Tag Archives: Churches

The five Macquarie towns

Just before Christmas in the year 1810, Governor Lachlan Macquarie issued an Order in which he noted the ‘frequent Inundations of the Rivers Hawkesbury and Nepean,’ the calamitous effects of these inundations on the crops in that vicinity, and the consequent serious injury to the subsistence of the Colony. To guard against a recurrence of such calamities, he had ‘deemed it expedient … to erect certain Townships on the most contiguous and eligible high Grounds in the several Districts subjected to those Inundations.’

The stated purpose of the townships was to provide accommodation and security to the settlers affected by the floods. Accordingly the townships were organised on a particular basis. Each settler was to be assigned ‘an Allotment of Ground for a Dwelling house, Offices, Garden, Corn-yard, and Stock-yard proportioned to the Extent of the Farm he holds within the influence of the Floods.’ These allotments could not be sold or alienated separate from the farms in connection with which they were allotted; they were always to be considered part of these farms.

The five districts concerned, and the names of the townships to be established, were: Green Hills, Windsor; Richmond Hill, Richmond; Nelson, Pitt Town; Phillip, Wilberforce; and Nepean, Castlereagh.

The local constables were to submit returns listing the settlers whose farms were affected by flood, the number of persons in their families, the size of their farms, and the number of animals in their flocks and herds. These returns, on the relevant form, were to go to the Principal Magistrate, William Cox, and from him to the Governor. The Acting Surveyor was then to mark out allotments.

Following this process, settlers were to erect houses as soon as possible and move in. The houses were to be of brick or weather-board, with brick chimneys and shingled roofs, and were to be no less than nine feet high. Official plans for the houses and offices would be left with the District Constable, and each settler had to build in conformity with these plans.

Christmas Day holiday and services

Just before Christmas in the same year, the Sydney Gazette also carried orders concerning Christmas Day (which fell on a Tuesday). ‘By divine Permission’ the church of St. Phillip, at Sydney, was to be consecrated on that day by the Principal Chaplain, Rev. Samuel Marsden. The Governor announced that he ‘is pleased to dispense with the Labour of all the Prisoners, and other Men working for the Government, on Christmas Day and the Day following.’ They were required to work as usual on other days of the week. Moreover, they were required on Christmas Day to parade at the usual hour and place for Divine Service.

Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 15/12/1810, p. 1; similarly, ibid., 22/12/1810, p. 1. Cf. ‘The Macquarie Towns’, State Library of NSW website. St. Phillip’s church: Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser 22/12/1810, pp. 2-3. Christmas Day holiday: ibid., p. 3.

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.