Tag Archives: Sydney 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 [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.