent Society.

There was also a Lodge 227 I.C. attached to the 46th Regiment, which was replaced by the 48th Regiment in 1817. Some civilians admitted to Freemasonry by the military formed the original core of the Australian Social Lodge. In 1878 the Lodge was renamed under the NSW Constitution the Australian Social Mother Lodge No. 0, and then in 1888 with the formation of the United Grand Lodge of NSW it became the Australian Social Mother Lodge No. 1. On its hundredth anniversary in 1920 it became Lodge Antiquity No. 1. In 1988 Lodge Celestial (no. 512) merged with it.

The Royal Arch Chapter, attached to Lodge no. 260 I.C., was formed under a warrant from the Grand Royal Arch Chapter of Ireland. There are some early references from 1834. The Chapter met at that time at St. John’s Tavern, and communications could be sent to the Junior Scribe at that address. This remained the meeting place from at least that time until the period in which the Sydney Herald’s Directory was published – surely a measure of the stability and conservatism of the Masonic movement. Evidently the Australian Social Lodge and the Royal Arch Chapter met at the same place because they were connected with one another.

In 1821 the Australian Social Lodge asked the Grand Lodge in Ireland for permission to grant dispensations which would enable further lodges to be formed in New South Wales and Van Diemen’s Land until these proposed additional lodges in various places could receive a warrant. Permission was granted and under this ruling in 1824 three members of Lodge 260 were allowed to form a new lodge in Sydney which became the Leinster Marine Lodge of Australia (no. 266 I.C.).

Whereas the Australian Social, Royal Arch and Leinster Marine Lodges derived from Ireland, the Lodge of Australia (no. 820, later 548, and then 390 E.C.) was formed under a warrant to meet in Sydney issued in 1828 by the United Grand Lodge of England. In 1829 the warrant of the Grand Lodge of England itself fell into abeyance. The warrant was revived on the initiative of the Duke of Sussex in 1833 and the Lodge of Australia was renewed at that time. The Lodge Room in 1833 was at the Royal Hotel, Sydney. A special meeting was held on 13 December 1833 to ‘cement’ the renewal (including the election of a Master) and to plan for opening the Lodge on St. John’s Day (24 June 1834).

The lodges acted co-operatively. For example, in April 1834, in an advertisement for a concert at the Pulteney Hotel, three notices appear one under the other from the Lodge of Australia, the Leinster Marine Lodge and the Australian Social Lodge (in that order). In June of that year the United Lodges of Australia assembled to celebrate the Festival of St. John. There was a procession with banners and the bands of the 17th and 4th Regiments. ‘The day being remarkably fine, a great number of the inhabitants assembled to witness the sight, it being superior to any thing of the kind before seen in N. S. Wales.’ The procession went to St. James’s Church, where Rev. R. Hill preached an appropriate sermon. Collections were taken up for the Sydney Dispensary and indigent Freemasons. There was a dinner afterwards at the Lodge with numerous toasts and speeches and the band of the 4th Regiment played appropriate airs.

The Australian Grand Lodge of Odd Fellows, or more fully the Australian Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, was introduced to Australia by Mr. William Moffitt, who returned to England in 1842, farewelled with great emotion by members of the Order. A brief history of the order appeared in the Sydney Monitor in November 1841. The Order grew from small beginnings in 1836, was formalised in 1837, and had the same standing as the Grand Lodge of the Manchester Unity. By November 1841 it had 274 members, a branch lodge at Port Phillip with 45 members, and ample funds. A Lodge Room was purpose-built at the Saracen’s Head Inn, King Street (at the corner of King and Sussex Streets), and dedicated in October 1842. The seventh anniversary was celebrated in February 1843 at ‘the Lodge Room, (Brother Smith’s, “Saracen’s Head Inn,” King-street)’. The Australian Supreme Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows celebrated its eleventh anniversary in 1847.

John the Baptist: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 30/6/1821, p. 3. Australian Social Lodge: cf. the website of Lodge Antiquity No. 1. Royal Arch Chapter: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 17/5/1834, p. 1. Leinster Marine Lodge: cf. ‘Some events in the early history of Freemasonry in Australia and the SW Pacific to 1848’, on the website of the Grand Lodge of South Australia and Northern Territory. Renewal of the Lodge of Australia no. 820: Sydney Monitor 31/7/1833, p. 1; Sydney Herald 9/12/1833, p. 1. Concert: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 26/4/1834, p. 3. Festival of St. John, 1834: Sydney Monitor 28/6/1834, p. 3. See also the website of the United Grand Lodge of Freemasons of NSW and the ACT. There is a Museum of Freemasonry (279 Castlereagh Street, Sydney), with a Grand Archivist to answer historical questions. Australian Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows: Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser 29/11/1841, p. 2; Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 26/3/1842, p. 2 (Mr Moffitt’s departure); The Australian 14/4/1842, p. 2; The Australian 7/10/1842, p. 2 (Lodge Room); The Australian 1/3/1843, p. 2. Australian Supreme Grand Lodge of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows: The Australian 27/2/1847, p. 3.

Sydney in 1841: a directory [instalment 6]

The ‘Directory of the Public Institutions and Government Offices in Sydney’ published in the Sydney Herald on 5 July 1841 includes (11) associations for amusement. (See the entries of 17/11/2010, 18/11/2010, 19/11/2010, 22/11/2010 and 23/11/2010 for further details.)

(11) The newspaper chose to present a select list of three associations for amusement: the Cecilian Society, the Philharmonic Society and the Victoria Theatre. The Cecilian Society holds monthly meeting in the Old Court House in Castlereagh Street (between King and Market Streets); the Philharmonic Society meets in the residence of Mr. Scrase, Tailor and Clothier, in Pitt Street, next to and on the northern side of the buildings connected with the Victoria Theatre; and the Victoria Theatre is on the west side of Pitt Street between King and Market Streets.

The Cecilian Society bears the name of the Roman martyr St. Cecilia, widely esteemed as the patron saint of music. Her feast day is 22 November, and perhaps the Society took some of its inspiration from that occasion in 1838, as we first read news of the formation of the Society in December of that year. Its first public performance occurred in April 1839 in the Old Court House, which was at that time used as the Roman Catholic School Room. The Society emphasised both orchestral performances and singing. Eventually a platform for the orchestra was constructed in the Court House. The first concert was well received but controversy quickly arose over the issue of participation by professional musicians. A report circulated that Mr Wyatt of the Victoria Theatre had forbidden musicians in his employ to perform with the Society. The facts of the matter gradually came out, but in the meantime several newspapers (The Colonist being the most vociferous) took hold of the story and condemned Mr Wyatt with varying degrees of warmth for his selfishness and short-sightedness. The Society received encouragement from a number of newspapers and flourished for a time. It was still active when the Sydney Herald published its Directory in 1841 but closed down through lack of support in March 1842. We hear of an attempt to revive it two years later but the name at least became a thing of the past.

According to the Dictionary of Sydney, William Wallace and John Deane founded a Sydney Philharmonic Society in June 1836. There is, however, a problem of terminology. There is reference to the formation of a ‘Philharmonic Society’ in Sydney in the Sydney Gazette in April 1833. In January 1834 the Australian reports the recent formation of a Philharmonic Society in Sydney, meeting weekly at the Manchester Arms. The same newspaper reported a month later that the Society was ‘going swimmingly’ and that its members were ‘generally speaking scientific singers.’ The Society’s main emphasis seems to have been on singing.

Two and a half years later the Sydney Gazette reported that a society designated a ‘Philharmonic Society’ was rapidly progressing. A meeting of the promoters had been held on 15 June 1836 at the house of Mr. Deane; Mr. W. Wallace was to be the leader; and the Governor was to be asked to be Patron (his agreement was confidently anticipated). ‘The Philharmonic Society may therefore be now considered as effectually put in operation.’ The Society is stated to be for Professors and Amateurs.

Messrs. Deane and Wallace had come from Hobart, but surely they were not unaware that a Philharmonic Society had already been formed in Sydney. It seems possible that Mr. Deane – who claimed to have been a member of and a performer with the Philharmonic Society, London – may have been taking over an existing concept and name in Sydney and investing it with his own energy and purposes. There is something odd about announcing in mid-June 1836 a plan to ask the Governor to be Patron. The Governor had become Patron of the Philharmonic Society in Sydney some years before. Moreover, W. Wallace had already advertised in May 1836 a forthcoming concert to be held on 2 June ‘under the patronage of his Excellency the Governor.’

Six years later, in April 1842, comes news of the formation of a Sydney Philharmonic Society intended for Amateurs. An advertisement twelve years after that, in March 1854, invites membership of a Sydney Philharmonic Society as if the Society had been recently established.

The location given in the Directory for the Victoria Theatre, on the west side of Pitt Street between Market and King, seems to place it as facing on to what is today Pitt Street Mall. According to an article in the Dictionary of Sydney, which gives this same street information, the location is ‘where 420 George Street is today.’ Perhaps this statement belongs earlier in the paragraph in connection with the Theatre Royal, which would have been in that vicinity.

Cecilian Society: ‘Musical Society’, The Australian 29/12/1838, p. 2. Philharmonic Society: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 27/4/1833, p. 3; Australian 6/1/1834, p. 2; Australian 28/2/1834, p. 3. Governor as Patron: Australian 22/7/1834, p. 3. Deane and Wallace: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 18/6/1836, p. 2. Cf. Graeme Skinner, ‘Deane, John Phillip’, in Dictionary of Sydney. Wallace’s advertisement: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 14/5/1836, p. 1. Sydney Philharmonic Society: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 28/4/1842, p. 3; Sydney Morning Herald 9/3/1854, p. 1. Victoria Theatre location: cf. Kim Kemmis, ‘Opera’, in Dictionary of Sydney.

Sydney in 1841: a directory [instalment 5]

The ‘Directory of the Public Institutions and Government Offices in Sydney’ published in the Sydney Herald on 5 July 1841 includes (10) hospitals and medical establishments. (See the entries of 17/11/2010, 18/11/2010, 19/11/2010 and 22/11/2010 for further details.)

(10) Three hospitals are listed: the Military Hospital, the General Hospital and the Prisoners’ Hospital. In addition there are two dispensaries and an asylum, which has one of the dispensaries attached to it. Thomas Mitchell’s map of 1832 helps in locating these institutions.

The Military Hospital is on the peninsula between Sydney Cove and Darling Harbour. It is just west of Fort Street, near the intersection of that street with Prince Street (called Princes Street on the map).

The General Hospital is on the other side of the town, on the east side of Macquarie Street.  It consists of two large buildings. The northern building has four sets of rooms, two for free persons, male and female, and two for convicts, male and female. The building to the south of this is a store-room.

The Sydney Dispensary is in Hart’s Buildings in Pitt Street. These buildings are on the west side of the street, running south from the corner with Market Street.

The Benevolent Asylum is at the southern end of the town, on the eastern side of Parramatta Street, near the Old Toll Gate. Beyond the Benevolent Asylum is the Burial Ground.

The Prisoners’ Hospital is temporarily in part of the Old Gaol. A proper hospital is to be built at the New Gaol.

A note on Hart’s Buildings and the Sydney Dispensary: Hart’s Buildings, centrally located at 42 Pitt Street, accommodated a number of tenants over the years. T.W. Hart receives dishonourable mention in the Registry of Flash Men, a journal kept by Police Superintendent (later Commissioner) William Augustus Miles, recording details of underworld characters in Sydney in the 1840s. According to the journal, ‘Hart T. W  of  Hart’s buildings in Pitt St caught Dr B – n. with his wife got damages & set up in business.’ At one time Hart and two others operated the Royal Mail Coaches that ran to Parramatta and Liverpool, a three-hour trip which began at Hart’s Buildings and picked up the mail at the Post Office on the way. Among the various tenants of Hart’s Buildings over the years were, in 1828, Mr. Wyatt, who sold assorted goods, and Mr. Dawes, a solicitor; in 1832, Mr. R. Mansfield, who ran a Book and Stationery Depot and a number of other activities including a Registry Office for Servants, and was associated with the building of a Baptist Chapel in Bathurst Street (a Baptist Chapel was set up in Hart’s Building while the new chapel was being built); in 1835, the British and Foreign School Society, and the Australian School Society, which ran a Boys’ School there; and the Sydney Dispensary, which had been in King Street, then George Street, and took up the lower three rooms (recently used by the Chapel) in ‘Mrs. Hart’s Building’ in Pitt Street in 1835. By 1833 the Dispensary had fallen on hard times but it revived with the help of Government funds and increased donations. Doctors saw recommended patients, for whom medicine was provided free of charge. According to one advertisement, every subscriber could recommend six patients. In 1839 children were vaccinated for a shilling which was returned when the children came back for inspection eight days later. The Dispensary moved to premises in York Street behind the Police Office in July 1841. Thus the Sydney Herald’s directory information for the Sydney Dispensary became obsolete within a week or two of publication. It was a time of rampant ‘fever’ in the community and a letter-writer to the Sydney Gazette called for the building of a public hospital.

Of later date and separate origins are Hart’s Buildings at 10-14 Essex Street, The Rocks. The property was acquired in 1880 by a Newtown builder, Peter Francis Hart (1840-1917) and transferred to Elizabeth Hart in the same year; three terrace houses were built c. 1892. The cookery writer Margaret Fulton lived there in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Registry of Flash Men: Ref. NRS 3406, State Records NSW, available transcribed in e-book form. Royal Mail Coaches: The Australian 13/11/1829, p. 1. R. Mansfield: cf. Vivienne Parsons, ‘Mansfield, Ralph (1799-1880)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 2, 1967, pp. 204-205, and online. Mrs. Hart’s Building: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 11/10/1836, p. 2. Baptist Chapel: Sydney Monitor 12/10/1836, p. 2. Hard times: e.g. Sydney Monitor 24/4/1833, p. 1. Six patients: Sydney Monitor 30/8/1837, p. 3. Children: Australasian Chronicle 24/9/1839, p. 2. Need for a public hospital: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 15/7/1841, p. 2. Hart’s Buildings, The Rocks: cf. ‘Harts Buildings’ in the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority Heritage Register.

Sydney in 1841: a directory [instalment 4]

The ‘Directory of the Public Institutions and Government Offices in Sydney’ published in the Sydney Herald on 5 July 1841 (see the entries of 17/11/2010, 18/11/2010 and 19/11/2010 for further details) includes (9) Religious, scientific and charitable institutions.

(9) Among religious organisations the first mentioned are the Societies for Promoting Christian Knowledge and Propagating the Gospel. These societies have an Australian Auxiliary, and the Diocesan Committee of this Auxiliary has offices under St. James’s Church. They also have a ‘depository’ there for selling their publications.

There are also depositories in King Street (near Castlereagh Street) for the Bible Society and the Religious Tract Society.

A number of religious organisations are listed which do not have particular offices but meet in locations, whether places of worship or school houses, associated with their respective denominations. These are the Church Missionary Society, the Wesleyan Missionary Society, the London Missionary Society, the German Mission to the Aborigines, and the Roman Catholic Institute.

Several organisations are listed which can be classed under the heading of charitable institutions: the Temperance Society, the Total Abstinence Society, the Scottish Society, the Union Benefit Society, and the Floral Society.

Under the heading of scientific organisations comes the Sydney Mechanics’ School of Arts in Pitt Street (near Park Street).

Also mentioned is a library, the Australian Subscription and Reading Rooms, in Macquarie Place (next to St. James’s Parsonage).

A note on the religious organisations mentioned:

The Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge was a major publisher of religious materials. The organisation was already old by the nineteenth century, having been founded in 1698. It had a significant role in education and missionary work. The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts was also long established, having been founded in 1701. It sent out missionaries to America, Australia, New Zealand and elsewhere, and had a particular interest in indigenous peoples. Both of these societies began in England. They had their origins within the Church of England but came to have ecumenical connections as well. The British and Foreign Bible Society was founded in 1804. It was non-denominational and willing (controversially) to cater for a variety of theologies and to include in Bibles books regarded by many as apocryphal. The Religious Tract Society, founded in 1799, published tracts and books for evangelistic purposes. The Evangelical Revival in England and elsewhere was a significant energising force in the formation and development of these and other societies.

Three of the missionary societies mentioned were founded in London. The first-mentioned in the Directory is the Church Missionary Society, a Protestant organisation founded in 1799. In February 1825 the Sydney Gazette reported the recent formation of an Auxiliary Church Missionary Society for Australasia, in union with the Church Missionary Society in London. The first quarterly meeting of the committee of the Church Missionary Society for Australasia was held at the residence of its Secretary in Castlereagh Street, Sydney, on 8/4/1825. The Wesleyan Missionary Society was founded in 1786 and began work in Australia in 1815. In 1818 the British Methodist Conference formed the General Wesleyan Missionary Society. The London Missionary Society, Evangelical and non-denominational, was founded as the Missionary Society in 1795 and renamed the London Missionary Society in 1818.

The German Mission to the Aborigines in the Moreton Bay area (the ‘Zion Hill Mission’) began in 1837 on the initiative of John Dunmore Lang. In the year in which this Directory was published, a sixteen-page statement concerning the mission, written by one of the missionaries and revised by Lang, was published in Sydney by James Reading, whose offices were in ‘King-street, East’.

The Roman Catholic Institute was formed in Sydney in 1840. The Colonist newspaper reported a meeting held on 10/9/1840 ‘for the purpose of forming a Roman Catholic Institute, for the purpose of procuring money to enable them to spread the tenets of the Roman Catholic religion, and defend themselves from the attacks of other religious persuasions.’ The Colonist was not a sympathetic observer, nor was the Sydney Herald, which reported the formation, at a ‘numerously attended’ meeting, of a branch of the Roman Catholic Institute of London and also ‘an association for propagating the Roman Catholic Faith.’ The report added: ‘We shall not regret the formation of these societies if they have the effect, which they ought to have, of shewing the Protestants how necessary it is to unite and be strenuous in their exertions, to promote the Protestant religion, and thus neutralize the exertions of the Romanists. If the Protestants are firm to their duty they have so much of the wealth and intelligence of the Colony, and such a large numerical majority that they need be under no fear of the result of any trial of strength.’

The very next column of the Sydney Herald provides an example of the dual role of church and missionary organisations in Sydney in that era. On the day before the Sydney branch of the Catholic Institute was formed, the Bishop of Australia laid the foundation stone of a new Church of England at Ashfield, on land given to the church by Mrs. Underwood, who placed an inscribed brazen plate in the cavity before laying of the stone. The church was dedicated to St. John the Baptist, whose feast day it was. The service was taken by Rev. J.K. Walpole, a missionary sent to the colony by the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts; he had been working in the district for some time. The Bishop gave an address ‘in which he enforced the duty incumbent on all to support the practice of protestantism.’

A snapshot of the activities of missionary organisations in Australia and New Zealand in the 1830s is provided by the Penny Cyclopaedia of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge, vol. 15, London, Knight, 1839, under an entry for ‘Missions’ (pp. 266-277), at p. 276. The article cites as some of its sources the Missionary Map of the World; Wyld, Map of Missions; the Missionary Register; The Missionary Vine; and Rev. C. Williams, Missionary Gazetteer.

There is a ‘List of Protestant missionary societies (1691–1900)’ in Wikipedia. A list of missionary societies with their dates of foundation was published in the Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 23/8/1822, p. 3. Church Missionary Society: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 3/2/1825, p. 3; The Australian 7/4/1825, p. 1. German Mission: J.D. Lang, Appeal to the Friends of Missions, on Behalf of the German Mission to the Aborigines of New South Wales, London, 1839; Rev. Christopher Eipper, Statement of the Origin, Conditions, and Prospects of the German Mission to the Aborigines at Moreton Bay, conducted under the auspices of the Presbyterian Church in New South Wales, Sydney, James Reading, 1841 (revised for the press by John Dunmore Lang, who added a Postscript, p. 16); accessible on the University of Queensland website (pdf). Cf. Catherine Langbridge, Robert Sloan and Regina Ganter, ‘Zion Hill Mission (1838-1848)’, in ‘German Missionaries in Queensland: a web-directory of intercultural encounters’, on the Griffith University website. Roman Catholic Institute: The Colonist 12/9/1840, p. 2; Sydney Herald 14/9/1840, p. 3.

Sydney in 1841: a directory [instalment 3]

The ‘Directory of the Public Institutions and Government Offices in Sydney’ published in the Sydney Herald on 5 July 1841 (see the entries of 17/11/10 and 18/11/10 for further details) includes (6) legal offices, (7) Government offices and (8) offices of military departments.

(6) Several courts are housed in a building in King Street near St. James’s Church: the Supreme Court, the Equity, Vice Admiralty and Insolvent Debtors’ Court, and the Court of General Sessions. Two courts are in a building at the corner of Bent and Spring Streets, down near Sydney Cove: the Court of Requests and the Court of Claims for Deeds of Grant of Land. It is expected that a new Court House in Woolloomooloo will house the Supreme Criminal Court.

In addition there is reference to two police offices: the General Police Office in George Street, on the corner of Park Street; and the Water Police Office in Cumberland Street.

(7) First mentioned among the Government offices is the Colonial Secretary’s Office in Macquarie Place, near the Old Government House. Next door on the western side are the Colonial Treasury and the Auditor-General’s Office. Along from them is the Surveyor-General’s Office.

In Macquarie Street near the General Hospital are the Council Chamber and the offices of the Executive and Legislative Council. The Council Chamber buildings also house the Agent for the Church and School Estates.

At the south end of Macquarie Street are the offices of the Town Surveyor and of ‘the District Surveyor under the Building Act.’ In Bent Street are the Government Printing Office and the Immigration Office.

In the Dockyard is the Harbour-Master’s Office. In George Street North near the Dockyard are the Customs House and in the same building the Office of the Inspector of Distilleries. Also in George Street North is the Commissariat Store, where the Colonial Storekeeper’s Office was located.

The Colonial Architect’s Office is listed as being ‘in Hyde Park’, behind the Convict Barracks. The office of the Superintendent of Convicts is in the Hyde Park Barracks.

Also listed under Government offices is the Registry Office of the Bishop of Australia, which is in King Street, opposite St. James’s Church.

(8) A number of offices of military departments are clustered around the Military Barracks: at the north end are the Brigade, Military Secretary’s and Mounted Police Offices, while at the north-east corner are the Deputy Commissary General’s Office and the Commissariat Pay Office. The Commissariat Stores in George Street North house offices of the Commanding Royal Engineer, the Ordnance Storekeeper and the Commissariat Storekeeper. The Commissariat of Accounts’ Office is accommodated over the Post Office in George Street.

Thomas Mitchell’s map of 1832 assists in locating many of these offices.

A note on two of the functionaries mentioned: Archdeacon William Grant Broughton became the first Church of England Bishop of Australia and took up duties in that capacity in June 1836, five years before publication of this Directory. He was a member of the Legislative Council (after being for a time excluded), and active in pursuing Church policies on education. It appears from various references that the Registry Office, which had a special function in relation to marriage licences, served as a multi-purpose administrative office and venue for meetings.

There was more than one Inspector of Distilleries. ‘An Act to regulate the Distillation of Spirits in the Colony of New South Wales’ had been passed in 1838. The Office of Surveyor of Distilleries was abolished and Inspectors of Distilleries were given stated tasks. They had a busy time, and there was a view that they were not well enough paid for their exertions. Distillation of spirits was a matter of lively debate in 1841. As well as the problem of illicit distillation, a considerable proportion of spirits was made from ‘Java and Bombay sugar’; this had the effect of reducing demand for grain in the colony, which affected returns to farmers. A new Act was passed in December 1841, tightening up provisions of the former Act and adding new restrictions, including the forbidding of manufacture of spirits from sugar, molasses or other material ‘of foreign growth’ except grain.

Bishop of Australia: cf. K.J. Cable, ‘Broughton, William Grant (1788-1853)’, Australian Dictionary of Biography, vol. 1, pp. 158-164, and online. Distillation Act of 1838: Sydney Monitor and Commercial Advertiser 28/11/1838, p. 2s. ‘Java and Bombay sugar’: Sydney Herald 22/7/1841, p. 2. Act of 1841: Sydney Herald 4/1/1842, p. 2.

Sydney in 1841: a directory [instalment 2]

The ‘Directory of the Public Institutions and Government Offices in Sydney’ published in the Sydney Herald on 5 July 1841 (see yesterday’s entry for further details) includes (3) educational establishments, (4) places of resort and (5) public wharfs (so spelled) and markets.

(3) The directory lists nine educational establishments located in public buildings (or two or three more if primary and infant schools are counted separately): the Australian College, in Jamison Street beside the Scotch Church; the Sydney College, on the east side of Hyde Park; the Female School of Industry, at the lower end of Macquarie Street; the Kent-street Primary and Infant Schools, between King and Market Streets; St. Philip’s Primary and Infant School, next to St. Philip’s Church; St. James’ Grammar School, nearly completed, at the southern end of Phillip Street, with classes temporarily held in the Old Court House (next to St. James’ Church); St. James’ Primary Male and Female Schools, in the Old Court House; the Roman Catholic School, also in the Old Court House; and the New Roman Catholic School-house, at the northern end of Kent Street. There are also ‘upwards of sixty private seminaries.’

(4) The term ‘places of resort’ evidently means places for serious and civilised recreation and amusement. Four places are listed: the Royal Exchange and Subscription Rooms, temporarily in the nearest house to Sydney Cove, on the east side of Macquarie Place; the Australian Club-house, on the corner of O’Connell and Bent Streets (not far from Macquarie Place); the Australian Museum, but this is closed at the moment and temporary premises are being used next to St. James’s Parsonage at the southern end of Macquarie Street; and the Sydney Botanical [sic] Gardens (part of the Government Domain).

(5) Three wharves are listed: the Queen’s Wharf, near the northern end of George Street, i.e. at Sydney Cove, and two at Darling Harbour: the Market Wharf in Sussex Street, between Market and King, and the Commercial Wharf at the end of King Street.

Of the markets, the Sydney Market Sheds are where the Queen Victoria Building stands now, surrounded by George, York, Market and Druitt Streets. The other three markets are side by side at the southern end of the town, on the southern side of Campbell Street: the Corn Market (at the end of George Street) and on the eastern side of that the Hay Market and then the Cattle Market, which includes the Sydney Pound.

A note on two of the institutions mentioned: The Australian College (1831-1854) was founded by Sydney’s first Presbyterian minister, John Dunmore Lang (1799-1878), minister of the Scotch Church and principal of the College. The College lasted longer than his short-lived Caledonian Academy, announced in 1826, the year the Scotch (or Scots) Church was completed (cf. the announcement in The Monitor 2/6/1826, p. 8, which states that any funds which Dr. Lang may derive from his connection with the Academy will be used to pay off the church debt). The State Library of NSW holds a number of images of the three-storey building with verandahs on the corner of O’Connell and Bent Streets used by the Australian Club until 1892.

[To be continued.]

Photographs of the Australian Club House: e.g. Australian Club [ca. 1863-65], Dalton’s, Royal Photographic Gallery, 320, George Street, Sydney, Dalton’s Royal Photographic Establishment (Sydney, N.S.W.) (Ref. SPF/101), Aggregated Collection, State Library of NSW.

Sydney in 1841: a directory of institutions and offices

On 5 July 1841 the Sydney Herald published on its own initiative a ‘Directory of the Public Institutions and Government Offices in Sydney.’ The directory, occupying just under two columns of the newspaper, gives the names of institutions, offices and the like, together with their locations.

The directory is divided into thirteen sections, numbered here for reference: (1) Banks and commercial institutions; (2) Churches and chapels; (3) Educational establishments; (4) Places of resort; (5) Public wharfs and markets; (6) Legal offices; (7) Government offices; (8) Offices of military departments; (9) Religious, scientific and charitable institutions; (10) Hospitals and medical establishments; (11) Associations for amusement; (12) Masonic Lodges, &c.; and (13) Newspapers.

(1) There are seven banks: the Bank of New South Wales, the Bank of Australia, the Commercial Banking Company, the Bank of Australasia, the Union Bank of Australia, the Sydney Banking Company, and the Savings’ Bank of New South Wales. Five are in George Street, one is just off George Street, and one (the Union) is in Pitt Street. There is also the British and Australian Loan Company in Elizabeth Street and the Australian Society for Deposits and Loans in King Street, not far from George.

There are six insurance companies (most of them called ‘assurance’ companies): Australian Marine; Union; Australian General; Sydney Alliance Marine, Fire and Life; Mutual Fire; and Australian Colonial and General Life.

Various companies are scattered here and there. The Sugar Refining Company is outside the city at Canterbury, by Cook’s River. The Sydney Flour Company is at Girard’s Mills (a concern of Francis Girard, referred to in an earlier post) in Sussex Street. The Australian Gas Light Company has works in Kent Street and offices in Pitt Street, where the Sydney Ferry Company is also accommodated. The General Steam Navigation Company and the Hunter’s River Steam Navigation Company have offices at the wharves from which their vessels start. Also in Sydney are offices of the Australian Agricultural Company, Hunter and Co., and the Australian Auction Company.

(2) There are churches and chapels of several denominations. Most denominations have more than one place of worship. For the Church of England there are St. Phillip’s (on Church-hill) and another in the same parish in the course of construction; St. James’s at the end of King Street; a temporary chapel in a private building for the parish of St. Laurence while a new building is being erected; and the Cathedral of St. Andrew, under construction. For the Presbyterians there are the Scotch Church (at Church-hill); St. Andrew’s Scotch Church (not far from the Church of England St. Andrew’s); and another (unnamed) in the course of construction. The Wesleyans have three chapels, the main one in Macquarie Street opposite the General Hospital, another near Church-hill and a third in Pitt Street. There is also an Independent Chapel in Pitt Street and another being built in the same street. The Baptists have a chapel near St. Andrew’s Scotch Church. The Roman Catholics have the Cathedral of St. Mary (erected before the Church of England cathedral). Next to St. Mary’s is a building used as a confessional. There is also a small Roman Catholic chapel in Parramatta Street and a new place of worship (St. Patrick’s) being built on Church-hill. The Society of Friends have a Meeting House in Macquarie Street opposite the Council Chamber and hence near the Wesleyan chapel in that street.

A note on some localities: Church Hill, where Lang Park is now, is beside the area of Sydney called the Rocks. The website of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church, Church Hill, gives an account of the history and construction of that church. Parramatta Street was the name used for the extension of George Street south of its junction with the street (now part of Pitt Street) that ran off at an angle to the Cattle Market. At this junction was a toll gate, called a turnpike in the 1832 map by Thomas Mitchell. This map has George Street before the toll gate marked as Brickfield Hill. During the 1830s this hill was reduced by moving earth from there to Bathurst Street. Parramatta Street (called Broadway today) gave way to Parramatta Road at the junction with Cook’s River Road (now City Road).

[To be continued.]

Directory: Sydney Herald 5/7/1841, p. 2. The Directory can be read in conjunction with a map of Sydney streets and landmarks done by the Government Surveyor Thomas Mitchell in 1832, accessible online via Flickr: Sydney Streets, 1832, 13 April 1832, Surveyor General’s Select List of Maps and Plans (and Supplement), 1792-1886 (Ref. SR Map 5470), State Records NSW. Cf. ‘Surveyor General’s Crown Plans, 1792-1886’, a searchable listing of the Surveyor General’s Select List of Maps and Plans (and Supplement) (6508 entries) on the website of State Records NSW.