Buildings and Landmarks of George Street
THE FIRST PICTURE OF SYDNEY—IN 1788.
This is a reproduction of what was probably the first
sketch ever made of Circular Quay and the beginning of the city of Sydney. It was drawn by Captain John Hunter on
August 20, 1788, seven months after the first landing here. The path on the right is the George street North of
today. The building close to the fence behind the trees on the right is the first hospital. The path ended about what is now the intersection of George and
Essex streets. The flagstaff on the left stood where Loftus street now joins Circular Quay. On the left of the
flagstaff is the canvas but of Governor Philip, the first Government House.
GENERAL VIEW OF SYDNEY ABOUT 1795.
George street North is the winding road in the
foreground, running south from a point in the vicinity of which now stands the Seamen's Institute. The buildings on
the right of the street are the hospital and surgeons' residences. The
wharf below the hospital stood near the present Commissariat Stores,
opposite the George street Fire Station. On the extreme left of the picture stands Government House and
gardens. Below it, on the water's edge, is a storehouse which stood at the Quay end of Loftus street. To the right
of Government House the building with a porch on the sky-line is the first church, which stood at the junction of
Hunter and Bligh streets.
SYDNEY ABOUT 1803.
George street North is seen on the right. The building in front of which
the solitary tree stands was then the assistant surgeon's house, which stood on what is now the southern corner of
George and Argyle streets.It was afterwards tenanted by Francis Greenway, whose
architectural genius left its mark on Sydney. The buildings to the left of this are the hospital and medical
stores. The tower beyond was intended for St. Phillip's Church, but it collapsed before the church was built. To
the left of the tower are the barracks, and below them is the Lieutenant-Governor's house, near a three-story
building, which was the Government granary. Further to the left are seen the original tanks in the Tank Stream in
the vicinity of Hunter street. The building on the hill to the extreme left is Government House, which stood
at the corner of Bridge and Phillip streets. Below it, and a little to the right, on the water's edge, is the
storehouse which stood at the junction of Loftus street with Circular Quay. The boat on the stocks and the
buildings immediately behind it are in the area occupied by the Government dockyard.
GEORGE STREET NORTH IN 1829.
This sketch was made from the roadway opposite the Commissariat
Stores (now the State Taxation Department), part of which just comes into the picture on the left. The ship fs
lying in what is now Barton street, close to where the Harbour Trust Offices stand. The first verandahed building
on the left was the home of Issac Nichols, who here conducted the first post office in Australia. The tramway that now runs in front of the
George street Fire Station passes over the site of this, and also of the two small, houses to the left of it. The
fire station itself stands on the site of the next building to the right of the post office. George Howe, the founder of the "Sydney Gazette," and Australia's first real printer, is
associated with the building with the archway to the left of the windmill. In the house adjoining the "Gazette" was
printed from 1810 to 1822. The shop on the extreme right was occupied by Mitchell and Company, ship chandlers, the
oldest business of its kind in Sydney.
GEORGE STREET NORTH IN 1847.
Taken from almost the same spot as the 1829 sketch. The first
building on the left ("Paxtons") was Australia's first post
office. Next to it is the home of Mrs. Reibey, Sydney's first woman
merchant, who is said by some authorities to be the original Margaret Catchpole. The wall in the centre divided the
street into a high and low level. On the higher part, in front of a row of stores erected by Joseph Underwood in
1822, is seen the Commissariat Guard.